We are all seeing high guest demand and out-of-the-ordinary booking behaviors. Our team could barely get out of the office to attend the 2021 VRMA International Conference in San Antonio, and I imagine your business was the same.
The biggest buzz at the conference was about getting new home supplies, because you know that no matter how many homes you have, occupancy will be high for the next two years.
Plus, there is the big cloud hanging over us of these massive financially powered property managers who will overpay for your homes. What do you do?
At Safely.com, we’ve always focused on the fundamentals, and this is our playbook for acquiring more homes and growing in 2022.
It will take time before new home inventory joins the market, which means that near-term growth will be driven by acquiring homes already being rented.
Up your presentation game
Your well-funded national competitors can afford to invest in world-class homeowner presentations, and these are compelling. It is time to build that dynamic return on investment calculator, upgrade the graphics, get some sales coaching, and double down on the follow-up.
Be a partner in your homeowner’s wealth accumulation
The home you are managing is a large part of your homeowner’s total assets. They are not renting the home because they want to launch their hospitality career; rather, they want to earn more money on their asset and make their family’s life a little easier. How can you protect the homeowner’s liability? Are you protecting the homeowner’s precious family time by having the home ready for their guests when they arrive? How can you decrease high-risk guests?
Demonstrate you have a pulse on technology
Homeowners have become sophisticated about Googling everything about property management. You need to stay one step ahead of them. Show them how your management gets their home to a new level they could not achieve without you. For example, automated locks keep the creepers out, noise detection keeps you in business and prevents your couches from being destroyed, revenue management shows respect to their income, channel management maximizes demand, and cleaning apps maintain a high level of consistency and keeps your pricing power high.
Contribute to the community
A homeowner’s motivations are not always purely financial. When they purchased a home, they also selected a community. How can you help them feel like a member of the community? How else can you help the community? You know where you can make an impact. Is it sponsoring a Little League team or a Girl Scout troop?
You know that how your guests use your homes is changing. They are working from their vacation rental home and still need to be “Zoom ready.” It is time to be a market leader in Wi-Fi speed and reliability.
They are also taking more frequent trips, especially if your location is within an easy drive of a metropolitan area. The more you can learn about each guest’s preferences, store this information, and begin marketing directly to them, the more demand you will generate to release yourself from the hold of the major booking sites.
Homeownership is no longer simple. You’ve seen some of your homeowners move into their vacation home because their surroundings are safer and more beautiful than their primary home.
There are new schemes to purchase and manage a fraction of a second home. Families who can are working in their second home for a significant part of the year. Desired amenities are changing.
According to Realtor.com, young homeowners are showing increased interest in renting some, or all, of their home as a way to collect extra income. A survey found that 32 percent of homeowners have experimented with different approaches to earning additional income from their properties, including renting the residence out while they are on vacation. Eighty-five percent said they would think about building additions onto their homes to rent out for additional income. Meanwhile, 53 percent said they would rent out some of their home as a way to increase their savings.
I don’t know for certain what all of these new home ownership trends will be, but you will be the first to know in your market, and best able to adapt.
Andrew Bate is co-founder and CEO of Safely.com, the leading insurtech and guest screening solution for the vacation and short-term rental market. Since its launch in 2015, over $50 billion of homeowner liability has been covered.