Good news out of America for independent vacation rental owners: vacation rental stays are on the rise for 2015. According to a TripAdvisor survey quoted by Nasdaq, almost 60% of US respondents planned to stay in a rental home this year – up by 7% from last year.
And there’s cheering news for independent vacation rental owners around the world who rely on the internet for their marketing. Who can afford not to, these days? The survey also revealed that 87% of US respondents are more likely to book as a result of increased availability of online information. Apparently, they’re highly influenced by traveler reviews and photos.
This is cheering for those outside the US for several reasons. First off, a proportion of this near 60% group will holiday abroad. Possibly at your vacation rental. Even a small percentage of such a large number could still be significant.
Availability of online information is key
Second is confirmation by the survey of the idea that bookings are increased by the availability of online information. As we know from history, American trends have a habit of crossing the Atlantic to Europe. In this regard, Europe already has well established channels for independent vacation rental owners to make online information available to guests – and they use them.
The lesson for us as independent vacation rental owners is simple. If we are not yet fully tooled-up and exploiting the benefits of the internet to market our properties, then we should be. But that doesn’t have to mean signing up to every listing site that catches your eye.
Examine your internet tools
Instead, if you don’t already have your own website, get one as a priority. If you have one already, examine the internet tools you are using. Are they up to date? Do they save you time? Do they help fill your reservations calendar? Do they provide guests with a professional service? Are your vacancies shown in real time? Are they automatically updated across all listing sites? Are they helping to increase your profit?
In short, are they helping you get the greatest benefit out of all the hard work of running your rental property?
Realtime info and instant responses are vital
It’s one thing to have an internet presence, but as well as being seen, your website needs to have the facility to provide realtime information and give instant responses. Other research shows that internet browsers are likely to go somewhere else if they encounter slow responses.
I passionately believe that all these issues and more can be addressed if independent vacation rental owners choose the right software as a service (SaaS) provider. Some will even provide you with your own free website as well as the easy-to-use tools you need. To capitalize fully on this growing market independent vacation rental owners will need powerful tools.