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Airbnb fights Vrbo for more vacation cabins as a travel rebound

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Vacation rental brands struggle to convince owners to list their homes on their site because there are no properties at a particular outdoor destination.

Vrbo deploys features designed to facilitate hosting. Other non-urban areas were at high levels during the housing demand pandemic near beaches and national parks, but accelerated as the economy resumed, vaccinations increased and some businesses announced plans. I am. Maintain a flexible working style.

In May, Airbnb said it facilitated the sign-up process for new hosts and reduced the number of steps required from 10 to 10. The company said it has added over 100 upgrades to its platform, including one-on-one mentoring for hosting. I’m also trying to turn a guest into a host. We also offer referral fees to hosts who can have others list their location on Airbnb.

In March, Vrbo launched Fast Start. This is a program that allows hosts with Airbnb experience to transfer Airbnb ratings to Vrbo. Vrbo said it had acquired thousands of hosts through the program, although it refused to identify the exact number.

Turners has refurbished a simple pond hut behind his home in the Blue Ridge Mountains and posted it on Airbnb.

Photo: The Wall Street Journal Mike Belem

“In some cases, certain areas of the vacation rental market may not be fully supplied,” Expedia CEO Peter Kern said at a previous investor conference. this month.

Jeff Hurst, Chief Operating Officer of Expedia Brands, said the Vrbo advertising campaign, which mentions Airbnb by name, is aimed at hosts looking to diversify their listings beyond a single vacation rental platform. .. “We are more clearly encouraging partners who may only be listed on competitive platforms to be listed with us,” Hurst said in an interview.

Some hosts understand the benefits of listing a rental property on multiple sites. For others, a single list is sufficient.

Sharen Turner and her husband Tony Turner own a cabin in the Blue Ridge Mountains pond. The property in Erwin, Tennessee is said to have sold out on Airbnb until mid-August and booked until December.

Turners Pond House is a stable source of rental income for couples.

Photo: The Wall Street Journal Mike Belem

“They booked us a lot, why do they use different platforms?” Said Mrs. Turner.

Jamie Lane, vice president of research at analytics firm AirDNA, says many professional property managers have already cross-listed units on both Airbnb and Vrbo. Airbnb has a majority of independent owners. Lane added that Vrbo’s hosts are primarily in destination and resort markets, usually hiring professional managers to rent villas and investment property.

“They are absolutely competing for the list,” Lane said of Airbnb and Vrbo.

According to the organizers, the employer has decided to arrange more flexible work indefinitely, and guests are traveling farther than before the pandemic and booking weekdays. Airbnb and Vrbo say the rental period is getting longer.

One factor that exacerbates supply pressure is the increasing number of hosts moving homes from the rental market for their own use. Joan Flynn Black, who runs a cabin near Catskill, New York, said he stopped taking guests for about a year while staying there during a pandemic. She recently reopened her property for a reservation.

“Sure, it’s not fully booked. To be honest, I’m spending time there, so I don’t want to be fully booked,” said Mrs. Black, who lives in New Jersey.

According to AirDNA, occupancy rates for short-term rentals in the United States reached 61.6% in April, the highest level in industry history. According to AirDNA, list nights sold in small cities and rural areas in April were 67% more than in the same month two years ago.

According to AirDNA, high-demand markets with reduced lists available over the past year include West Coast destinations Lake Tahoe, Joshua Tree, Coachella Valley, and New York’s Lower Hudson Valley.

Due to the surge in demand during the pandemic, Hillary Murphy, co-owner of an acre of real estate with up to 15 people in Joshua Tree, California, has purchased two other units in the area. The property is intended for large gatherings, retreats and special events and is equipped with facilities such as a hot tub, outdoor lounge and fire pit. Mrs. Murphy said she expects demand to continue.

Hillary Murphy’s one-acre land in Joshua Tree, California has been reserved for most of the pandemic, she said, and demand will continue.

Photo: Hillary Murphy

Mrs. Murphy said she couldn’t expand her business because she had a reservation. “The weekend before the pandemic was still booked, but I think weekday bookings made a big difference to our business.”

When comparing vacation rental platforms, some hosts benefit from each brand based on factors such as the revenue they can collect each night, the type of visitors the platform attracts, and the effort required to get guests to compensate for the damage. receive. It is said to be evaluated. The property being visited.

Airbnb charges 3% of the host’s booking revenue, but professional property managers are more expensive. Vrbo will charge the host a payment processing fee of 5% and 3% of the booking.

Booking Holdings Inc.

BKNG -0.16%

Booking.com charges the host 15% of the booking.

Demand for hotels is also skyrocketing, and it has been difficult to hire enough workers to be required to limit hotel occupancy. Robert Mollins, Internet and accommodation chief analyst at Gordon Haskett Research Advisors, said the hotel looks like a better deal to many renters as tourism in the city is recovering. ..

Kings Beach on Lake Tahoe last August. There was an influx of remote workers in the North Lake Tahoe area.

Photo: The Wall Street Journal Salgu Wissmath

Share your thoughts

Do you want to list your home on your vacation rental website? Why or why not? Join the conversation below.

For Booking.com, which also offers a list of hotels like Expedia, the pace of recovery of alternative accommodation is faster than Eric, who is the global head of housing and apartments for hotels, sites in some states. .. Bergaria says. He said the company plans to invest more in vacation rentals over the next few years.

This is accelerating and growing, Bergaria said. “What we are seeing all over the world right now is confirmation. [that] We have invested in the right thing. We are growing and trying to accelerate our share of the business coming from alternative accommodation. “”

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