By: Tim Blackwell
Emerging from the pandemic is an opportunity for property managers to build relationships with travelers that lead to vacation rental bookings by being more than a faceless rental host. Through direct bookings, vacation and short-term rental companies are more visible, can offer greater traveler experiences, and boost their brands.
Properties trying to go it alone can be overlooked, so many tend to work with online travel agencies that manage the bookings. Some travelers never really know who the real host is and engage only with online travel agencies, which is little help in winning repeated business.
Kigo has partnered with Find Rentals so clients can reap the advantages of direct bookings while getting the exposure that OTAs offer.
Find Rentals allows travelers to book directly with vacation rental management companies. By booking directly, guests can more effectively engage with the companies that are actually providing the rental experience.
Guests also avoid extra renter fees common with some OTAs that increase the cost of staying. And, they’re provided with local hospitality services and insights from an entity that is actually located at the vacation destination.
“A big problem for property managers is they give away all their control to OTAs,” says Steve Nuenighoff, who heads up business development at Find Rentals.
Adapting to changes in vacation rental bookings
Find Rentals operates as a vacation property manager’s direct booking channel, delivering a high volume of qualified travelers to their website and increase bookings at a higher profit margin. Leads are generated by advertising the property manager’s unique brand, properties and services.
The service is helping property managers adapt to a new vacation and short-term rental playing field.
When the pandemic shook the industry last year, travel changed. Cancellation policies came into question amid shutdowns and travelers took to the highways instead of the airways for stays closer to home. Families sought “COVID bubbles” to combine work and vacation over shorter stays, shortening booking windows.
“Our primary focus is to deliver a consistent message to travelers of the advantages of booking directly with the locally-run vacation property manager,” Nuenighoff says. Hosting a wealth of properties across the country, Find Rentals highlights the management companies and their locations. Prospects can peruse featured destinations (Nuenighoff’s personal favorites include the Anna Maria Island and Outer Banks) as well as more familiar locations, along with the latest travel news.
Being the local expert
A quick search on Anna Maria Island brings up eight rental companies that offer accommodations at this beach destination south of Tampa Bay. Prospects see a map of the property locations, and can read about what’s trending in the area and featured attractions.
Of course, there are plenty of photos and enticing descriptions.
Nuenighoff says property managers should strive to promote their brands through both their websites and Find Rental listings. Structuring long-tail SEO phrases that cater to the latest trends can help rank in search results and attract more vacation rental bookings.
And because the travel market has changed, it doesn’t hurt to add some creative “bonuses” these days, such as extra concierge services or free local activities.
“You need to have a forward-looking market strategy that reduces your dependency on OTAs, and focus on being the local expert utilizing concierge service to support work-cations, school-cations and outdoor activities,” he says. “Things have changed, but you can win by changing with them.”
Kigo will market your brand to drive quality travelers to your properties without the traditional travel fees. For more, visit Kigo Marketplace.