Worldwide: Leaders from across the global short-term rental industry have created a Covid-19 survival guide called The Reset, which will serve as a living database of best practices for short-term rental professionals looking to survive the crisis and emerge stronger when guests return.
The Reset is being curated by a committee of nearly twenty owners, managers and subject matter experts, and spearheaded by industry steward and VRMB.com founder, Matt Landau.
It features several main pages including the ever-evolving world of OTA Policy Updates, overseen by property manager Jim Prugh of Lindsborg Vacation Rentals in Kansas, and opportunities for Financial/Government Support, curated by Donna Martinez, owner and manager of Sea Ranch Abalone Bay in California.
The majority of The Reset’s posts, which will be updated on a daily basis, are actionable and operational tips managers can use them to get through difficult times.
How to survive Covid-19 with The Reset
“We have gone through crises in the past but unfortunately not of this magnitude,” said Simon Lehmann of AJL Consulting in his post, Unprecedented. Managers will need “a reserve of six months to go through this”, he added.
To weather that storm, Andrew McConnell of Rented.com has suggested following instructions on adjusting one’s revenue cost structure, specifically reducing fixed costs and increasing variable costs.
McConnell said: “Look for managers reducing full time staff and utilising more third parties, and contractors for services they can turn on, off, up, or down as needed.”
Viewing the vacation rental property as a creative asset during a crisis, one committee member Bruce Ikelheimer of Banjoe Vacations explained in Helping Doctors “At Cost” how he offered his home to the Asheville doctor community.
When he got a booking, he offered to charge only the cost of cleaning in appreciation for their service. When they chose to pay $600, Bruce donated the remainder to a local charity.
Other Reset committee members, such as Richard Craft of Crafty’s Beach Retreat, have been using the flurry of COVID19 cancellation requests to “Drum up goodwill” reporting significant future bookings as a result of his flexibility with date changes.
For those using the downtime to tackle marketing and operational tasks that had been placed on the back burner, the hub explains how to update one’s welcome book, set-up automation tools, and how to take care of one’s most valuable employee [oneself] thanks to routines such as “The 30 days of gratitude” by industry HR guru Ali Cammelletti.
Who has the edge in a post-corona world?
With so much uncertainty, the future landscape of vacation rentals is likely to be completely revamped and certain positioning rewarded.
Addressing news that big industry players such as Sonder, Stay Alfred and Vacasa were making significant scale backs on operations and staffing, Mike Harrington of Carolina Retreats argued that the dominance of the VC-funded “mega managers” and urban master-lease companies is crumbling, in his piece, Advantage, Mom & Pops:
He said: “At the end of the day, it is becoming increasingly apparent that the business of vacation rental management is a more hyper-local, true relationship business. The advantage lies firmly with the players that are truly invested in their local communities.
“They are working to be part of the solution,” he added.
The Reset also includes a section for transitioning out of short-term lets, including mid- and long-term options, as well as harsher options for those considering selling their business in what has become a buyer’s market.
Landau has requested any tips for inclusion be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
He said: “The creativity and agility of our colleagues amazes me. Sharing their success benefits us all.”
For more information, visit The Reset platform on the VRMB website here.