The Vacation Rental World So Far

Oct 3, 2018 | Marketing

In an almost 400 year-old industry, the concept of vacation homes has completely transformed throughout the centuries. Long gone are the days when these properties were strictly conventional “homes” that owners rented out to friends and family when unoccupied. Now, vacation rentals is becoming the all-encompassing term for “alternative accommodation”, with apartments, houseboats, lodge stays, and even castles in the category.
Throughout history, vacation rental advertising has also transformed. Snail mail, telegraph and paper advertising are now a thing of the past, having made way for the Internet where the vacation rental industry is currently thriving.

Alongside technological changes, the industry has boomed in both scale and scope – professional associations like VRMA were formed, global online marketplaces established and new business opportunities arose. It’s perhaps not surprising, then, that the industry has been predicted to reach a worth of US$170 billion by 2019!

Stepping into 2019, we’re continuing to witness disruptions to the ever-changing industry – and there’s no sign of slowing. Vacation rentals are gaining traction among travelers and are now even thought to overshadow “mainstream” accommodation, like hotels. With this comes more factors which, if handled correctly, will open up so many more opportunities. Here are just three up-and-coming trends that you can prep your business for:

Over the last five to ten years, the expectations of guests and owners have changed dramatically – and this is no less accentuated by technology. Online booking is now the norm for travelers, especially with a growing trend for mobile devices. Not only that, they prefer the Instant Book experience (and even expect it), much like when booking a hotel. In recent research, we found that over 40% of TripAdvisor travelers expect to be able to book a rental instantly.

This means that property managers and owners need to be ever more agile when it comes to keeping up with traveler trends. Improved technologies like software integrations and the TripAdvisor Rentals Owner App give you the ability to respond quickly and take bookings on-the-go while ensuring correct rates and availability. You no longer have to miss out on last-minute or instant bookings that come your way anytime anywhere.

A review can consist of just a few simple words complimenting you, or it can be a lengthy essay of complaints. Both have the ability to influence a potential guest as they decide whether to book with you or not. In fact, 72% of TripAdvisor travelers said they wouldn’t book a vacation rental without reviews.

The power of these statements of shared experience cannot be underestimated – they’re a key part in the traveler’s decision-making process, and marketers leverage them as word-of-mouth marketing. They’re great testimonials about the properties, published in a public space, and by others not affiliated to the business. As such, they’re considered candid and trustworthy sources of information.

“There’s more value in guest reviews than any copy we create. Guests want to hear what stands out and what’s special, from people who have actually stayed there. Reviews put potential guests at ease. Adding confidence is the main thing.” – Brian Harris, property manager.

Skift’s Travel Megatrends 2018 suggests the next big thing in the hospitality industry will be the transformation of travel brands into true experience platforms, in a bid to cover all aspects of a traveler’s journey. Alongside online travel agencies, global hotel companies and airlines are now upping their game and adding on ‘peripheral’ services like restaurant reservations as well as tours and activities.

This is a great opportunity, especially for the vacation rental industry. With more travelers seeking out authentic, local experiences, there’s no better accommodation solution than a rental. Pair your properties with experiences and offer a full in-destination experience to your guests now with TripAdvisor’s Travel Agent Program. And the best part? You’ll earn an additional 8% commission, too!

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