Futurestay’s Ultimate Guide to Google Vacation Rentals: Increase Direct Bookings and Revenue in Your Short-Term Rental Business

News
Posted on
June 13, 2022

Launched in 2019, Google Vacation Rentals provides travelers with an efficient way to find unique stays in a variety of locations around the globe with just the click of a search button. 

Why would consumers use Google Vacation Rentals rather than Airbnb or Vrbo? We asked ourselves the same thing when we first heard about this new operating method, but trust us, the benefits exist–for travelers and rental providers alike. 

Fine, I’ll bite. Why are people using Google Vacation Rentals?

If we’re being honest, using it might be putting it lightly. Even savvier travelers are interested in the intentional, user-focused benefits that Google Vacation Rentals brings to the table. After all, who doesn’t want a one-stop shop for all of their vacation booking needs?

  • A system that automatically syncs with users’ Google accounts.
    Did you know that nearly 70% of email users use a Google account? Best of all, 20% of those 1.5 billion accounts are accessed daily. This means that when working with Google, you have a substantial audience just waiting to be tapped into. Additionally, with Google Vacation Rentals, you can tap straight into the convenience factor.

    When users who have Google accounts make bookings via Google Vacation Rentals, they’ll automatically get email reminders of their upcoming trip, to help ensure they don’t forget. No more canceled bookings! Google will even add reminders to their Google Calendar, to help them remember to share out-of-office memos or knock out other tasks before they travel. These seamless integrations will ensure that users experience ease of travel, from a week before the trip, to the week after they come home, thanks to these thoughtful usability tweaks.

  • Planning tools that encourage users to visit your city.
    One of the best apps that Google Vacation Rentals can sync with is Google Travel. From alerts that email users to remind them to take advantage of flight deals, to the ability to bookmark your travel plans within Chrome, Google has thought out how to make the process of booking travel as convenient as possible.

    Embedded in Google Travel is a feature called “Explore Nearby,” which allows users to pick a location–like your property–and add filters, like the number of days they are staying, in order to receive customized travel recommendations. Everybody loves a seamless planning experience! When users are able to sync your property with their travel plans, they’ll be more interested in booking with you.

Your guests will feel armed with information when the click of a button offers them activities, complete with average drive time from their home base and the weather at the new location. They’ll love knowing exactly what they need to wear during their vacation and how many activities they have time to fit within their days. Best of all, they’ll know what’s left to do that they haven’t done yet, so that they can have a good reason to head back to your property in the future!

  • Comprehensive search features that allow users to find exactly what they need.
    When you book a vacation, you want to know exactly what you’re getting into. That’s what your renters want too! With Google Vacation Rentals, there are a million ways for prospective renters to find your property. Beginning with price, renters can see all nightly prices listed on the map, and compare which property they are interested in based on their budget. (Even more reasons to check out our dynamic pricing features, so you can stay ahead of the curve!)

    Renters can also filter using a “top-rated” tag that will help them find properties with meticulous owners who guarantee a positive experience. They can search for budget options, or even upcoming availability–increasing the odds that if your property is available close to the weekend, someone will be given the option to rent it. Finally, hopeful renters can filter their search around destinations that they look forward to visiting. So if your property is close to a cool local sight, you’ll want to be sure to tag it to ensure that your property shows up first on the map!

Wow, I might try that out for my next vacation! But why use it for my business?

We can appreciate the critical lens–that’s important in this business! But seriously, Google Vacation Rentals is the real deal. As an ever-updating travel application that was only launched in 2019, the opportunity to align your work to Google Vacation Rentals is an important one to take advantage of. You can blaze the trail as more and more users come on board and begin to Google their entire vacations. (Or put differently, you can be one of a much smaller pool as people are searching for homes to book!)

It is important to note that Google Vacation Rentals is not the same feature as Google My Business. Google defines Google My Business as “an easy-to-use tool for businesses and organizations to manage their online presence via Google.” This tool allows customers to find a business via Google if business owners verify their businesses on Google and work to maintain accurate information online. Property managers are not allowed to list individual properties on Google my Business, so it’s critical to understand the ins-and-outs of how Google Vacation Rentals can help you. 

