One of the best ways to find out what is happening in any industry is to keep up with the news relating to that industry. In the vacation rental industry, there is always one kind of update or another. If it isn’t an event organized by one of the biggest industry players such as Vacation Rental Managers Association, then it’s probably something happening at one of the major platforms such as Airbnb or HomeAway.
Whatever it is, as an investor in this history, being in the know will most likely help make your business more efficient or at the very least, keep it ahead of the curve.
That being said, here are some of the notable, newsworthy events and happenings in the vacation rental industry this year:
HomeAway Software Consolidating Systems
HomeAway Software recently announced that its consolidating and moving its PM (Property Management) clients to one common system that will include:
- Australia-based YesBookit
- Escapia property management
The move will see users go onto a newer and better or improved version of the Escapia property management platform. The company said that, even though Vrbo (the software system in use now) will continue to work as it does, HomeAway will not be adding any new features to it.
Instead, users will find a host of new and better features plus functionality on the new platform, which is designed to help them realize better opportunities, returns and business growth. The new system will have better automation and incredible integration capabilities as well as valuable insights into the current market trends.
The Best Performing Counties for Vacation Rental Property Owners
In a report for Forbes, Amy Dobson (a leading Real Estate contributor) showed some of the best performing zones for people who want to maximize their profits while minimizing their taxes.
She went ahead to highlight some of the best “opportunity zones” that any ambitious vacation rental entrepreneur should pay close attention to. These places include:
- New York County, New York
- Kings County, New York
- Oklahoma County, Oklahoma
- Los Angeles County, California
- Alameda County, California
- Vanderburgh County, Indiana
- District of Columbia
- Fairfield County, Connecticut
There are about 50 highlighted opportunity zones in her report.
Google Officially Jumps into the Vacation Rental Space
Being one of the biggest search engines and tech companies on the planet, it was only a matter of time before Google tried out its hand in the vacation rental industry. Google already dipped its toes into this space back in 2016 when it launched the “Book on Google” feature for hotels.
This feature allowed vacationers and other traveler to book their hotels directly through Google. After that, Google launched a few vacation rentals in Rome and Paris back in 2018.
Today, Google has officially entered the vacation rental space. The idea behind this move, apart from the money, of course, is to help make things easier for the average day to day vacation goer. Google plans to:
- Give users a much broader option when it comes to the kind of lodging they can access
- Expand the hotel search experience to include previously unknown but unique places
- Their mobile experience allows users to see and book short-term or long-term vacation rentals through different partners such as Expedia, NextPax, HomeAway, VRBO, Hotels.com, TripAdvisor and so many more
Google intends to bring its vacation rentals filter to its Google Hotels desktop. They hope that this will help users make faster, more effortless decisions when it comes to vacation rental homes.
Airbnb Introduces “Heritage Travel”
As one of the biggest industry players, Airbnb now has more than 6 million homes hosted on its platform across more than 190 countries. With all these options available to users, Airbnb is by far one of the best places to go when you are looking for a vacation rental property literally anywhere across the globe.
As a vacation rental property owner or manager, hosting on Airbnb will expose your listing to a good number of the over 2 million people who stay in an Airbnb rental on any given night.
Airbnb has now partnered with 23andMe, the genomics company, to help people trace their roots through Airbnb’s “Heritage Travel” section. With this option, 23andMe customers, after reviewing their genetics report, can go onto Airbnb and choose the specific region where their ancestry comes from and book a stay there or plan a trip. This is a wonderful marketing tool for any vacation rental property owners or managers who want to offer their guests something unique. What can be more unique than a stay at your original motherland?
Voice Technology is Taking Over the Vacation Rental Business
Ever since Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa came into play, Voice has been the next best thing for many tech users across the globe. As it turns out, the vacation rental space isn’t to be left behind by these innovations.
Hostfully, the vacation rental tech startup and winner of VRMB’s 2019 “Best All-round Vacation Rental Software” award, has partnered with Virtual Concierge Service, the hospitality voice-interface pioneer and winner of the 2018 VRMA “Innovator of the Year” award, to create voice-activated “guidebooks.”
These guidebooks will be designed to give vacation rental property owners and managers a new marketing tool that is more customizable and detail-oriented. Instead of simply writing down the property description and details, now you can give these recommendations and descriptions through a voice-activated guidebook. Your customers will also be able to give property recommendations through the same technology.
With so much happening in the industry, especially one that is more tech-dependent like the vacation rental niche, you simply must keep your ear to the ground to keep up with what’s happening around you. These are just some of the most exciting news in the vacation rental space so far this year.
There is no doubt that more innovations will come into play as mergers occur, startups emerge, and the search becomes more intuitive all around. As a vacation rental property owner and manager, are you ready for the changes?