As the number of coronavirus cases is growing worldwide, more and more travellers are temporarily putting off or cancelling their trips. Travelling abroad is particularly discouraged by all governments due to the incredible increase in the population of citizens contracting COVID-19. People are advised to remain indoors and avoid large gatherings. It seems that coronavirus and staycation are related tightly.
According to an online survey conducted by Skift March 6-8, 29% of respondents have found staying at home a more logical decision. No wonder then that most business and leisure travel bookings made in advance are getting deferred or cancelled during the coronavirus pandemic.
The travel industry is expected to lose $820 billion in revenue in the wake of the fast-spreading virus.
For many people, however, the aggravating situation has opened up, or forced, new opportunities not otherwise feasible. Many can now enjoy their time and check the list of tasks they could never make time for. Taking sports classes and online language courses, spending more time with kids at home and hitting all the restaurants in the area which might not be that crowded in touristic spots during the pandemic. Public libraries and museums of local destinations remain among the options. Epicurean lifestyle lovers can always find creative ways to enjoy their time. For the time being, these seem to be some substitutions for cancelled travel plans during spring break of schools and universities, giving rise to what’s termed as “staycation.”
Staycations in Response to Hospitality Industry’s Decline
People decide to travel locally and around the country of their origin for different reasons. Some might find it more ethical not to add more CO2 emissions by flying by airplanes. Heatwaves or terrorist attacks, in addition, sometimes deter people from going abroad. Campsite lovers find the discovery of exotic isolated places more appealing.
Citizens of metropolitan areas normally do not have enough time to explore the many locations in their city during hectic working days, but staycation makes it possible.
Staycations have been already evolving in the world and coronavirus accelerated this trend.
Skift shows a defining difference between the predicted 15% drop in total bookings in 2020 and 40% increase in traffic for UK tourism websites. Skift sees this contrast as evidence of this global tendency, i.e. staycation. People are going to switch to staycations due to the increase in domestic tourism.
In response to the changed behavior of their customers, hotels and vacation rentals have rolled out staycation promotions as customers are avoiding traveling abroad.
Staycation packages include a wide range of perks from offering picnic baskets to providing facilities for the ones who want to work from home in a comfortable environment to one-night in-house dining and special amenities.
While stress-busting packages, including massage and yoga sessions, are among the promotions, some people resort to staycation and have to be away from home to support a family member who has to stay under self-quarantine conditions.
How Should Vacation Rental Owners Adapt to Increased Domestic Tourism?
Coronavirus has already started a perennial impact on the world’s hospitality market. People might be inclined to get staycations to take care of themselves, their sick relatives, or make an alternative leisure time. So, it seems that staycations are going to increase significantly this year and maybe in the coming years.
Serviced apartments and hotels should be equipped to host these coming clients. You need to market your business as much as possible to get more direct bookings because it is going to be the best time for attracting local clients. In addition, serviced apartment managers and owners should rely less on OTAs and channels as the future of their market seems very vague.
In recent days, listing sites and OTAs have started changing the way they deal with cancellations and are forcing hosts to give refunds. In the most extreme of cases, Airbnb has actually changed their extenuating circumstances policy and is offering refunds to guests left, right, and centre, and leaving hosts at a loss. What is more, reports are surfacing of cases when Airbnb is refunding the host’s part in full, and only giving the guest a credit voucher for their own fees, which must be the very definition of hypocrisy. Airbnb is salvaging their own cash-flow, while not showing any consideration for their hosts’ financial well-being in these challenging times.
For those who are lucky enough to have enough direct bookings, the challenge before them lies in deciding how to deal with refunds – whether to refund, when, and how much. Follow us on social media or keep an eye on our blog to find out what we suggest hosts can do in terms of dealing with cancellation and refund requests.
Join The Direct Booking Revolution of Zeevou!
Zeevou helps you increase direct booking and has made essential tools specifically for this purpose:
- Zeevou is integrated with over 200 OTAs and platforms.
- Zeevou allows you to collect and keep a record of the guests’ email addresses.
- Zeevou provides vacation rental owners with SEO-friendly websites.
In addition, Zeevou will be launching a completely free OTA where guests and hosts will be able to communicate and arrange bookings without paying commissions. By directing guests to book on Zeevou Direct, all hosts can help each other obtain more direct bookings.
While Zeevou is providing the tool, it’s down to all of us to bring about The Direct Booking Revolution! Let us help you by signing up for Zeevou today!