The Key to a Post-Quarantine Boom: Less Restrictive Cancellation Policies
With parts of the country opening up piece by piece, travelers are hitting the road in search of adventures outside their homes. But they’re not being reckless: safety, trust, and flexibility remain top priorities as families and friends try to navigate the still-uncertain landscape of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Property managers are of course in a similar position. But according to early data, there is one specific adjustment property managers can make immediately in order to attract more attention from potential guests: ease cancellation policies.
Historically, property managers have balked at relaxing policies hoping to protect themselves against loss of revenue from cancellations. Studies have shown, however, that the increase of bookings significantly outweigh the slight uptick in cancellations. That seems especially true during the current pandemic, when there’s so much uncertainty from one week to the next: flexible policies have proven to be the number-one key for business to return.
VacayHome Connect recently tested this approach with its suppliers on Booking.com and implemented flexible cancellation policies for properties that had been on stricter strategy. Here are a few notable takeaways:
- The number of bookings increased by 184%, while the number of cancellations only increased by 12% year over year
- Guests started booking further out and the booking window increased by 21%
- Booking pace has been the highest since the 2019 summer season
Similar trends were confirmed by several of VacayHome Connect’s other channel partners, including Expedia and Airbnb. So despite the unpredictability of a global pandemic, this much is clear: travelers are ready to book vacation rentals, and they’re even more enthusiastic when they see a flexible cancellation policy. Property managers who adjust accordingly could reap the benefits in the months to come.