Covid-19 has changed the way we travel and not in a way we anticipated. The first wave of this global pandemic forced everyone to stay shut within the four walls of their homes. It also introduced the world to the new trend of working from home. Many companies have permanently taken their businesses online, giving their employees a lot of flexibility when it comes to where they choose to live and work. It is important to know how to get more bookings during this time so that you can continue to keep your customers happy by keeping up with the new trends created by the pandemic.
The digitization of the world has been accelerated with the restrictions on movement caused by this pandemic. The flexibility given to people and the dire need for change in scenery has given rise to another trend – workations.
Workation is a new trend among millennials where people choose to work out of different locations. This is usually done for longer periods of time like for a few weeks to a few months.
“We’re on the verge of a revolution in travel. The world is getting digitized. The world is getting smaller. It’s getting more global. And I think this has probably been the biggest change in daily living,”– Brian Chesky, CEO of Airbnb
The data from Q4 of 2021 shows that 22% of bookings made between October and December were for 28 days or longer. Also, a major part of the bookings included stays for at least seven days which is significantly more than pre-pandemic times.
Most people going on workations choose a private vacation home instead of a hotel to limit their interactions with others. Private rentals are a safer choice of accommodation because of limited person-to-person contact.
As a vacation rental owner or property manager, this new revolution in traveling gives you a chance to tap into a whole new category of travelers. We have listed a few things that will help you make your vacation rental a safer place for your guests and get more bookings during this Covid-19 wave.
How to get more bookings during the Covid-19 wave?
1. Check local requirements, restrictions, and situation
Some state, local and territorial governments require wearing masks and getting tested. They also mandate those who recently traveled stay home for up to 14 days. Stay up to date with the restrictions imposed by the government in your state and make sure your guests are aware of them.
It’s also important to keep in mind the impact of COVID-19 infection varies in each region. Make sure your guests follow all the safety precautions in case they are coming from highly affected areas.
2. Keep a gap between bookings
A landmark study published by the New England Journal of Medicine states that the coronavirus may live for up to 2-3 days on plastic and stainless steel surfaces. It is important to understand how frequently the home is rented (and cleaned) since it’s established that the virus will die on surfaces after a period of time,
If possible, try keeping a grace period of at least 3 days in between two rentals. This will decrease the burden of cleaning your property thoroughly and provide your guests with the assurance of a safe environment.
3. How are you cleaning the space?
Some homeowners are being encouraged by services like Airbnb and Vrbo to follow established guidelines on cleaning their properties. You are advised to use personal protective equipment (PPE) and entirely disinfect high-touch surfaces throughout the home. Follow an Airbnb cleaning checklist to make sure that you have thoroughly cleaned the place and prepared your vacation rental for the next guest.
4. Provide disinfectants and sanitizers to your guests
After thoroughly cleaning the house yourself, you can leave disinfectant and sanitizers in the rental for more health-conscious guests. Some people prefer cleaning their surroundings themselves and by providing them with this option, you can show that you care about their well-being.
5. Use an air purifier
If you are not able to provide a 3-day gap between your bookings then you can fit an air purifier in your vacation rental with a PECO filter. This will lower the risk of any virus present in the air and make the vacation rental safe for your guests. You can list an air purifier in your list of amenities to attract more bookings as people are looking for hosts who can provide them with the most safety.
6. Enroll in Airbnb Cleaning Protocol
In May, Airbnb gave hosts the option of enrolling in a new “Cleaning Protocol” training and certification program. Guests can identify and book accommodations where hosts or management companies have committed to the enhanced sanitation measures required by the program, including things like the use of masks and gloves by hosts and/or their cleaning crew, using proper disinfectants, and a 24-hour wait period before hosts, cleaners, or guests can enter the home after someone else has been in the property. Those who have enrolled have an “Enhanced Clean” emblem on their listing.
Your guests are assured when they see the Enhanced Clean Emblem in front of your listing that your house has been thoroughly cleaned and will be safe to live in. You can also charge more Airbnb cleaning Fees for putting in extra effort to disinfect the vacation rental. PriceLabs Market Dashboard will help you see what your competition is charging and how many bookings they are getting with a particular cleaning fee.
7. Don’t forget to address non-COVID safety issues
Just because we’re all a little consumed by coronavirus concerns these days doesn’t mean that all of the other safety concerns that existed pre-COVID have disappeared. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is reminding travelers who are opting for vacation rentals this year to ask if the property has smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, as well as a fire extinguisher.
As a property manager, your guests expect you to maintain their safety in all circumstances. Your vacation rental property should have a smoke detector, a proper locking system, and fire exits. Also, anchor the furniture to the wall, especially if your property is in an earthquake-prone area.
8. Invest in a workstation and well-connected wifi.
Most of the travelers are looking for workation destinations. The first thing they look for in a vacation rental is the availability of strong wifi and a workstation. Invest in a good wifi connection and a study table and chair.
You can go a step further and create a proper study area with more inviting decor or place your workstation in a corner overlooking the window to make your listing more appealing to this segment.
9. Price your properties according to mid-term stays to attract more bookings.
You can’t charge the same nightly rates for shorter stays and mid-term or longer stays. When a person is booking a listing for a longer stretch of time, he or she expects a discounted rate. There are a few Airbnb pricing strategies you can adopt to maximize your occupancy and optimize your revenue.
PriceLabs Dynamic Pricing will help you determine the right nightly rate for your vacation rental based on real-time data regarding booking trends in your vicinity. It helps you automate your pricing by letting you set a minimum, base, and maximum price, along with customizations to price your listing according to your needs/strategy.
If you only want to take mid-term or long-term bookings then you can add stay restrictions using PriceLabs. Very few people understand the importance of minimum night restrictions in vacation rentals.
For long-term stays, you can have a lower base price or provide high discounts for longer stays. This would mean that you provide weekly and monthly booking rates. The best way to be open to shorter and longer bookings is by setting weekly/monthly or custom discounts based on the length of stay.
To get a sense of where the market is pricing itself, you can either manually check the rates of your competition on Airbnb and Vrbo or use PriceLabs Market Dashboard to monitor their future rates.
Using PriceLabs Market Dashboard, you can fine-tune your competitive set, and get real-time insights into what’s happening in your area.
There are new Covid-19 variants coming out every other day and it doesn’t seem like that is going to stop anytime soon. The travel industry is shifting according to the newer trends introduced by this pandemic. The best way to stay afloat and thrive is to pivot and adapt your vacation rental business according to the shifting trends.