If you’re a manager of holiday rental properties I am certain that you have caught up with the news that Homeaway ( including Stayz and all the other subsidiaries ) has been purchased by Expedia. If you haven’t maybe you have been out of internet range or perhaps living in a cocoon.

According to the Wall Street Journal, and other sources, “Expedia Inc. has agreed to pay $3.9 billion to buy holiday rental company HomeAway Inc., capping a string of increasingly expensive acquisitions and moving more directly into competition with Airbnb Inc.”

So what does this mean? Well those that follow my newsletters and the Genkan blog will already appreciate my opinion this but here are 3 survival action plans that will help holiday rental property managers survive.

  1. YOU HAVE TO BUILD YOUR OWN BRAND

There is no alternative, with HomeAway and Stayz, your individual property listing is about one of one million. When someone is looking for a holiday rental in your area, your competitor’s property is literally right next to yours. Now, the possibility exists not that far down the line that your property will be competing with the hotels on Expedia. HomeAway may continue to operate independently, but with Expedia in the mix, it’s not outside the realm of possibility that over time your holiday rental properties will now have even more competition.

imagesHow do you combat that?
You build your own brand! and build that brand on your land !

I am not saying that manager of holiday rental properties should abandon listing sites at all costs because we all recognize that your properties need to be where your potential are. However, if you are 70% or more reliant on third-party sites like Stayz, HomeAway or Booking.com for your business, you need to really think about whether or not you’re comfortable with your business model changing overnight and you having no decision in the matter. You need a strategy to go forward and the bottom line is  Now is the time to regain control of your customer and build your brand before its too late !

  1. THE HOLIDAY RENTAL INDUSTRY IS HERE TO STAY

Ok, so that might not be earth-shattering news for anyone currently in the industry, but has there been a stronger statement exclaiming exactly that? Sure, Airbnb is valued at more than $25 billion, but Expedia has now lumped holiday rentals into their broader travel mix that include, airlines, rental cars, hotels, etc. Of course they purchased WOTIF several years ago and WOTIF had been and has been promoting holiday rentals for some time. But what this means to the manager of holiday rental properties is that IF you own your clients and own the territory on which your business grows upon, then you have a valuable asset because this acquisition trail isn’t ending here, get ready to be a a part of it.

  1. WILL HOMEAWAY / STAYZ CHANGE THEIR MODEL TO COMPETE WITH AIRBNB ?

The same Wall Street Journal article states, “HomeAway said it could start charging some travellers fees to book properties on top of the commissions it already charges homeowners. This has already been re-enforced by an article in the Sydney Morning Herald in speaking with the local director Anton Stanich

This new fee strategy copies the structure Airbnb uses to collect revenue, though Mr. (Bryan) Sharples (CEO at HomeAway) said HomeAway would seek to undercut its rivals’ overall charges and this was confirmed locally”

A few things to think about:

  • Were you planning on raising your tariffs in 2016?
  • Will you still be able to raise your rates if HomeAway / Stayz will automatically start charging the guests a fee on top of your listing price?
  • If HomeAway / Stayz is trying to copy the model set forth by Airbnb, is it smart to put some listings on Airbnb (the “best” listing model already in place) as opposed to waiting for HomeAway to catch up?
  • Is all this too much to think about? Wouldn’t it be better to collect the majority of your bookings directly through your website?

OF COURSE IT WOULD !!!

The best place to take a booking, finalize a booking is currently – and will always be – and directly through your website. Direct bookings are the only way for you to completely control the process, build your brand and own your customers. It continues to amaze me on the number of clients that wont spend $10,000 on their own website but would happily spend 4 times that amount in commissions to listing sites.

If you are ready to take the step to decrease your dependence on third-party booking sites, Genkan is here and has always been here to help. Let us show you how to;

  • Turn your Website into pure inspiration to influence decisions.
  • Establish an adequate degree of independency from listing sites.
  • Increase your occupancy rate with minimal efforts yet smart marketing strategies.
  • Make the most of the single most important asset you have – your website and your brand.
  • Leverage all streams of traffic possible to your property’s site
  • Capitalise on your ever growing database, make it work for you

Visit www.genkan.com.au or call +61 2 99297944 and we’ll set up a time to chat about our unique strategy with the Genkan PMS  that has helps our customers achieve these goals every day !