July 2020
STR Industry Newsletter

A Personal Note To Our Readers

I started sending these weekly STR newsletters in March with the goal of giving Vacation Rental Managers curated information that could help them navigate their businesses through the coronavirus pandemic. (For our newer readers, here is the complete archive.)

Back in March and April, new developments with booking platform policies, local government policies, SMB loan programs, and other trends were happening at breakneck speed and a weekly newsletter made sense. Now, that new developments have slowed, 1x per month feels like the right cadence to put these newsletters out. After all, my goal with these newsletter is to give you, the STR professional, curated information, and not clutter in your inbox. 

Lastly, thanks to you, the readers, for subscribing, sending me feedback & interesting stories, and forwarding them along to others in the industry. I could never have imagined the newsletter would grow to 1350+ subscribers so quickly. I truly appreciate all the support I've received from the VR industry since starting this newsletter and blog. And without further ado, here is this month's newsletter: 

What You Need to Know This Month

  • 🚫Airbnb announced that they are making efforts to prevent house parties across their platform. Now, Airbnb traveler users who are under 25 with less than 3 positive reviews will not be allowed to book properties close to their hometowns. As we've reported in previous newsletters, cooped up kids have been taking advantage of full home rentals since bars/clubs/colleges have been closed. Do you have internal controls to prevent unauthorized parties? 
  • ⭐VRBO has officially emerged as Expedia's best performing Covid-19 brand. According to Expedia's latest Financial update, "Vrbo’s gross bookings, excluding cancellations, increased significantly year-over-year in May and June due to its strong inventory position in whole-home alternative accommodations in drive-to destinations." Look for Expedia to double down on VRBO going forward.
  • 👩‍💻Work from home ---> Work from any home. As the already growing remote work trend has now skyrocketed due to coronavirus, it has continued to impact STR pricing strategies. Even CNN Travel put out this article as a guide to remote workers looking to book a mid-term vacation rentals to work from. 
  • 🚗VR Marketing tips for targeting the 5-hr drive market. I thought this long-form VRM Intel article did a good job outlining some strategies to capture this new market. 
  • ✊🏿✊Airbnb was briefly caught up in the Black Lives Matter movement and responded quickly with a few initiatives to prevent racism on their platform and promote diversity. As the saying goes, "Software ate the world, so now all the world's problems get expressed in software."
  • 🤑Proposed $4000 Domestic Travel Tax Credit in Congress. The proposed legislation, if passed, would provide a $4,000 travel credit for individuals, or $8,000 for joint filers, through January 1, 2022. However, the travel destination cannot be less than 50 miles from the taxpayer’s main residence. As re-election nears and the curve *hopefully* flatten again, watch for this bill to gain more political traction. 
  • 🧹📊How do your cleaning costs line up with industry standard rates? TurnoverBNB released some very interesting data about average cleaning costs for each state. 
  • 🇪🇺The EU has decided to exclude the US from its reopening to other countries. Paradoxically, this decision will aid US tourism businesses by forcing more Americans to travel domestically this summer and fall. 
  • 🕙 The last minute booking trend continues. Airbnb has reported again in July that 29% of recent bookings were made within 1 week of the check-in date.

Have a great week,
James von der Lieth

PSIdeas, thoughts, or other feedback on these newsletters? I'd love to hear them. You can reply directly to this email and I will see it. 
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