In the first of a series, we interviewed Amber Collins from Vacay Nola, to find out how the COVID-19 global pandemic has impacted their business and how they are tackling the future.
For more than a decade New Orleans-based Vacay Nola has offered their guests beautiful rentals ensconced in the history and rhythm that can only be attributed to New Orleans. Whether looking for a short-term rental close to the French Quarter and Riverwalk or closer to Layfette Park, Vacay Nola has relished a committed group of repeat guests who are hooked on beignets, jazz music and oh so much history.
But along came COVID-19 and put a serious dent in people’s ability to travel. That meant an important time of year, the short months leading up to the hottest days of summer (NOLA’s slow season), became more bust than boon, with only one rental in two months.
Not content to rely on the hope that the repeat customers that feed Vacay Nola’s business year-round would just find their way back, Amber Collins has spent her time wisely and is seeing an uptick in bookings for the Fall.
First, she and her team went about the business of handling the almost triple-digit cancellations. Rather than provide refunds, she was able to negotiate rebookings with her clients, saving the company from additional cash outflow in a time where income was scarce. These credits are available any time within one year from the original booking. Not only did this preserve precious dollars, but it helped to guarantee future bookings.
Second, she has been actively reaching out to her rich database, to offer future reservations at a discounted rate. She has enjoyed high open and click through rates on her emails, which gives her renewed positivity when considering the future of her short-term rentals.
Third, she has examined her inventory for opportunities for temporary conversions to long-term rentals, fulfilling a need in the community and a vital kick of income.
Concurrently, Amber and the Vacay Nola staff have been working hard preparing for upcoming guests by implementing the new Vacation Rental Housekeeping Professionals (VRHP)/Vacation Rental Management Association (VRMA) Cleaning Protocol and creating talking points about the same for when Amber can once again begin welcoming her guests – one of the high points of her job.
Laissez les bon temps rouler. Let the good times roll. Sooner rather than later.