The growth of international travel throughout the world combined with the rising global awareness and popularity of vacation rentals means that as a property manager, you may be seeing increased overseas inquiries for your rental.
You’re likely wondering how to leverage this trend, to attract more international travelers to your vacation rental. But once you attract these foreign visitors, how can you best accommodate them, ensuring they enjoy their stay with you? And at the same time, how can you be sure that you’re protecting yourself against travel scams?
Here, we share our best advice for attracting international travelers, along with tips for impressing them during their stay, and information about how to avoid falling victim to scams.
Attracting more international travelers to your vacation rental
List on various channels that focus on international travel. In addition to putting your vacation rentals on your own website and popular listing sites like Airbnb, VRBO and HomeAway, there are other channels that cater more to international travelers. Adding your listings to HomeAway and Expedia are great ways to target a large international user base. Utilizing MyVR's direct channel integrations can easily expand your reach without increasing your workload.
Use plenty of professional photos. One of the great things about having lots of photos in your listings is that there is no need to worry about a language barrier. A beautiful photo is a beautiful photo, no matter what language the viewer speaks. We always advise that property managers use the maximum number of photos allowed on channels.
Write clear descriptions. The traveler viewing your listing might speak and read perfect English, or they might have no knowledge of the language. If you wish to attract more international travelers to your vacation rental, write your property descriptions so that someone with a basic English reading level will be able to understand what you’re saying or a basic translation software can interpret for you.
It’s also best to avoid using any innuendo or colloquialisms that might be confusing to someone overseas. All of this will make it easier for a guest to have the descriptions translated more accurately via an online tool like Google Translate.
Consider finding a translator. If you do find that you’re getting a great deal of international travelers from a certain part of the world, it might be prudent to find someone who speaks that language, to help you field questions and address concerns.
Be very clear on your guidelines and rules. Travel standards vary between countries. If you want more international travelers among your bookings, we suggest you include as much information as you can about your expectations and the standards you would like upheld at your rental. If you do this, all of your guests will feel more at ease, knowing what they can expect when staying with you, which will benefit all guests, both international and domestic.
Hospitality for international travelers
Ask questions. Try to learn as much as you can about your international visitors prior to their arrival. Ask them why they’ve chosen to visit your location and find out what they expect from their visit. Ask if there is anything in particular they may need during their stay. Not only will asking questions like this help you to better understand the needs of your guests and to plan ahead for their arrival, but it will also help you to identify genuine visitors as opposed to scammers.
Provide a special welcome package. We always suggest a special welcome gift to greet visitors. It goes a long way toward earning positive reviews and repeat bookings, but when you have international travelers staying with you, you can tailor this even further.
If this is someone’s first time in your country, there are some basic cultural customs of which they may be unaware. Consider providing some information about general business hours, parking rules, helpful websites or apps, details about any holidays or weather events they may need to know about are all friendly tips for your international guests.
This will help your guests feel welcome and will also cut down on the amount of interruptions you receive during their stay. You might even want to have a special section in your guest welcome book for international visitors.
Protecting yourself from borderless scammers
As a property manager, you could possibly fall victim to a scam targeting short-term rentals. One common type of travel scam involves overpayment in one form or another. If you have any guest trying to overpay, this should raise a red flag. Only accept exact payment from a traveler. In addition, let potential renters know that you will only hold their rental when full payment has cleared.
Many international travelers use credit cards, but bank transfers are also common. Be cautious of accepting bank transfers. However, we suggest you completely stay away from wire services like Western Union and MoneyGram.
Phishing is another common travel scam which involves fraudsters trying to access your email account. Read more on common vacation rental scams to protect yourself and your business.
While broken English and many blatant typos have long been telltale signs of spam emails, many international travelers don’t speak English as a first language. So, don’t completely discount incorrect grammar as spam. It could be a legitimate inquiry.