How the scenery after the pandemic will be and how to deal with it
We face uncertain times where any prediction is just that, a prediction. However, for a sector as affected by the pandemic as the vacation rental industry, it is vital to be prepared for the next phase and its possible consequences: what’s next after COVID-19?
The restrictions taken by countries combined with the fear caused by the rapid and easy spread of the disease that we are facing globally has left the industry almost inactive with no positive data.
As if it were a tsunami, the arrival of the virus has devastated everything in its path, including a growing sector such as vacation rentals. However, the seeds of this growing industry are still in the ground, but it is true that the future landscape will change and it is vital to be prepared to survive.
We have defined it before as a tsunami, but according to the experts, this first pandemic’s envoy would be ‘The Hammer‘, the first blow. A blow for which we were not prepared and during which stabilization and maximum information gathering on the disease is crucial.
Because the moment of victory will come, the famous peak of the curve in which we will achieve a balance between those affected and health resources. However, stabilisation does not mean that the outbreak will be completely overcome. The next phase is known as ‘the Dance’, during which small outbreaks will arise which, with the information already collected and all the resources prepared, we will have to overcome until a complete cure is found.
And while that’s happening, what does the vacation rental industry have to deal with?
Guidelines to manage vacation rental business efficiently after the pandemic
After overcoming this health crisis we will have to keep fighting, and that means having to adapt our lifestyle and business to what is coming. And to do so, the fundamental pillars are flexibility, empathy and security.
- Cancelation Policy
We need to be prepared for times when there will be new outbreaks in the near future, even if they are smaller than the current one. However, it is possible that some measures such as avoiding unnecessary travel or a certain reluctance to travel may be taken again.
To make the most of this potential situations, it is essential to allow flexible cancellations, showing empathy with the guest.
Customers who are happy with the treatment offered are much more likely to repeat reservations when the situation is stable.
- Strategy targeting domestic guest
We do not know yet when complete normality will be restored, although we do know almost certainly that the restrictions will gradually be lifted. This means that it may not yet be possible or safe to travel to other countries in the medium term. This is why it is essential to adjust our booking strategy towards the domestic market.
Just as the vacation rental sector is in crisis, many others are too. This is also where empathy should come in, as the purchasing power of many people will be much lower when the pandemic ends.
Therefore, it is advisable to set lower basic rates at least until the end of 2020 and personalize offers to the guest and their pricing needs as much as possible.
- Relationship with guest and owners
This is not an easy situation, for any sector of the economy. Having empathy with your guests is key to continuing to reinforce the relationship of trust and loyalty. So when we get back to normal, those same customers will continue to count on your business.
How do you continue to work on that relationship? Keeping a close connection with them, focusing the messages on security and measures taken to ensure that the properties are as protected as possible, and therefore, your future guests are as well. In addition, it can also be stressed that being private properties they are much less exposed than other accommodations where the affluence is much higher.
On the other hand, another relationship you should cultivate in these uncertain times is the one with the owners. Maintaining a fluid communication, explaining the measures being taken to secure the properties and the recovery of the market once it is back to normal, are very important keys to maintaining their confidence.
- Marketing, offers and promotions
This parenthesis in life is an opportunity to prepare a good marketing plan with a defined strategy in both the short and long term.
Some positive strategies are discounts and early booking promotions with flexible cancellation, so that you can offer good opportunities while reassuring the user knowing that if the situation does not improve they will always be able to cancel without problems.
- Ensure cleanliness
Cleanliness is always important, although in the current situation an extra effort is needed in this area. Both carrying it out and highlighting it so that guests know that your company is taking all the required measures. We recommend adding in the descriptions that the property is disinfected, as well as including a checklist of prevention, as well as having sanitizers in the property.
- Stress the risk-free areas
It is crucial that the guest knows that he or she is traveling to an area where there is no outbreak or danger, so you should include this information in the description. Conveying security to guests is vital to further strengthen their confidence.
The current unprecedented situation deserves an unprecedented effort from society. Together we must fight to overcome a double crisis, health and economic. A crisis where our best weapon will always be to help and understand others, only in this way will we restore confidence and the good trend of the vacation rental sector.