Vacation rental property managers and hosts utilize lots of different pieces of technology to operate their businesses. These software tools often come with a lot of data that can help build a revenue management strategy. Now, more than ever before, it has become important for users to understand which types of data are being used to power tools that ultimately inform their revenue strategy. Data is used to power both revenue management tools like dynamic pricing and market analysis reports.
These tools are critical to the success of any property manager or host, which is why we’d like to take time to highlight how Beyond uses different types of data within our platform. Recent changes made by some online travel agencies have made it difficult for third parties to gain access to publicly available scraped data which has impacted how vacation rental software tools use this data.
Scrape vs. Source Data - What’s the Difference?
Beyond uses two main types of data sources to power our revenue management platform: scrape data and source data. Scrape data is information that is “scraped” from webpages on the internet, mostly from online travel agencies. This data is typically less informative than source data, although it can provide insight into things like posted prices and calendar availability that can be helpful for listing comparisons. Source data is much richer and actually represents booked rates and booked occupancy for individual listings, as well as information regarding length of stay, booking lead time, and more. In general, source data is much more beneficial to use when making revenue management decisions and gauging market demand.
How is Data Scraped?
Beyond utilizes APIs to ensure a secure and efficient integration between our system and those of online travel agencies. Additionally, Beyond and other software tools in the industry use this scrape data to gain insight into two data points for the industry - posted prices for listings (different than average daily rates) and calendar availability.
There are nuances to this data that prevent advanced analysis, however, as posted prices are not indicative of what guests have paid for a listing and calendar availability does not provide an accurate occupancy percentage. This is part of the reason why Beyond only uses this data to power scraped data insights in our Custom Comp Sets and Market Insights tools. Scraped data has never, and will never, be used in Beyond’s dynamic pricing tool because it ultimately does not help provide rich insight into market demand that should be controlling prices.
As with any third-party data (like scraped data), issues can arise if websites make structural changes to their platform that can impact scraping abilities. As an example, this recently happened with Airbnb, which is often web-scraped by many different technology providers in the travel industry. Airbnb implemented a change that impacted the ability to scrape nightly price data for individual listings. Some vacation rental technology companies were severely impacted by this - especially dynamic pricing tools that rely on scrape data to influence their algorithm. At Beyond, this change only impacted our Comp Set and Insights tools, since we never use scrape data in our dynamic pricing recommendations.
Our product and engineering teams at Beyond quickly noticed this change and were swiftly able to implement a fix that allows the system to capture nightly rates using a reservation quoting process. This fix ensured that our users had consistent access to pricing and availability data for Airbnb listings within our Comp Sets and Insights products and features.
This most recent incident is a great example of why we encourage all property managers, revenue managers, hosts, and owners to understand how and what type of data is used to power their business through revenue management tools.
A Note on Integrations
One way to dig into how different technology partners collect and manage their data is to explore how integrations are built. Property management software and revenue management software often integrate with other systems to share information and help implement different strategies. We all know that “good” data is “clean” data, and making strategic business decisions using inaccurate data can be detrimental to any business. Users need to be able to understand what powers their tools and reporting and if they can count on data providers to deliver consistent and effective results.
At Beyond, we build each of our integrations to both send and receive data from our technology partners - ensuring that users always have a consistent connection between systems and are utilizing up-to-date and accurate information.
Here are some questions to ask your technology partners regarding integrations:
- Do you build integrations to both send and receive data from your platform?
- How often do you sync data between different integrations? Is this ever interrupted?
- Do you rely on third-party partner integrations to operate your products?
For more information about how Beyond uses industry data, check out these resources:
- Unlocking the Power of Data: How Beyond's Clustering Strategy Upgrades Vacation Rental Pricing
- What data powers Insights?
Want to learn more? Reach out to us today!