In the ever-evolving world of vacation rentals, staying ahead of the curve is crucial for success. This blog delves into the need-to-know STR trends shaping the industry in 2024.
Guests are becoming more and more savvy. They understand that booking directly with the host will likely be cheaper than using one of the major online travel agencies. Hosts and property managers who do not offer a direct booking platform are likely to be losing out on revenue as they will need to pay costly commission fees time and time again.
If you don't have a direct booking website, consider using a property management solution (PMS) which will help you to build one as standard. Consider Hosthub, Powerhost, RentalWise, and SuperControl (all HCH sponsors).
With guest expectations constantly rising, upselling is becoming an essential part of the STR journey – helping hosts to impress visitors and earn extra revenue.
A range of dedicated upselling platforms have sprung up in recent years – enabling hosts to easily profit from early check-ins/late check-outs, equipment hires, stocking the fridge with groceries, or even partnering with nearby businesses to provide a local chef, masseuse, or other services (and earning a commission in the process).
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is reshaping the vacation rentals landscape, from personalised guest experiences to dynamic pricing strategies. AI solutions are helping hosts to create compelling content and assisting with guest relations – through chatbots or even voice assistant technology. AI is also being utilised to develop content for tools like digital guidebooks and being harnessed to provide upselling opportunities by helping hosts predict exactly what their guests will require, such as a late check-out, groceries on arrival, or the rental of sports equipment. If you need to create a lot of content for your listings or social media, make sure you utilise ChatGPT.
The popularity of mid-term stays
The rise of digital nomads has led to an increased demand for mid-term stays in vacation rentals. Hosts can capitalise on this by ensuring they cater for business travellers – think super-fast Wi-Fi, desk space, and a comfortable chair. Additionally, long-stay discounts might encourage more bookings – which will help to boost profits and reduce the amount spent on cleaning and maintenance between stays.
Guests are increasingly seeking eco-friendly properties – meaning it is important for hosts to adopt sustainable practices and promote them in their listings. Sustonica (HCH sponsor) is the first sustainability standard for short-term rentals and can help you to stand out to eco-conscious travellers while making your property more environmentally friendly.
The vacation rental industry is witnessing a shift towards professional property management services. Rentals which operate like clockwork, with successful and repeatable processes, are the ones which will stand out. Many guests now expect a hotel-style stay, with excellent service and seamless access to amenities.
Another aspect of professionalisation is pricing. Hitting the sweet spot is imperative in order to match demand and ensure you are earning the best rate possible. Using a dynamic pricing tool like Beyond (HCH sponsor) will help.
And finally...be informed
Holiday Cottage Handbook exists in order to help hosts and property managers improve operations and build sustainable businesses. Keep up with the latest trends by signing up for our newsletter and listening to our weekly podcast, which features STR experts from across the globe. Make sure you also attend industry events, including Holiday Cottage Handbook LIVE (download your free ticket here), which will take place at ExCel London on 19-20 April, plus the SCALE events, which are taking place in multiple countries throughout 2024.