April 20, 2016

Own a vacation rental? Here is why you are leaving money on the table.

Is your home a vacation rental? A short term rental? An Airbnb? If so, you are likely not making as much from it as you could. You see, why should you limit yourself to these false constructs?

Last week I was in New York for the inaugural Serviced Apartment Summit Americas. The attendees ranged from Corporate Housing Managers, to investors for large family funds and insurance companies, to representatives from some of the world’s largest hotel companies. Much of the discussion was around different categories, or tiers, of corporate housing and serviced apartments, and what the trends looked like for each. That is until a session titled: “Short Term Rental Game Changers.”

The panel included a variety of players from the short term rental space from international property management companies like onefinestay and Oasis, to distribution sites like Tripping.com. I was asked to participate given my role as Co-Founder and CEO of Rented.com.

Through the panel discussion, what had started as a day focused on a narrow category, albeit one worth billions of dollars a year, became one with a much broader perspective. The more we discussed, the more we realized that these labels we were each putting on our respective spaces were irrelevant at best, and detrimental at worst.

The more we spoke, the more we realized that Airbnbs, vacation rentals, corporate rentals, serviced apartments, and even to some extent hotels or bed and breakfasts, all add up to nothing more than being places you sleep when you are not at home. At their essence, they are all just accommodation. Any additional label or name attached to them was arbitrary.

By pigeonholing your property, your home, and your business into just one category, you by definition limit your audience. You by definition limit your relevance. And you by definition limit your upside potential.

Some players are beginning to realize this more quickly than others. Some hotels are already beginning to list their rooms on Airbnb in order to attract new customers. Even in corporate housing, BridgeStreet has already placed its 50,000 properties under management on the site. At the same time, other sites, like HomeAway, are partnering with resort developers to create new channels and demand for timeshares. And, as was apparent on our panel where two of the participants had recently received large investments from Accor, hotels are increasingly exploring the nascent, but shockingly large and fast growing short term rental space.

All of this to say, your home has a greater potential than you likely realize, and it is only growing larger. Guests of all shapes and sizes, both leisure and business, both single and group, both family and friends, both short term and longer term, may be interested. It all depends on the context of their travel. And it also depends on how you position yourself.

So go ahead, stop limiting your upside. Start offering accommodation, hospitality, and a great experience to all who seek it.

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