Industry Insights

What Is Neverending Tourism and How You Can Use It to Boost Revenue

October 13, 2021 |

COVID-19 has forever changed the ways in which we interact and engage with the world around us. 

It’s almost easy to forget, but there used to be a time (just a couple of years ago) when in-person meetings were the norm, brick-and-mortar stores and restaurants thrived, and virtual doctor appointments were deemed more sci-fi than reality. 

In this new playing field where NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens) are worth billions of dollars, ghost kitchens are serving up delivery-only food, and massive global conferences are being held digitally, it was only a matter of time until Neverending Tourism would emerge. 

But what is Neverending Tourism, and how can it impact your short-term rental property management company’s bottom line?

Let’s jump in.

What Is Neverending Tourism?

According to the Observatory on Digital Innovation in Tourism of Politecnico di Milano, Neverending Tourism can be defined as “the extension of the travel experience in time and space, made possible by digital solutions.”

In early 2020, as the pandemic began to spread across the globe, keeping millions cooped up in their homes due to strict social distancing measures, a new genre of tourism appeared. Google searches for terms like “virtual museums” spiked as people sought safe and “distanced” ways to experience new places and attractions, leading, in turn, to the proliferation of a wider and better range of digital-only offerings. 

In May of that year, Expedia launched its “Where Next?” campaign, encouraging travelers to continue dreaming of travel at a time when most were required to stay home. The campaign invited travelers to explore and share destinations virtually, with stunning full-screen imagery and information on both iconic and lesser-known global destinations.

Google Trends spike in search for the term Virtual Museums
Interest in the term ‘virtual museums’ spiked at the height of the pandemic in 2020. Source: Google Trends

Neverending Tourism means that your guests’ experience can now begin weeks or even months before they ever step foot in your property and can continue (as the name implies) endlessly long after they depart. A property manager can now offer guests a 360° tour of all existing properties and supply them with local delicacies and wine without yet hosting them in the real world. 

As advancements in virtual reality (VR), on-demand e-commerce, and video continue to expand among an ever-growing audience, tools to create a holistic digital and physical experience are now readily available to property management companies. 

How Can You Capitalize on the Neverending Tourism Boom?

  • Connect With Your Location: In our recent Be Our Guest(y) virtual meetup ‘How to Capitalize On New Travel Personas’, SiteMinder‘s Global VP Enterprise Karla Brooklyn urged property managers to “take a step outside of your door, have a look at the businesses that are around you and really start to understand, are they the right businesses that could be driving revenue for you and your properties.Takeaway: Find local businesses you can partner with to deliver an exceptional Neverending Tourism experience right out the gate. For example, is there a restaurant near your property that is renowned for its local cuisine? Offer guests booking a stay at your property a pre-arrival gourmet care package filled with local goodies for an additional cost. They’ll get a (literal) taste of your location, the restaurant will gain exposure to your incoming guests, and you’ll pocket extra revenue from each booking—a win for all. 
  • Virtual Tours: Virtual property tours which have exploded in the real estate and home buying sectors—according to the Zillow Group Consumer Housing Trends Report 2020, virtual tours soared up 750% in the month after COVID stay-home orders went into effect across the U.S.—are starting to gain traction in the short-term rental ecosystem as well. Guesty Marketplace Partner TeliportMe offers custom-made 360° virtual tours of your property, which can increase direct booking conversions by 40%, as per a Google study. By providing virtual tours of your properties, you’re not only generating more reservations but providing potential guests with the option of touring a new location from the comfort of their own homes. Furthermore, virtual tours can form a sense of continuity and familiarity by allowing departing guests to digitally revisit their experience staying at one of your properties and vividly recount their memories to friends and relatives (who might then end up becoming new guests themselves). 
  • Let Guests Take Pieces of Your Property Back Home: In Neverending Tourism, the lines blur between home and away. Not only in the sense that your properties may serve as home and office for a steadily ballooning number of digital nomads but also in a much more tangible sense. Take Guesty Marketplace Partner Bnsellit, for example; This end-to-end e-commerce platform allows property managers and operators to sell or rent items to their guests during each stay. Guests who have grown particularly attached to a painting or even a piece of furniture during their stay are afforded the luxury to buy it and take it home with them. Not only is this, for lack of a better term, super-cool, but these items also act as a constant reminder for departing guests of your property and the experience they’ve had there. 

Creating A Perfect Neverending Tourism Experience

Neverending Tourism is a concept and trend born of and propelled by technology. It carries real potential for increasing revenue, generating glowing reviews, and garnering loyal repeat guests. But to fully capitalize on this budding movement, you need to have the right tech in place. Thankfully, there are now dozens of tools you can use to meet “Neverending Tourists” wherever they are, all of which are fully Guesty integratable and offered on the Guesty Marketplace.

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