May 1, 2013 — Recently, Airbnb has adapted its business model to include sales of tours, activities and services in addition to short-term rentals.
The upselling of concierge-type services to guests is not new to vacation rental managers, but has not been a part of the distribution portal offering until now. For vacation rental managers who generate ancillary revenue from services, the ability to sell their activities and services on 3rd party distribution sites is potentially advantageous, as it promotes the comprehensive offering provided by a professional manager.
Airbnb’s official response:
“Since launch we have seen people use Airbnb in many different and unique ways.
“Whilst providing hosts a platform to rent out their spare space and travellers a way to book it remains our core offering, we don’t want to discourage anything that provides more meaningful trips and better travel experiences for our community.”
However, as Barefoot Technologies recently referenced in their blog Homeaway Tightens the VRBO Noose on Property Managers, these channels are quickly providing individual owners easy, affordable ways to compete with the added-value services of professional property managers.
Over the last few years, individual home owners have gained access to technology and resources which help in self-management: Housekeeping/maintenance tracking, keyless entry, effective marketing channels, channel management systems, calendar management tools, affordable websites with online booking, credit card processing services, email management and travel insurance resources.
Yet, two resources which have not been handed to individual homeowners on a silver platter are: time and teleportation. Each of the tools mentioned above requires time to set up, maintain, monitor and implement. Not every homeowner has or wants to redirect his/her time to manage all the tools needed to effectively manage a rental like a pro.
And at the end of the day, the owner who lives away from his/her rental cannot teleport and magically appear at the rental if there is a problem.
When Airbnb announces its offering of time and teleportation to individual homeowners, professional property managers should start to worry.
By Amy Hinote