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How Property Management Companies Can Navigate Coronavirus

March 25, 2020 |
coronavirus

Despite the seemingly endless white sand beaches, snowy mountaintops and ancient monuments that flood our Instagram feeds, the reality is that domestic tourism has represented about 71% of all tourism spending in recent years. In times of travel slowdown — whether the result of economic downturn or health emergencies like COVID-19 — domestic travel becomes even more common

Due to coronavirus and the closing of borders resulting in so many canceled flights and delayed international trips, property management companies may be experiencing an influx of local tourists and staycationers. In some areas, this change is yet to come and will be felt as the world recovers from the impact of COVID-19.

This post was written to give you the tools to adapt to the changing reality of the short-term rental ecosystem right now.

Marketing to Local Tourists

If you’re used to attracting international tourists, you may have to switch gears to appeal to a local crowd. To make your listings domestic-traveler-friendly, consider the following:

  1. Choose the right price point – Domestic tourists are of a different mindset than travelers preparing to splurge on an overseas trip. Your local guests are likely to be planning these vacations at the last minute and their trips will usually be shorter, so they’re probably expecting to spend less on accommodation. Consider optimizing your pricing strategy using your yield management tool or pricing partner to appeal to price-conscious tourists.
  2. Reconsider your minimum stay policy – Since local tourists are likely to opt for a shorter trip, you can accommodate their travel style by reducing minimum stays during gaps. This way, you can keep your bookings full with both international and local tourists.
  3. Highlight hidden gems – Guests on a staycation will probably be less interested in your city’s main tourist attractions and more likely to visit off-the-beaten path options, like hidden parks or neighborhood-favorite restaurants. Focus on the unexpected to get their attention.
  4. Welcome families and furry friends – Taking a road trip rather than a flight means that staycations often include children and pets. In fact, a Tripadvisor survey found that 53% of people travel with their pets — so be sure to prepare your property and list it as both kid-and-pet-friendly (more tips on that up next).

Catering to Kids and Pets

When it comes to kiddos, family-friendly vacation rentals need to be prepared for two things: safety and entertainment. Keep both children and your property safe by putting away glass and ceramic decorative items. To give parents extra peace of mind during their weekend getaway, you can also put corner guards on sharp table edges and add baby gates at the top and bottom of any staircases. These small additions will help parents feel like they can fully relax throughout their staycation.

To keep little ones entertained, consider keeping a stack of toys and games that cover a broad age range, so that families can play together. As opposed to regular vacationers, staycationers are more likely to spend time at “home,” so the indoor activities will be appreciated. You can also provide a guide of local parks, petting zoos, kid-friendly restaurants and more, so that parents can easily plan a more active day if needed.

staycation

Similar rules apply for pets: You want to keep them safe and happy. Make sure both food and trash cans are secured and out-of-reach for curious furry friends. Instead, supply them with treats and chew toys, so they’ll be less inclined to chow down on household items. Provide a dog bed (pro tip: get one large enough for the biggest breeds), water and food bowls (preferably over a mat to protect your floors from splashing), an extra leash, litter bags and an info card with the name and number of the nearest vet clinic and pet store.

The A-Z of Staycations

Staycations — a hybrid of “stay” and “vacation” — are a growing trend, with more than half (53%) of all Americans having taken one. What typically differentiates staycationers from vacationers is less about their accommodations (though some do choose to literally stay at home) and more about their attitude.

Vacations usually involve sightseeing and early wake-up calls to get the best spot on the beach, while staycations are more about the art of slow living. There are several things you can do to ensure your guests get the most out of their effort to de-stress. For starters, make sure your properties are equipped with the most important ingredients for relaxation: luxurious linens, takeout menus, a selection of teas, bubble bath, Netflix, a great speaker system and maybe even a welcome bottle of wine.

staycation

Conclusion

In short, domestic travel presents a great opportunity for property management companies. By making a few adjustments, your business will be ready to grow alongside the local tourism trend.

Remember to:

  • Upgrade amenities for homebodies looking to unwind
  • Optimize pricing and minimum stay policies
  • Kid-and-pet-proof your properties
  • Update your marketing strategy to appeal to locals

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