During the coronavirus outbreak, we all have one thing in common, and that is more free time compared to the pre-COVID-19 days. It is as if a stopwatch has freezed all the rush and running, having opened up new opportunities and occupations not otherwise feasible. Self-isolation and nationwide lockdowns have given far more spare time to reflect on our business performance and plan for post-COVID-19 days. What are the tips to mitigate the impacts of COVID-19?
A lot of retrospection and planning is possible as long as we think out of the box and maintain a positive attitude, never giving in to a negative feeling of being trapped and victimised in a health crisis and economic breakdown. Although there is a big chance to turn the quarantine time into a reflection period, we have to know that it is just fine and understandable if we cannot make much profit during the pandemic. It’s not the end of the world. Brighter and more productive days will come. But mental and physical well-being and health come first. Keep your peace of mind and follow Zeevou’s suggestions that may come to your rescue as a short term rental owner. We have compiled a list of 10 tips to help you mitigate the impacts of COVID-19 today and improve your vacation rental business performance once the pandemic is over.
1. Follow Reliable Resources and Use Analysis Databases
Finding reliable resources is the first among the list of the tips to mitigate the impacts of COVID-19. WHO, World Health Organisation, is counted as the most updated global resource to track the flow of the pandemic. This organisation publishes statistics daily worldwide. Check for your local government instructions and advice for travelling to share on your website and social media posts.
Interpreting data into self-explanatory graphs is the art of Transparent. The market intelligence dashboard of Transparent helps you get an overview of the global impacts of the pandemic on the short term rental market. Monitor the news in vacation rental hosts and managers forums on social media to double-check the validity of the analyses.
Nowadays, people might be more inclined to get staycations to take care of themselves, their sick relatives or make an alternative working space. Due to the COVID-19 being highly contagious, all nurses and doctors might need a temporary place to eliminate the risk of contaminating their families. In order to offer a way to emerging types of vacation rentals’ customers during the outbreak, keep reading and implement the following steps.
2. Keep Your Properties Clean and Sanitised and Promote What You’ve Done
You need to add one extra step to your cleaners’ checklist: sanitisation. This has to be repeated anytime guests check out. As you know, the virus is transmitted by touching the contaminated objects. Consequently, TV remote controls, doorknobs, dishes, kitchen appliances, consoles, counters, and all the other homewares should be wiped with sanitiser liquid and a piece of cloth even if they look untouched. New towels, bedsheets and sponge cloths should be available in the property. Sanitiser spray needs to be placed in the entrance area as well as all the rooms.
Bear in mind that the number of cleans offered on long-term stays should be reduced, not just for financial reasons, but also because sending in housekeepers during a guest’s stay exposes them to additional risks.
Look for standard and registered disinfectants for use against COVID-19 like this one for the United States of America. In the end, ask your cleaning staff to record the process of cleaning and sanitisiation and revise your cleaning checklist. It is always good to assure the customers about the sterilising process by showing the records.
3. Promote Your Listing to Health Workers and Self-Isolators
Besides writing to hospitals and healthcare centres to promote your listings as a safe accommodation, signing up for Here to Help is a must. Here to Help is a free property listing site for all accommodation providers. Notably, the site features properties that are taking special precautions to keep their guests safe. Examples include using ozone machines to sanitise the units between check-outs and check-ins, or fogging procedures in their cleans. If you want to know more about Here to Help, take a look at this blog.
Sooner or later the COVID-19 outbreak will be over. The travel industry will recover, and hopefully domestic and local tourists will start travelling first. No matter how long it will take for the travel industry to bounce back, the quarantine period is the best time to prepare for a fresh start for your vacation rental business.
4. Tidy up Your Channel Manager
It is the best time to organise your channel manager. Throw away all the unnecessary things. Tidy up the list of your properties, change the similar names that always lead to mistakes with serious consequences. Capitalise the names, check the authenticity of the IDs and purge the space as much as possible.
5. Increase Direct Bookings
These days have shown us the real face of the hospitality industry’s giants. Forced cancellations as a result of the COVID-19, cause a loss for the hosts to save their financial well-being and profit-making. Zeevou is here to decrease your dependency on Online Travel Agencies and property listing sites, be it Booking.com, Airbnb, Expedia, or Vrbo. While Zeevou is providing the tool, it’s down to all of us to bring about The Direct Booking Revolution!
Zeevou has also launched a completely free OTA. Guests and hosts are able to communicate and arrange bookings without paying commissions through Zeevou Direct. By directing guests to book on Zeevou Direct, all hosts can help each other get more direct bookings. To sign up and list your properties for free, click here.
6. Increase Your Exposure
The quarantine period provides you with an opportunity to optimise your website SEO-wise. You can now allocate sufficient time to post as much as possible to your website and social media platforms, describing all your properties in detail. The more detailed the descriptions, the more specific target audience you will reach. In addition, this increases the traffic of your platforms, hence your exposure.
Additionally, it is necessary to list your properties on as many channels as you can. New travellers are going to emerge. As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, ecotourism may rise, and your properties will have a higher chance of reservation if they are listed in more specific channels. Try to adapt your properties for the future travellers and distribute your listings in appropriate channels.
7. Improve the Condition of Your Property
If you used to be a busy property manager, chances are that you never had enough time to go through the bad reviews to correct your mistakes. You now have time for it! Search for drawbacks and weak points of your properties. Try to fix them as much as possible within your budget frame.
8. Be Transparent With Landlords and Mortgage Providers
Among the list of Tips to Mitigate the Impacts of COVID-19 is persuading people you have to pay. Explain the situation to the people and organisations you have to pay monthly. Renegotiate with landlords who charge fixed rents. Suggest them to either reduce the rent considerably or to change to a commission-based management structure. If you have a mortgage, you should ask the mortgage provider for a mortgage holiday.
9. Reduce Costs
Check how you can reduce costs by analysing all your outgoings. Try not to fire your staff as you will need them the time you aim for growth. However, you need to make the tasks done as efficient as possible.
10. Search for the Best Property Management Software
Searching for an ideal PMS and channel manager is one of the most time-consuming tasks every short term rental owner should commit themselves to. It requires lots of attention and patience. You have to find the factors you are looking for at the moment and the time your business flourishes and grows. You have to search for the existing solutions and their future expansion plans. Then you need to act wisely to pay a logical amount of money. You can start this journey with demos, reading the reviews of all the relevant property management solutions and summarising the pros and cons for yourself.
If this search results in making the workflow efficient by using a PMS, it is the most important item in the Tips to Mitigate the Impacts of COVID-19. Zeevou Team will be more than happy to give you a friendly and comprehensive live demo. Stay tuned to read our comparative articles about the different solutions available soon.