Matt Landau is sure that 2019 will be the most influential year in the history of the vacation rental industry. And the numbers suggest that the man considered the voice of vacation rental independents is on to something.
Technavio market research analysts believe that the global vacation rental market will reach $169.7 billion this year. The firm predicts the industry to have a compound annual growth rate of 6.89 percent from 2018-22, based on revenue generated from vacation rental reservations through direct retail channels, pure-play online travel agencies and alternative channels.
Putting vacation rentals in front of mainstream travelers
Among the reasons for growth are that more people are choosing vacation rentals than ever before and big players like Booking.com are reaching out to mainstream audiences to advertise alternative accommodations. The trends suggest that now is the time for vacation rental property owners and managers to get ready, says Landau, who hosts “Sense of Place,” the industry’s first travel show to showcase the vacation rental movement.
“Vacation rentals are now being considered by mainstream travelers who have never considered them before,” said Landau, a featured speaker at KigoWorld in April. “For hosts, that means that now is the moment to get all our ducks in order and put the foundation of our businesses in place, in order to really surf this wave.”
Landau, founder of the Vacation Rental Marketing Blog, will present five concepts, each of which addresses an important pillar of the independent’s marketing portfolio. Landau returns to the popular vacation rental conference after his debut in 2018.
"We found that certain kinds of vacation rental professionals were happier than others," Landau says. "They were enjoying the journey and not getting stressed out by factors outside of their control. We figured that if we could define the common sources of that happiness, we could clone them, we could make them sing. That's what makes this presentation so exciting."
A common mistake vacation rental operators make, he says, can be thinking too short term. Even though the vacation rental market has bloomed at a rapid pace, he believes the heart of the industry can not only survive, but thrive with the use of sustainable marketing practices.
Image via VRMB
Repeat business is like mining gold
Landau says vacation rental operators can't ignore the value of repeat business, something he focused heavily on after launching Los Cuatro Tulipanes, one of the first vacation rental businesses in the historic district of Casco Viejo, Panama. The property is a boutique-style multi-unit guest house with lofts and one- and two-bedroom apartments.
Panama is a once-in-a-lifetime trip for many, but Los Cuatro Tulipanes drove success through repeat business within the city and referrals given by happy guests.
"Repeat guests for a vacation rental business are like a gold mine," Landau said. "If you can figure it out, you have an impenetrable business model and are no longer dependent on third-party platforms for your bookings. It is very much the Holy Grail."
Building relationships forge more business based on experience
Building relationships with guests from the moment they come into contact with you to after their stay is critical. Operators who are able to do so stand a greater chance of getting a repeat customer or a prized referral.
"The connection we have with a former guest is valuable in a number of ways," Landau said. "And it's something our vacation rental colleagues do very well compared to larger hospitality companies, who are too big to offer such a level of attention to every single guest."
"It goes back to doing the things that we can do really well. Those are things that the biggest companies in travel are trying to replicate - that feeling of premium as the new luxury."
Landau, who was a big draw last year at KigoWorld, will talk about five frameworks that will position vacation rental operators on all levels for now and in the future. He will focus on case studies of industry leaders who have applied the concepts and established successful portfolios.
Reserve your spot at KigoWorld to hear from Landau and other leaders in the vacation rental industry!