Episode 260: Why Short-term Rentals and DMOs Need to Collaborate

By on June 06, 2023

In today’s interconnected world, the short-term rental industry has become an integral part of the travel and tourism sector. With the rise of platforms like Airbnb and VRBO, more travelers are opting for unique and personalized accommodations. In fact, according to a recent survey, 60% of tourists prefer staying in a short-term rental to a hotel. As we discussed in the latest episode of the Destination Marketing Podcast, collaboration between the short-term rental industry and Destination Marketing Organizations (DMOs) is crucial. By working together, short-term rentals and DMOs can leverage their strengths and contribute to the growth and sustainability of the tourism industry. This blog post explores effective strategies for collaboration, highlighting the mutual benefits that can be derived.

Establishing Open Channels of Communication:

Communication is key! The first step toward successful collaboration is establishing open communication between the short-term rental industry and DMOs. Be strategic about how this communication is facilitated. For individually-owned Airbnbs, sending snail mail to their address may be the best way to communicate with them, because of the limits of the Airbnb platform. 

Regular and transparent communication can help foster a sense of trust and facilitate the exchange of ideas, challenges and collaborations. Both parties can share insights on market trends, traveler preferences and upcoming events, enabling each to adapt and align their offerings accordingly. For an example of this collaboration, the DMO is the source of visitor guides, destination freebies like stickers and events calendars. Providing these materials to short-term rentals can help them be better hosts to their guests and adds value.

Sharing Data and Insights:

Data is a valuable asset that can drive decision-making and provide valuable insights into the tourism market. Short-term rental platforms possess a wealth of data on traveler preferences, booking patterns and occupancy rates. Data-sharing is common between DMOs and hotels, but short-term rentals are an untapped market in many destinations. By sharing anonymized data with DMOs, the short-term rental industry can help DMOs gain a deeper understanding of their destination’s visitor profile. In return, DMOs can provide market intelligence, visitor surveys and other relevant data to short-term rental operators, allowing them to refine their offerings and better cater to visitor needs.

Collaborative Marketing Campaigns:

DMOs excel in marketing and promoting a destination, while short-term rental operators possess an intimate knowledge of their properties and the local experiences they offer. By collaborating on marketing campaigns, these two entities can create compelling narratives that showcase the destination’s unique attractions and the diverse range of accommodations available. Co-branded campaigns, joint social media promotions and targeted content creation can help generate awareness and increase bookings for both DMOs and short-term rentals.

Engaging in Policy Dialogue:

The short-term rental industry operates within a regulatory landscape that varies across destinations. DMOs can play a crucial role in facilitating dialogue between local authorities, community stakeholders and short-term rental operators. By actively participating in policy discussions, both parties can help shape regulations that balance the needs of local communities, ensure fair competition and create a level playing field. Collaboration in this area can foster understanding, prevent conflicts and enable the growth of a responsible and sustainable short-term rental sector.

Collaboration between the short-term rental industry and DMOs is essential for the growth and development of the tourism sector. By establishing open channels of communication, sharing data and insights, collaborating on marketing campaigns and engaging in policy dialogue, these two entities can maximize their potential and deliver memorable experiences to travelers. By working together, the short-term rental industry and DMOs can foster mutual growth, promote responsible tourism practices and contribute to the overall success of their destination.