A year ago, the major headlines in the industry revolved around structural changes. Airbnb made a few new appointments. Marriott announced that they were going to introduce Homes & Villas. The Expedia Group rebranded its HomeAway division.
There will always be change. Sometimes it is as a result of prosperity; sometimes it is in reaction to hardship. As hosts, we are very well versed in creating physical comfort zones. Though, to live a meaningful life, there has to be some discomfort and willingness to step outside of your comfort zone – the familiar.
If you are one of many hosts who have received many cancelations, remember that an empty bucket is a useful bucket for you cannot catch rain with a full bucket. Let’s look at some of the major changes that have been made in the past month to help hosts catch a break.
The French government and its tourism sector are joining forces to build an OTA. This proposal forms part of the French government’s bigger stimulus package that is aimed at renewing interest among tourists. The prime minister explained that as the tourism sector was so important to their economy, it was a priority to save it. No time frame has been identified for its launch yet.
Scott McGillivray, the presenter of Buyers Bootcamp and Income Property, has created a brand new vacation rental program, Scott’s Vacation House Rules. In his new program, he will be helping vacation rental owners with marketing.
Speaking about the timing, McGillivray commented that he believed that the industry would enjoy a significant boom after the coronavirus crisis. He added that he hoped that his new program would motivate property owners to transform their homes into vacation rentals after the pandemic. His show is available on HGTV’s Canadian network.
If your creative juice has been running low, you still have time to enter Airbnb’s Unique Fund project. Airbnb has announced that its competition to track down one-of-a-kind rentals around the globe will be relaunched in 2021.
To enter, hosts need to own their own plot for a proposed rental, have a listing on Airbnb in need of renovation, or already be busy with a refurbishment project. The judges will be looking for sustainable designs that are unique and boast a touch of surprise.
Last month, iGMS introduced a Support Program. This month the iGMS team is eager to help hosts further. With this in mind, we’ve launched a Credit Bonuses Program for our new customers. New users who register with iGMS between May 1 and May 31, 2020, can receive up to $1,000 credit bonus for using the iGMS PRO plan.
The best part is that the more properties you connect, the higher bonus you can get! We’re confident that with this generous offer, you can get your vacation rental business back on track.
As the travel sector is still affected by restrictions, Airbnb has made further amendments to its Extenuating Circumstances Policy. Hosts and guests can now cancel reservations booked on or before March 14, 2020 with check-in dates till the end of June without any penalties or charges.
Airbnb, though, does encourage guests to change their reservation instead of canceling it, if possible. Furthermore, as there is still a lot of uncertainty, guests are urged to check the Airbnb Help Center page regularly where possible future updates to this policy will be communicated.
Airbnb has appointed Tara Bunch as the Global Head of Operation to supervise Airbnb’s Customer Service, Trust and Safety, and Payments teams. Part of her responsibilities will be to look after Airbnb employees who offer support to guests and hosts in more than 200 countries.
Before joining Airbnb, Bunch was employed as the Vice President of AppleCare and Senior Vice President of Hewlett Packard. Her extensive experience will serve her well in a time that the travel industry faces significant challenges. She will report directly to Airbnb’s CEO and co-founder, Brian Chesky.
Airbnb has announced that they will be introducing an Enhanced Cleaning Initiative. This standardized protocol will be guided by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and businesses that operate in the medical hygiene and hospitality industry. As part of their new Cleaning Protocol, hosts commit to using personal protective equipment and approved disinfectants as well as waiting 24 hours before entering the property.
Those hosts who cannot commit to Airbnb’s new Cleaning Protocol will have the option to implement a Booking Buffer. This new feature lets hosts create a vacancy period between check-ins. Currently, this set period is 72 hours.
Greg Greeley, the President of Homes, explains: “Homes have become a place of shelter, and the future of travel will also rely on a new comfort zone, with the privacy and benefits of a home away from home, without crowds or high turnovers.”
HomeAway has also added new safety precautions to help guests identify properties that satisfy their needs. Hosts will be able to communicate if they have used disinfectants and whether or not there will be a 24-hour gap between check-ins. HomeAway will then include this information in the description to help travelers identify properties that meet their expectations. Guests will also be able to use search filters to arrange properties according to cleanliness rating and cancelation policy.