How to Limit the Impact of Coronavirus Cancellations
We’re now well aware of the far-reaching consequences of the coronavirus pandemic on the short-term rental industry. Property managers around the world are faced with an inevitable influx of booking cancellations. While it may seem like the only option is to brace for impact, now is the time to be proactive.
With this global crisis putting the world somewhat on pause, it’s critical to consider new strategies for preventing future cancellations and ensuring that canceled bookings aren’t entirely lost opportunities.
Here are some key strategies for making the most of current cancellations and mitigating the risk of future losses.
First and foremost, focus on the bookings you still have in place to limit the damage before guests even have a chance to completely cancel their reservations. Given that travel regulations are tightening, it’s likely that you’ll experience more guests seeking to cancel, so it’s important to be proactive before they do so.
For guests with bookings in the next 3-4 weeks who are likely to cancel due to COVID-19, try reaching out with offers designed to avoid outright cancellations and secure future business. For example, ask guests if they’d like to reschedule their reservation — and to help seal the deal, include a discount that guests can use when booking new dates.
In addition to such outreach, you can also adjust your marketing and listing descriptions to reflect the efforts you’re making to support guests. Mention what you’re doing to keep your properties sanitized (e.g. using CDC-approved cleaning supplies or practices) and to limit human contact (e.g. keyless entry solutions so no in-person key exchange is necessary).
Because flexible cancellation policies are a must for travelers at this time, consider adopting a more lax policy and be sure to advertise it in your listings.
Turning Canceled Guests into Future Guests
For guests that have already canceled their reservations, there’s still time to make up for the losses by implementing the right strategies.
Try reaching out to canceled guests offering discounts for re-booking in the future. The message can be super simple, for example:
To really make an impact while keeping operations efficient, you can use messaging automation tools to create flows for any guest that cancels a reservation. By automatically sending canceled guests a follow-up discount offer, and implementing more follow-ups after that to nurture these potential guests, you have a much higher chance of enticing them to re-book at one of your properties when the time is right and the virus is no longer a concern.
The best way to remain proactive and offer guests effective solutions is by keeping a finger on the pulse of what’s happening in our industry as a result of coronavirus. To make sure you’re always on top of the cancellation policies of the OTAs (online travel agencies) your properties are listed on, refer to these helpful links:
- Airbnb’s Cancellation Policies
- Booking.com’s Important Information on Coronavirus
- HomeAway’s Coronavirus Cancellation Policies
- Vrbo’s Coronavirus Cancellation Policies
To stay informed on the latest industry news during COVID-19, visit Guesty’s Coronavirus Infocenter. Here you can find blog posts, guides, articles and other helpful resources covering all the updates that property management companies need to know about at this time.
Ensuring Your Longevity
When faced with times as challenging and uncertain as these, it’s important to take preventative measures and be proactive about mitigating risk. Explore all possible avenues and think of creative ways to incentivize guests with a future stay. And keep in mind that while the COVID-19 outbreak has been particularly hard on our industry, staying informed and taking action will help ensure that you come out of this stronger.