The vacation rental industry is going through difficult times. The global spread of coronavirus has led to a sudden increase in cancellations and an unprecedented drop in bookings. Short-term rental businesses are facing a crisis that has put their very existence at risk. 

These challenges have forced property managers around the world to think outside the box and consider options they wouldn’t have considered before.

One of these options is marketing their properties as mid-term rentals

Current trends show that now is a good time to start targeting guests who are looking to book stays of 30 days or longer. If your brain is wired the short-term way, the notion of accepting extended stays may sound daunting. But don’t worry. 

In this article, we’ll walk you through how to market your properties as mid-term rentals, how to adjust your pricing and which bookings sites to get listed on.

We’ll also be hosting a webinar together with Transparent on April 2nd, where data and distribution experts will give you actionable tips on how to start moving towards mid-term rentals. Sign up now so you don’t miss it!

Why should property managers consider shifting to mid-term rentals?

At Rentals United, we’ve been busy analysing our internal data and trying to turn it into insights to help property managers stay afloat during the crisis. While there has been an undeniable drop in short-term bookings, we’ve also seen an increase in demand for stays of 30 days and longer. The crisis may have temporarily brought short-term rental activity to a halt, but the mid-term model seems to have gained in popularity. 

Guests who book mid-term are usually not travellers. They are individuals or families who live in or close to your destination and need a temporary place to stay. 

For example, they could be tenants whose long-term lease has just expired and they’re in-between places. They could be expats who don’t want to commit to a long-term lease before they get to know a city. They could also be owners who have already sold their old home but haven’t found a new place yet. And let’s not forget about digital nomads, many of whom don’t have a home base at all. 

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The coronavirus crisis has also started trends that favour mid-term rentals. The pandemic is driving many people out of cities, away from the crowds. There has been an upsurge in bookings at remote, off-season locations – especially for luxury rentals. Families are looking for 30-day rural hideaways to isolate themselves while also being close to nature. 

And this trend isn’t going anywhere. As Moriya Rockman, CEO, CMO and Founder at Smiling House Luxury property management told us:

“Getaway destinations close to nature and luxury properties niche will grow and will be much more desired after recovering from the lock-down in the cities.”

So it’s not just us – other industry players have started noticing the potential that lies in incorporating mid-term rentals into your strategy. When we asked Vered Schwarz, COO of Guesty, a leading PMS provider, about his predictions for post-crisis trends, he said:

“I believe property management companies will be looking to diversify their portfolio and allow mixed-use for short-term, mid-term and long-term stays to ensure their business model can withstand future, extreme circumstances and maintain revenue stability.”

How to incorporate mid-term bookings into your strategy

1. Set monthly rates on the big OTAs

This may be something that you’ve never considered before, but hear us out. Global OTAs like Airbnb have the option to set monthly rates instead of daily ones, allowing you to give guests a discount on longer stays

This approach requires a pricing strategy called length-of-stay (LOS) pricing. The longer a guest is looking to stay, the bigger the discount they will get. You can set this up directly in your Airbnb account or through your Channel Manager. 

Learn how to set up LOS pricing with the help of Rentals United. 

As a response to the increased demand for longer stays, Agoda has recently introduced a Long Stay promotion option. Travellers can now book stays of up to 90 nights through Agoda, which is a great chance for property managers to get more bookings. 

Agoda has revealed that according to their internal data, properties with Long Stay discounts get an average of 89% more bookings. They recommend setting your discount at 30% for a minimum stay of 28 nights.

Guests looking to book longer stays actively search for properties that have a monthly rate. During periods of low demand like the coronavirus crisis, raising your minimum stay and setting up LOS pricing can be a great way to make sure your rentals don’t stay empty. 

2. Get listed on niche websites specialising in mid-term rentals

Another way to get your rentals in front of guests looking to stay longer is to list them on niche websites that specialise in longer stays. 

Now is not the time to be overly selective about the channels that you list your properties on. On the contrary: you want to have as much visibility as possible, cover as much ground as you can so that you raise your chances of getting bookings. 

Here are 5 niche booking sites specialised in mid-term rentals that we recommend you get listed on as soon as you can:

  1. HomeLike (Europe): Homelike offers over 50,000 furnished apartments across Europe. 
  2. Spotahome (Europe): Spotahome lets guests book longer stays from wherever they are: their team visits the apartment for the guest, which is a huge advantage during the lockdown.  
  3. HouseStay (US): HouseStay offers furnished apartments for 30 nights or more across the US. 
  4. Altovita (Europe): Altovita provides temporary accommodation for business travellers and families in European cities.
  5. Magicstay (worldwide): MagicStay offers furnished apartments in all corners of the world.

Next to these 5 booking sites, also check out Anyplace (worldwide), 2nd Address (US), Flatio (Central Europe) and Behere (worldwide). We’ve covered them more extensively in our post about digital nomads

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3. Optimise your rental for mid-term bookings

Last but not least, think about the type of guest that you’re trying to attract and adapt your rentals’ amenities to their needs. 

Like we’ve mentioned before, guests staying for 30 days or longer are not tourists. They are most likely people in-between places living their day-to-day lives. During the lockdown, they will most likely be setting up their home office in your rental. 

To attract these types of guests, it’s a good idea to equip your rental with all the amenities they may need. Once you’ve done that, don’t forget to update your listings. You can even upload new photographs that showcase how your rental can be turned into a temporary home/workspace. 

Make sure that your rental has:

  • A fully equipped kitchen
  • A coffee machine
  • A comfortable desk or other workspaces
  • High-speed internet 

Learn more about making your rentals appealing to remote workers and digital nomads.

Webinar: Is mid-term the new short-term? booking trends and tips on how to tackle 30+ day bookings

On Thursday, April 2nd at 7pm CEST, we are organising a webinar in collaboration with short-term rental data provider Transparent to discuss the opportunities of the mid-term rental market

We will cover the top mid-term channels to list your properties on, look at data on recent trends, discuss pricing strategies, content optimisation and more. 

If you need help making the shift to mid-term rentals, join us at this webinar. The discussion will be filled with actionable tips that you can start implementing today.

Learn how to distribute listings to OTAs and niche websites with a powerful Channel Manager.