In the Q1 issue of Arrival, we examined new opportunities for the vacation rental management space. One such opportunity is the growth of the urban market.
“It’s difficult to tell if Airbnb created the trend or just timed it right,” said Andrew McConnell, CEO of rented.com. “But there’s no question that the urban market will be huge, and a great opportunity for companies with strong brands and marketing know-how.” He believes the urban market will be so significant to VRs that the word “vacation” might disappear from company names altogether, as it may prove to be too limiting.
He thinks that while Airbnb is now a big competitor in the urban market, it has also created a big opportunity for VRs. “So many VRs have decades of experience in accommodation management; that’s not true of your typical Airbnb operator,” he says. “VRs need to leverage their professionalism. For guests, it can be huge — they don’t want risk. They want something they can depend on, and that’s what professional management provides.”
Cliff Johnson, co-founder and chief development officer at Vacasa, agreed, saying, “Improved environments for vacation rentals in urban markets would not only increase the market potential in those cities, it would also do a lot to raise awareness, since 63 percent of the U.S. population lives in cities now,” he comments. “When people see how a vacation rental operates in their neighborhood, they are often more comfortable with the idea of traveling to another community and staying in a vacation home.”
McConnell thinks that in the future guests won’t want to make a distinction when they shop for a rental at a beach location, a weekend getaway in a city or a stay at a business location. “They don’t want to go through a whole process each time. The companies and brands that can offer a guest each of those kind of accommodations all from one website will be the ones that get the business. If they have a brand that guests trust, then guests will go to that brand whenever and wherever they need accommodations.”