As hosts, we strive to create the best experiences for our guests. After all, that’s what the hospitality industry is all about, right? When looking over the main news stories of the short-term rental industry this past month, that was for sure the case. From the launch of Airbnb’s Animal Experiences to a once-in-a-lifetime two-night stay at Barbie’s Malibu Dreamhouse, October delivered some interesting experiences.
Then, there was also the 2019 VRMA International Conference that took place in New Orleans which was an incredible experience for the team at iGMS. Our team had a wonderful time catching up with our partners and meeting new friends from all over the globe. Our co-founder and CTO Igor Kostin also shared 5 smart strategies to surviving the supersaturated STR market. The audience did enjoy the presentation and we were more than happy to provide useful insights to vacation rental managers.
Let’s find out more about the experiences and headlines that the short-term rental industry has helped to create during the month of October.
While it is not entirely swimming with the dolphins, Airbnb guests can now paddleboard down Fort Lauderdale’s Las Olas canals with a corgi. At the beginning of this month, Airbnb launched a new category of Experiences – Airbnb Animal Experiences. These new Experiences allow guests to (re)connect with animals by interacting with them together with a caring host who treats them in an ethical manner. This initiative takes Airbnb’s vision of creating a world where everyone can belong one step further by empowering hosts and guests to extend their passion to some of our most vulnerable – our animals.
Examples of the other interesting Animal Experiences include hiking Runyon Canyon with a rescue dog, observing releasing macaws in Costa Rica and rooftop beekeeping in the Canadian port city of Hamilton. So, how about letting your imagination run wild and adding an Airbnb Experience to your portfolio in 2020?
Still, on the topic of Airbnb Experiences, Joe Zadeh, the head of Airbnb Experiences, has resigned from this position. Zadeh has been in charge of this division since its introduction in 2016. He is set to take on a new role, which still needs to be identified, within Airbnb.
Airbnb has also appointed Rich Baer as their new Chief Legal Officer. Belinda Johnson, the Chief Operating Officer of Airbnb, has explained that in order to create a place where anyone could belong anywhere, they need to consider the interest of every stakeholder. Baer has been identified by the National Law Journal as one of the best general counsels in the United States and has worked with companies like Liberty Media and Qwest Communications.
Airbnb is predicting that eco-conscious places in lesser-known areas will become increasingly popular. Based on their internal data for bookings that have been made for 2020 already, they have compiled a list with 20 places that are currently amongst the most popular destinations. At the top of their list is Milwaukee that boasts a year-on-year increase of over 700%.
The United States is the only country with more than one city that has made the list, with Eugene in Oregon in the seventh position and Cape Canaveral in Florida in the 12th spot. Some of the “lesser-known” cities that are included in this list are Malindi in Kenya, Ubatuba in Brazil and Bilbao in Spain.
On October 23, guests will be treated to an opportunity to book Barbie’s Dreamhouse. Situated in Malibu and commanding a spectacular view of the Pacific Ocean, this life-size mansion offers ample space to play and unwind.
Not only will guests be treated to an infinity pool, personal cinema and outdoor meditation area, but a hair makeover and personal fencing lesson from the pros have also been included in this unforgettable experience. This one-time booking will take place on the last weekend of October.
To help Booking.com attract more guests and make it easier for property managers to complete their daily tasks more efficiently, Booking.com has introduced several new features and tools. Some of the new tools include connectivity tools that will help with collecting damage deposits and keys.
The vacation rental site is also introducing a new scoring system for professionally managed properties. It will include an external review score (based on reviews left by guests on well-known websites) and a host score (based on the reviews from the portfolios of the managers). They have also created an advisory board that will assist the platform to modify its services and products to the specific requirements of their partners.
At the beginning of this month, new restrictions regarding short-term rentals have come into force in Washington D.C. Some of the main points of this new bill (“The Short-Term Rental Regulation Act of 2018”) are that hosts and landlords must register with the city and get a vacation rental license from the city as well. Failure to adhere to this new bill can result in fines of up to $6000.
If you missed out on attending the 2019 VRMA International Conference (and trying our delicious maple syrup straight from Canada), make sure to highlight March 2020 in next year’s calendar already. The Vacation Rental Management Association (VRMA) will be hosting its first-ever Vacation Rental Week next year. The aim of this new event will be to create awareness regarding the advantages of vacation rentals amongst policymakers, consumers, property owners, and other important stakeholders.