Diversifying your approach to vacation rental channels doesn’t just bring in new reservations, it can also help you make more money and future-proof your revenue stream against unexpected shifts in the marketplace - on average, every channel you add doubles monthly revenue.
And if you aren’t already using Airbnb, arguably the most popular channel, to promote your short-term rentals, you could be selling your property management business and your clients short.
Not convinced Airbnb is the right choice for your inventory? While Airbnb built its reputation as a marketplace for shared accommodation, it’s increasingly working with professional hosts (i.e., those with six or more listings) to help their unique properties stand out. Here are three reasons why this industry leader should be part of your channel management strategy.
1. More exposure can drive up demand — and your rates
With more than six million listings, Airbnb is in tight competition with Booking.com to be the #1 website in the accommodation and hotels space. Since it launched in 2008, it’s created the fastest growing global guest community, with more than 200 million users and 210% year-over-year (YOY) growth in nights booked.
In a multi-channel industry, that kind of presence is hard to ignore - even if your occupancy is already maxed out. Being booked to capacity doesn’t mean your rental business is running at peak performance. In fact, it can be a good indication that you should consider adjusting your rates.
But rates aren’t the only way to amplify your revenue. As you expand onto more channels, like Airbnb, you gain a larger active audience and have the opportunity to adjust your target audience to reduce other expenses. For example, you can reduce turnover by increasing your minimum nights stay or opting for a stricter cancellation policy.
The risk of doing a trial run on Airbnb is low: There’s no fee to list a rental property, and the marketplace works on a pay-per-booking model. As an Airbnb Preferred Software Partner, MyVR’s direct connection means your listings don’t have to pass through an unreliable third-party channel manager to be on Airbnb. Instead, you’ll have peace of mind that your business’s data is accurate and intact.
2. Reach niche markets with Airbnb’s targeted marketing
Airbnb built its business around the idea of doing things differently than the traditional hospitality industry, and it’s an approach the company intends to stick with. Last year, Airbnb marked their first 10 years in business by sharing their roadmap for the next decade: A plan to reach 1 billion annual guests by 2028.
Vacation rentals are poised to play a leading role in this road map, and that means new opportunities for movers who are ready to take advantage of them.
Airbnb Collections curate listings for the needs of particular groups: any property can be considered, as long as it meets the requirements for that niche market. Two collections have already launched: Airbnb for Work and Airbnb for Families. Future collections will focus on properties that are suitable for other purposes, such as weddings, dinner parties, and group getaways.
Airbnb Plus, initially launched in 13 cities, is an initiative to verify properties through an in-person inspection that measures against a 100+ point checklist. It’s described as “a selection of only the highest quality homes with hosts known for great reviews and attention to detail.”
A new luxury product is also set to launch. Beyond by Airbnb will offer custom-designed trips featuring luxury tier homes, unique experiences, and world-class hospitality.
3. Position your business for tomorrow’s traveler
“Millennials are the largest generation in history, and by 2025, millennials and younger generations will account for 75% of all consumers and travelers.”
— Airbnb and The Rise of Millennial Travel
Airbnb’s brand is particularly popular with millennial and Gen Z travelers in the U.S. marketplace, a group that’s increasingly affluent and influential. In an exclusive webinar with MyVR, Airbnb discussed some of the top characteristics of tomorrow’s travel consumer:
- They want an experience. Millennials are looking for a trip that’s adventurous, local, and personal. More than 80% of survey respondents said the best way to learn about a place is to live like the locals do. Airbnb’s Experiences speak to this directly, offering activities created and led by locals.
- They’re heavily influenced by reviews. Ninety-five percent of millennials read what previous guests have said. Between the star rating system, key highlights at the top of each listing, and double-blind reviews, Airbnb has baked the feedback loop right in.
- They’re likely to book late. Nearly one in five millennials book accommodations a week or less before their departure. This makes Airbnb’s Instant Book an important feature for this demographic. (It’s required for full integration with MyVR.)
- They’re mobile. Millennials rely on their mobile devices to make plans and confirm arrangements.
There is a challenge: Some millennials prefer hotels and luxury accommodations. Citing a survey by Resonance Consultancy, the LA Times reported that: “Many younger travelers still prefer the safety and amenities of a hotel over a short-term rental.”
This isn’t something the vacation rental industry will take in stride, and Airbnb is no exception. Airbnb Plus is one initiative that will help meet these preferences. The company’s vision also includes incentives to encourage Airbnb hosts to lift their properties to the next level, and plans to feature the ones that do.
To take full advantage of all of the opportunities that Airbnb offers, it is important that you have the proper infrastructure in place to do so. The most efficient and accurate way of managing all of your properties on Airbnb is through property management software (PMS) with direct connections - absent of a middleman or third-party channel manager that are infamous for causing double bookings and inflated rates.
But how can you know if your PMS has direct connections? It’s a great question and luckily, has a straightforward answer. When evaluating PMS providers, check to see if they are one of Airbnb’s Preferred Software Partners. If they are, it means they have a direct connection through Airbnb’s official API and also have a close, personal relationship with the channel. If they didn’t make the cut, this should be a warning of their tech stack and performance.
MyVR is not only a Preferred Software Partner with Airbnb but also has direct connections to the other four major channels and their 70+ affiliates. When you add Airbnb to your channel management strategy with MyVR, you’re able to manage all of your properties across channels from one centralized dashboard - saving you time to reallocate to your business.