By Jade Shojaee
It’s no secret that consumer travel trends have shifted away from traditional lodging options, resulting in a massive rise of alternate accommodation offerings and bookings.
Statistics show that travel spend is increasing YOY and, in 2018, one in three travelers said they would rather stay in a vacation rental than in a hotel. Vacation Rental Companies (like us) and OTAs (like Booking.com, Expedia etc.) have been boldly invading the hotel space, seducing consumers with boutique hotel rooms/aparthotels that can assure reliable services and amenities without losing the je ne sais quois of a homestay. Their success collating these rival industries (hotels and homestays) has spurred other OTA’s to do the same and industry leaders continue to explore the future of the trend.
Industry leader and entrepreneur Tim Choate was ready for a vacation after building his second successful tech startup, heading the Board of Directors of two powerhouse Bay Area nonprofits, Berkeley Playhouse (the nonprofit for the arts he co-founded with his wife) and Imagination Foundation (supporting the Arts, Education and Environment through direct service and contributions), and being a dedicated husband and father of 5. An affordable, kid-friendly vacation rental was just the ticket.
Why a vacation rental? “With that many kids, we would have had to rent out way too many hotel rooms to accomodate the whole family,” Tim said. “I think there’s something to renting a vacation rental vs. hotel. This category is natural for anyone with a family like us looking for lots of space and a unique experience.”
That is until the hassle of the vacation rental world left Tim wanting a vacation from booking his vacation. Rental homes that claimed to be available would turn out to be booked. Payment was a mess, contracts were a challenge, and the industry felt ominously vulnerable to fraud. “There were a lot of challenges and confusion and processes that were difficult, and having built two companies before I was looking for a new category to build one in. From the beginning it (RedAwning) was about making the vacation rental category better for everyone,” Tim said of starting the company in 2010.
As someone who rents out a few (vacation rentals) of his own, Tim was no stranger to questions like “how to make your vacation rental stand out” and “how to get more vacation rental bookings”. He wanted to help alleviate some of those woes as well as provide marketing strategies for vacation rentals to property managers with amazing homes and not-so-amazing booking rates.
“Having built two companies before, I was looking for a new opportunity,” said Tim. “The whole idea of combining the best of the hotel with a vacation property appealed to me. People want the unique stay/ space value and want to have it all happen as convenient as possible with the lowest amount of risk.”
His vision? Technological improvements and better marketing platforms that could enable property managers to keep track of their bookings and distribute their listings on a mass scale without the headache. Software and staff that could enable travelers to buy a unique, consistent experience only a vacation rental can provide without losing the safety and amenities of a hotel. “We are not a property manager and we have no goals of ever becoming a property manager,” Tim says. “Our goal is to help them (Property Managers) succeed and thrive and we feel there is an opportunity here to serve them and their guests.”
Today, RedAwning has a network of over 140,000 properties and 1000 property managers, and has formed countless partnerships with companies like Google and Amazon. As the company and the industry continue to expand so does Tim’s vision. “We are now really thinking about how to make the stay experience more efficient for property managers and their guests. How do we keep driving up the trust and consistency and apply it across as many properties as possible?”
RedAwning is now the largest distribution network in the world enabling managers to reach (as Tim puts it) “every traveler on the planet!” Visit us at RedAwningGroup.com to learn more about our suite of services and discover how RedAwning can help your business thrive.
Check out our UnderTheAwning Series to learn more about marketing, distribution, revenue management and much more.