As a property manager or owner of a short-term rental property, you can spend hours optimizing your pricing strategy. That can all be for nothing, however, if you fail to optimize the pathway that prospective guests take when booking a property.
For example, are you really running a promotional campaign if guests aren’t even aware of said promotion? This can make your digital distribution strategy even more important than pricing in some cases, and it remains a vital part of any revenue management strategy.
Put Yourself in the Guests’ Shoes
The first step in auditing your own booking process is to take a step back and go through it as if you were a guest yourself. Start with the discovery process, whether that be on a search engine or within one of the online travel agencies that you’re listed on. Try to find your listing organically, just like a guest would. If you’re unable to easily or quickly find your listing via a quick organic search like, for example, “Hilton Head Island vacation rentals,” your first issue may be to fix how your listing ranks on various platforms.
Once you find one of your own listings, take a look at the photos, reviews, amenities, and overall content that a guest would experience. What do you see? Does the property listing match your expectations? Be sure to keep your guest hat on and look for potential flaws in things like photos and reviews that may quickly cause someone to move on to other listings.
Search for a few available dates and check that your pricing strategy is being properly implemented. Are you running any promotions that should be displayed? One of the biggest conversion factors for guests is overall price for a short-term rental stay, so make sure that the online listing is effectively and appropriately communicating the actual cost of a stay at your property.
Non-Pricing Revenue Management Levers
It’s always important to remember that there is more to revenue management than just dynamic pricing. A solid pricing strategy can get you far, but what should you do if your pricing strategy has been fully optimized and a listing is still underperforming?
There are plenty of ways to continue working on improving a listing’s performance through its digital presence alone. In the same way that you increase or decrease pricing to try and increase occupancy or average daily rate, you can change variables within an online property listing that may help drive performance metrics.
For example, rearranging how photos are displayed for a listing can have a big impact on booking pace and overall guest sentiment towards a listing. Have you tried featuring a bedroom or kitchen photo instead of a balcony photo? Changing and updating photos, followed by measuring the impact of the change via booking pace, is one way to optimize your listing when you’ve exhausted updates to your pricing strategy.
Don’t Be Afraid to Show AND Tell
Along with photos, the written description of your listing matters a great deal. Why don’t you try a new, catchy title that highlights a featured amenity or a new listing description? It doesn’t have to be all that complicated—sometimes just a few new photos and a revised sentence in the description are all that a property needs to freshen up its online presence. All of these updates are just examples of how property managers and owners can broaden their revenue management scope beyond pricing and continually optimize their listings.
For more information on how to grow your revenue management potential, check out what Beyond can do for you.