Vacation rental News
What’s Vrbo doing in response to COVID-19 for Property Managers?
In Vrbo’s nearly 25 years, the marketplace has been through a lot but nothing comes close to the current challenges facing our travelers, partners and team members around the world. More than anything, Vrbo understands this brings immense uncertainty to travel and therefore your business.
Everyone deserves something to look forward to and will need a break to reconnect with one another in their own, private space. We expect vacation rentals to be uniquely positioned for the resurgence of travel when the stress recedes.
Vrbo is a two-sided marketplace, so for every traveler who paid hard-earned money for a vacation, there is a partner who relies on the bookings to run their business. For this reason, Vrbo has suggested property management partners options to manage their business. Check out the Vrbo Covid-19 homepage for frequently asked questions and other useful information to help you navigate these trying times.
Vrbo encourages to adopt more flexible cancellation policies and offer full refunds to travelers who wish to cancel. The vast majority of Vrbo’s property managers are rising to the occasion and offering credits and/or refunds to travelers in extreme circumstances.
As a result, Vrbo is finding new ways to reward your flexibility and understanding. For example, listings will receive “free cancellation” merchandising to travelers when you set up custom cancellation, flexible or moderate policy types. Read more on the Vrbo Covid-19 policy
Vrbo asked other property managers how they’re mitigating risk to their business while also taking care of travelers, here’s some of the top tips.
What’s working for other Vrbo Property Managers?
Vrbo got in touch with property managers across the vacation rental industry to understand what is working for them during these times and offer tips on how to manage your business during a crisis.
- Offering credit to guests to rebook for future dates is a key strategy to keep reservations on the books.“We immediately adjusted our policies to provide a full credit to rebook for any guest with a stay upcoming in 30 days. 90% of these guests were appreciative and understanding, and for the 10% who had concerns, we worked with them one on one to resolve,” says Corey Jones.
- A sensible cancellation and refund policy is also important to have in place for travelers who do not want to rebook.“Our company has processed full refunds for guest cancellations who do not want to rebook in California, and we are planning to do the same in Texas. I’m telling our owners that even though it is hard to lose that revenue, we are doing the right thing and we will be rewarded for it with guest loyalty after the crisis is over,” says Ben Edwards.
- Extending flexible policies over the next few months — given the undetermined state of travel restrictions — is a great strategy to give prospective guests the confidence to book. “We changed our cancellation policy to offer 48-hour flexible cancellations for any booking through the end of May. We are seeing that this policy is giving guests the reassurance they need to book, and we are seeing an uptick in bookings in May,” says Karen Jernigan-Bobe.
To read more recommendations from other property managers, check out Vrbo’s Discovery Hub article
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