What a rough and bumpy ride.
We started the year with $485K in sales for January & February. New all time highs for both months.
Only Five Reservations cancelled after the International Travel Ban was out in effect January 31st.
The Presidents address to the Nation really opened the floodgates. We cancelled 163 reservations totaling $412K.
Our Shelter in Place order allowed us to service Essential Travel , Essential Business and Rentals of 31 or more days.
We pivoted the business, my Missus worked her magic, and we ended April at about $455K in sales YTD. So, we booked $380K in new reservations across March and April.
May was the first month we saw progress. When Pebble Beach announced the Golf Courses were reopening, there came another Tidal Wave.
This month we're on pace for $300k in new sales. Even with the four new properties we've brought on during the past three months, we need more doors, we're running out of room!
In May, we also filed a new corporation, brought on three Realtors (always have a side hustle) . We have a $2.5MM listing and a $2MM sale (we'll be managing as a vacation rental) in escrow. We've always had Real Estate leads from our Guests. But we've always been to busy to work them. Problem solved.
Almost forgot. Received our first payment from AirBnb since March 12th this morning. Looks like we finally paid off our $77k in Cancellations on that Channel.
My sense for the future is put something away for a rainy day. A hard rain.
Hey everyone - just following up on this thread, since the May invoices for channel management hit your accounts on June 1.
You have probably seen your April and May channel management invoice and noticed no fees have been charged. As previously promised, any channel management fees over and above your accrued credits have been waived for these two months. We hope this provided some financial relief for many of you during these difficult times.
We will return to normal billing starting with your June Channel Management invoice, which will be issued on July 1st. We hope everyone is hanging in there. We are encouraged by the increase in bookings we saw last month across the platform, and June has started strong. We're hopeful business continues to come back for everyone.
We appreciate your support and if there’s anything we can do to help, please don’t hesitate to reach out.
The reason prices are not consistent is because they show the lowest possible rate on their search page .
They're dealing with a seasonal business and it seems they have lost touch with that their practices are the problem.
We have 30 day rentals that book for $6k in the off-season and $15k in July & August. But a surfer sees "Starting at $200 per night" when they perform a search for August.
Most of the experienced guests have figured it out. It's the new customers they are losing through poor programming, not inconsistent pricing.
@carl-vidal Interesting as my Partner just mentioned them to me yesterday. Apparently, they had e-mailed us.
First off, we do have quite a few travelling medical professionals coming to our area. So, the idea piques my interest.
My suggestion would be to look at the competition for your area and decide whether it would be a good fit.
We took a hotel live last year, and put it on AirBnb as well as the usual suspects (Booking.com, TripAdvisor, Expedia Network) because there were only 75 other hotel rooms listed on the Monterey Peninsula. 95% of our bookings came from AirBnb.
I only saw 77 listings for my area, and most of them are not quite up to the standards of what our current traveling Medical Pro's rent from us.
So, I called them and due to the size of our portfolio, they are offering us a discounted rate. They are also providing us with the Search Data for our area which makes the decision process much easier.
@julie-booher If there are mandated dates you can not accept bookings, the best thing to do is block off your calendar. You can create a basic "unavailable" event for the date range you want to prevent bookings within and leave the remaining dates on your calendar open. This will ensure you can still get bookings for next year, for example, while preventing bookings during your mandated closure.
IN my market, I look at it this way. If I’m always fully booked and not working to get repeat guests, then this would be a loss. But only short term.
But if I’m playing the long game, this is an opportunity for me to strengthen my reputation and develop loyal, returning guests. I learned during hurricane MICHAEL some powerful lessons. When others were holding firm and reminding guests they should have purchased travel insurance, I fully refunded payments and had personal conversations with each individual. I not only had nearly all of those guests book again, but many other guests in the area heard that I refunded when “their owner” didn’t, and so THEY booked with me in the future too. Social media threw around company and owner names right and left. I don’t ever want to be “that owner” that angers guests during a community disaster and ends up on the “naughty list” on all the social media forums.
This time I gave guests a choice between future credits or a refund, and surprisingly more than half asked to reschedule.
But that’s just my opinion.
Just gonna enter a two cents here and say that the PPC game does not have to be in direct competition with the OTA's -- it's all about picking keywords that reflect what you offer but are not TOO popular. I can't do "Branson vacation rentals" but I can do "Branson condos with indoor pool." Just something to consider. I actually am a blogger IRL and it does take time to develop organic search placement, and it's not only about writing something and throwing it out there. You gotta include appropriate images (that can't just be copied from somewhere else cuz copyright is a thing), you must choose a search term and use it appropriately, it must be the appropriate length, divided into easily read paragraphs... the list goes on. Then there's social media marketing of said blog post, which also factors into whether Google will show it or not. DEFINITELY more time than it's worth, imho, for the vacation rental business. People aren't reading blog posts to find out where to stay; they're reading them to plan their activities, which generally comes AFTER they've already reserved something. I think the PPC game will give you more bang for your investment (because the time of blogging is worth something, too, so why not spend the money rather than the time) if you can find even just a few keywords that resonate. It takes trial and error but the right combo can really make a difference. #fwiw --Ann
@carole Hey there! I haven't seen any come through, but can say that as I onboard and train our new customers, all of them use instant booking - even for the optional channels like TripAdvisor and Vrbo/HomeAway. It appears to be something most people have become comfortable with (which I know doesn't help in terms of giving detailed use-cases for you) as they try to limit the back and forth.
@Mike-Wesling one other thing to add is that if you are working with Stessa and know a contact there, you can see if they'd be willing to build to our API. Several of the partners who we integrate with went this path - so it may be worth putting directly on their radar.
Thanks all for the help! We ended up going with a Schlage lock as they have their own app that supports multiple properties and isn't subject to our guests downloading an app, but they may use a code we provide. It seems to be working great so far!
Hey @Brett-Beckman - When we thought through this scenario, we decided it made the most sense for Property Managers to have the ability to keep the damage deposit and charge for the damage protection premium at the same time. This would double down on protecting your property as you have both the renter's personal cash and the damage protection coverage.
That option is the third and final setting before activating insurance.
You'll see that we recommend to intelligently disable the damage deposits - we do that because you're likely to see a higher conversion if the cost of the rent is lower. However, we realize that it's not always as clean-cut of a decision. Hopefully this helps!
@darrell-looney112 - very well said. I've spoken with guests that still choose to book through the OTAs the first time, for security purposes. So far, on later visits, they book directly. Perhaps we need to offer guarantees as a start like the ones the OTAs offer?
@michelle-clark If you need to add another night to the booking, or add a new charge to the existing reservation, it will want to requote with the new rates, so be careful if that is something you do regularly.