After an incredibly challenging year, many new trends in the vacation rental industry have been born out of necessity. But these could well be permanent changes to a sector where habits were already evolving. These top 4 hospitality trends represent real opportunities for vacation rental businesses—if you know how to take advantage of them.
Short-term rental was already changing
Even before travel restrictions were put in place, vacation rental businesses had to adapt to changing attitudes. So how best to make vacation rental properties continue to pay when the industry is dealing with circumstances we’ve never seen before? We have some key insights into the latest trends in the hospitality industry and how to stay ahead of the curve to keep your properties profitable.
Trend 1: Staycations, you’ve heard the term but what are you doing about it?
“The new normal” in vacations. This was already one of the growing trends in the hospitality industry, even before COVID. Travel guilt was beginning to make some vacationers rethink flying, particularly in Europe. Now the attractions on offer closer to home are being appreciated by more people than ever before, so there’s a rich potential market to tap into.
How to maximize the opportunity “staycationing” offers
Two words. Localized marketing.
Make sure you know what events, attractions and sightseeing opportunities there are in the region your vacation rental properties are situated. All these add to your listings’ value proposition. Plus there’s no significant investment on your part. All it takes is a bit of time to keep on on top of what’s going on. This gives you additional marketing material that changes with the seasons, allowing you to capitalize on events throughout the year.
With those attractions and events in mind, tailor your social media posts to include relevant hashtags. Consider engaging the social page directly with mentions and callouts. Most of these attractions or events have social media coordinators who will jump on such an opportunity to create buzz. You’ll get exposure from a wider audience than just those looking for vacation rental.
You can also look into creating relationships with local businesses. By directing customers their way, you can offer guests discounts at a local restaurant or reduced group admission prices for a local attraction. This will help out the community and give potential customers another reason to choose your properties. In turn, local businesses will reciprocate and potentially send referral guests your way.
Consider that even in 2021, guests will be travelling within a 100-mile radius from their homes. So it makes sense for you to reach out to local businesses outside your area. They may act as a bridge between you and your potential guests.
Trend 2: Sustainability isn’t just a buzzword anymore
This may already seem like a cliché, but you ignore sustainability at your peril. Modern vacationers, particularly younger people, want to think their getaway is not environmentally damaging. They often want to feel they’re making a positive impact with their eco-conscious choices, making this is one of the key trends in the hospitality industry you cannot afford to overlook. Making no effort to improve the sustainability of your business is not only environmentally damaging, it’s can also lose you customers.
How to leverage the sustainability trend
Environmentally aware customers are all too aware of so-called “greenwashing.” That’s why a rebrand and some eco-messaging isn’t going to cut it. Sustainability requires meaningful actions that will lead to recommendations being made to other eco-travellers, so it’s absolutely worth the initial investment. This can be anything from the materials used to construct the vacation rental properties, building sustainable properties like tiny houses, or even the choice of energy supplier or the toiletries you leave for the guests. Some managers are even calculating and offsetting the carbon emissions of their vacation rentals.
If these seem unlikely customer drivers, don’t be fooled. Place your environmental efforts front and centre of your marketing, and advertise with the many listing sites and OTAs that cater specifically to eco-conscious travellers. That will ensure your properties’ sustainable credentials are visible to a targeted audience.
Trend 3: Two generations collide, or not
Many of the trends in the hospitality industry reflect the tastes of the largest demographic of the time. Now consider the unique time the hospitality industry is going through. We have baby boomers enjoying retirement and travelling. At the same time, Millennials, who grew up with travel at their fingertips, now have established careers and disposable income to spend.
Two marketing strategies, one business
So how do you capitalize on two large generations that respond to sometimes incompatible marketing strategies? Consider two brands for the same set of properties.
Time to set up two parallel direct booking sites.
On one end, you have a direct booking site targeting the Boomers. Focus on convenience, comfort, and value. As for the younger generations, pinpoint experiences with friends or within the community they are visiting, sustainability, and creating memories. This same strategy can be used to target two subsets of similar travellers. For example, a beach house manager could have a marketing strategy for families and another for spring break students.
To make this happen without risking double-bookings or increasing the administrative workload on your team, you’ll need technology to help you. Specifically you’ll need a Property Management Platform that has a robust vacation rental API and a direct booking site widget. Essentially, your PMP will act as a central hub for both direct booking sources. If this is a strategy that interests you, check out this case study, or contact us and we’ll look at how our award-winning can be put to use in your business.
Trend 4: Technology
For multiple properties, an end-to-end Property Marketing Platform like Hostfully is a must. And technology can already do so much heavy lifting in securing bookings, positive feedback and client recommendations. From seeing the property before they leave their own homes to enhanced customer experience during the vacation rental, cutting-edge vacation rental tech can enhance your guests’ experience—even before they arrive.
How to take advantage of tech trends in the hospitality industry
Examine where technology can save time and money, and generate income for your vacation rental properties. A digital guidebook will eliminate repeatedly answering the same questions from guests and simultaneously improve the guest experience. Virtual, interactive tours of the properties can secure bookings from customers who like to see what they’re paying for beforehand. What’s more, interactive objects that give information to the guest when they point the mobile devices at them are unobtrusive to people who don’t use them, but add fun and utility for those who do.
Keep abreast of developments in new tech and continuously evaluate how it can be applied to your business model. If you’re not doing this, your competitors are, so keep moving or be left behind. Hostfully produces regular industry reports on the latest studies, trends and industry insights to help you make informed business decisions.
On trend or out of pocket
There’s a big difference between a trend and a fad. Being aware of how the trends in the hospitality industry are reshaping it and knowing how to take advantage of them can be the key to ensuring full vacation rental properties, engaged and happy guests, and repeat bookings.