There's a lot of media coverage about vacation rentals at the moment which is interesting as it shows an increased focus on what to many north Americans is a niche vacation product. The latest article in the Wall Street Journal comments on a phenomenom with the handy acronym SNAD or ‘Significantly Not As Described'. Sadly I hear of this a lot and it contributes to a large proportion of the complaints made against the vacation rental industry.
The article goes on to review how online vacation rental companies are striving to combat this negative aspect of the business by developing more stringent methods of adding reviews; encouraging more feedback from renters, and demonstrating the more positive sides of vacation rentals.
The author of the article makes an important point:
The vacation-rental marketplace is highly diverse, which can compound traveler confusion and trepidation.
This diversity is part of the appeal of vacation rentals but can create a sense of wariness since there is no standardisation or yardstick by which to compare such different properties. Owners are free to describe their holiday homes as creatively as they wish, and the subjective listings that result are open to misinterpretation.
Ours is an emerging market, and it's so important that the travelling public isn't set against the concept because of a focus on a few negative reviews. There's a real need for owner education for those who seem to think it's OK to deliver a substandard product, but we should also be targeting the renter population and managing their expectations.
We are dealing with a demographic whose prior experience of vacation accommodation is of a sanitised and predictable nature. Getting them to appreciate that the very diversity of the vacation rental market is what makes it so special is a task that should be primary to every owner's marketing strategy.
This is a great discussion point and I'd love to hear your comments.