Short-term rental online channels are doors to success. Unlock them, and the potential to grow your bookings and scale your business opens up in front of you. All you need is the key. Which is where things get challenging. For many of us, short-term rental channel management is a mysterious locked room that defies our best efforts to enter. Why?
Ask Matt Willis. He has been unlocking the secrets of short-stay channel management since it became a topic. Matt created a key platform for Kigo, as well as the Revenue Manager feature. Now VP of Product Development for Kigo, he is deeply immersed in the science of channel management strategy. Yes, it’s a science. And Matt knows how to take the mystery out of it and put its power to work. That’s what his upcoming presentation at RealWorld—he calls it Demystifying Short-Term Rental Channel Management—is all about.
Vacation rental listings aren’t one-size-fits-all
“Channel management might seem simple on the surface. It’s not,” Willis explains. “You have different-sized businesses with different kinds of properties trying to push their messages through one-size-fits-all doorways. It’s likely you’ll get jammed.”
Those doorways are the online portals property managers rely on to post listings and reach travelers, like Booking.com, HomeAway and Airbnb. Each was created with a unique purpose, and caters to a unique audience. As a result, posting on each requires a different strategy. The fact is that many in the industry have found it challenging to adapt to this new reality.
“You’re looking at vastly different scenarios that require us to act in new ways,” Willis continues. “For example, Booking.com was designed for the hotel industry. Guests don’t mind which room they get, only what kind. But if you’re renting a beach property, you have another kind of guest who wants the exact room that appeared in your listing. HomeAway was designed for that. These sites also handle your technical restrictions in a wholly different way. You need a unique content strategy and set of tactics for each. And an even different strategy for Airbnb. It all depends on the kinds of properties you have, which doorway you choose, and the type of guest you’ll meet on the other side of the door. Otherwise, you won’t get the kind of results you’re looking for.”
Success lies in a strong strategy for each channel
Short-term property rental managers have discovered this truth first hand. Success with one channel strategy has often led to disappointing results when applied to another channel. They are not seeing greater occupancy, even though they know the potential is there. The investment of time and resources required to develop new strategies adds another hurdle. Growing the portfolio has become a significant challenge.
“Now imagine you’re a long-term property manager looking to segment some of your properties to short-term,” adds Willis. “The potential for greater revenue is significant. But you’re used to crafting your message to a certain audience. Short-term rental is a whole other kind of audience. You’re looking at yet one more layer of complication.”
That’s more than enough challenges for today’s property managers, both short-term and long-term. Is there a solution?
“Yes, there’s a science to it,” Willis responds, “and you can apply it to move your business ahead. I’ll lay it out in my RealWorld presentation. We will cover topics like how to leverage direct bookings to net more revenue per booking, while taking advantage of the broad marketing reach of listing partners to yield higher demand. We’ll discuss methods to make managing your short-term rental properties through various online channels a rewarding experience. You’ll find out how to create a data-informed strategy, identify the channels that best support your business needs, increase bookings and fill empty dates during midweek and slow season. All will be revealed!”
Willis will present his seminar, Demystifying Short-Term Rental Channel Management, at the RealWorld conference in Las Vegas July 16-18, 2017.