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Some Friday News - Long-Term Stays, More Florida Counties Reopen, VRBO Price Consistency, Buying Vacation Houses Sight Unseen

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Happy Friday everyone!

Vacation properties are seeing a surge of bookings, especially now that states are reopening and loosening health and safety restrictions. A typical summer vacation may take the family for a week or two to the beach or mountains. This year, as many employees have been shooed from the office and summer camps have been canceled, many travelers are vacationing for a bit longer. Angela Rice, a co-founder of Boutique Travel Advisors in the Scottsdale, Ariz., area, said that some clients are looking at rustic long-term rentals near lakes, trails and waterfalls. She has received inquiries from clients with children who are looking to take road trips to a “lodge, ranch, ski resort town,” or anywhere with stand-alone lodgings and outdoor activities. Many travelers are ready to depart immediately, perhaps because they have cabin fever, feel more comfortable as officials relax restrictions or are unsure about booking too far into a future with hazy conditions. Evolve Vacation Rental, which manages 14,000 vacation homes across the country, said trips booked within seven days of departure are up 300 percent compared with last year.

Vacation rentals can reopen in 49 Florida counties after state officials cleared seven more safety plans Wednesday. Bradford, Columbia, DeSoto, Leon, Polk, Pasco and Seminole counties are joining the nearly three quarters of Florida’s 67 counties free to offer short-term vacation rentals. Those plans, going into effect immediately, will locally reverse Gov. Ron DeSantis‘ statewide ban from late March.

VRBO has introduced the Price Consistency program. What does this mean for you? OwnerRez is fully price consistent if you use the HomeAway API. So basically you have nothing to do, you will be price consistent by default. Here are some of the benefits for property managers who choose to be Price Consistent:

  • More bookings: On average, property managers saw more than 10% conversion improvement after upgrading to Price Consistency.
  • Total price shown in search: Travelers will now see the most accurate, total price on the search results page instead just of the average nightly rate. This has been one of the most requested features from partners and will help build traveler trust in the booking process.
  • Access to new products and features: Property Managers will be required to be Price Consistent in order to take advantage of new features and products for their listings.

To learn about what will happen to property managers who do not adopt Price Consistency by August 31st, read more here.

Two and a half months into social distancing, affluent city-dwellers are buying homes in rural areas, and some are even doing so sight unseen. In New York state, the COVID-19 PAUSE policy means that traditional showings are verboten. "We're getting offers on virtual showings alone," says Howie Guja, a real estate agent at Old Purchase Properties in Bellport Village, New York, a rural community about 90 minutes from Manhattan. Jessica Lautz, the vice president of demographics and behavioral insights at the National Association of REALTORS®, says that about a quarter of the realtors her association represents report they've made a sale in the past week to a buyer who had only seen the home virtually. "Rentals are approximately 20% higher this year than last year, conservatively, and while there are some short-term rentals in the mix, we are mostly seeing long-term rental deals being done," says Cody Vichinsky, the co-owner of Bespoke Real Estate, which lists Hamptons properties valued at $10 million or more. "I’ve never seen the type of increased energy like we’re doing this quarter."

Have a fantastic weekend!😊

2 Comments (add yours)

Lydia B
May 29, 2020 8:11 PM
Joined May, 2019 159 posts

Regarding Price Consistency, and just to make sure, other info in OR says:

"First: this only applies to API connections. If you are not using our HA/VRBO API, it's entirely irrelevant.
Second: OwnerRez's API connection fully supports their requirements.
So you don't need to worry, you're compliant, and your property ranking will not be harmed."

All of that still true? API folks can ignore? What about non-API folks?

Paul W
May 30, 2020 9:46 AM
OR Team Member Joined Jun, 2009 800 posts

Yes, still true! Price Consistency is built into the API side. If you're using it, you're fine. On the non-API side, it's up to the user to make sure they are price consistent.