Bon voyage! 5 differentiators in the international travel rental sector

“The gladdest moment in human life, me thinks, is a departure into unknown lands.” – Sir Richard Burton

Travel and tourism continues to be a steadily growing economic sector. As a highly competitive and ever-changing industry, travel and tourism has secured itself in the global marketplace – and language services providers play a key role.

Companies wishing to compete in the travel and tourism space require the expertise of language services professionals. These professionals help companies localize their websites, elevate brand awareness, launch, promote, and manage international tourism campaigns, offer language tools and resources, and provide multilingual customer service 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days of the year.

International travel has entered a new era

Before the Internet of Things (IoT), organizing a getaway used to be as simple as calling up the hotel that was nearest to the vacation destination and reserving a room. And while this may have been simple, it was likely also frustrating if the person on the other end of the line didn’t speak the traveler’s native language.

Accommodation choices were also rather limited – in fact, there were next to no choices. Unless travelers were planning on staying with family or friends or backpacking through Europe bouncing from one hostel to another, they were definitely staying at a hotel. For the more adventurous, bed & breakfasts were another option, but that was basically it.

Nowadays however, these options have exploded. Travelers can now rent fully furnished private homes, private apartments, single rooms, and RVs. Heck, you can even rent a converted water tower room in London, England! The best part however, is that travelers now have the convenience of communicating in their native language when booking their travel accommodations – or at least, they should. There are more choices than ever before and more vacation hospitality services popping up left, right, and center. Vacationers can now choose their vacation spot and practically custom-order their accommodations.

International tourism trends

In the first four months of 2018, international tourism has already exceeded the World Tourism Organization’s expectations (UNWTO):

Want to take a closer look? Grab all tables in Google Sheets!

This trend hasn’t been missed by the international vacation rental market. American top runners in this space include Airbnb, HomeAway, and VRBO, but European-based Booking.com is most definitely in league with these big players.

Want to take a closer look? Grab all tables in Google Sheets!

Differentiator #1: Payment gateway options

International vacation rental agencies that know what they’re doing, know that localization extends well beyond simply translating their website content into various languages. Of course, it’s a no brainer that any travel company’s website should accommodate multiple languages, but that’s only a mere piece of the localization pie.

It is every bit as important that companies offer a number of choices when it comes to payment gateways. This is a global market after all, and one size certainly does not fit all. Companies that offer a number of payment options have clearly strived to bring financial peace of mind to their customers, so look for what payment options exist before booking.

Differentiator #2: Effective communication

We all know the golden rule in the hospitality business – treat the customer with the utmost respect at all times. So, be sure to check out how well the company communicates with their customers.

Does their website allow for customer reviews, and can those reviews be left in a number of languages? How quickly does the company respond to inquiries and/or complaints, and how effective are they in communicating with you in your preferred language?

Differentiator #3: Cultural awareness

Vacation rental agencies serve customers in a growing number of regions around the world, but which companies have invested in cultural awareness efforts?

Well-intentioned vacation agencies work directly with localization experts as well as subject matter experts to ensure that their promotions and advertisements are culturally sensitive. 

Differentiator #4: Legal expertise and safety regulations

Global businesses of any kind must ensure that they are in compliance with local laws. Find out if the travel rental agency you have your eye on has done its due diligence in this area. Their website should provide a separate section that addresses zoning laws that need to be satisfied before hosts can open up their homes for rental purposes.

It is also critical that the website devotes a section on safety for both the host and the vacationer. Make sure to carefully read the company’s regulations on safety before booking your stay.

Differentiator #5: Community involvement

A real telltale sign of a high-quality travel rental agency is its level of involvement with the local communities in which they do business. There are endless ways in which companies can actively participate in the local communities. Find out if the company offers community boards for customers and hosts to share stories, runs charitable programs to accommodate travelers who may be traveling for medical treatment, or responds to a community’s needs when a disaster strikes.

Chances are, the more the company invests in local communities, the more invested they will also likely be in the services they provide to their customers.

Your home away from home

For some, traveling is about seeing other parts of the world while still maintaining the comforts of home. For others, it is all about the adventure and leaving those comforts behind. Whatever your travel preferences, remember to consider these differentiators before booking with your next international rental vacation agency.

International travel has entered a new era, and satisfying your wanderlust just became a lot easier.

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