Welcome to 2021. As always, I would like to start the New Year with a few insights and opportunities for vacation rental managers that I hope you will appreciate. I believe that times of change provide opportunity.
Cancelation Policy flexibility with Travel Insurance. Unfortunately, COVID-19 is not going to go away anytime soon. There is a new normal and those who adapt will benefit. The insurance companies have had to adapt to COVID-19 and guest/agency needs. You should review your current policy and try to move as far as your owners will allow for flexibility including the ability to incorporate postponements. In 2020 we created a postponement reservation type. If you want more information on this, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Portals. Portals are all about brand building and your incorporation with them helps their brand. They are giving you less and less access to highlight your brand every day. But where you can promote your brand is after the reservation has been booked. That is crucial in turning the guest into a repeat client. Focusing on niche is important and within that niche you are the local expert. It is one of the main reasons why concierge directed at your niche is so important. Remember portals book rooms, you book vacations. Barefoot has always offered significant concierge and upsell. To supplement that, we continue to try and link to third parties who can offer those services like Xplorie and Vaykgear and other activity software. If you have ideas about this and want to ask questions, please reach out to your Client Success Manager.
Owner Retention. Brand and niche are crucial, but guests will come to you if you have the right inventory. So, owner acquisition and retention must be a priority. COVID-19 has been an eye opener for vacation rental owners that work directly with portals. What did the portals do during the height of COVID-19? They fired staff and delayed payments back to guests and owners. They are just a marketplace; they see properties not as an extension of an owner but just as a product. You have an opportunity to re-engage with a stronger value proposition. Think asset management, you fill the gap to assist the owner in all aspects of the property and to grow the value of their asset not just help them book reservations. Consider adding to your owner services like insurances (flood, home, warranty, disaster repair), real estate, long term rentals, heat delivery, property management and many other homeowners needs. This can be done directly with you providing the service or connecting them with the best in the market.
Communicate. Social media has taken on a new meaning this past year. Local COVID-19 information for guests and even owners has been seen as old or nonexistent. Providing a platform with timely and accurate information is a great way to build instant trust. Something that typically takes years to create. Information like up-to-date COVID-19 statistics and information, open restaurants or new services like having bikes delivered instead of going to the rental shop is invaluable. If you have not thought through your communication strategy and checked in about Bareroot’s communication tools, Advanced Owner Access and Referral Agent Network, schedule some time to talk with the Client Success team.
Barefoot has been working hard behind the scenes to bring you new tools and functionality. Our focus this year will be to make sure that you have the tools to continue to grow and the support your needs for this evolution.