As the travel industry navigates new challenges, demands and customer profiles, vacation rental companies continue to occupy a unique position in the ever-changing landscape—able to help travelers escape the confines of home while maintaining a desired sense of safety and physical distancing. Looking at the past, present and coming months, we at Generali Global Assistance have noticed a few key trends and want to remind you of actionable ways to make the most of your upcoming reservations, this fall, winter and beyond.
Road Trips on the Rise
Since the start of the pandemic, travelers are far more likely to take a domestic, leisure trip in the next six months.1 Although COVID-19 continues to spread throughout the country, lockdown restrictions have been lifted in most states, with restaurants, shops and entertainment venues opening their doors again for business. Employees and students working and learning from home are finding themselves with flexible schedules and the ability to travel at a time of year when they wouldn’t ordinarily be able to, empowering many to take advantage of the traditionally low rates that come with the fall shoulder season. This newfound flexibility in combination with the upcoming winter holidays creates an optimistic short-term outlook for many vacation rentals, particularly those outside risk-prone urban centers.
Still, many U.S. travelers aren’t ready to hop on an airplane if they don’t have to. Domestic flight bookings remain down year over year and international flights are faring even worse.2 What we’ve seen this summer and can continue to expect in the months to come: Americans are hitting the road. The average U.S. driver took two road trips this summer and plans to take two more in the future, with over four in ten replacing one or more of their canceled travel plans with a road trip of some kind.3 Travelers are more likely to travel by personal car in the next six months than they were in the late spring and early summer.1 With 73% of drivers saying road tripping is more fun than flying,3 it’s no surprise that 60% of those intending to travel by personal car are willing to trek up to 300 miles, each way, for an upcoming vacation and nearly 40% of drivers are willing to travel even further.1
For more about rising road trip popularity, check out our white paper on The Revival of the Great American Road Trip
Knowing that so many travelers are highway-bound this year makes it a wise time to reassess your travel insurance offerings and the ways they can help your road tripping guests. If you rent along a waterfront or coast, Seaside Coastal Travel Insurance can do more for your guests if adverse weather closes roads or if their personal vehicle breaks down on the way to their rental. For mountain properties, Ski & Mountain Travel Insurance gives your guests better coverage if a storm makes the rental inaccessible. Wherever you’re renting, if you aren’t offering a plan with Roadside Assistance and Medical and Dental coverage for emergencies, consider upgrading.
Earn More Revenue
We’re seeing an increased demand for travel insurance among our vacation rental travelers during these unpredictable times. Our annual study revealed U.S. travelers are 40% more likely to purchase travel insurance for a future trip, compared to trips they’ve taken in the past. In the face of uncertainties, health and safety remains a top priority. 87% of those intending to purchase travel insurance want protection for emergency medical and hospital expenses.4 Coverage if a traveler or family member gets sick with COVID-19 before or during their trip can help you give guests peace of mind, and is included with all Generali plans.
We all know that travelers aren’t the only ones facing risks right now. While many vacation rental managers are looking forward with relative optimism for the near future, many communities continue to navigate hardships: from the pandemic, to another active hurricane season, to devastating wildfires in the west. Our travel protection programs are here to help protect your guests and they’re here to help protect your business, too. Adding extra revenue to just a fraction of your reservations can go a long way over a year’s time.
If you aren’t a Generali partner yet, contact us today and find out how we can help your business.
on behalf of Generali Global Assistance