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3 Experts Predict the Future of the Sharing Economy: What Does It Mean for You?

sharing economy

The “sharing economy” – when private individuals, rather than businesses, rent out their personal property, such as their homes, cars, bicycles or tools – has taken the globe by storm in industries across the board.

Personal assets can be shared easily, quickly, and affordably. In the past decade or so, dozens of websites like Airbnb, Lyft, Uber, and more have promoted the sharing economy and found success.

Now that the sharing economy has gone mainstream, what kind of future can renters and borrowers expect in the housing and vacation rental industry? Homeowners, especially, have many concerns about new issues popping up related to sharing their homes with vacationers.

As more vacation rental sites appear, the focus of the online marketplace will be forced to make some pivots. As such, it’s no secret that the vacation rental industry is poised to make transitions in order to keep it viable for today’s unique consumer.

Here are 3 expert opinions about the future of the sharing economy and what challenges and celebrations may be coming for homeowners and guests.

Rachel Botsman

Rachel Botsman, visiting academic at the University of Oxford, Saïd Business School, creator of the world’s first MBA course on the collaborative economy, and author of What’s Mine Is Yours, is most famous for coining the term “collaborative consumption” when discussing this new model of sharing assets.  

Botsman believes the sharing economy model will continue to expand and evolve with newer technologies. Smartphone apps, especially, will see significant growth in relation to sharing economy platforms.

For those in the vacation rental business, it will be increasingly vital to pay close attention to the way their properties are presented. Pictures and features for vacation rental homes should be optimized for mobile app presentation to stay as competitive as possible.

Additionally, Botsman sees this type of collaborative consumption growing into different sectors. Energy sharing platforms and internet connection sharing plans are beginning to take flight in some parts of the world. Those who have an excess of these services are finding ways to share their resources. Homeowners may even discover ways to incorporate energy and Wi-Fi sharing into their vacation rentals for maximum cost efficiency.

Finally, Botsman predicts that this model of collaborative goods and services will branch out into newer markets around the globe, specifically China and India. These countries, which are experiencing massive growth in industry and tourism, are primed for vacation and home rental sharing services like Airbnb and others. For potential property owners, these spots may have top investment potential.

Billee Howard

Billee Howard, founder of Brandthropologie, contributor at Forbes Magazine, and author of We-Commerce: How to Create, Collaborate, and Succeed in the Sharing Economy, focuses her expertise on the business side of the sharing economy and how companies like Etsy, Uber, Airbnb, and others have been able to launch successful business models that make a profit. Howard believes businesses and individuals can find success through collaborative innovation.

Howard insists that telling a story plays an essential role in building trust in the sharing economy for things like vacation rental homes. Homeowners can do more with this by focusing on ways to tell potential renters about their home or space’s story.

It’s also essential to position themselves in a way that is compelling and relatable to potential renters. Instead of a sterile hotel room, today’s room and home renters want something more personalized. They also want to get a little more insight into their hosts and a story brings that to the table – along with trust.

More importantly, people are more likely to buy from people they have a connection with – or more simply, people buy from other real people. Showing transparency in what you’re offering and creating a story people want to be a part of will add to the likelihood that they will choose to rent from you over competitors with less personal messages.

Howard also stresses the importance of powerful content in the sharing economy marketplace. Interacting and completing transactions between private individuals needs to be driven by content that is original, touching or compelling. That way, the product you’re offering stands out among the thousands of others who have joined in on this method of generating income.

Finally, Howard stresses that social media will continue to play a big role in the future of the sharing economy business model. With the rise of various platforms for social media sharing, more users are driving organic content and sharing stories with their friends and followers. This may also help push shared services and goods further beyond the traditional means of ordering and purchasing products.

Alex Stephany

Alex Stephany, author of The Business of Sharing and former CEO of the successful UK-based startup JustPark, details the ways that traditional business methods are being transformed by the new collaborative economy.  

Stephany sees a future where the collaborative culture continues to break ground in new communities and help individuals make money. For homeowners, there could be even more opportunities beyond sharing a residence, such as sharing parking spaces or lawn care equipment. Ideally, people who own assets could take advantage of their ownership and generate revenue by offering to rent to those individuals who are uninterested in investing in assets of their own.

Additionally, Stephany expects individuals to expand their sharing potential to clothing and other personal items. Environmentally, the planet could benefit from the constant use of items that may have traditionally been thrown out.

Finally, Stephany sees more potential for average homeowners to continue making profits. For now, that’s good news – collaborative consumption is gaining popularity and continues to have positive associations. Hosts, drivers, owners, and more are able to capitalize on this hot and expanding industry.

The sharing economy has exploded over the past few years. The industry is truly powered by people and will continue to grow as more innovators find ways to connect owners to potential renters.

Sites and networks allowing individuals to lend out their belongings for profit will provide added sources of financial freedom and entrepreneurial success to some while helping others find what they’re looking for without making significant investments.

 

Need to set up a turnover cleaning? Learn more about our Airbnb cleaning.

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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
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Hours
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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.
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5 Surefire Ways to Improve Your Vacation Rental Reviews

vacation rental reviews

When you make a room, floor level, or entire property, available as a vacation rental, you’re diving headfirst into the wild world of hospitality. There’s no getting around it: with vacation rentals, great reviews (or lack thereof) are often the difference between keeping your space booked year-round and watching it (and your wallet) collect dust.

