Like every company in the travel space, COVID-19 meant that 2020 was an unprecedented year for Guesty. As one of the world’s leading property management platforms, we are at the epicenter of the fast-changing, short-term rental industry, and our users – professional hosts and property management companies – experienced the far-reaching effects coronavirus had on this ecosystem almost immediately.
As such, we made a decision in March to focus on assisting the short-term rental community in navigating the global pandemic to achieve stability and ultimately, longevity. Read on to learn more about how we addressed COVID-19 head-on via technological advancements, platform flexibility, complimentary informative resources and customer-facing solutions.
To address the trends that emerged due to COVID-19, Guesty quickly enhanced its offering to meet the changing needs of property management companies, taking our product to a whole new level.
One of the first steps we took was opening our platform to support extended stays of 28 days or more after noticing that travelers were booking rentals for longer periods of time. In doing so, this helped users incorporate flexible inventory (short, mid and long-term stays) into their portfolio to achieve a reliable, assured stream of revenue for longer periods of time.
Understanding that our users would be bearing the brunt of the virus’s economic impact, we also released five premium features to customers free of charge. This included our new Whatsapp integration via our Unified Inbox to further ease the daily operations hosts face, as it’s one of the preferred methods of communication for travelers.
Most recently, we entered the aparthotel space to better support property management companies in adjacent verticles and address the changing landscape in regards to traveler preferences. Guesty’s new suite of features to support aparthotel and boutique hotel management, coupled with our existing core tools, enable independent hotel management teams to work efficiently while actively increasing their bottom line.
Complimentary, Informative Resources
During this unique time, we have made it our mission to help all property management companies, not just users, navigate this period by providing complementary resources via our COVID-19 Infocenter which today boasts 100+ pieces of original content.
This digital ecosystem has been updated daily with free and frequent virtual events (we produced 28 this year with over 10,000 attendees!), advice from users of ours that successfully pivoted their offering to address the new normal, helpful guides and data-driven insights to help businesses make informed decisions.
In April, we conducted an industry report on the state of the short-term rental ecosystem amid COVID-19. The study, which encompassed responses from nearly 400 property management companies with 3 – 200+ properties in their portfolios, shared revenue projections for the remainder of the year and showcased best practices for addressing the impact of COVID-19 – for example, 22% of respondents reported that having a flexible cancelation policy was the most effective strategy for maintaining business stability.
In addition, we wanted to make sure that data, which highlights booking patterns, reservation volume and consumer behavior, reached as many people as possible, so we worked hard to garner 150+ press hits so those in the short-term rental space could adjust their marketing and business operations to meet new patterns that have emerged from the virus. Some highlights include Financial Times, CNBC, Bloomberg and USA Today, which detail common COVID-19 trends such as drive-to destinations, short-term rental converts and city-scapers. Recently, the data we collected showed an uptick in reservation volume following the vaccine-effectiveness news, as well as a surge in last-minute bookings, especially around the holidays.
Customer Support & Success
Considering the difficult nature of this time, we ramped up our customer support efforts to be helpful partners as our users adopted new strategies and pivoted their business models. This year we answered over 62,000 user queries, with an average first response time of three hours, surpassing industry benchmarks. Notably, 75% of our support tickets are one-touch (or one reply) resolutions.
Not to mention, our end-of-year Trustpilot and Capterra scores are 4.7 and 4.6 out of five stars, respectively, showcasing our customer satisfaction.
This support has lent a hand to the tremendous growth our users experienced despite the pandemic. In fact, many have had their biggest years yet, even amid the challenges associated with COVID-19. Specifically, our customers reported that they were able to increase revenue, secure more bookings and add more inventory to their portfolio amid the pandemic. Examples include:
- Upstay reported 650% growth in a little over a year and half a million dollars saved since working with Guesty
- BookStayHop surpassed its year-end revenue projections approaching $2.5 million earned.
- Marbella Lane achieved its goal of minimal listings and maximum ROI, doubling its revenue with Guesty.
- Occupied LLC grew from a single-unit listing to a boutique hotel management company, receiving 47% direct bookings and 94% occupancy amid COVID-19.
In order to help our community learn from those users that succeeded with unique best practices, we published 17 user case studies in the last 6 months (July – December 2020); a 200% increase in H1 2020’s case study numbers.
And to top it off, Guesty took home the Travolution Award for Champions of Customer Experience in the Tech Supplier category, based on our achievements of enhancing our offering to meet the needs of our users.
Looking To 2021
Over the next few months, property management companies will need to remain agile and quickly adapt to new travel patterns and changing guest expectations in order to stay competitive in the new year. And we’ll be there every step of the way.