As a vacation rental owner, it’s important to stay in the loop on what’s going on. No matter where you are located in the world, we’ve compiled the most important and recent news in the vacation rental industry, all catered specifically to you!
1. Women-Only Vacation Rental Platform Launched
A new female-only vacation rental listing platform, Golightly, has been launched. It works both ways for the gender, the listing site only allows female hosts to list their vacation rental, and only female guests to rent. Golightly is run by women and made for women.
As more females are traveling and backpacking solo worldwide, many have been prone to problems in terms of safety and security in their accommodation. This new platform aims to provide a safe and comfortable experience for women on a global scale.
The site has been launched internationally, with listings in Europe such as the UK, Spain, France, and Italy. The platform also operates in the US, with major cities San Francisco, New York, Miami, and Chicago included in the listing.
Golightly has enforced rules to screen and verify its users. Users must be invited by an existing member. A member is entitled to five invites to distribute. If a user does not have an invitation but wants to join, they still can but need to go through their verification process. Guests and hosts alike must first fill out an application form and then have an interview with the Golightly team.
2. Airbnb to Introduce Policies to Protect Hosts from Scams and Troublesome Guests
Airbnb has announced a series of measures to protect hosts listing on their site when it comes to troublesome guests or scams.
As of January 2020, new standards for guest behavior have been enforced. These include excessive noise, authorized guests, parking, smoking and keeping the place in good condition after check-out. In the event that a guest has breached the guest standard policy, the host should report this violation to Airbnb for actions to be taken.
Following a shooting at an Airbnb Halloween party in Ordina, California, in October 2019, party houses and open invite events are strictly forbidden on the listing platform. Airbnb is now encouraging hosts to install noise detectors to detect any banned parties or excessive noise. The online booking platform even provided discounts for their hosts to use these devices.
In terms of reviews, Airbnb will remove any unfair reviews which were written by the guest out of anger and retaliation, e.g. guest was not allowed to check-out late so wrote a negative review. The same applies to fraudulent reviews and low star ratings.
Airbnb has also introduced a guest guarantee policy for travelers, which protect guests against hosts who are unresponsive, have inaccurate listing descriptions, lack key amenities, and do not clean the accommodation thoroughly prior to check-in.
3. More People Buying Vacation Rental Properties before Their First Homes
According to CNN, it is becoming a norm to buy a vacation rental property before or instead of a first home. With the high home prices in cities like New York and San Fransisco, it’s more feasible and affordable to rent a property and purchase a home in a less expensive area. In return, they can still live in the expensive city of their choice and make an income with their vacation rental business.
People have the opportunity to take out a less expensive mortgage and also receive a mortgage interest deduction. Instead of purchasing a property in New York City for $2 million, they opt for a $250,000 home in the outskirts. This choice comes with enjoying and being able to afford to live in the city of their choice without going into debt.
In fact, millennials are part of this choice when it comes to purchasing a vacation rental instead of a primary residence. As some cities have become unaffordable to buy a property, with the average house price in San Fransisco at a value of $1.3 million, it seems reasonable to purchase elsewhere. For some, renting a house in an expensive city whilst saving to buy a home in that area is no longer achievable.
4. Virtual tours now available on Vrbo and HomeAway
Virtual tours have been on the rise over the past few years. As well as looking at photos on the listing site, guests browsing vacation rentals can have a virtual tour. Hosts showcase their vacation rental and allow guests to step into the property without being physically present.
Vrbo and HomeAway have recently introduced virtual tours on their listing site. Potential renters can now experience a 360-degree view of the rental property or apartment. It’s also optimized for mobile phones.
This interactive feature can boost bookings. In fact, a report found by Google found that virtual tours helped double interest in businesses.
Hosts who want to stand out from the crowd are opting for these 3D interactive tours, allowing guests to visualize walking through the house and roam around as they please. They have full control and can pick and choose what exactly they want to see. It further adds credibility to a vacation rental business, as guests can confirm for themselves what they’ve seen in the photos is in fact true.
5. Google Launches the Most Popular Travel Destinations for 2020
And lastly, Google has launched the most popular travel destinations for 2020.
The top 10 are as follows:
- Da Nang, Vietnam
- Sao Paolo, Brazil
- Seoul, Korea
- Tokyo, Japan
- Tel Aviv, Israel
- Marseille, France
- Vienna, Austria
- Bangkok, Thailand
- Dubai, United Arab Emirates
- Perth, Australia
How did Google come up with this ranking? They based the report on the highest number of hotel searches from users around the world and these destinations ranked the highest.
Whilst in 2019, four US locations (Las Vegas, Alaska, California, New York) were included in the most searched travel places. This isn’t to say that other popular destinations (Florida, California, Mexico) are losing visitors.