The property rental marketplace is going through some big changes. The gig economy overwrites the rules of the game and transfers more marketing opportunities to property owners. Probably the brightest example showcasing these changes is a platform like Airbnb. Today, business models like that are getting more and more traction, and this means realtors have to adapt. 

Not only do agents have to compete with other agents. They have to prove their services are still valuable in the era when most people prefer to avoid any mediators and want direct participation. If all of this sounds all too familiar to you, here are some suggestions on how to keep and expand your SOI or Sphere of Influence.

In today’s post, we’re sharing some interesting research from SoftwareAdvice, How Software Can Turn Your Vacation Rental Into a Winner. We will specifically explore things short-term renters are concerned with most of all, and how you can deliver a better customer experience based on these concerns.

How to thrive in a competitive property rental marketplace

1. Earn reviews

We already know that online reviews are fuelling local search rankings (in fact, they’re among the top ranking factors in 2017). But it also turns out that reviews profoundly impact the decision-making process.

According to the report by SoftwareAdvice, 94% of renters consult online reviews of the property before renting. Moreover, these reviews shape their opinions and prompt them to make a decision based on other people’s experience:

How much did those reviews influence your decision to rent? 

online reviews

All in all, it’s clear that reviews can do a lot of good in terms of sales and SEO. Remember that you need to have diverse reviews. Don’t focus just on Google (even though it’s probably the most important platform) but try other third-party sites like Yelp, Tripadvisor, etc.

To find out more, refer to this guide:

2. Enhance your communication with leads

On-the-go customers want quick and easy communication with their agents. Most of real estate professionals seem to do this just right: 93% of respondents say they receive just enough communication from their agents to make the deal move forward smoothly.

As for the communication channels, email seems to dominate the scene. More than half of all touchpoints were made via email which is generally a preferred channel:

communication with agents

Once again, you see that email remains a top lead generating channel for realtors. Check out these guides for more email-related tips:

3. Monitor your competition’s pricing

Location and prices are key to make a rentals agency stand out from the competition. While properties in a given area typically share the same features and are not that different from each other, it is pricing that can make or break the deal.

According to the report by SoftwareAdvice, all of their respondents compared prices in a given area. In an overcrowded market, pricing strategy is both a science and an art, especially with growing competition from online platforms like Airbnb or HomeAway.

One thing remains steady: potential customers yield much of the market power and they’ll keep looking around until they’ve found a property that is a 100% match. Whether their choice will fall on your services will depend on many factors, with pricing definitely being one of them.

What’s next?

To keep your head above the water in a competitive property rental marketplace, agents finally start turning to different tools and systems which can help them run a business better. Undoubtedly, that’s a smart decision to make. A real estate CRM helps to keep communication lines open, follow up effectively and close more deals.

According to Andrew Friedenthal, a researcher in charge of the report released by SoftwareAdvice, this kind of software helps in at least three fundamental ways:

1) Setting automatic reminders, and creating automated emails, to maintain the right amount of communication;

2) Monitoring the market and suggesting price changes accordingly, and

3) Making sure that all comments and complaints get a quick response so that small problems don’t lead to negative reviews. Using the software in this way will allow you to both satisfy customers and maintain an advantage over competitors!

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