Despite the crisis, there are sectors with strong dynamism, such as rural tourism. Let's have a look at some tips to help boost business in a COVID-19 context.
Tourist lets, known in Portugal as "Alojamento Local (AL)", have been one of the major victims of the COVID-19 pandemic. There are many tourist accommodation owners, especially in large urban centres, who have chosen to give up the activity for different reasons and put their properties on the long-term rental market or even up for sale, while there are others who don't want to throw in the towel yet and continue to believe in the value of tourist lets in Portugal. This is due to the fact that within the tourist accommodation sector, there are some areas that are showing signs of strong vitality, such as rural tourism. And there are ways of boosting the business even more, increasing the prominence and profitability of tourist accommodation in Portugal, even during the COVID-19 crisis. If you own a property in Portugal and want to let it out to tourists, we explain how in this guide to letting out tourist accommodation in Portugal during the pandemic.
A great starting point for those who operate in this sector is to understand that after the coronavirus confinement, families are now looking for an "escape" after many long months inside their homes. Based on data from Rentalia, idealista's local accommodation website, it is being observed that rural tourism is the star of this season, with 76.4% of the lodgings already reserved in this area, compared to 70.9% of lodgings near the beach.
Families have a preference for spaces in natural environments that guarantee their privacy and safety, with generous outdoor areas, and preferably with a swimming pool, to cool off and enjoy the rest of the season.
Overall, according to Rentalia data, the average number of days reserved by travellers in tourist houses grew 13.6% in the summer of 2020 compared to last year, reaching an average of 9.2 days of stay. This increase caused the average price of stays in holiday homes for this summer to rise by 12.6% to 134 euros/night.
And there are a number of tips that can be followed to make holiday homes more profitable and to highlight them from the rest of the offer on the market. Let's have a look at what they are with the help of the Spanish valuation institute, 'Instituto de Valoraciones'.
7 tips to make the most of Local Accommodation this summer
- Prices according to the market
It is important to ensure that the price of the accommoation is in accordance with market values, taking into account characteristics, benefits, location, etc. For this, the ideal will be that the owners analyse the demand and offer of the area where the lodging is located and readjust its price, also taking into account the type of property in question. As for the type of tourist accommodation, single-family dwellings are the most sought after, both on the coast and in the countryside, because they have larger private areas and larger spaces.
- Offering discounts for longer stays
This year, families are looking for accommodation where they can spend a few weeks or even a month, where they feel comfortable and safe, without having to move from one tourist property to another, or somewhere which allows them to combine intensive work days in the summer with the enjoyment of holidays. Therefore, an interesting way to attract the attention of this public is to offer discounts on stays of more than a week or a month, something that still allows the owner to save time and resources in cleaning and disinfecting at each entrance of new guests, for example.
- Give visibility to your property in the appropriate portals
It is important to study of all the Local Accommodation portals available to define the best portals or search engines to advertise the property in question and reach the largest possible audience that may be interested in the accommodation.
- Interest starts in the photos
Users looking for this type of accommodation usually browse the web very quickly to find the offers that suit their needs. In this sense, the first thing people see are the photos of the property and therefore it is very important that the listing stands out with quality images of the spaces that will capture the customer's attention. To give the photos a professional finish, an innovative and different idea is to combine normal and 360 degree photography.
- Swimming pools, gardens, terraces, outdoor spaces and natural environments then among the priorities this summer
Now more than ever, and after the period of confinement because of the COVID-19 pandemic, large houses with outdoor spaces are highly sought after for people to spend their free time, avoiding public places and gatherings. Therefore, tourist accommodation with these characteristics should be highlighted due to the fact that these factors can attract more interest. The recommendation here is to clearly identify the attributes of the relevant properties and include them in the customisation labels of the different portals, so that they appear in the searches that the users make, while indicating their filters of preference.
- The focus on hygiene is of extreme importance
It is extremely important that the accommodation fully complies with all hygiene measures to ensure that the space is clean and properly sanitised, as well as being safe for guests. Clients will have more confidence in residences that guarantee these measures and, for this, a good idea would be to inform users about the security protocol that is being followed in description of the property. You can also check out Portugal's Clean & Safe scheme to give travellers extra peace of mind.
- The added value can help the undecided
For a tourist rental house to stand out from the vast offer on the market, there may be some "extras" that add value and may lead the interested party to choose one house over another. Some ideas include having a free bicycle service, free use of beach chairs and parasols in the house for guests' use, receiving the client with a welcome pack such as water bottles or a fruit basket or offering free parking in the grounds of the house, among many others.