Riding the Wave
Jul 14th, 2021
2021 has been a banner year for travel, especially the vacation and short-term rentals industries. Statistics show bookings, rates, and length of stay are all up from previous years. The only real negative for rental managers has been the shortage of seasonal and temporary employees in many regions. Even taking that challenge into account, most rental managers we have spoken to would take 2021 over 2020 any day of the week. And, as they say, twice on Sunday.
But this leaves us wondering: Will the surge of 2021 prove to be an anomaly? Or will this year prove to be the start of an ongoing upward trend?
While opinions vary drastically, one thing we do know: this is the time of the year to plan for next year.
It is time for VRMs to calculate rates for the new year, change/adapt rules & regulations, review software and other tools for potential changes needed, budget, and determine a marketing strategy.
2022 will be different from 2021 and affected by (at least) the following:
- Stimulus Money: believe it or not, much of the surge in spring and early summer travel was paid for by stimulus money, especially in drive to destinations where people spend a week or less. Many travelers, especially families, would not have been able to afford a yearly vacation without this extra money.
- Back to School and the Office: 2022 will likely usher in less flexibility to work from or go to school from a vacation home. This will likely lead to a downturn in spring shoulder season bookings, if not fall 2021 bookings.
- Demand Met: there has been a good deal written and discussed that after 2020, there was a pent-up demand for travel. If much of this demand was met in 2021, booking could drop to normal levels moving forward. Lingering demand will be for places and types of travel not readily available in 2021. See the next bullet point.
- New Markets: The last vestiges of pent-up demand may be for international travel and cruises. As those markets open (as they are starting to now), certain types of travelers will go back to booking the types of destinations and experiences that were not options in 2021.
- Staffing Challenges: for many rental managers, it has been difficult in 2021 to find and keep front-line seasonal workers. In some areas it has even been tough to find good year-round workers. Rental managers have operated short on staff or have had to increase pay to attract workers. In planning for 2022, you will need to decide how to budget for staff, especially if wages needed to entice good employees will remain higher than you normally budget for.
- Credit Card Brand interchange changes: the card brands have pushed off many updates for over a year. These changes are currently due to go into effect in spring 2022 for anyone processing credit and debit cards. It is important that you understand how these changes will affect your business.
Because of guest expectations, accepting electronic payments, like credit and debit cards, has almost become a requirement of VRPMs. As you ask yourself if this current VR wave will last, and as you plan and budget for next year, do not forget to consider the costs of accepting payments.
Ascent can help you with your 2022 planning and ensure that how you accept payments and how much it costs will be the last thing you worry about.
For current non-Ascent merchants, we offer free, no obligation rate analysis upon request. With a couple of past processing statements and who your software provider is, we can quickly and easily determine if you can save money so you can focus on other tasks in preparing for 2022.
Please feel free to email us email@example.com with the pertinent information and will get your analysis started.