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What Millennials Look For in Vacation Rentals

Millennials, also referred to as Generation Y, encompassed 73m individuals in the United States in 2017. Further, China's millennial generation in itself, for example, is bigger than the whole population of the USA. A quarter of the world's population are millennials. With immense size comes big purchasing power. But who are millennials? Generation Y describes individuals who were born between 1980 and 1995. The term is often used to define a consumer group with certain habits and preferences. While of course individual consumer behaviours can differ greatly, certain overarching trends can certainly be observed. Millennials are known for their insatiable thirst for travel and unique experiences. Gone are the heydays for resorts and hotels with copy-and-paste rooms and offerings. Statistics and studies agree that Generation Y has taken a particular liking to Airbnb versus hotels. In 2017, for instance, 36% of American and Europeans who used Airbnb for accommodation were between 25 and 34 years old. The second largest group (23%) were between 35 and 44 years old. Moreover, millennial travellers are budget-conscious. Vacation rentals offer more value for money in terms of space. Additionally, most rentals are equipped with kitchens making it possible to cook and safe money. Ultimately, millennials are the consumer group you need to cater for if you want to grow your vacation rental business and successfully attract bookings. Therefore, it is important to consider what millennials specifically are looking for in short-term rentals and vacation homes. A multitude of studies have investigated the preferences of Generation Y. This helps us to draw below conclusions about what millennials are looking for in vacation rentals. Positive Online Reputation Former guests recommending you to friends and family can be an influential offline marketing tool for your

Top Tips to Attract Direct Vacation Rental Bookings

You might rent out your spare bedroom on Airbnb or you might operate 10 vacation rentals in Florida. Independent of how many short-term rentals you have, you should look into increasing your direct bookings. Exclusively accepting bookings through the popular platforms such as Airbnb and Booking.com will give you some securities. For example, Airbnb provides 1 million liability insurance if a guest gets hurt on your property. However, as a good host you should have additional protection anyway (Read: Understanding Liability Insurance for Your Short-term Rental) as well as set procedures of how to deal with rowdy guests and cancellations. So with a clear strategy in place for what happens if something goes wrong, you do not need to entirely rely on the big online travel agents to bring in bookings. Being present on as many platforms as possible is a good strategy to maximise your reach for a full occupancy. However, this comes at a price – usually taking the shape of commission or a service fee. Therefore, it will be of interest to also draw in direct bookings. Read on below for our top tips. Establish How Guests Can Book Direct Make sure to establish a working system of how you will accept direct bookings. Are you renting out a converted garage and are happy to manage direct bookings via email and a spreadsheet? Or maybe you operate multiple holiday homes and are considering an online booking engine which integrates into a channel manager? You might even have a designated website for vacation home. Whatever you decide, define a clear process for managing bookings and stick to it. Get Those Return Visitors You have done a great job hosting your guests, they left

6 Vacation Rental Instagram Accounts to Watch

Today we are looking at operators who are attracting attention on Instagram. A well-thought-out and nicely-curated Instagram account that is getting noticed can bring in actual bookings and revenue. We have discussed this in-depth in a previous blog post - Social Media for Short-term Rentals. But what does a 'noticeable' Instagram account look like? Stay tuned for the 6 short-term rental Instagram accounts we are loving right now and what you can learn from them. @hideoutbali With over 145,000 followers, we are certainly are not the only ones who think this Instagram account is excellent. This vacation rental benefits from a great location and unusual tree-house like accommodation. However, going through their feed, you might notice that many stunning shots are reposts of previous guests who have huge followings of their own. Takeaway lesson: If you don't have the means yourself to create outstanding shots for your Instagram, working with influencers can provide you with great content and exposure. @bentapplefarm This Vermont cabin is self-proclaimedly ‘very Vermont’ and its Instagram accounts reflects that well. It gives an insight into what life on the property is like and what activities guests can engage in with the hosts. At the same time, warm-toned interior shots show what comforts await guests. @travelershomebnb It is obvious that this stylish Lisbon citypad is travel-themed and the feed’s fun, bright colors immediately draw in your attention. Dário, the Airbnb host, gives the account a real authentic touch by speaking in first person to his audience and sharing his local tips and tricks to enjoy in Portugal’s capital. @shimanto_riverside_hideaway The tranquillity of this Japanese get-away comes across perfectly in its feed. We love the minimalist but cozy shots of the property and

