Must-Watch Vacation Rental Industry Trends Of 2018

The vacation rental industry is continually changing, evolving and growing. To help you keep track, here are some of the top vacation rental industry trends of 2018! We’ll take a look at what’s changing and what to add to your property management toolbox to stay ahead of the competition.

Instant Bookings

In our fast-paced world, people are used to having instant access to the information they need at any moment. Guests are browsing rental websites on their lunch breaks or in between meetings. They want quick and easy answers, great photos, and most importantly, a way to book their vacation. As we enter 2018, more and more property managers are offering the instant book option.

Instant bookings allow guests to make a booking without approval from the host. This also means the guests don’t have to obsessively check their email for a response from an owner or worry about missing out on their favorite property. To give you an idea of the scope of this trend, instant booking is currently available on almost half of all rentals listed on Airbnb. If the trend continues, waiting days (or even hours) to finalize a booking will be a thing of the past. Bottom line? It’s time to start considering instant bookings for your properties.

Competition Is Growing

Another key vacation rental trend in 2018 is continued market growth. Research agency Phocuswright anticipates that the vacation rental market will grow to $36.6 billion this year. It’s clear that more guests are catching on to the benefits of vacation homes vs. traditional hotels, and more property owners are seeking out ways to cash in on the trend.

As competition grows, you’ll need to get creative in order to ensure your properties rental doesn’t get lost in the crowd. How does your rental compare with competitors when it comes to:

  • Marketing
  • Photography
  • Web Description
  • Reviews

Owning a vacation rental can be a great source of passive income, but it’s important to understand the level of work it can take to ensure travelers are finding your properties and actually booking. As competition swells, these realities are more prescient than ever. Luckily, there are tools available to help you stand out in each of these areas.

Reviews Are Key

In 2018, almost every traveler relies on reviews when booking their stay. When it comes to reviews, you can play a numbers game to help maintain or improve your reputation. After all, the more reviews you can earn, the less a single negative review can impact your overall score—and your bookings.  Be sure to contact guests (don’t spam them) and politely request a review after their stay. You can even offer an incentive like a discount on a future stay for those who provide a review.

If a guest does end up leaving a negative review, it’s important that you be ready to handle it with a proper response. Travelers are realistic and know that sometimes things go wrong, but it is your response to these issues that will “make or break it” for future guests who are considering your rental. Encouraging guests to leave reviews is a key element in promoting your rental, and responding to all reviews, good and bad, will help guests get an idea of your character, business ethics and professionalism. Ensure you’re making the right impression on all fronts.

Big Cities Are Still The Go-To

Many big cities are enacting more rules and regulations governing how and where people can operate vacation rentals. Despite these new laws and obstacles, travelers are still flocking to major cities for their vacations. Vacation homeowners should not let the new regulations discourage them from investing in vacation rentals in big, tourist-friendly cites. That said, be absolutely sure you do your research when investing in a new property or renting an existing property for the first time.

Pet-Friendly Rentals

This is always a significant debate in the vacation rental industry. Some people are open to the idea of allowing guests to bring their dogs, while others don’t want pets anywhere near their home. Wherever you stand, know that not allowing pets may be an automatic turn-off to a significant percentage of travelers who aren’t willing to leave Fido behind. Pet fees can help with the cost of clean up and damages. The fact is, people will continue to travel with their pets. If your home isn’t marketed as pet-friendly, guests may ultimately book with the rental down the street. If your home is pet-friendly, make sure it’s clearly labeled!

Step Up The Amenities

As more travelers understand the benefits of staying in a vacation rental, the more their expectations begin to rise. A basic home in a halfway decent location and sub-par communication on the part of the owner isn’t acceptable anymore. Guests expect fully equipped kitchens, Wi-Fi, high-end furnishings, and technology that can keep up with a family full of cell phones, tablets, and laptops. For a quick cheat sheet, be sure to check out our Vacation Rental Inventory Checklist for successful vacation homes!

High Tech Advancements

It’s 2018. If your home doesn’t meet the needs of the modern family, it could be hard to keep the bookings coming in. A key vacation rental industry trend is that property managers are stepping up their technology game, offering high tech amenities like smart home technology including digital door locks, security systems and smart thermostats among other eco-friendly upgrades. Simple things like extra phone chargers, free high-speed WiFi, Netflix, and apps that guests can use to manage their reservations can also make your rental more appealing to travelers.

More Tools To Help Property Managers

Modern technology is not just limited to guest amenities. The tools available to property managers are also evolving and becoming more powerful! Vacation rental software like Bookfull makes it simple and quick for owners to manage reservations, pull reports and communicate with guests and housekeeping teams.

Bookfull makes marketing, accounting, property management and guest communication seamless and quick. Try it today, and make 2018 your best year yet!


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