Travel Trend: How Tour Operators Can Capitalize on Vacation Rentals
We saw many new travel trends arise throughout 2020 and into 2021, like the return of family road trips to mountain, beach, or lake destinations. One of the major travel trends of the year is that many travelers are opting to stay at vacation rentals, allowing them to avoid crowded common areas and keep contact with others to a minimum. Major rental apps like Vrbo saw their summer properties get fully booked months before they typically do, and the most sought-after stays are at cabins, lodges, and campgrounds in the great outdoors.
Compared to those staying in hotels, travelers staying in a vacation rental tend to spend a few more days at their destination, giving them more time to plan activities or tours. This offers opportunities for property managers and tour operators to work together and offer guests a well-rounded experience during their stay — encouraging them to come back and make even more memories!
This guide offers some tips for both property managers and activity operators to make the most of the vacation rental trend.
Tips for Tour & Activity Operators
Connect with Local Property Managers
Connect with property managers in your area to promote your tours and provide guests with a well-rounded experience during their stay at your destination. For example, if you offer family-friendly activities, consider partnering with a local vacation rental company that specializes in family rentals, and offer a special discount to their guests. This could mean using a promo code, reselling your tours on their website, or another solution that works for both businesses.
Offer Equipment Rentals
Property managers are always looking for ways to attract more customers and stand out from the competition (sounds familiar, right?). One way they can do this is by offering more amenities, such as equipment rentals for guests to use during their stay. Work with local property managers to offer your equipment — such as bikes, kayaks, snorkel equipment, paddle boards, scooters, and more — for hourly or daily rentals. This not only provides you with an additional source of revenue, but it also helps property managers make their listings more attractive to travelers. It’s a win-win!
Offer Flexible Booking Policies
Due to the uncertainty that the pandemic brings, travel plans can change from one moment to the next, so it’s important to maintain flexible rescheduling and cancellation policies, particularly if you are working with a property manager. This gives travelers peace of mind that they’ll be able to change their reservation if needed, and it provides a positive experience with your business overall.
Keep the Whole Family in Mind
Don’t forget about your youngest guests! Tour operators can benefit from offering options that are attractive to families traveling with kids, such as kid-friendly wildlife tours that include complimentary beer and wine for the parents.
Pro tip: Families also tend to prefer certain time slots, such as early morning and late afternoon tours that allow for naps and other routines for the kids during the middle of the day. Offering the right tours that take into account families’ needs can help bring you more business from travelers staying at vacation rentals.
Tips for Property Managers
Partner with Operators to Offer a Full Experience
Working with local tour and activity providers can help you offer an exciting and memorable experience for your guests. You can offer deals on local experiences, such as a 20% discount on a tour in the area, to make staying with you even more attractive for travelers.
Pro tip: Compile a list of local operators you work with and share it with your guests. Saving your guests time when it comes to finding tours and making their stay as hassle-free as possible can bring you additional benefits such as positive reviews!
Offer Resort-Like Amenities
Travelers are often looking for convenient amenities to enjoy during their vacation. One way to provide additional amenities for your vacation rentals is to work with local operators to offer equipment rentals for transportation and fun activities.
For example, a local business offering bike tours, kayak tours, or paddle board tours might be able to offer their equipment to your guests for hourly or daily rentals. This provides more convenience for your guests as well as additional revenue for tour operators, and it can also generate return customers, which benefits everyone.
We know travel trends will continue to evolve as the course of the pandemic changes, but the current vacation rental boom is a good opportunity for local businesses to work together and try out new strategies to attract customers. Take this opportunity to reach new customers and find alternative sources of revenue!
Explore our industry insights guides for more tips and trends.