Sharing Information is Important
We often encounter and discuss property marketing and operational activities with “Airbnb Brighton” owners who advertise and manage their properties themselves and some who “Airbnb co-host”. This allows us to share some of the ongoing challenges and opportunities.
The topics generally regard the efficacy of marketing properties through large US-based, publicly quoted marketing platforms, commonly called Online Travel Agents (OTAs). More recently, these conversations have also highlighted the challenges of a post-COVID market boom, legislation on the horizon, and AI and how it will affect the industry.
Within any market that grows so quickly and with previously low interest rates and changing travel demographics, every rental business, big or small, needs to be on its toes.
With 99% of all owners we speak to having complete OTA dependence, the risks are clear on income, listing positions and booking control. We have also seen recent moves by Airbnb in certain situations, now raising its commissions to +16%, and others focussed on more lenient cancellation policies. With shareholder returns being these corporations’ main concern and guests higher up the importance tree, plus oversupply, owners are at a serious disadvantage in a swollen and soft economic market. OTAs chase other markets for better returns and ROI on their marketing spend too.
Diversified Marketing Strategy (incl. OTAs)
Among the OTAs, Airbnb is the most popular with owners, especially with new entrants to the market. VRBO (formerly HomeAway, now a part of Expedia) and Booking.com are also important in the industry.
Despite the allure of these platforms’ vast reach, we advocate for a nuanced, strategic approach to property marketing that transcends mere listings on these platforms. We harness a multifaceted marketing strategy that includes multiple OTA and long tail channels and pride ourselves on a reputation that drives a volume of direct business from repeat customers and those new to Brighton.
This diversified approach is aimed at risk mitigation and ensuring broad exposure across different marketing avenues. Whether listing a rental property on these major platforms guarantees business continuity is often met with scepticism by professional marketeers. This is especially true in a softening market without daily pricing diligence and re-imagined information and experience offerings.
A successful marketing strategy encompasses far more than OTA listings. My Getaways positions itself as a leader in the property rental domain in Brighton and surrounding towns, encouraging owners to consider a broader, more integrated marketing approach for the optimal performance of their rental properties. My Getaways has recognised the value of incorporating Airbnb into a comprehensive marketing strategy since its inception. Despite this, Airbnb constitutes only a fraction of our total bookings, underscoring the company’s broader strategic approach rather than relying on a single channel.
Our marketing strategy continually focuses on evolving travel trends and technological advancements, ensuring properties remain visible and attractive on any distribution platform. Yet, the company’s experience and strategic foresight caution any owner against overdependence on single or multiple OTAs in a rapidly changing market landscape.
By distributing property listings across OTAs, major and minor, but also focussed on direct bookings, plus using paid advertising, direct mail and social media, we de-risk and increase reach. This approach leverages the benefits of OTA exposure without succumbing to the potential pitfalls of market volatility or policy changes by these platforms. These activities also require continual real-time updates on calendars, content, and photographs, with dynamic pricing and revenue management to be effective. In a nutshell, blended technology underpins activities 24/7, 365 days a year.
Quality Over Quantity
Our marketing philosophy prioritises quality over quantity, tailoring our efforts to match guests with properties under reasonable business terms that offer excellent value to both parties. This quality-centric approach contrasts with OTAs’ volume-driven, guest-centric strategies, which often prioritise price, availability, and reviews over property owners’ nuanced needs and unique offerings.
Moreover, our strategic approach to OTA engagement includes critically assessing the challenges associated with cancellation policies, occupancy rates, standardised data approaches, and guest complaints. All activities are underpinned by personal care and technology, which, with AI, is now entering a new phase—but more on this in our next blog.
Legislation also needs attention
Recently, there have been national legislative challenges and discussions in England, Scotland and Wales and across the channel in nearly every EU country. With the current political climate and economic challenges, we are witnessing more diligence from authorities on registration, licensing, fire safety rules, health & safety, compliance, etc.
Keeping up to date on all aspects of the industry to avoid problems is essential. As a management company, we have close relationships with associations and authorities that keep us abreast of these problems and allow us to navigate and comply quickly and effectively, keeping our owners informed at all times. We also network with other management companies to share best practices and avoid issues.
Owner Care and The Community
We also focus on the financial dynamics, highlighting the importance of controlling booking monies and navigating the complexities of guest complaints and dispute resolution within the OTA framework. The company’s direct booking website and owner-direct payments system offer an alternative that allows for more balanced and equitable interactions between guests, owners, and the company itself.
The company advocates for a more localised, community-focused approach to tourism and property marketing, contrasting with major OTAs’ global, profit-driven orientation. This perspective emphasises the importance of supporting local development and investment, underscoring our commitment to its regional base and the broader community. For every booking taken on a major OTA, 15% or more leave the country, likely headed for a tax-free destination! This could help clean the beaches and go a long way to supporting the homeless! If you Airbnb Brighton, then consider the amount that is lost to the local environment.
In conclusion, our company, My Getaways, strategic approach to property marketing, particularly in large OTAs, is characterised by a careful balance between leveraging the visibility offered by these platforms and maintaining a diversified, risk-mitigated marketing strategy. In addition, as these corporations also come under scrutiny on the properties they advertise, we ensure owners are covered and kept up to date on all elements of the business.
This strategy ensures that our owners and guests benefit from a stable, controlled, and enriching holiday rental experience, fostering solid and lasting relationships within the My Getaways community and its owners.
All are underpinned by technology, which, with AI, is now entering a new phase—more on this in our next blog, however all imags here are AI generated, but the content is human!
Call us for a chat.
If you want to call and have a chat, regardless if you are an Airbnb Brighton or an Airbnb Hove, on any aspect of the market and how we operate, we would be happy to follow up. As a winner of the 2023 of Sussex Business Awards, we are proud to be a Brighton business. We are also an Airbnb Brighton listed company but that is a small part of a big jigsaw!