Bryan spoke at length about the benefits of using a property management system, trends in the industry, plus tips and advice for hosts and property managers.
Click here to listen to the podcast, which was hosted by HCH Founder, James Varley. Below are some key excerpts from the interview.
James Varley: What advice would you give to hosts who are aiming to take their listings to the next level?
Bryan Leblang: The simplest answer is to make sure you’re taking advantage of different channels. You’d be amazed at how different channels promote different seasons and different destinations at different times. Airbnb might have a budget pushing Mexico this month and Booking[.com] might have it next month. You don’t know their marketing calendars, so use them all.
Also, be willing to discount when you’re getting into your off-season…and look at the length of your stay minimums. Maybe you have a five-night minimum but you’re willing to take four. And look at tools like PriceLabs and Rategenie, which dynamically change your rates to take advantage of booking trends.
James Varley: Are we heading towards more professionalisation in the industry? Will the hosts that take this seriously be the ones who survive and thrive?
Bryan Leblang: I think so. I think we're out of the Wild West period of vacation rentals. I remember fielding many calls back in the day, ‘How do I know the home will be there when I get there?’. There just wasn't trust established in the sector yet. It was still a catalogue industry back then. There weren't even websites showing rates and availability – guests had to take your word for it, so there was a period of people taking advantage. It meant people lost trust – but I give credit to Airbnb and Vrbo for stamping out duplicate listings and fraud…because that was one of the huge clouds hanging over the industry’s head.
The industry has been professionalised already to a degree. It is even synonymous with the noun ‘Airbnb’. People say, ‘I’m getting an Airbnb’. It might be listed on One Fine Stay or Plum Guide or Vrbo – but they still call it an Airbnb. So, they’ve established that trust, which is nice, but it’s then up to managers to take it further. That’s why I was saying be on the channels. Be on the reputable brands. Put your advertisements in the places they belong –where people expect to see you, but then put yours next to it. That's one of the lessons I think to learn here is there's a lot of money poured into the industry and you should sail with those winds and then be crafty to take advantage of them and go a little faster where you can.
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