5 Podcasts for the Savvy Short-term Rental Host

Listen Your Way to Hosting Success with these Recommended Podcasts! There is a lot to learn about hosting guests in your short-term rental or vacation home. Even though you might be an experienced host, things change in the industry and you need to be up-to-date with what is happening. There are many resources out there – books, Youtube channels, Facebook groups, blogs and so on. One resource, however, is particularly helpful. You don't need to sit down to watch a video or read lengthy paragraph. Instead listen to the latest insights while cooking, driving or cleaning your short-term rental. Listen to podcasts and learn how to take your offering to the next level. However, there are a few podcasts out there, so which ones are most useful? Find our selection of favorite podcasts for vacation rental hosts below. Holiday Let Success Podcast Holiday Let Success is run by Britain-based Elaine Watt. The podcast was established in 2014 and there are over 80 episodes already in the library for you to enjoy. She shares tales from her own journey as a host, speaks to other holiday home owners and invites industry influencers to share their opinion. Listen to the podcast here. Rentalpreneur Rachel Prince is the Rentalpreneur. She is a superhost and jack of all trades when it comes to vacation rentals. On her podcasts she discusses topics relevant to short-term rental hosts with hand-picked industry experts. Listen to the podcast here. Get Paid for Your Pad Originally a book by Jasper Ribbers and Kuzefa Kapadia, Get Paid for Your Pad is now more of a movement. A Facebook page, a blog and, of course, a podcast supply useful advice for Airbnb hosts. The podcast has been running since 2014

How to Keep Your Outdoor Spaces Safe

Providing some outdoor space can really add value to your vacation rental offering. However, they can also add some risk in terms of guests hurting themselves and for which you can be held liable. We have discussed liability insurance already on the blog. Read it here! Consider the example of someone using the swing in your garden. Imagine the swing's seat comes loose, the person falls and breaks their arm. You can now be held liable for this and the bodily injury they incured and if you do not have the right insurance this can be costly - costly enough to ruin your business. Therefore, it is firstly important to have appropriate liability insurance which covers you as a short-term rental host and secondly to do everything in your power to make sure your property is safe. With the help of Steve Watt, Chairman of CertiStay's Safety & Security Committee, we have compiled a comprehensive guide on how to keep your outdoor spaces safe for your guests. Read on to learn more... Pools and Hot Tubs Fencing off pools and hot tubs prevents unauthorized use and can increase child safety. Ensure all doorways/gates accessing a pool or hot tub are lockable, preventing unintended access by children. Small children should only use the pool and tub with adult supervision. Ensure all pool components, slides and other accessories are in working order and/or safe to use. Make sure the water is tested regularly and that chemicals are safely stored. Non-slip decking can reduce the risk of injury. Waterfront Access Young children accessing the waterfront should be under adult supervision. Ensure all water based equipment is in working order (canoe, kayak, power boat, etc.) and that personnel flotation devices

5 Ways to Make Your Vacation Rental Stand Out

Get your short-term rental noticed on listing sites! As a short-term rental host, you are probably facing some competition. There are exceptions, of course. Maybe you are in a very special location or catering for a specific niche with a highly unique listing. However, the average location rental is a small mackerel in the big sea of fish of other offerings. So how do you get yours noticed? How do you make it the rainbow fish of vacation rentals with 100% occupancy and plenty of booking requests? Here are 5 easy-to-implement tips to make your vacation rental stand out on listing sites like Airbnb, HomeAway or VRBO. Get Picture Ready To get good pictures taken for your STR must be the most common advice to give hosts who want to improve their listing. However, I still see a lot of listings especially in the lower price segment with blurry, dark pictures. Photographs like that give me the impression that the accommodation is more likely to be a comfortable home for some supernatural beings than my family on holiday. Most smartphones are equipped with cameras fully capable to take good shots of your vacation rental. Make sure the bed sheets are crease-free, add some colourful touches (like bright cushions or a vase with flowers) and take the pictures during the day with as much natural light as possible. Professional pictures are of course preferable but can be costly. One tip would be work with local influencers on Instagram. This can be two-fold. As the first option, the influencer gets free accommodation for one or two nights in return for talking about the STR on his or her social channels (usually with images). As a second option, you