Keeping the great reviews rolling in isn’t necessarily easy, but it certainly doesn’t have to be overly difficult, either. Attention to detail and awareness of your guest’s needs are at the most basic level of building a profitable vacation rental business. To keep your space occupied consistently, go a step (or a few) further to provide an experience worth raving about online.

1. Upgraded Amenities

Let’s face it: vacations rarely go as planned. No matter how perfect the weather looks when the itinerary is finalized, there’s almost always an unexpected rainy day or canceled tour. Sometimes it’s a case of jet lag that lingers a little longer than expected. When a day gets knocked off the agenda, it’s important that your rental space is there to save the day for your guests. Whether it’s an included Netflix subscription, video gaming systems and wide-range game assortment, a well-stocked bookshelf, board games, or a Keurig with a variety of beverage choices, these upgraded amenities are a big deal to your guests.

It’s a huge load off to know they won’t have to go out of their way to entertain themselves, should a part of their plans fall through. They’ll be extremely grateful to you for making their entire vacation experience – even the unexpected parts – pleasurable and easy.

2. Stellar Guest Service

Whether you’re present at the time of rental or not, you should be prepared to provide excellent guest service throughout any length of stay. If you’re renting out a room in your own home, make sure you’re friendly, helpful, and informative. Your guests are getting away to relax and enjoy some time apart from their daily lives. Ensuring you’re pleasant company without being constantly “in their business” makes a difference. If you’re renting an entire property and won’t be there for your guests’ stay, make sure you have systems in place to let them know you care about their level of comfort.

This may include having services hired out to guarantee things are never out of stock, like toilet paper or basic pantry items. It could also be as simple as leaving a personalized letter explaining where your guests can find anything they may be looking for and wishing them a great stay. (Be sure to place it somewhere you know they will find it!) Consider including contact information for them if anything goes awry on the property during their vacation.

The experience doesn’t have to end once your guests head home. After they check out, send them a friendly email thanking them again for their stay and ask if there was anything you could have done to make it better so you can improve for the next visitor. Invite them to leave a review for you via their chosen booking agency. It’s imperative to do this before they leave a review so the guest can air any concerns they had. This gives you an awesome opportunity to prevent bad reviews.

Being absolutely certain that you’ve done everything in your power to exceed each guest’s expectations is one of the best ways to improve your vacation rental reviews. There’s no substitute for great customer service, so make sure this is top-of-mind when it comes to your rental.

3. Offer Unique Experiential Value

Most often, people choose to rent a vacation space over a hotel because of the local vibe. People like to experience their vacation spot with more authenticity these days. Tourist traps are out; favorite local haunts are in.  Be their one-stop guide to all the “best-kept secrets” of your area by providing them with a list of suggestions and a little bit about why you love them. Break it down into fun categories, like “Best Dive Bars,” “Most Delicious Pizza,” or “Satisfy that Sweet Tooth.” …You get the idea.

Offering your unique insight on the city you know and love can help your guests experience their new surroundings in a totally unique way. That’s the kind of “above and beyond” treatment that will stick with your guests when they go to write their reviews. Plus, the memories your guests will create from your heartfelt suggestions are worth so much more than 5 stars and have the potential to create repeat renters.

Need some help putting this together? Check out a couple of cool sites like Coral or Touch Stay, which helps you put together all kinds of info for your guests that they can access via an app on their smartphone.

4. Keep It Clean

Think about the last time you stayed at a vacation home, or even a hotel, and walked into the room to find it looking like the last guests never left. The gross-out factor of arriving at a dirty rental is the kind of first impression that’s really hard to recover from. That’s why it’s so important to deep clean your rental between stays.

Let’s face it, when people rent your space, they aren’t looking for something that feels decidedly “lived-in.” They are likely spending more than they would on a budget hotel room for a unique experience, sure – but they still have high standards for the cleanliness of that experience. Whether you personally head to the property to spend the day cleaning after your guests leave or hire a cleaning service to do the dirty work for you, a spotless scene for your next rental guests is imperative if you’re looking to rake in the good reviews.

P.S. If you’re tired of scrubbing down your rental after every group of guests, we’ve got you covered.

5. Know Your Guests

If you really want to stand out amongst your competitors, all it takes is doing something they aren’t. The secret? Get to know your guests. Make a point to have a genuine conversation with them before they arrive or shortly thereafter. Getting to know the people staying in your rental accomplishes a couple of important things in terms of providing top-notch hospitality: it allows you to tailor your suggestions to their interests and helps you understand where to concentrate your efforts for their stay.

Taking a little extra time to understand why they are traveling and what brought them to you will also provide insight into what is already drawing people to your rental. It’s like a free case study on your reputation, so take advantage!

 

All of these suggestions boil down to something really simple: be an amazing host. Care about your guests, care about their stay, and care enough about your reputation to go the extra mile. When you do these things, it won’t be the least bit surprising to watch your ratings rise – and your bookings and bank account along with them.

Need help getting your vacation rental ready for your next guests? Set up a time to have one of our fully-vetted cleaners make your space sparkle and watch the rave reviews stack up.

 

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