Like many vacation rental owners, we’re keeping a keen eye on booking trends, as we wait for bookings to return in the aftermath of COVID-19. The good news is that bookings are beginning to bounce back, and we’re seeing signs of a strong recovery. Here we share five simple tweaks you can make to your listing to attract guests to your vacation rental post COVID-19.

Three key vacation rental stats

The vacation rentals market is poised to bounce back after COVID-19. Just take a look at these key statistics, which all point to a strong bounce back:

  • Since the first week of February, we estimate that worldwide, bookings have spiked by around 127%. 
  • Daily bookings for TravelNest properties have increased by a whopping 462% since the end of April.
  • AirDNA recorded a 70% increase in bookings on Airbnb between the first and second weeks of April.

Countries that are rapidly moving out of lockdown such as New Zealand, Germany, France, the USA and Australia are leading the bookings recovery curve. The hope is that the UK will soon follow suit with a massive bookings boost coming imminently. Are your listings ready to take advantage?

What is the current picture in the UK?

In the UK, the Government is planning to allow the re-opening of short-term holiday lets, holiday homes and Airbnb type accommodation, along with the rest of the tourism sector. In England, this could potentially take place from 4th July, and in Scotland, from 15th July. At the time of writing, Wales was planning to potentially open up to visitors from 13th July, and Ireland is set to enter Phase 3 of its COVID-19 exit roadmap on 29th June, which allows a return to domestic tourism.

Tweak your listing and get booked now!

Now is your chance to make up for revenue lost due to the travel restrictions imposed by COVID-19. To attract bookings, there are some key things to get right with your listings. Our experts have looked at our most booked properties post COVID-19 and what they have in common.

If you want to increase the bookability of your property, follow these five recommendations. They’ll help get your listings ready to bring in bookings for the remainder of 2020 and into 2021. 

Unlock the potential of your vacation rental

1. Add future pricing

Current booking trends show that traveller confidence is returning, with bookings coming in for 2020. More importantly, it is clear that people are also planning ahead. Our latest bookings data reveals that people are now booking vacation rental properties up to three times further ahead, so having pricing in place for the next 24 months is essential to bring in future bookings.

TRAVELNEST RECOMMENDS: Having future pricing in place for 2021 and into 2022.

2. Lower your pricing

As well as setting up pricing for the next 24 months, it is also worth thinking about how you can attract bookings by temporarily dropping your nightly price. Post-COVID-19, supply of vacation rentals will outweigh demand, so having a lower price than the competition can help you secure bookings. We don’t recommend offering large discounts, but you could offer a percentage discount for a set period to encourage guests to book with you.

TRAVELNEST RECOMMENDS: Temporarily lowering your nightly price by 10-20% to improve your property ranking on channels.

3. Relax your cancellation policy

After COVID-19, travellers will be looking for more flexibility, particularly when it comes to a property’s cancellation policy.

Our data shows that 75% of all bookings from Booking.com in the past fortnight have been on a refundable cancellation policy.

If you stick to a very strict cancellation policy, this will significantly reduce your chance of getting booked. What’s more, many popular channels (e.g. Airbnb) also enable listings to be filtered by cancellation flexibility, so that only properties that offer cancellation flexibility show up in searches.

TRAVELNEST RECOMMENDS: Choose the most flexible cancellation policy you can to give guests peace of mind and attract bookings post COVID-19. 

4. Reduce your minimum nights stay

We recommend setting your minimum night stay as low as possible. Again, this will ensure that your property shows up in the maximum number of possible searches. As restrictions gradually lift post-Coronavirus, traveller confidence will take time to cover. With this in mind, availability for short, domestic breaks of 1, 2 or 3 nights are likely to be in greater demand than longer stays.

TRAVELNEST RECOMMENDS: A minimum nights stay of one or two nights to maximise the bookability of your property.

5. Last but not least - update your photos!

Poor quality, low-resolution photos put guests off from booking a property. It’s therefore important to use the best quality photos you possibly can. We recommend getting professional photos of your property, showcasing each room, the best views from the property, and any outside space or grounds too. The number of photos you have is also important – our channel partners recommend 24 high-quality photos of your properties including the Interior, Exterior, Lounge, Kitchen, Bedroom(s), Bathroom, Views and Key Amenities.

TRAVELNEST RECOMMENDS: A  minimum of 24, high-resolution, professional photos (ideally in landscape format), of your property on your listing.

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about TravelNest

TravelNest gets your property seen in all the right places. We can list your property on over 30 of the best booking channels including Airbnb, Booking. com, Expedia, HomeAway, TUI and TripAdvisor.