Despite the tragic onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, a blow to many businesses and the vacation rental industry in the spring, Southern Vacation Rentals is proud to report a successful summer season. The local management company saw record numbers for sales in June, with strong numbers continuing through July and August.
In an effort to help curb the spread of COVID-19, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis made the executive order to ban vacation rentals in April with no indication of when it would end. Additionally, local officials closed down the beaches in Southern’s areas of operation in Florida and Alabama, also with no firm reopening date. The shutdowns were devastating to the states, local businesses, and to Southern.
With many guests worried about travel during the pandemic, Southern worked hard with guests on flexible options, including moving their dates to a later time or offering a gift card to rebook their stay. However, record numbers of calls and cancellation requests made it hard to connect with guests individually, so the local management company mobilized every department as support staff in order to communicate with guests. Southern also utilized this time to develop their Southern Clean Initiative, taking permanent measures to sanitize properties with glanHealth products and to implement company-wide clean coverlets.
With Alabama reopening on May 1 and Florida’s ban on vacation rentals finally lifted on May 19, Southern immediately saw an influx of pent-up demand in bookings from travelers eager to get back to the beach. With call lines still overwhelmed, online bookings hit an all-time high. Because of this, Southern was able to reach their goals for June, July, and August. The amount of last-minute bookings has carried through the peak season and into late summer, a trend Southern anticipates is here to stay.
“We’re incredibly proud of our Southern team members for their resilience during these last few months,” said Scott Seay, Southern’s Chief Executive Officer. “This was obviously an unprecedented time for our industry. We’ve spent the last few months rebuilding and getting back to the ‘new normal.’ We are grateful to be well-poised to continue safely welcoming visitors to our beaches.”
Now, the vacation rental management company is optimistic about upcoming fall travel. With schools shifting to a virtual or hybrid model and many companies still working remotely, Southern expects a shift toward longer weekend stays. Southern capitalized on this by launching an extensive work/learn remotely campaign, inviting travelers to trade in their Zoom backgrounds for the real deal. The change to a shorter booking window shows that many travelers are waiting to book, but still opting for longer stays due to more flexible work and school schedules.
To book your own fall vacation to Florida and Alabama, visit SouthernResorts.com