Thank you to all who attended our most recent webinar ‘Embracing Domestic Tourism’, we hope it gave you an insight into the foreseeable tourism trends post COVID-19. There wasn’t enough time at the end of the webinar to answer the great questions asked by attendees, but as promised, here are the answers to those questions.
If you missed the webinar, don’t worry you can get access to the webinar and slides here.
FLEXIBLE CANCELLATION POLICY
During the webinar we covered the importance of having a flexible cancellation policy, especially in times like these:
- Airbnb reports 15% more bookings for those rentals that are on Flexible;
- Booking.com has a very visible message on the search results saying “Don’t book unless it’s flexible”;
- The Plum Guide says that 80% of all bookings are on relaxed cancellation policies.
We asked the webinar participants to answer this poll: “Are you using a flexible cancellation policy?” These were the results:
One comment was that “flexible cancellation policies kill the market”, while in normal circumstances we kind of understand what you mean, but the “market” has completely changed since COVID-19, and we need to adapt to survive.
There was also a mention of travellers booking multiple places and then cancelling at the last minute. While this is certainly something that some travellers do, it’s definitely not all. To combat this, we would recommend creating a strong relationship with the guest as soon as they book. Explaining that you’re not a hotel and to please give you ample time to rebook the property if on the off chance they are likely to cancel. An “emotional” marketing tactic can help tackle the “shoppers”.
To improve guest communication, we strongly recommend using a guest communication platform – a standalone one like wishbox or as part of your PMS (a feature you should look out for before signing with a vacation rental software).
Q: How do you manage multiple cancellation policies for different properties? // How do you manage different cancellation policies for 2020 and 2021?
A: You can set up different cancellation policies per property when you advertise different rates on sites like Booking.com & Expedia and later this year on Airbnb too. Different rates can have a separate cancellation policy attached to them. So, for example:
- expensive – cancel free up to 1 day before arrival
- mid – cancel free up to 7 days before arrival
- cheaper – no free cancellation
So the traveller can choose how they want to book. Thes rates can be set up per property and per time frame.
Q: For flexible cancellation policy, do you recommend a full refund?
A: The answer is yes. At least for these first few months following the crisis, try to be completely flexible.
HOW TO PRICE FOR DOMESTIC TRAVELLERS
During the webinar, we covered pricing extensively and pointed out that no one answer fits all. These are the things you need to consider:
Statement: Price drop is historically hard to recover from
Consideration: So should I keep the same prices?
Statement: There will be less rentals to compete with
Consideration: So should I bring my prices up?
Statement: Adjusting your pricing to the domestic market
Considerations: Did you price for international travellers previously? Can local people afford your rentals?
Statement: There will be more Cash-Trapped Vacationers
Consideration: As we’re heading for a global recession, will people spend less on their holidays?
We went on to discuss the importance of the Length of Stay (LOS) Pricing. Here are the results from the poll.
If not already working with LOS pricing we suggest fining a software that allows you to set it up and with channels that will enable you to advertise it. Rentals United allows for LOS pricing and can push it to the following partner channels supporting LOS pricing. You can set this up directly in your Airbnb account or through your Channel Manager.
- Glamping Hub
- Paradise Terra
- World Escape
- Tui Villas
- Europea Residences
- All Luxury Apartments
- Adriatic Home
Find out more about these pricing tactics here.
Q: “Are you scaling up your prices to cover commission fees charged by channels?”
A: This is something many of our clients do (in Rentals United, you can decide to mark up your prices depending on each channel’s commission). It’s all about making the maths work while remaining competitive. Watch this video for more information
LISTING SITES FOR DOMESTIC TOURISM
We work with two types of professional property managers:
>TYPE A: Managers who carefully add their products on new websites, really analyse them in-depth and add maybe 1 or 2 more channels a year.
>TYPE B: Managers who add their products to all the channels available to them. One booking is better than no booking.
Today you should become Manager B. Having as many eyeballs on your rentals as possible is paramount to success at the moment.
But which listing sites will get you, domestic travellers? We started this collaborative excel sheet of domestic listing sites with channels we know and can recommend per country based on their stats. But this is a collaborative sheet – please feel free to add sites that have been working for you past or present in your country.
We now have sections for Australia, Canada, Colombia, Croatia, Belgium, France, Germany, Netherlands, Portugal, Italy, Mexico, Romania, Spain, Sweden, UAE, UK, US (+California, +Florida) If your country is not included, please just add a tab.
Finding more listing sites – what are the variations of keywords you recommend?
To help you find relevant listing sites we recommend:
- make sure your preferences are set to the country where your rentals are located https://www.google.com/preferences
- Type in the language of the country
- Try lots of variations (see below)
- Check the ranking on similarweb.com
Variations of keywords to find listing sites that rank (translate into the language our property is located in):
Holiday Apartments: … Holiday Apartments; holiday apartments in…Short-term rentals: … short-term rentals in…; short-term rentals in…; Short-lets: … short-lets; short-lets in…Holiday homes: ... Holiday homes; Holiday homes in…; Holiday villas: … Holiday villas; Holiday villas in… ; Vacation rentals: … Vacation rentals; Vacation rentals in…; Etc… !
Q: I am renting listings in Paris, but the title of my listings are in English (We do have International guests mostly). Do you think we should translate our titles in French targeting the domestic market for this summer? Website translates contents but not titles if I am not mistaken…?
A: We send HomeAway/VRBO translated names via our platform. On Airbnb, travellers see the original content until they press translate and it also translates the title. On booking.com the title is not translated so here and in all other cases when the titles are not translated.
YES! We would recommend translating them yourself.
OTHER QUESTIONS REGARDING PROCESSES
Our Vacation Rental Safety Polls
During the webinar, we dedicated a few slides to reiterate the importance of vacation rental safety going forward. Safety in terms of:
- Self Check-in
- Using Professional Cleaning companies.
We were wondering how many property managers present already had these two processes in place. These are the results from the polls:
If you need to find companies that can help you with safety download the Who’s Who of Vacation Rental Services.
Q: Should we email all past clients? What about the GPDR ?
How to get the emails of your clients (and their agreement to email them) when many platforms mask travellers emails? Through guest communication applications like Wishbox, your PMS, and even now through WIFI providers like StayFi.
Learn how to distribute listings to OTAs and niche websites with a powerful Channel Manager.