Lately I've been hearing buzz about hotel brands entering the vacation rental market. Vacation rental owners and hoteliers alike understand that we have an attractive market; but leaders in both industries are often quick to point out the stark differences and disregard each other as competitors.
I've personally seen and achieved a lot of success in business through aberrant partnerships and I often ponder how such a partnership might benefit our growing industry. Take Target's designer collaborations, for example (with the likes of Nieman Marcus and Jason Wu). Each collaborator understands what the other partner offers, how they are different, and how they can benefit each other. The goal is not to become the other.
Vacation rentals are distinguished by their unique brands and authentic experiences. What they lack is industry-wide guest service standards and independent brand awareness.
Even with great efforts to overcome these challenges by industry stalwarts, it is impossible for every owner/manager to create a brand presence that precedes them, as hotels do, simply due to the marketing expenses and execution time. It is particularly hard for new vacation rental owners. Often working families, they don't have time to read every new post on LinkedIn and follow vacation rental blogs, let alone build and manage an independent website to build their brand.
But they do have a vision. Most have created a high quality experience with amazing guest service and are taking one step at a time towards running their business as a full-time career.
One Way Vacation Rentals and Hotels Could Partner
A recent trend I've been noticing across a host of different vacation rental sites is the use of stamps of approval. A stamp of approval can certainly add some credibility but do guests really know what these mean and how it may add to the vacation rental standard and experience?
Guests know hotel brands and their standards (by way of millions spent each year in advertising), the biggest area of uncertainty for vacation rentals guests.
According to Oracle, 86% of customers will pay more for a better experience. If newbies (or vacation rentals in general) were able to get a “brand stamp of approval" from a relevant boutique hotel, would they see an increase in conversion, retention, and rates based on the perception of a more dialed experience?
At the same time could hotels also benefit by driving much needed patronage to their ancillary revenue centers (restaurants, spas, shops and activity spots) through recommendations from partnered vacation home owner(s)?
There are many logistics not addressed herein. Hotels, for one, would need to understand that vacation homes are independently run and a source of ancillary revenue. Independent homes would have to meet and adhere to select standards set by the hotel (that would not diminish their uniqueness, of course).
Is this topic off in left field or reasonable enough to test the possibilities? I'd love to hear your thoughts!
This guest post was written by Kris Getzie, Founder & Principal Consultant at Volo. She is a vacation rental expert and author of the recently published Vacation Rentals For Newbies.