This week Guesty borrows our blog to give you an insight into how to captilize on domestic travel.
The short-term rental and hospitality industries have spent the last several weeks adapting to a challenging new reality. Coronavirus has slowed down business and left property management companies in all sectors — from vacation rentals to aparthotels — with a sense of uncertainty around what’s to come.
However, amid the challenges presented by COVID-19, there is still light at the end of the tunnel. Travel is showing early signs of recovery in the countries hit first by the virus, such as China. As we’re seeing there, and as we can continue to anticipate in other regions, domestic travel will be the first to recover. To keep on top of these changes in your local market, search for the relevant data provided by Transparent here. In 2019, Transparent estimated that 74.6% of vacation rental stays were domestic, making domestic travel a significant existing market, with this figure already climbing in 2020.
So how can you prepare for the revival of domestic travel? This article will break down three key focus areas to ensure you’re fully equipped to host domestic guests.
1) Know Your Travel Personas
Not all domestic travellers are alike. You might encounter more adventurous guests who’ve driven several hours or even taken a short flight to get to your destination. These travellers are treating their stay more like an international trip and will likely want to see all the local sights if possible. To keep these guests engaged and satisfied, consider creating an automated message flow that informs them which attractions have been re-opened to the public. You can also use this channel to share recommendations for local parks, restaurants and sporting activities, as they re-open.
Alternatively, you may encounter staycationers looking for a safe, quiet getaway within their own city. These guests will be more interested in the amenities within your property that can keep them occupied rather than the tourist attractions nearby. To attract this traveler set, consider upgrading to luxury toiletries, stock the kitchen with snacks, provide takeout menus from nearby hotspots, workout equipment, games, books, Netflix and other entertainment.
Don’t forget to update your listings with these travel personas in mind. For properties further from tourist attractions or for those that are more high-end, you might want to take the staycation approach, highlighting your first-class amenities. For properties closer to the most popular destinations in your city, or those that are more budget-friendly, you can highlight nearby attractions. Take this one step further by analyzing reviews from past guests and including the themes and attractions that have come up most often in positive reviews (such as location, restaurants in the area etc.).
2) Create New Experiences in Familiar Places
Domestic travel is a great way to see the parts of your state or country you might not otherwise think to visit, but those not venturing too far from home might be looking for an added layer of excitement. As a property manager or host, you can help create that unique experience for them.
Social distancing has taught us how much human connection adds to our lives — a personal touch is something people won’t take for granted post-coronavirus. As such, as business picks up, consider what you can offer to create more personalized guest experiences. Perhaps you can strike up partnerships with local restaurants, boutiques and cultural institutions to design packages that will expose guests to new experiences within the comfort of their home country – such as a virtual conference put on by the local opera.
Create a few packages based on the personas among your future bookings (i.e. staycationers, domestic adventurers, couples, families), and offer them as upsells. These types of hand-crafted experiences will make domestic vacations as memorable as any overseas trip. Plus, since your guests don’t live far away, they’ll be more likely to return as well as recommend your properties and activity packages to local friends.
3) Stay on Top of Trends
Be sure to remain up to date on cancellation trends, not only to track revenue loss, but also to see when cancellations start dropping off, so you can ready your business for the influx of new guests. Use Transparent’s cancellation data to ensure you have the latest numbers to inform your business decisions. Remember to send canceled guests coupons for future stays and updates on your flexible cancellation policies to keep occupancy on track as travel recovers.
As business picks up, it’ll be more important than ever to stay informed on market trends as well, such as: How much are competitors in your area charging nightly? Which local events and festivals have been rescheduled? Staying on top of this market data will ensure that you price appropriately to attract more guests and that you’re prepared for upticks in occupancy.
The Future of Travel
While the coming weeks and months will certainly bring about travel trends that are different from what we’re used to, these changes present new opportunities to adapt and innovate. As lockdown restrictions begin to ease, we’re certain the global short-term rental industry will ultimately come out stronger from this challenging time.
Guesty is the leading end-to-end short-term rental property management platform that streamlines and automates the complex operational needs property managers face on a daily basis – from guest communication to task assignment to payment processing. With Guesty, property managers save time so they can focus on what matters most: growing their business.
If you would like to learn more about the power of market data, we can walk you through cancellations, demand, prices and reviews in your area – just book a demo with us. For more stories on the vacation rental world, you can view our other articles right here.