5 tips to help you make the most of the domestic travel boom
Melinda Enriquez, Unique BnB Hosts
If you own a holiday rental property like an Airbnb, you’ve likely experienced a drastic downturn in bookings in recent months.
The coronavirus pandemic has devastated economies around the world and disrupted life in ways that were unimaginable just a few months ago, with the travel and tourism industries hit particularly hard.
While international travel remains on hold, restrictions in most parts of Australia are easing, and domestic travel is expected to boom as people look to enjoy holidays closer to home.
Tourism hotspots like the Gold Coast are particularly poised for a post-pandemic rush, and this is a great opportunity for Airbnb owners.
But with competition for bookings fierce, how can you make sure your property stands out from the crowd? Here are my five top tips for getting your Airbnb ready for borders reopening.
1. Maintain high cleanliness standards
Cleanliness has always been an important part of the guest experience, and never more so than now.
Ensuring your property is properly cleaned and sanitised for each booking will make your guests feel comfortable and safe and help you maintain your high ratings and positive reviews.
While you can clean your property yourself, the easiest solution is to hire professional cleaners. You can also hire your linen and have it professionally laundered and delivered to your door each week, saving you a lot of time and stress.
2. Manage your guests’ expectations
Anyone in customer service knows that the key to a happy customer is managing expectations.
It’s okay if your Airbnb isn’t perfect – just be upfront about its little quirks!
If there’s a building site next door and lots of construction noise, tell them. If the upstairs toilet tends to clog easily, let them know and leave a plunger! And if your Wi-Fi is less than reliable, make sure you disclose that in the property description.
Being upfront with your guests will make it far more likely they’ll leave a positive review and book with you again.
It’s also important to be upfront with your guests about your cancellation policy and review whether you can be more flexible with this during the current crisis. Having a clear cancellation policy in place will help ease any uncertainty your future guests might be feeling and avoid any tricky situations later on.
3. Be careful about discounting your rates
It’s not surprising that some people are still wary about travelling, and it might be tempting to offer discounts to get them over the line.
However, discounting your rates is unlikely to make much of a difference to travellers concerned about health and safety, particularly if your property is in a high-risk area.
What’s more, people often perceive quality based on price, and lowering your rates could make your property seem less premium and therefore less attractive to guests. It could also attract the wrong type of guest, which could create more problems for you in the long term.
4. Explore new markets and channels
With international tourists absent and competition for domestic bookings heating up, the need to diversify your property is greater than ever.
If you’re struggling to secure bookings, it might be time to look for new markets, and a great way to do this is to broaden your network via third-party channels.
For example, listing your property on direct booking platforms like Booking.com, Expedia and Stayz will allow you to reach more people and potentially secure more bookings than if you list it on Airbnb alone.
Now is also a good time to review your marketing strategy and offerings, including your promotions, packages and included extras. Look at what other properties offer and don’t be afraid to get creative!
5. Review your processes and policies
Business might be slow right now, but when it picks up, it could come in a rush, so you want to make sure you’re prepared.
That’s why it’s a good idea to review your processes and policies and see if there are any areas where you could be more efficient or make improvements.
For example, take the time to look at where you’ve received negative feedback in the past and see how you can rectify it to improve your ratings and reviews.