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5 Ways to Snag More Last Minute Bookings

Did you know that 44% of leisure travelers and 56% of business travelers make their bookings at the last minute?  While it’s ideal to have your listing(s) booked weeks or even months in advance, every now and then there will be some unsold nights that you’d love to see turned into revenue.  There are a few strategies you can use to make sure you do just that.

Stay Price-Flexible

Each owner/manager knows the break-even price of each listing, below which you would actually lose money if a guest were to come to stay.  However, often there’s a fair bit of margin between that price and your ideal price.  As the unsold nights get closer to the present day, you should be active in either manually bringing those prices down or setting your channel manager to do that automatically.  While last-minute travelers can sometimes be desperate for anything at any price, very often a well-priced deal will encourage them to pick you over someone else.

Use Social Media

If you haven’t already been active in social media and various travel groups on platforms like Facebook, you’re missing a great opportunity to snag possible guests.  “Last minute trip to X” will often match the precise keywords that a guest may be using to find a property like yours.  Because of the easy shareability of social media, a single post with, “Last-minute availability in X” with a link to your listing can be shared until it gets to someone who needs precisely that.  

Use an Email List

An email list is another tool that savvy vacation rental owners/managers use to funnel in business.  Such newsletters don’t have to be lengthy – as long as they add value people will open them (like we hope you are opening this!).  Subscribers will include fans of your property who can then forward that email on to a friend with a sentence like, “Remember that place I told you Bob and I stayed at last year?  They’ve got a last minute booking available for next week!”  Even if someone misses out on a deal they may decide to subscribe to your email newsletter so as not to do so in the future.

List Across Multiple Platforms

We’ve shared previously that a great way to bring in more guests on a regular basis is to list on multiple platforms instead of being exclusive to one.  There are channel managers to help you do just that.  This multiplies the number of guests who will see your flexible prices as they search for an accommodation that meets their last-minute needs.

List On Sites that Specialize in Last-Minute Travel

In addition to listing on multiple platforms for your standard bookings, there are platforms like Whimstay that cater specifically to last-minute travelers.  These platforms have their own social media and newsletters to reach even more travelers.

This content originally appeared in our twice-monthly Guest Book Newsletter

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At first I tried to take care of all of the cleaning process myself, and it turned out to be a bigger headache than anything else. So a friend told me about MaidThis and its been fantastic. I’ve been working with my cleaners for a few months so far. I recommend you check out the service for yourself.
Brent
Airbnb Host in LA
90+

Hours
Saved

I definitely think that as a company we've been able to make more money, not only because we're saving money by using Maid This, but also because they're helping take a few of the necessary evils with doing vacation rentals off of the property managers plate.
Laura G
Airbnb Host in LA
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Blog

Companies Shaping the Vacation Rental Industry, Part 2

In our last article about companies shaping the vacation rental industry, we looked at businesses that help hosts with property management, smart connectivity, and welcoming guests.  Today we’re going to examine companies leading the way in providing data, managing channels, and adding experiences to the mix.

Data Providers

As the vacation rental industry has grown, so has the importance and use cases of big data.  There are lots of companies taking on different niches in this space.  

Airdna has gotten a lot of attention for its Marketminder feature which allows its users to zero in on local markets, leveraging data from 10M properties across 80,00 cities worldwide.  Key metrics include:

  • Occupancy rate
  • Annual revenue
  • Average daily rate

Transparent ups the ante by using data from 35M properties, but specifically only from Airbnb, VRBO, and Booking.com properties.

A company called Mashvisor addresses the larger investment game: buying properties specifically for vacation rentals.  They do this using a dataset currently focused in the US that allows users to identity cities and neighborhoods that meet their criteria for investment in this space.

Channel Managers

Channel management allows your vacation rental to be listed across multiple platforms.  The big ones that come to mind are Airbnb, VRBO, and Booking.com.  But if you want to add channel management, you might also want access to many of the other platforms that are coming up in this still-fragmenting space, like Flipkey and Housetrip.

The biggest value-adds in channel managers are the ability to sync calendars so that you can’t be double-booked and the ability to monitor pricing across various platforms to allow you to adjust prices as needed for maximum profitability.  Some channel managers, like Lodgify, also make it easy for you to set up your own website for your vacation rental so that you can benefit from direct bookings.

Hospitable, lauded for its ease of use, is also a leading channel manager, as well as Guesty, which we already noted is a leader in the Property Management Software space.

Experiences

Back in 2016, Airbnb saw a natural add-on in vacation rentals and chose to add “Experiences” to their offerings.  As a host, you can create experiences that can be booked by guests at your properties but can also appeal to a wider audience (who can then also learn about your listings).  It’s a natural way to add revenue and a different facet to the vacation experience for guests.

But if you’re not interested in hosting an experience yourself, there are no shortage of companies that you can use to find fun activities to direct your guests to consider.  Three of them include: 

  • GuideAdvisor – focused on local guides
  • Viator – powered by TripAdvisor and with a staggering number of offerings
  • Xplorie – focused on fun, local, and free activities, Xplorie ties together the vacation rental experience with activity planning

There are so many exciting things happening in almost every part of the vacation rental industry that even a pandemic can’t suppress.  Take a look at all the categories we mentioned, do some research, and see if adding their services to what you’re doing might be just what you need to take your listings to the next level.

This content originally appeared in our twice-monthly Guest Book newsletter

Clean my
Vacation Rental


single-blog-sidebar-vacation-rental
  • Automated Scheduling
  • Cleaning Report with Pictures
  • Never a No-Show. Guaranteed.
Book Now

Testimonials

At first I tried to take care of all of the cleaning process myself, and it turned out to be a bigger headache than anything else. So a friend told me about MaidThis and its been fantastic. I’ve been working with my cleaners for a few months so far. I recommend you check out the service for yourself.
Brent
Airbnb Host in LA
90+

Hours
Saved

I definitely think that as a company we've been able to make more money, not only because we're saving money by using Maid This, but also because they're helping take a few of the necessary evils with doing vacation rentals off of the property managers plate.
Laura G
Airbnb Host in LA
90+

Hours
Saved