Monday, January 14, 2013

Vacation Rentals Make Good Business Travel Sense

This Orlando vacation rental not only has a private
pool, it's also on a golf course.

American companies are planning to spend more money on fewer trips, which could mean longer stays in one location. The Global Business Travel Association reports that companies are expected to spend $266.7 billion on business travel in 2013, but reduce the number of trips by a little over 1%.

This may be pointing to companies looking for more productivity from the money spent on business trips -- more sales meetings, client presentations and prospecting. Since it's shaping up to be a $266 billion dollar market this year, vacation rental owners and property managers would be wise to position their properties for the business traveler.

Selling Points for Your Property

A vacation rental has advantages over a hotel, especially if a group from the same company is traveling together. They promote collaboration--impromptu meetings over breakfast, late night recaps of the day’s events, etc. And for companies watching their travel budgets, preparing meals in the kitchen of a vacation rental will save a significant amount.

If a company plans on entertaining clients, vacation rentals can offer even more advantages over hotels, both in terms of cost and amenities. This is particularly suitable for vendor companies at trade shows. Just be sure that all amenities -- pools, saunas, steam rooms, game rooms, etc., are in good working order. You might want to work with a local party planner or designate one of your team members as point person on party planning to assist your business guests.

While some might argue that hotels offer unbeatable advantages such as onsite business centers and concierge service, neither of those should be enough to stop you from saving money with vacation rentals. After all, there are plenty of copy and printing shops to be found in nearly any size city, and finding the fun things to do and great places to eat in a city is as easy as doing a few Internet searches and make a few phone calls. Be sure to provide travel guides about your area to your business guests upon their arrival. Time is money to a business traveler, and anything you do to assist them will help ensure a repeat booking.

How to Source the Business Market

People planning business travel will likely find your rental the same way they find other lodging--online. Be sure your listings are up-to-date, and add as many photos as possible. You might point out in the photo descriptions how a living room can be used for group meetings, and highlight an area that can be used as an office.

The more descriptive text you use, the more unique your property will look. Be sure to vary your text from website to website--this can potentially be your biggest advantage over your competition since so many property managers and owners simply cut and paste their copy from website to website. Make all your descriptions unique, and you'll stand an excellent chance of coming up first in search results. You might consider including a paragraph aimed directly at the business traveler. This way, you can write your property descriptions as you would normally, highlighting the features you think are important, but then turning around and showing business travelers how thos features can benefit them.

Business travel is a big market, and in this economy, everyone wants to save. You can book more weeks by tapping into the multi-billion dollar business market.