Home » Airbnb » Why Vacation Rental Bookings Are Getting Harder To Find

By Alan Egan

Are you struggling for bookings? Does your calendar have more gaps in it this year than this time last year?

With the huge growth of the major listings sites like Homeaway and Airbnb, their massive marketing budgets, more than a little hype and a ton of publicity across all types of media, pretty much every man woman and child on the planet thinks that the VR business is a cash cow.

To sum things up I wanted to share our own experience here in Denmark.

We live on the small island of Bornholm in the Baltic sea. It’s a tourist destination but we have a short season. After being away from the island for a few years we came back to our farm last spring and decided to rent the apartment that we have on the first floor of the farmhouse.

We redecorated, bought extra bedding, equipped the kitchen and generally prepared for guests. As you do.

[pullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Last June we added the property to Airnb. Job done.[/pullquote] [pullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]At the time there were 47 competing properties listed on Airbnb.[/pullquote] [pullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]As of today, just over one year later, there are 204.[/pullquote] [pullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]More than a fourfold increase.[/pullquote]

 

Something has to give.

I don’t believe that there has been any significant increase in tourism but that is a massive increase in the number of beds on offer and I don’t believe for one second that the number of listed properties has peaked. Not by a long chalk.

Now as it happens we have been almost fully booked this year but I have a lot of experience in the rental business and I have used every trick in the marketing book to stay ahead of the growing competition but if this exponential growth continues who knows what will happen in the coming years.

Will there be 800 odd properties for rent on the island next year?
Who knows how that would affect us and our current competitors.

The slices of the pie are getting thinner. Much thinner.


 

What concerns me the most is that I see more and more press articles that are tempting people to jump on this bandwagon by suggesting that they buy a second property solely to rent.

If this trend continues vacation rentals will become the new sub prime.

 

Let’s hope that doesn’t happen.


Have you seen large increases in vacation rental properties in your area?

Is this affecting your business?

 

Please leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

Many thanks Alan (rentmore)

 

 

 

14 thoughts on “Why Vacation Rental Bookings Are Getting Harder To Find

  1. Maria Lamb says:

    My Nova Scotia house was one of 6 in the area, now – a year later – it’s one of 27. I went from 621 page views on VRBO last July to 242 page views this July.

    1. Alan Egan says:

      Thanks for getting in touch and sharing your numbers Maria.

      That’s brutal growth. 60% reduction in page views (gulp).

      These sorts of figures seem to be reflective of the current trend. More and more people are jumping on the “easy money” mantra being put out by the media.

  2. Nancy says:

    Our city has put a restriction on renting. We have had to go from a Vacation rental to a long term rental. The licenced B & B’s and hotels have doubled their prices. It has worked for us but
    Not every one is so lucky. We must rent for 1 month but 2 doors away the minimum is 3 months.
    We have off street parking included in our rent in an extremely limited parking area. The hotels charge $15 to $25 a night to park. Street parking is by permit.

    1. Alan Egan says:

      It’s certainly getting much tougher in certain areas Nancy

  3. Paula Samuel says:

    Hi Alan,

    Always enjoy reading your newsletter – very informative. I have multiple properties in the downtown LA area. Just a couple of years ago, there were 36, now over 300 and you’re right, with the advent of Airbnb, anyone and everyone is jumping on the band wagon. I don’t mind the competition, but from my experience, pre-Airbnb, this was a nice, quiet business. In addition, cities weren’t as aggressive in their regulations, bans and taxation. It’s now fight or flight with more and more councils outright banning short term rentals. Most of my properties are 30 day minimums due to the HOA rules and regs and those seem to be the busiest and the most booked.

    1. Alan Egan says:

      Hi Paula,

      I’m glad that you find the newsletter informative, thanks for the feed back.
      Thanks also for the information regarding LA. You sum the situation up very well. The market just keeps growing at such a crazy rate you have to wonder what’s going to give.

      Still, it’s good to hear that 30 day bookings are doing well (less changeovers too :))

  4. peter says:

    HI Allan,
    and I thought it was just our area experiencing explosive new VR ownership.
    18 months ago we were 1 of 4 listings on Flipkey for Baguio, now there are 47!
    We are fortunate that we have several websites for our niche, which are still outperforming the big listing sites. By far the biggest number of inquiries/bookings come direct from our own sites. I would definitely suggest that owners make the effort and establish their own website and use it as the platform for their marketing strategy.
    Best wishes from the Philippines.

    1. Alan Egan says:

      Hello Peter,

      Wow, another 10 fold increase in competition. (and I don’t believe this trend has peaked).
      But, it’s good to hear that your websites are doing well.
      I agree, personal websites are the only way forward. Owners that have swithed to a guest centric, destination lead, continually updated model (integrated with a social media strategy) are seeing great benefits.
      You may like what Naomi is doing on her website – http://cotswoldfamilyholidays.com/our-cotswolds-guide/
      I’m teaching these destination based marketing methods at http://bookingsplus4g.com
      Please take a look around

  5. Definitely getting tougher with more properties listing for short term rental. However, many properties being purchased for listing on AirBnB and elsewhere have been purchased at gob-smacking prices in Australia. Low interest rates and low deposits to gain a mortgage are encouraging highly leveraged foolishness. Many newcomers are skimping on the further investment required for quality furnishings and equipment. The hype about short term rental rarely mentions the work involved to attract customers, let alone have them leave as great ambassadors for your property. I see a shakeout coming.

    1. Alan Egan says:

      So true Nick,
      The reputation of the business as a whole will slide. I too see a shakeout coming.

  6. Jan Ferry-Axman says:

    Also seeing steady increase in Finger Lakes of NY State. But most new to industry folks….are not very helpful and knowledgeable. But definitely working harder and regular guests are well aware more properties exist. So you must have an excellent service edge in my opinion.

    Thanks your newsletter helps me look for and keep little advantages that make a big difference.

    1. Alan Egan says:

      Hello Jan,

      I agree, it’s all about service. The cream will always rise to the top.

      I’m glad that you like the newsletter, thanks for the feedback.

  7. Marc says:

    This may not hold true in Israel, where in some towns building is restricted to new properties.
    Ones that have been there for years, still have the same people renting them. In the small cities
    Like an Old City Districts like Akko, there is a big shortage of accommodations during certain times of the year.
    A total different situation that what has happened in the US.

    1. Alan Egan says:

      Thanks for telling us about your situation Marc

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