The time has come. Airbnb is finally breaking into the vacation rental space. This month, at the Vacation Rental Management Association’s national conference in Orlando, Nathan Blecharczyk, Airbnb co-founder, and chief strategy officer, released Airbnb’s newest feature, the Host Tools.
It is clear that Airbnb is attempting to move into the vacation rental industry through the creation of their Host Tools. With the vacation rental market said to be calculated at $138 billion in 2016 and estimated to be worth $194 billion in 4 years, it is the time to pounce. There is an increase in travelers who search to book an entire property like a vacation rental. These types of properties offer a new type of privacy, independence, and comfort.
Besides for just the properties, the managers offer a new level of professionalism rather than the come-sleep-on-my-couch-for-the-night Airbnb individual hosts that you may be more familiar with. Vacation rental managers work for companies that have mass amounts of listings and bookings to chose from, and some even with international locations. This obviously requires Airbnb to provide an entirely new set of tools and adapt to the unique VR managers’ needs. These new Airbnb’s host tools allow vacation rental management companies to directly integrate their PMS, like Guesty, to manage more efficiently.
“Until this point, Airbnb has been mainly focused on the short-term rental industry, but now with this release, they are finally making moves in the vacation rental industry as well. These tools were created to ease the management of hundreds or even thousands of vacation rental listings. Airbnb is finally ‘embracing’ – as they say, the vacation rental market.” stated Amiad Soto, CEO of Guesty, the ultimate vacation rental management software.
“These tools will allow VR managers to create their own community inside of Airbnb. By using tools to improve pricing rules, create a listings page, having more accurate and up to date calendars, and communicate with easy unified messaging, vacation rental management companies will have more means to grow their business. But something that is missing is a centralized platform for other channels as well. This is something that every professional vacation rental manager has struggled to unify, without a well-developed all-in-one solution. Even though these tools are offered by almost every PMS, it is still a significant move for Airbnb, indicating their shift into the VR market. It is a good beginning, but again, just the beginning…” Airbnb’s goal is to help professionals manage multiple listings and expand their pricing, calendar, and messaging capabilities, using these new host tools.
“These tools are our way of embracing professional vacation rental hosts as a community on our platform,” stated Jonathan Lesser, Airbnb head of global host and community operations and general manager. What makes these tools stand out to the vacation rental market is that “The large majority of these tools are specifically designed to make it efficient to manage multiple listings on Airbnb.” So what is Airbnb doing to reel in these vacation rental managers?
“Professional hosts use a system called property management software, or PMS, to manage their inventory, and they like to control all of their functionality from that platform,” Lesser said. “It’s easier for them and the inventory is more accurate on our site if we connect directly to the systems they use to manage their inventory.” Airbnb chose to open their tools and partner with various property management software. This was a business decision made by Airbnb in order to increase the number of vacation rental managers who use their software. This decision could also be based on an IPO offering of $31 billion made to Airbnb, as it’s final stretch of growth in the global short-term vacation rental markets. This would also explain Airbnb’s recent purchase of Luxury Retreats, the Montreal-based high-end rental platform with more than 4,000 worldwide listings.
So as Airbnb makes its moves into the vacation rental market, managers worldwide are excited yet nervous. Will these tools really help grow my company? Is Airbnb trying to monetize my industry? What is the real business motive behind all of this? Well for now only time can tell. In the meantime hold on to your PMS system, that will be your ultimate form of salvation.