September 13, 2021
The global travel industry was hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic prompting vacation rental property managers to review their business strategies, enhance their cleaning and safety protocols, implement new ideas and technologies, rethink their marketing models, and identify opportunities for growth in the midst of a sudden pandemic, all at an overwhelming pace! We’ve always been an industry full of rock stars!
The fast rebound and growth of the vacation rental industry exceeded all expectations and property managers in destinations across the US experienced record summer bookings with traveler confidence at an all-time high. However, this pandemic seems to carve a path of its own and there is once again an unwelcome element of uncertainty in the air as the persistent delta variant drives the fourth wave of the Coronavirus Pandemic across the USA. Domestic bookings still remain strong, however delta variant trip cancellations are on the rise, and the demand for safe travel and flexible bookings remains the top factor driving travel and affecting decisions on where and how we spend our vacation days.
A key factor highlighted by the pandemic (and the sheer volume of sudden booking cancellations) is the importance of protecting your business, homeowners, and guests. Whether you manage a single home or a large portfolio of homes, a standard homeowners insurance policy is simply not enough to cover your property management business, homeowners and guests equally
Safely.com is a leading insurtech and guest screening solution designed specifically for the vacation rental and short-term rental markets. Their latest studies show that only 3% of reservations result in a claim. A third of these claims are accidents, a third “silly mistakes” and only 1% intentional damage to property by bad guests. These are encouraging statistics showing that accidents in our industry are not as regular as we presume, but they happen!
Protecting your business, homeowners, and guests with the right insurance gives your vacation rental company a competitive edge that optimizes the owner and guest experience allowing you to capitalize on the rising demand for vacation rentals, recoup pandemic losses, protect your homeowners, homes and direct bookings and safeguard your business and brand.
Protect and Recruit Your Homeowners
Unprecedented demand for vacation rentals has resulted in property managers placing a higher focus on their inventory acquisition. Every good property manager knows that the homeowner relationship is built on trust and entering the short-term rental market is a big decision and investment for a homeowner, especially if they are handing over their family home to a stranger.
“There are an estimated 30 million second homes across the US and Europe that are only occupied four to six weeks per year. These are properties that have never even seen a listing on Airbnb, Vrbo, or Booking.com“ says Andrew Bate, CEO of Safely.com
Giving your homeowners peace of mind that their investment is fully protected, and your company has the right policies in place to cover any potential claims or losses, is an important part of the owner acquisition process (and the satisfaction levels of your existing homeowners!). Property managers using Safely’s guest screening and insurance solution report business growth of over 30 percent.
Two of the biggest concerns of new homeowners are who will be staying in my home and what happens if something goes wrong? We’ll address the who a little later, but then what happens if something goes wrong is easily addressed. Retain your existing homeowners and recruit new owners with the reassurance that their investment is fully protected with a comprehensive insurance that covers damage to the home and contents, accidental damage, bodily injury and offers the benefit of a tailor-made policy.
Protect and Build Your Brand
And now it’s time to address “who will be staying in my home?”. Opening your home (or investment property) to strangers can be overwhelming and is the number one reason homeowners refrain from listing their properties as a short-term vacation rental. If your home is advertised online, it’s pretty much available to anyone with a cell phone, credit card, and internet connection.
Guest screening is an integral part of property management that allows you to screen potential guests (across all booking channels) before they book, protecting your homes (and brand!), earning trust, and strengthening your owner relations. Guest screening gives you the opportunity to know your guests and keep out the bad guys with modern predictive analysis solutions. Guest screening solutions are non-intrusive, powered by real data analytics, (not social media, judgment, or opinion) removing the risk of discrimination and giving the property manager the full potential to “turn strangers into trusted guests”.
Protect Your Guest Experience
The combination of a tailor-made insurance plan, an innovative guest screening solution and trip insurance promises a great experience for the homeowner, property manager, and guest. As OTA’s increase their fees and change cancellation policies to suit their business model, property managers are focusing their attention on reducing their dependence on OTA’s and driving direct bookings through their websites and they are succeeding!
There has been huge growth in direct bookings and property managers need to ensure they protect these direct bookings and the entire guest experience with trip protection, cancellation insurance, and peace of mind that their vacation is protected.