How short-term rental data can help DMOs rebuild themselves sustainably
In tourism, we can often get the impression that trends are waves, out of our control. But the right tools can help measure and forecast tides.
Destination marketing organizations are uniquely positioned to be the source of truth and knowledge about their regions, collaborating with other organizations and their own residents. They can both inform trends and influence changes, especially as we welcome post-pandemic tourism.
But what are the key elements for BMD to rebuild better?
The missing piece of the puzzle?
DMOs bring together information from different sources and build a global picture of their market. This often comes with access to government data, tax revenues and external reservation data, as well as traditional surveys. The key to any DMO’s success is understanding volume, both historic and future.
Yet one of the biggest blind spots in many OGD’s data is short-term rentals, the little brother of traditional accommodation that has overtaken hotels especially in the pandemic, where short-term rentals have actually worked best.
Vacation rentals are an integral part of the tourist landscape in 2021, reach record occupancy levels across the United States, although they act differently from hotels. Supply fluctuates more frequently, and demographics are different due to the different range of equipment and property sizes available.
It’s easy to forget that it’s often the residents who rent out properties, so the money from short-term rentals stays in the local economy, rather than the headquarters of a multinational corporation. Understanding the distinctive characteristics of markets can enable DMOs to target their true customer base and advocate for appropriate regulation that benefits both visitors and residents.
Off-season demand wreaks havoc in the Hamptons
As we move through the pandemic, data is critical for tracking recovery, predicting revenue, and marketing strategy. Famous Hamptons summer home hot spots witnessed this in March 2020, when the mass exodus from New York City caused an unprecedented surge in off-season bookings.
In East Hampton, demand was 442% higher than in March 2019. As many properties in seasonal markets close out of season, it was up to connoisseurs to open as many as possible to absorb the massive demand.
With these unprecedented changes in traveler behavior, an OGD can no longer rely on seasonality and occupancy patterns established before the pandemic. Having forward-looking, real-time data gives them the ability to better control and prepare for these otherwise unpredictable changes in visitor volumes.
Data must be contextualized
In a world of increasing connectivity and globalization, tourism organizations must work together to organize themselves better. In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, small towns and rural areas are experiencing the highest levels of growth, up 68.1% in May compared to the same month in 2019, and many of them are unprepared for these visitor levels.
Even at the data and strategy level, traditional hotspots in their neighboring towns could offer ideas, not to mention partnerships to promote each other. If your area is struggling with demand and overtourism, you can promote similar areas as an alternative. If the tables are reversed later, then they can return the favor.
Recently, two of the biggest tourist cities in Spain, Barcelona and Seville, announced that they are joining forces campaign for themselves as the two must-see destinations in Spain. Connections between tourist destinations can result in longer trips and more bookings for both areas. If you are visiting X, why not visit Y?
Get tourism where and when you want it
In the French Alps, we see clear patterns of reverse seasonality in ski resorts and out, where visitors can come to hike and get some fresh air during the summer months. A collaborative strategy could attract visitors all year round with minimal effort, and everyone benefits.
Removing the pressure on high-traffic areas will reduce anti-tourism sentiment and ecological concerns induced by overtourism, while redistributing wealth to other areas, guiding and educating tourists to less busy destinations and businesses.
Empower local businesses by sharing your knowledge
Hotel guests may act differently from short-term rental or campground guests, preferring different lengths of stay, areas, and seasons – and if your local businesses aren’t ready for that, they could lose revenue. keys.
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The Cape May County Tourism Department in New Jersey reported that local businesses traditionally shut down after the peak summer season, but when they started receiving AirDNA data on short-term rentals, they realized that they also had a good winter season, only these guests did not stay in hotels. The tourism department has convinced many restaurants, shops and activity providers to stay open longer for winter visitors.
These resources allow you to prepare extensive educational content for the public, advocating for better quality visitors by putting the right marketing materials in the right hands, so that they can enjoy your tourist attractions safely and reduce the pressure on them. highly visited areas.
What is a quality visitor?
Is it just someone spending more money? Is it a certain demographic that is less intrusive or chooses activities that are more beneficial to local businesses? Destination marketing organizations need data to understand what the current demographic and potential opportunities are, so they can define, without discrimination, their ideal visitor, and then market to them.
Could it be someone who respects the environment in the destination? Who learns about the community and local traditions? Whatever you decide, your destination should be ready to receive its ideal visitor with the attractions and accommodations they want – but focus on education if every visitor isn’t high quality right now.
Destination marketing must rebuild itself better after the pandemic
We are facing a unique situation, as the world has changed forever as a result of the pandemic, and DMOs should take the opportunity to strategize on how they market their destinations, with an emphasis on a radical overhaul of the place and the way we invite tourism in.
Overtourism has been slowed down, and even with the negative effects of COVID-19 on tourism, DMOs now have the opportunity to work for a better and more sustainable future for many destinations, provided they have the right tools and collaborators.