The Reservation Recession

CHAPTER 9

How to Turn Revenge Travel into a Vacation Rental Cash Cow

Revenge travel is here—learn how to make the most of it

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The past two years haven’t been easy on the hospitality industry, and you may still be dealing with the staffing shortages that are rooted in the turmoil of the pandemic. But there’s good news on the horizon—revenge travel is on the rise, with hoards of travelers who are itching to get out and make the most of their vacations. 

 

In this piece, we explain what exactly revenge travel is, and we give you tips on how to make the most of it. These include: 

 

  • Ideas and strategies for upsells
  • Ways to improve the guest experience
  • How to cater to your guests’ preferences and maximize revenue

To fully capitalize on revenge travel, you need the right tools. 

 

With mobile-optimized guest app Operto Guest, its digital guidebooks, two-way messaging, and smart buttons, you can build a guest experience that:

  • Engages guests pre-stay and reduces cancellations
  • Cuts down on guest messaging and calls saving you hours each week
  • Provides a frictionless way for guests to request add-on services

See Operto Guest in action today.

What is revenge travel?

After being stuck at home during the pandemic, people are more eager than ever to get out and travel. With many travelers vaccinated and Coronavirus now pushed to the back of their minds, tourists are ready to get out for the first time since lockdown and check those dream destinations off their bucket list, even in spite of rising airfares

 

The numbers support this assumption—early estimates indicate the number of Americans traveling to the European Union in the summer of 2022 would jump 600% from last year, with many travelers heading to historically popular destinations like Spain, Italy, and Greece. 

 

But Europe’s not the only place travelers are heading to make up for lost time. The UNTWO’s World Tourism Barometer recorded almost three times as many international arrivals across the globe during the first quarter of 2022 as in the same period in 2021. 

 

So with borders opening up, many travelers are forgoing domestic travel and road trips for international travel to more remote destinations like Hawaii, Iceland, or Jamaica. But the destinations aren’t the only thing changing because of revenge travel: How travelers spend their money is shifting as well.   

 

How revenge travel has transformed travelers’ habits

Revenge travel is impacting travelers’ habits in a number of ways. To begin with, many are ditching the traditional week-long getaway for an extended stay in their destination of choice. With the significant rise of remote work that has resulted from the pandemic, people can now travel for months at a time while still being able to work. 

 

In fact, Pew Research found that “60% of workers with jobs that can be done from home [said] when the coronavirus outbreak is over, if they have the choice, they’d like to work from home all or most of the time.” That’s a significant amount of workers that are able to simultaneously travel and work. 

 

Plus, many travelers are eager to be extravagant with their travel plans and spend much of the money they saved by staying at home over the past few years. This means they’re willing to plan more luxurious itineraries, purchasing premium services they previously would have refused.  

 

How revenge travel can mean more revenue for your business

By jumping on the trend of revenge travel, you’ll be able to make the most of the opportunities it presents. And we’re not just talking about more bookings and higher occupancy rates. 

 

Cater to the revenge traveler by offering additional services and upsells. Plus, be sure to accommodate the various types of travelers that are taking advantage of their renewed ability to see the world. Check out exactly how you leverage revenge travel for your business and profits.  

Travelers carrying suitcases on dock
Why is it called revenge travel? Travelers are eager to make up for lost time and experiences due to the pandemic, and they’re willing to spend big to do so.

3 ways to make the most of revenge travel

According to data collected by Rentals United, ADRs were higher in the summer of 2022 for most bookings windows in almost every country examined (as compared to the same time period the previous year). And in most countries, there were longer lead times this year than last, meaning plenty of time to engage your guests before their trip. 

 

If you’re prepared, you can make the most of revenge travel trends and maximize your revenue by offering enticing upsells that aim to enhance your guests’ overall vacation experience.  

 

1. Additional services and upsells 

People have been holed up for a couple of years now, so many travelers are willing to spend a few extra bucks to make their vacation one they’ll remember. 

 

Cater to those guests who are open to splurging on their trip by offering premium services and upsells. Be sure to offer common add-ons, like vacation rental amenities, mid-stay cleans, airport transportation, and late check-out. 

 

But don’t be afraid to get creative as well, with offers that your guests may not see at other accommodations, like 

 

  • Sports equipment rental and classes: This depends on the location of your property, but you can rent out bicycles, skis, or surfboards right from your vacation rental. You can also organize private lessons that begin with a pick-up service from their door. 
  • Personal chef: Your guests won’t even have to leave the house to enjoy a gourmet meal if you offer them personal chef services. Again, you can partner with local restaurants to make this happen.
  • In-unit spa services: You’re not a hotel, so you don’t have a spa. But you can make it possible for guests to order spa services, like massages and facials, right to their unit. 

A great way to offer these upsells without creating extra work for yourself is through a guest engagement platform. Guests can view and request these services directly in your guest app using smart buttons. That way, you’ll receive your guest’s request through your guest portal, or they’ll be directed to your local partners’ websites. 

