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Vaccine News is Sending Short-term Rental Bookings Up; Is Your Property Ready?

Nov 30, 2020 by Aly J. Yale
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Pfizer and Moderna’s vaccine news didn’t just send the stock market surging. According to short-term rental platform Guesty, it also boosted confidence in consumer travel.

In fact, in the first week following the vaccine announcements, Guesty reported a 6% uptick in early 2021 bookings across the world. Compared to the same week last year, there was also a 7% jump in overall reservation volume in the U.S.

For short-term rental investors, it’s likely welcome news -- especially in a year that’s made travel more difficult (and scarce) than ever.

Is your property ready for the surging demand? More importantly, how can you make the most of this much-needed boost in business? Here’s what you should do.

Prep them for longer stays

Though reservations are technically down for the upcoming Christmas and New Year’s holidays, it appears consumers who are traveling are staying longer when they do.

According to Guesty, Christmas trips are 6% longer in the U.S. and 15% longer globally, and New Year’s stays are 20.6% (U.S.) and 41.5% (globally) longer.

As a host, you’ll need to ensure your properties are adequately stocked for these longer stays. That means more toilet paper and toiletries, additional clean towels, more coffee pods, etc. You should also think about adding more in-home entertainment, like board games, a Disney+ subscription, or something else that can keep guests entertained for longer bouts of time on the property. Be sure these amenities are noted in your listing, too.

Consider upping your nightly rate

You should also think about increasing your rates. According to Guesty’s data, travelers are willing to pay more for their stays this year.

For Christmas bookings, the nightly rate they’re paying is up 13% (in the U.S.) and 20% (globally) compared to 2019. At New Year’s, the rate’s about 3.5% and 7% higher, respectively.

Your best bet is to take a look at your rates from last year, analyze other comparable properties in your area (be sure to use a variety of different platforms), and increase your rate accordingly.

Brush up on your cleaning protocols

A vaccine is coming, but it’s not quite here yet, so COVID should still be top of mind when cleaning and prepping your property. Though you probably already have cleaning protocols in place, take some time to evaluate and improve on those before bookings surge further.

You might think about investing in an air purifier, getting a disinfectant sprayer, or upgrading to touchless locks, faucets, and other amenities. Then, make sure you tout these updates on your listing. Guests are still concerned about the virus and will prefer properties that prioritize their health.

Time is of the essence … sort of

Guesty’s data shows short-term rental demand has started to pick back up. But if you haven’t begun prepping yet, don’t fret: The bulk of travelers book within one to 30 days of the trip, so there’s still time left. Start planning now, optimize your rates, and get your cleaning protocols in order. It was a weird year, but you can still finish out 2020 strong.

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