Webinar No3: COVID-19: Trends and Strategies to come out of the crisis stronger

Everyone has been impacted by COVID-19, and travel and hospitality more than anyone else. However, this too shall pass. Some of us will drop out of this business, some will barely survive, but some will come out stronger.

If you want to be part of the last group, watch Mark Simpson and Alexander Caravitis, our CEO, in this webinar on Trends and Strategies that will help you keep your business afloat and prepare for the rebound.

For those (few) of you that don’t know Boostly – Mark Simpson, he is the undisputed King of social media in the STR space, founder of Boostly.co.uk and one of the strongest proponents of the #BookDirect movement.

Trends & Strategies that were discussed during the webinar:

 

TRENDS

Airbnb COVID-19 policy

  • $250M for hosts (¼ of cancellation policy)
  • 17M fund for Superhosts
  • Lobbying for government support

Short Term Rentals vs Hotels: 

  • Some STRs better off because of hotels more crowded
  • Some say hotels better off because of better cleaning
  • Most hotels shut down, but STRs still open

Rural vs Urban vs Resort: 

  • Rural stays have increased in some areas
  • Urban and Resort have plummeted
  • This look like the trend for the next 18 months

Domestic vs International travel: 

  • International travel will not rebound in 2020
  • Staycation and domestic travel will rise
  • Possible that staycation will be even stronger than 2019
  • Land travel will prevail over air travel (fear of airports and planes)

Market consolidation: 

  • STR managers who survive will pick up business from managers who shut down
  • Same goes for software companies
  • Probable mergers and acquisitions of STR platforms 

Medium term vs Short term: 

  • Strong shift to medium term (key workers, quarantine stays)
  • The trend will continue for the next 18 months but will lose strength gradually 
  • 90% return to previous state in 2022

 

STRATEGIES 

Cancellation & refund policies:

Revenue & cash-flow management: 

  • More important than ever to count every dime
  • Make sure you only pay when needed and only the very bare essentials
  • Stop paying channel commissions

Cleanliness & Disinfection

  • Follow CDC instructions
  • Keep 3 days empty between stays (and tell it!)
  • Update your titles and descriptions
  • Tell it in your social media
  • Take a video of the cleaning process and post it online
  • Use certified companies

Guest Communication:

  • Communicate often and very clearly
  • Tell guests exactly how you disinfect your home
  • Inform guests of local COVID-19 status and restrictions

Direct Bookings

  • The only way to have control over the cancellation policy
  • Best way to get repeat visitors
  • The only way to avoid channel fees

Multiple channels:

  • Very important so you can limit your losses
  • If you had 90% occupancy with 1 channel, now you have 20% max. You can increase to 50% by listing on multiple channels.
  • Risk spread (eg Homeaway was the only channel that respected cancellation policies)

Repeat Guests: 

Turn fixed costs into variable costs: 

  • If you are a manager, switch from fixed rent to % of booking value
  • If you pay monthly salaries, switch to fee per booking or hourly wage, or hire contractors

Cost cutting:

  • Cut all non-essential costs 
  • Ask for discounts
  • Delay payments

Seek government support: 

  • Most countries have support programs, find them and sign up
  • US: Airbnb lobbying brought PPP to homeowners
  • Talk to your local associations (eg VRMA) 

Reduce in-person interactions via technology: 

  • Remote door locks
  • Guestbooks
  • YourWelcome
  • Hostfully Guidebooks

Hope for the best but prepare for the worst

All the good news about the STR industry

The future of vacation rentals

 

 

 

 

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