Why Complacency Won’t Get Vacation Rental Bookings

for-rent So what is going on in the vacation rental market? Is it booming? Are we in a slump?

According to Property Wire, many areas of the US are reporting a downturn with competition high and the expectancy of a last-minute market driving discounts and deals, while here in Ontario, we’ve just experienced our most active first quarter since our business began.

It’s a two-handed market that is being driven by the economy with more renters staying close to home – boosting domestic reservations in some places – and more owners putting their vacation homes up for rental.

Brian Sharples, founder of the rental giant Home Away says in a Fox Business report, "The down economy has had a significant positive impact on the vacation rental market,"

"Not surprisingly, HomeAway is experiencing strong new listings growth across our sites. This increase in supply is being met by an upswing in demand from travelers, who continue to discover the exceptional value that vacation rentals offer compared to hotels," says Sharples.

The balance in some areas is working for the owners who are seeing a boost in reservations, and in others, the increase of properties on the market is tipping the balance in favour of the renter. But, this is a volatile market and uncertainty is the overriding factor across the board. Most reports suggest there will be brisk last -minute activity but with the growth in available properties, renters can probably afford to be picky and will be looking to strike deals and look for those places that have increased amenities and updated features.

There is one constant out of all the uncertainty. Expectations are rising, and owners who are complacent in any way will suffer if their listings don’t show quality, even in the smallest of properties. Yes, I’m beating that drum again, and will continue to do so until people ‘get it’.

I’ve heard recently of owners losing bookings because they won’t provide linens without a charge, or arrange for a cleaning service, if asked. A colleague sent me some photos of a property his client wanted to list showing blank-walled bedrooms with mis-matched bedding and stained pillows. Another owner expected his guests to bring their own propane tank for the barbecue. Another has refused to get a TV because his family don’t watch TV on vacation therefore he won’t be convinced anyone else will.

These attitudes will not win bookings and from my point of view, don’t deserve them anyway. This industry must move with the times and respect the changing needs of rental clients. Those owners who don’t become complacent and look for continuous improvement instead, will be the winners in the end.

Margaret Leach

I pick up lots of tips from blogs like this and forums. Our latest idea is to have a shelf unit full of ‘extras’ for fancy cooking – with 9 apartments it is a bit challenging to provide 9 of every item, even supposing there was room in the kitchen cupboards, which there isn’t. So the shelves will have a food processor, electric hand whisk, scales for weighin, muffin and other baking tins, extra large saucepans, a slow cooker and all sorts of other things I shall think of or people will ask for.

The shelves with these things on will be in our ‘guest shop’ so I think I will also have to extend that to include a few extra items. Guests have 24/7 access so insomniacs can rehearse for Masterchef in the middle of the night if they like!

Carrie Hill

Great post!

Relaxing the strict 7-day minimum is a way to get midweek bookers in trying to save some money -and the 3-4 day weekenders too.

A lot fewer people are flying to go on vacation – so offering accommodations to the weekenders or the 4 or 5 day stayers that can drive in is a great way to get heads in beds.

Carrie Hill

Great post!

Relaxing the strict 7-day minimum is a way to get midweek bookers in trying to save some money -and the 3-4 day weekenders too.

A lot fewer people are flying to go on vacation – so offering accommodations to the weekenders or the 4 or 5 day stayers that can drive in is a great way to get heads in beds.
Should say great post. Looking forward to reading your next one!

Carrie Hill’s last blog post..Earl Wilson

John Foxworthy

Great info – you have to know what the vacation rental traveler wants and needs – clean, modern conveniences and location. Taking a phone call in person for vacation rental reservations is a big advantage. You can answer questions on the spot and let travelers know that you offer a good experience. Let them know there is a good reason why your competitor is half your price – because they offer just about half the product and experience too. Reiterate all of your amenities in your descriptions too. Some people do not look at the check boxes on vacation rental listings – like TV -Check. They do, however, see 52 Inch Plasma TV with 185 Channels. They may not plan on watching TV but it still can make an impact on their booking decision. Thanks again Cottageguru for a solid post!

Tremblant Condos

Great post! It’s all about flexibility and adjusting to this ever changing market of ours!

Mike Peach

Love the article but:

Although Orlando was busy until Easter it seems to be very quiet at the moment and peak holiday periods seem to be getting shorter.

I take HA comments with a pinch of salt. They have just introduced a $50 discount on listing fees and are recommending that guests haggle with owners on rental rates as most are not full. Are these the actions of a company that is successfully growing as they say or the actions of a company that is very soon going to have to pay the piper for the money they have raised?

Personally, my HA inquiries are significantly lower this year compared to last.

I agree that many owners are their own worst enemies when it comes to renting out their homes though. 😀

Mike Peach’s last blog post..VRBooker – Great Review For Belfry Drive, Highlands Reserve Vacation Rental

Rentals Croatia

Financial crisis has lower number of reservations, but should have produced at least one good thing. People wanted to attract as many visitors as possible so new and more interesting offers have been made, or at least they should have been made. What I want to say is that everyone should have boost the quality of their accommodation and service. In the end, I think that everyone will benefit from this.

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