 

2. Maximize the guest experience outside the vacation rental 

As a property manager or host, you can influence more than just the experience guests have at your property. Partner with local businesses and tour operators to give your guests curated recommendations (and perhaps even discounts) on local activities. 

 

What you can offer will vary depending on where your units are located, but some ideas include: 

 

  • Historic walking tour
  • Art and architecture tour
  • Guided hike or trail run
  • Rock climbing or mountain biking 
  • Boat cruise
  • Kayaking or rafting 
  • Local sports event, concert, or show
  • Food tour

Share your curated recommendations in a digital guidebook that you send to your guests as soon as they book their reservation. That way, they can start planning their trip and all the activities they’ll take advantage of from day one. 

 

Pro tip: To make your curated recommendations even more enticing, include professional photography and embed videos into your digital guidebooks so your guests can know exactly what each activity entails.

 

3. Cater to couples, families, and digital nomads

Segment your guests into easily definable groups so you have a built-in understanding of their expectations and how to create customer delight. 

 

Contact your guests through your guest portal as soon as they make their reservation to learn their reasons for traveling: Are they a digital nomad traveling alone? Parents and a couple of kids on their first vacation since the pandemic? A couple celebrating a special anniversary?

 

If you know why your guests are coming to town, you’ll be better able to offer them more relevant and personalized upsells, services, and recommendations. Take a look at some ideas:

 

Digital nomad                                                                           Family                                                                                      Couple
  • Designated workspace
  • Coworking discounts
  • Local coffee blend
  • Child play centers
  • Amusement park tickets
  • Discounted zoo tickets
  • Bottle of wine
  • Exclusive dining options
  • Sunset boat cruise

The better you know your guests, the better you know how to curate their revenge travel experience to make it especially memorable.

Children at zoo feeding a giraffe
If a family with young children booked your property, share information about the local zoo or children’s museum before they arrive.

Top revenge travel destinations

Since travelers are now free to visit countries that were previously closed to international visitors, they’re highly motivated to finally head to their dream destinations. 

 

New York

For many travelers from around the world, New York is the quintessential destination. Now that international visitors are allowed back into the United States, many people are jumping at the chance to visit The Big Apple. 

 

For a property manager in New York, this is the perfect opportunity to max-out on the guest experience. Set your guests up with local tour guides and share your expert restaurant recommendations so they know they won’t fall prey to overpriced tourist traps. 

 

Europe

Many travelers are hoping to get their European fix now that travel restrictions have finally been lifted. American travelers in particular are flocking to classic destinations, like Paris and Rome, but are also exploring less obvious locations like the Azores Islands (Portugal), Kotor (Montenegro), and Malta. 

 

Hosts and property managers in less touristy European locations can take advantage of their position as local experts and add personalized recommendations to their digital guidebooks. Put guests in contact with your local tour and dining partners so they know they’re making the most of the trip, and perhaps you can even pocket a commission. 

 

The Caribbean

Tropical Caribbean islands, like Turks and Caicos, are ideal destinations for revenge travelers hoping to escape to warmer weather. However, they’re also an excellent place for remote workers to enjoy an extended stay. 

 

Some islands, like Barbados, Anguilla, and Antigua and Barbuda have even rolled out special “digital nomad” visas for remote workers who want to stay for months at a time. As a property manager, this is your chance to highlight the lightning-fast WiFi at your property and offer special long-term rates to fill your booking calendar with ease.

Mountain and ocean view in Antigua
Its picturesque landscape and ideal weather make Antigua and Barbuda a prime destination for remote workers.

Leverage revenge travel trends for more bookings and increased revenue

While health and safety are still considerations for many travelers, people are now prioritizing the opportunity to take their ideal vacations to dream destinations and make the most of their stay while they’re there. You can help your guests have an unforgettable revenge travel experience with curated upsells, local partnerships, and personalized recommendations. 

 

And with the right tools, like digital guidebooks and smart buttons, you’ll be able to engage your guests at every step of their journey, from the moment they book and throughout the entirety of their stay.

Save time and stress on logistics for your vacation rental business.

Coordinate team members, turnarounds, and maintenance with Operto Teams: No more missed cleans or time-consuming manual management.

Vacation Rental Marketing in 2022: Slow, sustainable, and steady wins the direct booking race

Recession-proofing your vacation rental marketing business means increasing your direct bookings. 

 

And you can boost your number of direct bookings with local SEO for your website and by highlighting Google reviews.

 

Also, differentiating your listings and services by targeting specific guest profiles, offering unique experiences, and using social media, are other ways to build a solid brand that appeals to guests and owners.

 

Meanwhile, creating a clear business plan, providing concrete proof of your results, and building a tech stack that’s focused on operational efficiency and a better guest experience, demonstrates your level of professionalism and ability to deliver on expectations.

 

To fully capitalize on revenge travel, you need the right tools. 

 

With mobile-optimized guest app Operto Guest, its digital guidebooks, two-way messaging, and smart buttons, you can build a guest experience that:

  • Engages guests pre-stay and reduces cancellations
  • Cuts down on guest messaging and calls saving you hours each week
  • Provides a frictionless way for guests to request add-on services

See Operto Guest in action today.