  • Cast a wider net by allowing your property to be displayed in searches.
    Looking to build a short-term rental strategy whereas many people can find your property as possible? If so, Google Vacation Rentals is the way to go.

    In fact, if you want your property to be listed on Google Maps in the same way that a business would be listed, Google Vacation Rentals is the only way to go. Although the exact address will not be listed, it will allow users to feel more connected to your property as they quickly and efficiently locate it on a map.

    Beyond just casting a wider net, you’re casting a net into a very specific type of water. Searchers looking at Google Travel are a highly targeted audience of folks who are tech savvy and know exactly what they want, which means you’re able to attract a very specific category of clientele. Frequent travelers like this are a dream to work with, as they are likely to book multiple stays at properties that they truly enjoy their stays with.

  • Set expectations by advertising on a system with more specific filters.
    By accurately communicating expectations to your guests, you can put yourself on the path to higher ratings, and subsequently, a greater volume of business. Communicate these expectations using the filtered search categories offered by the Google Vacation Rentals platform.

    Earlier, we mentioned that advanced filter options are helpful for guests who are looking for just the right property. Likewise, you can work this feature in your favor by clearly delineating listing features that will help boost your profile in the searches. What nightly price do you charge? Are you a shared property or a single-family property? What amenities do you have? Your Google Vacation Rental listing will include information regarding the type of property you own, the number of bedrooms in your property along with the number of bathrooms, how many people can comfortably sleep on the property, and any special amenities your property holds. Filling out each of these sections in your profile will offer your guests greater clarity and more reasons to select your listing from the offerings they see online.

  • Be the very first thing prospective renters see when they begin Googling their destination.
    People want what they want, and they want it when they want it. To that end, more than 70% of all Google searches end when the person searching selects an option from the first page. That’s why you want to ensure your property ranks in as high a spot as possible when prospective renters are searching for you.

    Take a renter looking for a property in Las Vegas, for example. In this instance, there are numerous daily Google searches daily from vacationers looking for “vacation rental las vegas.” By adding your property to Google Vacation Rental, you can be the very first thing they see when entering this search!

    Beyond this, Google’s listings will likely display before any other platform. So before you’ve gone live on Airbnb, VRBO, or Booking.com (websites that don’t necessarily show up in the Google results), you could already be soliciting direct bookings from your property’s link in the Google results for the area.

  • Increase your profit margins by reducing OTA commission.
    OTA commissions, or online travel agency commissions, are fees charged by partners like Airbnb and Vrbo for every booking created through their sites. Websites like Airbnb charge about 3% in commission fees.

    While lower than the 17% that other websites charge, this is money that you could save by taking on prospective renters through a direct booking site. Take a minute to calculate the amount you charge clients annually. What’s 3% of that amount? By utilizing your own direct booking website paired with Google Vacation Rentals, you can put that amount back into your pocket every year.

    Furthermore, you increase brand awareness by taking property reservations straight from your website. This means that when users book from your website and love the experience they have with you, they’ll be likely to return to your website to capitalize on the opportunity to use your other rentals. 

You win. How do I add my properties to Google Vacation Rentals? 

Yes! Good call! Currently, Google Vacation Rentals are available to those working through a direct booking website. Lucky for folks who have less than twenty properties and are looking to begin working on a direct booking pathway, Futurestay is the only partner that can give you access to create your own direct booking website to use with Google Vacation Rentals. 

This connectivity is easily established when you set up your Futurestay account. You can set it up yourself, or better yet, for a nominal fee, a member of the Futurestay team can create a perfectly optimized account for you. This option, as a matter of fact, is the only option on the market for smaller property managers. Every other connectivity partner requires property managers to have a larger portfolio in order to use their services. Futurestay, on the other hand, allows all of our partners to connect to Google Vacation Rentals, and to other booking channels through our one-stop-shop platform. 

As a matter of fact, Futurestay can get a direct booking site up and running for you in less than five minutes! Ready to make your rental properties visible on Google Maps today? Get started with Futurestay

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