Now that you’ve established one (or more) top-performing vacation rentals, have overcome early challenges and grasped the workings of the industry, it is time to take your activities to the next level. Why not grow your business and generate more income?
With the vaccination process still ongoing, and the fall of COVID-19 cases worldwide, the travel demand has recovered in 2021. Tourist attractions have been reopened, and vacation rentals are back to business.
Based on AirDNA’s Market Review of March 2021 (U.S.), summer 2021 bookings promise a hot, thriving summer through autumn for the vacation rental market.
The long-suppressed desire to travel, and accumulation of unspent savings during the pandemic has led to high demand for short-term accommodation and has returned booking trends to normal.
As a result, a revenue opportunity has emerged for short-term rental managers and investors to rent out more units and catch up with the recent explosive demand.
This summer is a great time to grow your vacation rental business and elevate your income.
Treat the 6 following measures as a checklist for your business expansion planning. Mark each step as done before you move to the next one.
1. Create Your Marketing Plan
Planning must be the first phase of your business growth journey. Design a detailed plan to market your vacation rental effectively. You don’t need to be an MBA graduate to define where you want your short-term rental business to be in ten years.
Specify your business goals and key milestones. Jot down what goals you want to achieve and how many guests you wish to host each year.
Decide on the amount of money you want to make and the percentage of your guests you hope will return each year.
2. Maximise Your Occupancy Rate
Filling in the vacant dates on your calendar must be your top priority. An empty spot translates to zero income for both the vacation rental manager and your homeowners.
Multi-channel distribution is a long-proven marketing strategy to maximise a vacation rental’s occupancy, especially during mid to low seasons.
List your property on multiple platforms. With so many online booking sites out there, it can be challenging to pick the right one to advertise your rentals. Based on your niche business needs, your marketing goals and the unique characteristics of your VR enterprise, list your properties across 4-5 leading OTAs (as well as on your Direct Booking Website).
Don’t forget to take advantage of the unprecedented opportunity Google has granted travel companies to have their hotels listed through their new Google Free Booking Links program. Benefit from more visibility, independence, revenue and guest data at no cost.
Enter fresh markets to target more segments, like corporate guests. Focus on new business from different organisations by offering special rates for their employees.
Pro Tip: Ensure you use a channel manager to synchronise your rates and availability across multiple platforms to bear maximum results, and rest assured you are protected from double bookings.
3. Set up Your Own User-Friendly Website
A good way to grow your vacation rental business is to make your rental stand out from the competition. Cut your reliance on OTAs and maximise your profit margins by offering direct Bookings.
Drive more traffic to your website by linking it to your social media channels, optimising it for search engines (SEO) and constantly creating quality content.
Pro Tip: Build your own guest CRM to foster recurring visitors for your rentals and create a strong brand that is tailored to your target audience.
4. Retain Your Guests
Your existing customers are 60 – 70% likely to buy from you, while selling to new prospects is only 5-20% probable.
What percentage of your customers visit your website only once and never book with you? How many of your guests stay at your place only one time? Will they remember your business when booking their next trip?
Your answers to these questions determine where you stand on the guest retention spectrum.
Minimise your guest acquisition costs by retention of your existing guests.
Build a loyal relationship with your guests and ensure their return using marketing levers like email marketing, branding, referral and loyalty programs.
Pro Tip: Entrust your guest communications and automate your messaging and follow-up processes with the help of a unified inbox.
5. Expand Your Presence on Social Media
Boasting 4.2 million users worldwide, social media is a perfect marketing platform to help customers connect to your short-term rental business.
Increase your interactions on social media like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to strengthen your relationship with your guests. Develop your brand awareness by increasing leads and boosting your website traffic.
Select the social media channels you want to focus on based on your own time and your audiences’ preferences.
Pro Tip: Use social media not only to get in touch with your potential customers but also to interact with other Airbnb entrepreneurs and leading businesses in your niche, for example through Facebook groups.
6. Grow Your Inventory and Add New properties to Your VR business
Having accomplished all the previous steps, it is now time to grow your portfolio.
Whether you are going to buy/rent a new vacation home or start attracting new owners, this summer is an excellent time to grow your vacation rental business.
Don’t limit yourself to only one city or country. Choose vacation rentals in areas with an acceptable amount of tourist traffic. Harness the power of automation and take advantage of remote vacation rental management.
The cessation of the pandemic in many areas of the world has reopened tourist attractions and escalated travel demands.
Now that you have made your first vacation rental investments a success, keep up the good work by focusing on business expansion. Start your journey towards growth by maximising your current vacation rental(s) profitability. Then grow your portfolio and add more properties to your VR business.
The greater amount of properties you manage, the greater amount of revenue you will generate. However, managing more than one vacation rental home requires lots of time and energy. Decrease the amount of manual work related to guest communications, housekeeping, maintenance, and reporting by employing a decent Property Management System. A PMS allows you to manage all your vacation rental tasks from a single hub and run your business on autopilot. As a result, you will have tons of time to focus on your ultimate goals and grow your vacation rental business.