VRBO | 7 Trends to Drive Better Bookings

VRBO | 7 Trends to Drive Better Bookings

Are you wanting to receive better bookings and more of them? VRBO has provided Hostaway with some insightful data that identifies trends in the vacation rental industry. More importantly in a recent joint webinar, Hostaway and VRBO have provided actionable tips for how property managers can leverage these trends and grow their business! These trends help to predict the future of travel.

Trend #1

We’re All About Family

VRBO is a sales channel that prioritizes families. For hosts looking to be successful on VRBO keep the VRBO target market in mind. Fortunately families are a fantastic market segment!

Based on VRBO’s research into families:

  • 82% have travel plans in mind for 2021​
  • 65% will travel more than they did before COVID-19 when it is safe to do so
  • 57% of travelers expect to book trips in the first six months of 2021
  • 60% global demand for large family properties (4+ bedrooms) in 2020

Not only are families planning on booking in 2021 they are also better bookings:

  • Guests are travelling in larger groups. The average VRBO booking is 4 adults + 1 child vs 2 adults + 1 child for Hotels.com and Expedia US.
  • These groups also stay longer. The typical VRBO booking is six days compared to two days on Hotels.com and Expedia US.
  • VRBO groups also spend more on average. $1,756 on Vrbo vs $315 on Hotels.com and Expedia US on $374.

Trend #2

‘Flexcations’ Are A Phenom

A term coined by VRBO, “Flexcations” has been a major Covid trend. Guests are staying longer and making more stays. With the meteoric growth in people working from home and schooling from home many are taking the opportunity to staycation. Guests looking for a flexcation are seeking strong internet speeds and work stations.

  • 52% found the experience refreshing 67% said they would do it again!
  • 47% More likely to rule out a property if a listing has poor amenity descriptions

Trend #3

Amenities Are Key

Guests are seeking amazing amenities during their stay. Not only are amenities great selling propositions they are also important filters that guests use when selecting a property. Make sure to add every amenity to your VRBO listing that applies to your property and consider adding any that you don’t currently have.

amenities checklist

If your targeting families for your property make sure to focus on the five top family filters:

  • Wifi
  • Pets Allowed
  • Washing Machine
  • Parking
  • Kitchen

Trend #4

Cleanliness Is Critical

This one probably comes at no surprise, guests care about cleanliness more than ever! Guests are looking for a sparkling clean unit but beyond that they want to know your exact procedures related to cleaning. Are you leaving gaps between reservations? Are you using disinfectant? Do you provide cleaning supplies and hand wash in the property? These are all important things to note on your listing and to communicate to guests when they book.

  • 82% of travelers say cleaning information is useful when making a booking decision
  • Global pandemic increased the focus on cleaning practices

From VRBO’s research they identified that only 14% of integrated property managers have entered cleaning practices on their listings despite travelers seeking out this information. This a major lost opportunity for property managers choosing not to add these details.

VRBO Cleaning Tips

Trend #5

Flexibility

Travel restrictions and the risk of lockdowns has made it ever important for travelers to book friendly cancellation policies. Guests are worried about the possibility that they may be forced to cancel trips and the risk of being stuck with the bill. Properties with flexible cancellation policies are outpreforming those without. This fear is also resulting in short lead times on bookings. Guests are choosing to book their stays more last minute than is typical.

  • 8 of 10 Travelers are more likely to book accommodations with flexible policies

Trend #6

Pricing & Transparency

Guests are looking for pricing transparency. Try and keep your rates as simple as possible. Adding lots of extra fees to keep a low nightly rate is incredibly off putting to potential guests. When customers see a low lead in rate but then go to checkout and see a huge total they frequently don’t complete their booking.

  • 33% Of families are planning to spend more in 2020
  • Properties with fees at or below their nightly rate see 50% more bookings on Vrbo

Trend #7

Drivable & Outdoor Recreation Destinations

Travellers are making travel plans locally. They want to be able to access their travel destination by driving rather than flights. They are also preferring less densely populated areas such as national parks. If your property has great outdoor recreation highlight it on your listing. Make sure to tell prospective guests how far driving or walking major landmarks and things to do are.

  • 59% more likely to drive than fly to their destination
  • 61% more likely to visit outdoorsy destinations than urban ones
  • 54% more likely to visit a national park than an amusement park

Summary

The 7 trends that VRBO has identified to get more better bookings are:

  1. VRBO Is All About Families
  2. ‘Flexcations’ Are A Phenom
  3. Amenities are Key
  4. Cleanliness Is Critical
  5. Flexibility
  6. Pricing Transparency
  7. Drivable & Outdoor Recreation Destinations

Ready to find out how Hostaway can transform your business?