How to grow your accommodation business
With the New Zealand Government announcing in February 2022 that borders are staged to open, it looks as though life may be returning to normal after all - and what a relief to accommodation business owners to finally get this news!
Whether you’ve got a fully-fledged accommodation business on your hands and are looking to grow, or are running an Airbnb as a side hustle or passive income earner, there’s hope on the horizon for an influx of international visitors. If you’ve been holding off investing in replacing or expanding your accommodation units then now might be the perfect time to get the ball rolling.
Pre-Covid, tourism was New Zealand's largest export industry which in the year ending March 2020 delivered $40.9 billion to the country and contributed to 20.1% of foreign exchange earnings. But in March 2020, the borders closed to international travel and tourism took an unprecedented hit. Since then, accommodation businesses and every business throughout the tourism industry, have been doing it tough. One tourism business in Queenstown reported operating at less than 1% of pre-Covid levels.
Despite the lack of international travel, increases in domestic travel have been an encouragement to all. With borders closed, Kiwis who would have otherwise up and left the country for their family vacation, set out to explore their own backyard, encouraged to ‘do something new, New Zealand’. This triggered a much-needed boost in domestic tourism across the country with Kiwis spending an extra $1.1 billion on domestic travel compared to pre-COVID levels.
Fortunately, as an essential service, of all tourism providers, it seemed to be accommodation businesses that were able to carry themselves through the many ebbs and flows of the pandemic by turning their short term rentals into long-term accommodation for those in need or returning from overseas.
Whether for business or pleasure, the past few years have still seen kiwis consistently moving about and requiring accommodation on their way. Accommodation offerings in the form of self-contained units gained increased popularity with the advent of Airbnb, as it enabled low-interaction vacationing, giving guests a safer, more private escape to retreat to confidently. With borders closed and domestic tourism being promoted the ‘staycation’ has seen kiwis visit cities and tourism spots usually inundated with international tourists. But as borders reopen it might be time to look ahead at a return to 'normalcy' and the opportunities this provides.
According to the Ministry of Business Innovation & Employment's Key Tourism Statistics from 2020, if you own a holiday park or similar you're in one of the highest growth segments for nights stayed. If you are in Christchurch, Queenstown or a destination near those locations the question you have to ask is whether you're capitalising on the tourism growth, or ready for the growth to come.
If you're reaching capacity every holiday season could you increase your earnings with more investment in the accommodation units on offer? If some of your self-contained units are beginning to look tired, could they be putting people off returning?
Ultimately if your park/site is being compared against another local provider what does your facility have that they don't? Would more modern, warmer, cleaner accommodation help you win that business?
Another major consideration is the ease of maintenance. Is a chunk of your annual revenue going into keeping your accommodation looking fresh and patching over old problems? If so, it’s worth exploring alternatives that will result in lower maintenance costs.
Save yourself the ongoing time and money, and position your business as a top-tier accommodation solution by opting for quality early on. If you’re looking to expand your holiday park and increase its revenue, replace existing units or add more to increase your capacity, Genius Homes can help.
With a Genius Homes prefab, new units can be delivered ready-made to your site with minimal disruptions, low construction waste and fewer tradies on site. There’s no need to jeopardise day-to-day activities or your visiting guests' experience when you opt for a prefab home solution because the pre-built house is delivered straight to the site. Watch the video above to see how the Queenstown Top 10 Holiday Park benefited from new prefabricated units from Genius Homes.
Airbnbs allow anyone to invest in property and supplement their income with an accommodation unit. All you need is a little spare section and the rest could be left to us. Whether it’s a family bach that gets rented out throughout the year, a small granny flat on the back of your property, or an entire home dedicated as a short-term rental, Airbnbs provide people with the flexibility to pocket a bit of extra cash from the secondary accommodation they own.
Here's what Airbnb’s Head of Public Policy Australia and New Zealand Brent Thomas has to say about its benefits, “...the Airbnb community is helping locals earn extra income, turbocharge the economy and create more local jobs. Airbnb’s kind of healthy, sustainable travel spreads the benefits of tourism to the places that have traditionally missed out, like the regions. More than two-thirds of Airbnb’s economic activity occurs outside Auckland and 74 cents in the Airbnb guest dollar goes into the local community – local shops, cafes and restaurants.”
With Airbnb’s extreme popularity and high flexibility, many people are heading down this route. Airbnbs offer guests something different and a wide array of choices to find something perfectly suited to their needs. An Airbnb can also be rented out as often or as infrequently as you like. If you have friends or family coming to stay simply block out that time period in your Airbnb portal so no one books it and your guests can have the place to themselves.
