Due to the recent COVID-19 health crisis, the vacation rental business has experienced an unprecedented impact. The United States and many other countries have closed borders, airlines have limited or canceled flights, and hotels have shut their doors. The global shift in the amount of worldwide movement suggests that the travel industry has changed, but will it last long-term, or is it a short-term aberration? Either way, property managers will need to prepare for any outcome, positive or negative if they expect to survive and continue trading.
When it comes to short-term vacation rental trends, many are wondering what this means for the travel industry. In terms of revenue, the majority of travel operators have experienced a major loss. There has been a vast reduction in travel while people stay at home and adjust their workday to a remote basis. For the travel and hotel industry at large, this has been a huge blow. Vacation rental trends and other parts of the industry are on the downturn. However, once restrictions lift, there is an expected boom in vacation rental demand when borders reopen and life returns to normal. For short-term rental owners this may provide an opportunity that can be capitalized on to regain some of their recent losses.
Property standards post COVID-19
If the predictions are correct and there is a boom for vacation rentals, you will need to pay extra attention to detail before renting your vacation property. Standards for short-term rentals are typically expected to be excellent, but going forward the level of detail will need to be enhanced. Especially when it comes to cleaning and safety measures to ensure public safety. Travelers will be understandably nervous at the prospect of virus transfer so for the short-term rental market to rebound, steps need to be taken to ensure top quality hygiene and property cleanliness.
Hotels vs vacation rentals
In the long term, the expected outcome is that vacation rental trends will lean towards private rentals over hotels. This will possibly also have the effect of increasing domestic over international travel as people tend to stay closer to home. Short-term rentals are sought with higher frequency in remote locations or for privacy reasons. Often it is due to preference, but in most cases it is because of the lack of available hotels at far-flung places. A privately managed property can excel by providing a solution in these instances.
Reduced personal interactions
Vacation rental trends may be leaning towards short-term rentals in the year 2020 for other reasons. Many property managers use automated technology such as smart locks or keyless entry for access to their properties. This reduces the amount of personal contact and interaction required when renting and checking in to a professionally managed property. For short-term rentals this automation means less public contact. In the current climate, this may be appealing to travelers and provide short-term home renters an advantage.
Increased pet travel
Industry trends are showing an increase in the number of people traveling with animals. Many times the destination is a popular vacation spot and requires a pet-friendly room. This vacation rental trend is being seen in Millennials and Baby Boomers and is increasing demand for short-term rental businesses. Property managers may be more open than hotel chains to the idea of allowing a pet into their home. As traveling with pets is popular it is a niche that short-term homeowners can cater to.
Expenses and cash flow planning
If there is to be a boom and a rapid increase in vacation rental trends, then property management planning will be essential in weathering the storm. In the interim, property owners will need to be able to make cuts and reduce expenses to offset the loss of income. Managing cash flow will be a required skill to mitigate the damage and be able to resume renting once the travel starts back up. Vacation rental properties will need to be fully prepared and ready to rent immediately.
Using third-party services can help outsource various tasks and help with planning for the vacation rental industry. There is a list of functions that will need to be performed to ensure that your rental property is on the market and available to rent as soon as people start to travel again.
Outsourced and automated items can include management software from providers like iGMS, and contracting out services like SEO can be used to help with property advertising for vacation homes. Creating content for online ads can be facilitated by professional photography and videography services, and rentals can be managed by property companies.
Providing standard information can be facilitated by automation tools and software, and management functions can be set to auto-pilot allowing owners to focus on the guest experience. Using third-party services is a growing trend within the rental market.
The vacation rental market will recover from the recent crisis. Up until the recent lockdown, the short-term rental industry was one of the fastest-growing ones in the hospitality sector. To remain at the top of the vacation rental game, owners will need to be ready to respond quickly to demand increase.