June 2, 2020
Travelers all over the world are looking for guidance on how and when to travel as restrictions begin to lift. They want to stay safe but also escape the confines established by the shelter in place and non-essential travel restrictions. Here is a compilation of the most recent travel suggestions from various mainstream media outlets that vacationers are reading to navigate “the new normal vacation.”
1. Stay Close To Home
Industry watchers suggest people start vacationing again by exploring their own backyards, a more hyperlocal travel approach. With lockdown restrictions lifting people will be free to take day trips, explore their local areas again, and enjoy nature. Refamiliarizing with the outside world, exploring reopened shops or a neighborhood on the other side of town will fulfill the need for adventure people crave.
Traveling by car is suggested to maintain more control over potential risks versus traveling by plane or by public transportation. Vacationers are being guided to start taking overnight trips where they can pack sanitizing products, their own food, and drive in their own vehicle. The idea is for travelers to start small and be able to easily turn around and come home if they feel unsafe or uncomfortable.
Vacation rentals should be mindful of this local surge. If you are able to spending marketing dollars allocate some toward your own backyard. Taking care of your locals could prove just as important as those in your drive to markets. Social media marketing is a great way to stretch your dollars and quickly communicate deals and generate interest. Pinterest, in particular, is a great free way to get in front of vacation planners.
2. Search For Wide Open Spaces
Driving to wide open spaces like the Grand Canyon, The Battlefields of Gettysburg, or the various national parks across the country is suggested as more social distancing is possible in the greater space and in theory less threat of contracting the virus. With over half of the USA reopening it will be possible for travelers to create their own Covid-19 resistant travel plan.
As a vacation rental, you can use this opportunity to take stock of your local treasures, national parks, beaches, lighthouses, natural springs, etc. and make sure you are marketing your proximity to these attractions. Also, as the popularity of self-guided tours or trails grows keep up to date on what tours you are in the path of. Some popular self-guided trails right now are the Gulf Coast Lighthouse Trail, the Tennessee Whiskey Trail, or California’s Classic Wine Trail.
3. Look To Cleaner & Safer Accommodations
Accommodations should expect to be looked at under a Covid-19 lens. Media is suggesting travelers look for social distancing in dining rooms, hand sanitizers throughout properties and resorts, masks and gloves worn by staff, self-opening doors in public areas, keyless entry, virtual check-in and check-out, etc.
Some accommodations are going above and beyond the status quo advertising discounts to those who can provide proof of in-state residency to promote travel within their states.
Marketing your new safety precautions and practices is essential as a VRM. Now is also the time to get creative. As those in the vacation rental industry and hoteliers are advertising their cleaning and sanitization practices it is good to advertise anything outside the box like discounts for in-state residents or specific units designated for in-state residents only, any virtual upgrades you have made or smart features you have added to your units.
4. Keep It In The Country
While some borders begin to open, the consensus still says stay in your own country unless travel outside is essential. Travelers are being encouraged to stay in within countries for the sake of their own safety and the safety of others. This is a chance for them to explore and discover places they may never make it to otherwise.
If you are a vacation rental that depends on international travelers for a majority of your bookings, you probably have already made adjustments to your audience. Marketing to locals and drive-to markets will help you endure the difficult times ahead.
5. Make Your Travel Purposeful
With so much time to reflect on life and the absence of loved ones, a majority of travelers are looking at family trips and visits with loved ones rather than purely self-indulgent vacations.
Where you can, make sure you are marketing the special niche your vacation rental falls into. Are you a great place to take the family? Are you perfect for a romantic getaway? Whatever the case may be, it’s time to re-educate travelers on everything that is wonderful and special about your properties compared to everyone else.
As the new normal is established travelers will continue to be influenced both by government and media to travel in a certain way. Now is the time to utilize any and all marketing channels you have available to you to help shape the new normal when it comes to travel and the vacation rental industry.