While other stakeholders in the short-term rental industry are adding new features to their product, one of the leaders in the industry – Airbnb – has decided to go the opposite direction recently. One of the headlines this month is that Airbnb has hit the brakes on Airbnb Experiences.
However, when one door closes, another one usually opens. The vacation rental market for the year ahead might look uncertain, but there are certain traveler trends, like the increase in longer stays, that are looking to stay for the rest of the year, as numbers released this past month indicate.
Airbnb has announced it’s suspending all new experience submissions, according to an article published by Skift earlier this month. So far, no date is set for when they will resume. An Airbnb spokesperson shared that this decision is made in light of the fact that the company wants to concentrate on improving their core service. Existing Experiences won’t be impacted by this pause.
Richard Clarke from AB Bernstein, Wall Street’s premier sell-side research and brokerage firm, suggests that the company might be getting ready to launch a B2B approach. This way, they can provide a totally new segment like ticketing. He explains, “Airbnb already owns a stake in a more standardized Experiences platform – Tiqets – which is not integrated into the core Airbnb offer; having acquired this stake just before the pandemic. Potentially now is the time for a more formal integration.”
If you’ve been following the news, you would know that artificial intelligence (AI) is currently trending in virtually all conversations. It was only a matter of time before the short-term rental industry also looked at ways that AI could be incorporated.
Expedia Group has announced that it’s utilizing ChatGPT’s AI in their new app feature, allowing users to plan a vacation with recommendations for hotels, car rentals, flights, experiences, and other transportation. After speaking with the chatbot and finalizing a recommendation, the app will redirect users to the Expedia site to book chosen plans. Hotels mentioned in the chatbot are then saved automatically to “trip” in the application. This way, travelers can check dates and availability readily. What’s more, users can also access exclusive discounts and rewards on their journey.
Peter Kern, the chief exec at Expedia Group, explains, “By integrating ChatGPT into the Expedia app and combining it with our other AI-based shopping capabilities, like hotel comparison, price tracking for flights, and trip collaboration tools, we can now offer travelers an even more intuitive way to build their perfect trip.”
ChatGPT is being tested globally in English and is currently available in beta.
Zumper, a privately owned rental marketplace, has announced that it’s launching a rental listing platform dedicated to vacation rentals. Vacations by Zumper, a comprehensive new vacation rental hub, will have listings from popular platforms like Vrbo and Booking.com. What’s more, they’ll also list thousands of homes in hundreds of markets in partnership with Evolve.
Two of the unique features are that it will focus on longer stays and introduce an annual subscription called FlexPass. With FlexPass, renters will have access to thousands of top-of-the-range, fully-furnished short-term rentals across the world. The yearly fee of $300 will replace hidden fees, leases, and security deposits.
What’s more, there will also be no need to filter through all the different properties. Instead, FlexPass concierge will send a list of recommended properties to select from in its network.
Zumper CEO Anthemos Georgiades explains, “Zumper is the first player to bring it all together — nightly, monthly, and annual stays, all in one place. We’ve created an ecosystem that provides a one-stop shop for every type of accommodation with Zumper’s signature simplicity.”
PriceLabs, one of the leading dynamic pricing and revenue management solutions, has revealed a new pacing reports feature. This new feature will give short-term rental hosts and property managers the tools and data they need to face the uncertain market predicted for the year.
These reports will analyze local markets to provide comparative performance insights based on last year’s figures. These numbers will help hosts and property managers to optimize their rates and maximize their income.
For example, if their competitors or the short-term rental market as a whole is showing signs of acceleration, they’ll know. It also makes it easier to keep up to speed with rates, occupancy, and reservations for upcoming dates.
On top of that, PriceLabs has also released a Spanish version of its product to make it easier for Spanish-speaking users to access information when using their dynamic pricing and revenue management platform. This is their first localized version and the move is part of the company’s effort to make their product more accessible to businesses operating in the hospitality industry.
Demand for short-term rentals has risen 16% over the past year, but the number of listings is decreasing. One of the reasons why supply can’t match increased demand is because about a quarter of vacation rentals are listed across numerous online travel agencies.
What’s more, research firm AirDNA reports that longer stays are up by just over 70%, totaling more than 20% of Airbnb bookings, and usually surpassing 28 days in length.
Melanie Brown, Executive Director at Key Data, mentions that it has been a positive start to the year, but cautioned that any economic shocks in 2023 can alter the outlook significantly. She added that average daily rates are low which means that hosts are currently relying on occupancy rate to keep their businesses running smoothly.
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