The pandemic outbreak has undeniably been a hit on the travel industry worldwide. In midst of the pandemic, the homestay industry is affected by the drop in the number of foreign and domestic tourists who stood as a major portion of clients for the business. In spite of the current situation, we have been seeing a stable occupancy rate of over 80% during the conditional movement control order(CMCO) in Sabah. This shows that despite having no end in sight for the pandemic, homestay managers, operators, and hosts would still be able to survive under the current circumstances. In this blog, Pinstay as a homestay management company in Sabah will be sharing how we managed to maintain stability in the homestay business in the face of Covid-19.
Constant optimization and update of listings
As a homestay management company in Sabah, it is important that we constantly monitor the market demand of what we are offering. You would be able to achieve a higher spot in the search rankings by constantly updating and optimizing your listings. The higher your property rank in the search results, the easier it is for your listings to generate more clicks and traffic.
In Pinstay, our listings are monitored on a daily basis to ensure that we stay at the top of the search page. Most customers do not spend too much time searching for their accommodation and would choose from the top-ranking listings. Thus, this helps our listings to get easily noticed by potential customers searching for similar listings. Appearing at the top of the search page also helps to build trust towards your listings by giving the impression of being more credible.
Getting professional photos taken is a key point in attracting customers to your property. As most potential tenants scroll through the wide variety of listings, having nice photos of your property showcased can help to capture their attention and interest.
Quality photos give potential customers a better view of the property and the facilities offered. The goal of getting good photography is not merely just to showcase your property but it also helps in building your brand and convey professionalism.
Our team at Pinstay consists of professional photographers who know how to capture photos to show off the best features of our clients’ properties. We realized how important it is to display the right pictures in order to entice potential tenants to find out more about the homestay. The photos that you showcase on your listing is very critical in grabbing the attention of tenants.
If you are interested in knowing how we take the photos of our homestays, leave a comment below or tag us on Facebook and we’ll create a tutorial specifically on that topic.
Delivering what customers need
A huge contributor to the high occupancy rate in properties managed by Pinstay is being able to offer customers a good value for money. This means that we need to find out what our customers really need and cater to those needs. Location is one major factor that influences/ determines customers’ decision in choosing a homestay for their trip.
During this pandemic of course there isn’t going to be tourists coming in, so as homestay investors we need to change how we market our properties to different target markets. There are a few questions that you can ask yourself when planning on how to promote your listings to a different target market. Which area is your property located in? Type of attractions/ facilities nearby? How can they travel to and from your property? Or, you can look at your current existing customers and ask yourself why they are staying at your place instead of others, what specific problems are you solving for them, and market your place as the solution to their problem.
Understanding what your customers need and what you are able to offer is crucial in ensuring that you can deliver what they are looking for. For example, if your homestay is located in the heart of the town near shopping malls with easy access to public transport, you would be able to target tourists who are interested in touring the city and going shopping.
We saw a change in the demographic of customers coming in during the pandemic. Initially before the movement control order, we’ve had a fair share of foreign tourists. But, we have since adjusted to the new norm and focus more on local travellers. We have mentioned the importance of catering to customers’ needs. Most of our recent clients are locals from around Sabah and they drive their own cars, so we make sure to provide complimentary free parking for their convenience.
Rather than constantly being on the search for new customers, it would be more effective to convert customers into returning customers. A critical factor in building customer loyalty is excellency in customer service. When your customers have a certain level of trust towards your service, they would most likely choose your service over your competitors and aren’t easily swayed by some other factors such as price or availability. Loyal customers would often be willing to even pay more for your service as it is something that they know they would be satisfied with.
In Pinstay, we do have a number of returning customers who came back for our services. One thing that we offer to attract past customers is that we have a variety of different homestay designs. This way, customers would be able to get a different experience on each stay at the property.
Having loyal customers is key especially in the current situation. One of the factors behind our high occupancy rate during the movement control order is having loyal customers who have transitioned from online customers to offline customers.
As you have just seen, managing your property is not an easy task and there are aspects that you have to pay attention to maintain a satisfactory occupancy rate. Get in touch with us, Pinstay (a homestay management company in Sabah) to get to know more about how to manage your homestay.