Since inception, Airbnb has primarily excelled in urban and metropolitan markets. However, over the past year or so, this online travel pioneer has applied significant resources to expanding in resort destinations as well. This shift provides an incredible opportunity for the vacation rental industry as a whole and particularly for professional property managers who have portfolios in these tourist communities. Early adopters who embrace the Airbnb marketplace in their region will surely reap the benefits over those who resist the changing paradigm.
What’s the story with Airbnb?
Airbnb has done an exceptional job of building a tribal following with travelers around the world, and the company significantly contributed to building the sharing economy. Their success and growth of recent years are related to four important principles.
The first, and most obvious, principle is the ease of use on the platform. Airbnb created a user interface that is simple, streamlined, and secure. Their designers and engineers made finding properties a seamless endeavor. They also provide hosts with the ability to add intricate and helpful details about each listing, thereby limiting the need for direct communication and encouraging instant reservations. The user experience and interfaces are continually updated, tested and measured, which increases conversion rates and engagement.
Secondly, they developed a strong, lasting, and innovative brand that separates them from competing platforms and solutions. Few companies initially position their brand on budget and expand to attract high-end, luxury consumers in a matter of years. Airbnb achieved this by appealing directly to emotions, which created a sense of authenticity that travelers were unable to find elsewhere. Their brand actively engages travelers and makes it feel like Airbnb is on the inside, or “in the know,” of communities, cultures, and experiences. The brand is communicated far and wide with aggressive public relations and international ad campaigns.
The third reason for their success, and in direct relation to their strong brand, is that they have made it their mission to provide guests with a local and genuine experience. This pursuit is in response to the transition from a consumer to an experiential-driven economy, where Airbnb discovered a profound opportunity. The platform recognized that many users were looking for more of a local and unique travel adventure rather than a conventional hotel room. This transition owes an enormous amount to social media, which has created a fear of missing out and a desire to create share-worthy experiences. As a result, Airbnb successfully marketed the local knowledge of their owners and thereby, began to adopt many users who historically would have stayed at a tried and true hotel or resort.
Finally, Airbnb has revolutionized the way travelers book vacations by providing transparent feedback and communication, making this the fourth principle of their success. The platform allows guests to review properties and homeowners, and likewise, property managers can evaluate guests. This level of transparency creates an environment of accountability that eases concerns, builds trust, and enables faster reservations.
Airbnb has grown to more than 3M+ listings worldwide, 150M+ total guests, and they are in 65K+ cities and 191+ countries. And in 2016, the company’s revenue hit $12.3 billion, growing faster than any other online travel agency. However, they are still in the early stages of adding listings in resort areas, which again highlights the importance of professional vacation rental managers joining the marketplace as soon as possible. It’s only a matter of time before they have saturated resort markets as well, so the time to move is now.
Speed to Market is Critical for Professional Vacation Rental Managers
Airbnb’s success is no secret; however, most professional vacation rental managers are not yet active on the platform. One of the most important prohibiting factors has been the process of manually adding each listing. Manual listing management is time-consuming, tedious, and often overwhelming for busy VRMs. Aside from creating listings, the process of manually managing availability calendars, accurately adjusting rates, and nurturing each listing is also daunting and nearly impossible for multiple listings.
For that reason, Airbnb has engaged trusted partners to help vacation rental managers leverage the Airbnb API to reduce the time and hassle of manual management drastically. Over the past few months, our team of engineers here at Bluetent worked with Airbnb’s engineering and market management teams to facilitate a smooth and seamless integration of leading property management software to Airbnb. The need for manually adding listings is a process of the past. In just a few weeks, you can have all of your listings live and generating revenue on Airbnb with Rezfusion Boost.