Rewind to the start of the noughties and a new concept appeared on the horizon – the “sharing economy.” Also known as collaborative consumption or peer economy, it’s based upon the simple notion that if you have something you aren’t using you might as well share it, by renting it out to someone who needs it. It seems that the idea has caught on – you can now rent all sorts of things. You can rent a spare driveway from a homeowner for your beloved car, you can rent a bike if someone has one going spare, you can even rent someone’s time (perfect if you need a hand with a spot of DIY or household chores).
The vacation rental industry is no different and has grown at a rapid rate, with technology playing a key part. We’ve seen the meteoric rise of the online vacation rental marketplace with companies such as Airbnb becoming hugely successful. More and more people are choosing to rent out properties and become “hosts,” paving the way for innovative property management software. This software enables the host to set up automated messages to ease communication, automate their calendar in a bid to stay on top of bookings and helps to organize the cleaning/maintenance schedule.
Vacation Rentals Vs Hotel Industry
The increase in vacation rental properties has undoubtedly had an impact on the hotel industry. In the past hotels have been able to hike their prices during busy periods, charging customers more for the privilege of staying in one of their rooms, and those customers have had little choice but to pay more. The upsurge in the number of vacation rental properties has resulted in customers now having a choice, and many choose the comfort of a private room, the additional space of an apartment or the indulgence of hiring a whole house, over the confines of an overly-priced hotel room. This seems to be the case in particular in cities that are known for having expensive hotels (such as New York).
What do The Experts Say?
If things continue in the same way experts suggest that over the next 10-15 years we can expect hotels to take more of a back seat, with vacation rentals becoming the popular option when it comes to choosing a place to stay.
It’s predicted that vacation rental companies such as Airbnb will expand, reaching out to car rental services, eateries and restaurants, art galleries and museum, theatres and concert venues etc. In a bid to form partnerships and offer an even “fuller” experience to guests.
It’s also anticipated that the continued rise of the likes of Airbnb will stimulate the growth and development of related businesses e.g. property management software, and software that helps the host to set an effective pricing structure. It’s highly likely that service providers such as those proffering maintenance and housekeeping services will benefit too.
Another popular theory is that we will see a few strong “brands” emerging who will concentrate their efforts on renting out accommodation. Currently, individuals rent out one or perhaps several properties, in the future it’s predicted companies will pick up the mantle, leaving individual hosts to fight for a market share.
Guests and Hosts are On the Rise
The vacation property industry seems to be growing stronger over time. Customers are keen on having more choice, they no longer accept that the only solution is to book an expensive hotel room. Instead, they are turning to the likes of Airbnb.
The number of hosts using Airbnb is on the increase too, buoyed by the concept of embracing the “sharing economy,” they are keen to grab a slice of the pie for themselves. But they also want to make the process as straightforward as possible and avoid possible problems, by installing useful software that can assist them with communication, managing multiple accounts, monitoring bookings, automating their calendars and scheduling property maintenance.
We don’t have a crystal ball and we can’t be sure what’s around the corner, but if things continue as they have been and we take the views of industry experts into account, we can assume that the vacation rental industry is set to continue on the path to success.