If you want to add value to your section then a small self-contained unit can help. Why not consider a Genius Homes accommodation unit as a great addition to your section?
Tips to make your Accommodation stand out from the rest
Holiday park or Airbnb, you’ll need to position yourself competitively to secure consistent booking success. Here are some top tips to do just that.
Is your accommodation difficult to get to? Or complicated to find? Provide detailed instructions on how to get to the house, signpost the route clearly, or even offer to meet guests and guide them the rest of the way.
If you own a larger accommodation business such as a holiday park, consider offering an airport pickup and dropoff service if financially feasible. Improving the journey and removing one of the stresses of arriving in a new place will leave your guests in a more comfortable and relaxed state upon arrival, setting the groundwork for a great first impression.
Surprise your guests! A small gesture can go a long way in giving your guest a warm fuzzy glow as part of their first impression of your accommodation. Guests notice when hosts go above and beyond and will be sure to appreciate the gesture.
Maybe your accommodation business is an inclusion of your vineyard business. If so, why not include a complimentary wine tasting or discounted meal as a standard inclusion of their stay? If your Airbnb is situated on your farm, consider allowing guests to roam areas of the farm and interact with animals. Or simply include local insights in their welcome guide. Direct guests to secret ‘locals only’ locations or create partnerships with local providers to provide a free dessert or discount to your guests. Ultimately, giving your guests something they can’t otherwise access unless they stay in your accommodation, gives your place a highly competitive appeal.
We all know a picture tells a thousand words so if you’re not capitalising on good photos yet, it’s time to crack onto that. Good photos will help get your accommodation in front of the right people. With such a competitive market, quality photos are your first ticket to getting potential customers to even begin to consider your place.
Are your photos out of date? Have you recently made changes to your accommodation? Guests will feel ripped off and misled if there are discrepancies between their expectations set by your listing and reality.
Building on the importance of quality, up-to-date photos brings about the subject of honesty. Is yours an honest listing? Do you deliver on your website or listing promises? Does your accommodation include all the listed amenities, and are they still of adequate quality?
While it’s good to be descriptive and informative, don’t overpromise or make it sound more glamourise than it really is. Guests want an accurate picture of what to expect. With expectations aligned, they’ll know what they’re paying for and be satisfied when that’s what they get.
Many people will look to past customer reviews and feedback for credibility when choosing a place to stay. Airbnb provides this rating system as an in-built feature of the app but for holiday parks this is often handled by Google. Implement a feedback system, like Review Tui, to handle customer feedback and issues while also directing people to your Google My Business page to enhance your profile in the eyes of people searching for a solution online.
Expand your channels
If your accommodation business is exclusive to your business website, or exclusive to Airbnb, it’s time to expand. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket, consider creating a secondary channel through platforms such as Social Media.
Social media allows you to showcase your accommodation in a more personal and fresh outlook. Guests will be able to share and post snippets of their time in your place for the world to see. This will boost your credibility and help your accommodation offering get in front of a wider audience.
Aesthetics & functions
Simplicity is a great approach when it comes to decor. Naturally, your accommodation should always be well cleaned, but minimal, clear white or natural spaces will give the illusion of extra cleanliness and bonus spaciousness too.
But have fun too! If your accommodation is filled with interesting, unique decor and nicknacks this can be a great differentiation point that makes your accommodation stand out and offer a novel stay. Just be sure there is sufficient space for guests to place their belongings during their stay. A guest shouldn’t have to clear countertops to squeeze in makeup bags or toiletries. Make your space pleasing to be in, aesthetic and functional in every room.
When it comes to the kitchen, the more helpful kitchen items available the better. This will give guests more freedom to create meals of their own. Regularly check through the kitchen and other household items to ensure there are no broken or useless items cluttering the space and frustrating guests.
Ultimately, with the borders reopening, both Holiday parks and Airbnbs pose a great avenue for growth. Whether you own an orchard, a vineyard, a sheep farm, a wedding venue, or have a spare section, chances are an accommodation unit makes sense. If you have a unique property, have an ideal location, or run a business with space and scope to add accommodation, a new prefab could be the perfect complementary investment and future income stream you need.
A prefab accommodation unit or cabin from Genius Homes is made off-site, delivered with minimal disruption and within a rapid time frame allowing you to hit the ground running in no time. Have a look at the commercially-focused accommodation range on our website or by downloading our latest product catalogue.