The last weeks have been especially tough for the vacation rental industry. The coronavirus has spread all around the world and brought along lockdowns and travel restrictions. As a result, short-term rental businesses are suffering from a large amount of cancellations. In Europe, urban areas are the most affected by this exceptional drop in bookings, as observed by Transparent. As a property manager, you are probably now looking for new strategies to adapt your business to the current and unprecedented situation. One way to do so is to switch your offer from short-term rentals to mid-term rentals.
Why Switch To Mid-To-Long Term Rentals?
To face the losses linked to the spread of the coronavirus and keep your business afloat, switching to mid or long term rentals could be a smart move.
It’s A Booming Market
The number of mid-term rentals has considerably increased in the past weeks due to the current situation.
According to Techcrunch, in late March, the number of guests booking longer-term rentals on Airbnb has doubled, while 80% of Airbnb hosts are now offering longer-term rentals on the platform. In total, Airbnb has more than 1 million listings that offer monthly stays.
One explanation for such an increase in the mid-term rental offer could be that mid-term rentals are generally less affected by seasonality. If you are in a highly seasonal location, this could, therefore, be a good way to maintain revenue throughout the rest of the year.
Besides, longer stay bookings help maximize your cash flow. You indeed reduce the amount of check-ins, cleanings, etc. Discover how to reduce your cash flow in times of coronavirus in this article.
A New Type Of Guests
Short-term rentals are made for travellers who are temporarily visiting a new place. The spread of coronavirus has unfortunately impacted this type of guests. The lockdowns and travel restrictions are preventing them from booking flights and discovering new areas. It might take a while before they are able to resume their traveling experiences, especially abroad.
Mid or long-term rentals are targeting another guest profile. Guests who book mid-term rentals are most of the time not looking for a traveling experience. They can be people looking for a place to stay before finding a new home. They could be professionals, doing internships, having a temporary work placement or doing volunteering activities.
Mid-term or long-term rentals give you the opportunity to cover the losses due to the absence of travellers by having guests staying longer at your place. They will also secure you several weeks of bookings and payment.
How to turn your short-term property into a medium/long-term one?
To transform your short-term rental business into a mid-term rental business, you need to follow several steps.
Rules and regulations
First, you need to find out about the rules and regulations that apply to long-term rental business in the country where your properties are located. You don’t run a long-term rental business the same way as a short-term one. There might be differences in regulations that you need to be aware of. Check official and governmental websites to know more about it!
Adjust your booking rules
If you are using a channel manager such as Your.Rentals, you can easily increase your minimum stay for basic and seasonal rates in a few clicks. You can now rent your property for a minimum of up to 30 consecutive nights.
Rearrange any upcoming bookings that would conflict
For example, if you have a property that you want to rent out for three months, but you have a weekend already booked by other guests in the middle of that time, you will need to rearrange that booking. Either, you’ll need to move it to another property (if you have one), or see if the guest will move their booking dates. Otherwise, you will need to cancel the booking.
Mention the possibility of long-term bookings in your listing description.
You need to keep your customers informed about the changes in your business. Mentioning this possibility in your listing description would make it easier for guests who are looking for longer stays to find your property.
To achieve maximum exposure, emphasise in your listing description that the property is fully furnished, that you are offering free WiFi, laundry facilities, etc. Ensure that you have a minimum of 28 days availability.
Select supported channels in your channel manager.
Choose channels which support mid and long-term rentals. You can do this through a channel manager, such as Your.Rentals, which supports, Airbnb, TripAdvisor, Booking.com, Agoda, Plumguide, among many others!
Provide discounts for longer stays.
To make it easier for you to receive bookings, you can provide discounts depending on the length of the stay. Offer different prices to stay competitive and attract guests looking for mid or long-term rentals!
Consider whether your home set up is suitable for longer term use.
For example, should guests contribute to utility bills? Is there any essential kitchen equipment missing?
You can also provide other mid-stay services to attract more guests. For example, you could offer pick-up/drop-offs, laundry services etc.
Mid-term or long-term rentals could be an effective solution to diversify your strategy. It doesn’t have to replace your entire model, you can just add mid-term rentals to your short-term rental offer. This will help you face the current coronavirus crisis and its consequences on the tourism industry. However, you need to follow all the steps to make sure that the properties you want to offer for longer stays are optimized for this option.
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