Social Media for Short-term Rentals – Instagram & Pinterest

It is no news that digital marketing is becoming more and more important for the hospitality industry. Especially social media takes up a huge part of it and mastering feels more complex each day. So which social media channels should you use to promote your short-term rental? All of them or just a selected few? We have taken the time to take a closer look at the four biggest social platforms. In our previous blog post we talked about Twitter and Facebook specifically. Find our expert guide Social Media for Short-term Rentals - Part I here. In this blog we are sharing some advice on utilising Instagram and Pinterest for your vacation let. Read on to find out more! Instagram After Facebook, Instagram is the second most popular platform of the big social media clients. Users flock to it to show off the holiday snaps, to get inspired as well as to keep in touch with friends and family. Big brands use Instagram to show of their products and offerings and many short-term rental operators have discovered it for themselves as well. For example, a 2018 report by Netbase found that the majority of public conversations around Airbnb happen on Instagram (40%). This is compared to other channels such as forums (16%), blogs (13%), Twitter (12%) or Facebook (5%). This means potential guests are on Instagram, but your competitors is as well. So how do you stand out, get more likes and create an impressive following on Instagram? It is a more or less an easy answer: provide content people are interested in. Outstanding Content Firstly, high-quality pictures of your short-term rental are a must. Most smartphones now take awesome photos, but make sure the lighting

Social Media for Short-term Rentals – Facebook & Twitter

"You've got to use all social media for short-term rentals. The more the better, right?" In a perfect world this would be true. With unlimited resources, a full-time social media manager and a lot of cash to spend on paid advertising there is certainly no limit. But not everyone is so lucky and with limited budget and time, you might have to choose what platforms to be active on. And then those channels will have to be the ones you really put your heart and soul in. Because nothing looks worse than a deserted Facebook or Twitter page. Last post 12th July 2015? Customers might think you are no longer operating. However, you want to be everywhere your potential guests are. And obviously the more guests (and bookings), the better. Direct bookings avoid those pesky commisions and you are in the driver's seat and not some third-party site. Still, that doesn't mean all social media platforms are for you and provide the same return on investment - specifically from investment in terms of time commitment. Well, fret not. We've compiled a guide to social media for short-term rentals and today we will talk about Facebook and Twitter specifically. Read on to find out more! Facebook First and foremost, we have got to talk about the most popular social media for short-term rentals, Facebook. With over 2 billion registered users, Facebook is the go-to platform for marketers as well as short-term rental operators aiming to promote their business. Thus, your potential customers will be definitely be on it, but your competitors most likely, too. A Facebook page can in some instances even replace a website and is a useful communication channel for people interested in your

Local Safety Regulations for Short-term Rentals

How to find out about laws and regulations in your area. Navigating local regulations regarding short-term rentals' safety and security can be a confusing minefield. With laws constantly changing on a national, regional and most frequently city level, hosts have to put in increased efforts to keep up with the latest requirements. Most of the time not fulfilling these requirements can mean not only putting the safety of your guests at stake but also risking being banned from running your Airbnb, HomeAway or VRBO. For example, as stated in an article by Justin Ford on VRMintel, "many localities around the United States [...] require vacation rentals to have smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, emergency exit lighting, and fire extinguishers in place." Additionally, some places also ask STR hosts to follow certain procedures in order to avoid health issues. These can, for example, involve linen sanitization or pool and spa maintenance. So where do you begin? Not to worry! We've compiled a guide on where to look for your area's safety and security requirements for your short-term rental or vacation home. Consult Your Local Government Firstly, your local government will be able to provide materials on what safety standards need to be fulfilled by STRs or even if safety inspections are required. However, which department of the government is responsible varies a lot. Generally, you will be able to obtain information from the city hall or the city's general website. At times, it is also worth checking with the housing department or the licensing department, since running an STR can be considered a business. For example, to obtain a Short-term Rental Licence in Denver the “STR must have an operable smoke detector, carbon monoxide detector and fire extinguisher”. Find