With summer around the corner in the northern hemisphere, vacation rental platforms are introducing new features to ensure that travelers and hosts remain safe. For instance, Airbnb has released an 8-point plan, while Vrbo has launched a tech-enabled tool.
If you work in the vacation rental industry, you know that safety should always be a priority. So, if you are entering your high season now, remember to be extra vigilant to ensure a memorable experience for everyone.
Now, you’ll be able to know just how well your guest support team handles your guest communication, and increase your occupancy rate and ROI.
This month, iGMS has launched PROtrack, an exclusive add-on functionality that auto-assigns guest support agents to message threads and monitors their productivity in real-time. Currently, iGMS is the only vacation rental software that offers this advanced capability.
You can start using PROtrack as an add-on to any pricing plan.
With the vaccine rollout in full swing in the US and other countries across the globe, Airbnb has released a plan to assist hosts and travelers to reduce risk. This 8-point plan includes tools and new rules that will help encourage responsible travel.
For example, they have introduced a new rule that guests without prior positive reviews will not be allowed to book one-night reservations in the US for the weekend of July 4th. They will also be adding Spanish as one of the languages that people can use when phoning the Neighborhood Support Line.
According to Cyril Ranque, the president of Expedia’s Travel Partner Group, since the start of the global pandemic, many hosts have ditched Airbnb for Vrbo. While the exact number of how many Airbnb hosts joined Vrbo is unknown, a spokesperson has revealed that Vrbo has opened a dedicated phone line just for Airbnb hosts looking to switch.
Moreover, they have also introduced a new program, Fast Start. This recruitment program is open to any host who meets their predetermined criteria. The benefits of joining this program include a better position in Vrbo’s search results and getting a “New to Vrbo” badge. According to Vrbo, hosts who participated in the pilot program enjoyed an increase in new bookings of up to 25%.
The Expedia Group has partnered with sherpa to create the tech-enabled COVID-19 Travel Advisor tool that integrates seamlessly with their apps and websites. The goal of this tool is to make it easier for travelers to find up-to-date information regarding travel restrictions, quarantine, and testing requirements of places they plan to visit. Cyril Ranque, the president of Expedia’s Travel Partner Group, explained that as travelers were overwhelmed by contradictory information, they sought to simplify it for them.
According to Brian Chesky, the CEO of Airbnb, the platform will need millions of more hosts if it were to meet the demand. Chesky expects that there will be a huge boom in travel after the pandemic. In an interview with CNBC, he said that they anticipated the travel rebound would be unlike anything they had ever experienced. Moreover, Brian Nowak, a Morgan Stanley analyst, shared his opinion that Airbnb will be the only platform that will grow initially as it has an edge over other alternative accommodations.
The Book Direct Show, a series of online presentations and a one-day in-person event that focuses on direct booking tips, is set to be held in London. The event, which will take place later this year in September, will cover topics like content marketing, SEO, website design, consumer trust, and branding.
The director of the event, Damian Sheridan, commented that generating direct bookings was one of the most popular topics among property managers. “We’re very excited to return to an in-person experience for the 2021 Book Direct Show. We’ve all desperately missed that live networking element and we are very confident in the success of the UK vaccination rollout programme,” he added.
According to the Top-10 list that Airbnb revealed, in the UK, rural destinations are currently in more demand than urban destinations. Amanda Cupples, the platform’s general manager for Northern Europe, explained that this trend was influenced by UK travelers’ preference to stay closer to home. Saint Clears in Pembrokeshire, Wales is identified as the destination that boasts the highest increase in searches this summer. Devon is the most popular county with three destinations that made this list, while Cornwall and West Sussex both boast two destinations respectively.
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