Welcome to 2020

Some wag is starting a petition to bring Barbara Walters out of retirement New Year’s Eve so they can tune in and hear her say, “I’m Barbara Walters. Welcome to 2020!” Here’s my early outlook for the 2020 season for Seachange Vacation Rentals – your focused vacation rental management company at the Delaware Beaches.

Outlook on Bookings for 2020

All indications are good for early advance bookings on the 2020 summer season. Very good in fact. How well is Seachange Vacation Rentals pacing for summer 2020 bookings? For advance bookings Year to Date for the upcoming 2020 summer season compared to the same time last year for advance bookings for the 2019 summer season:

  1. Number of reservations – up 60%.
  2. Gross rent – up 50%

This is good news! While it’s still too early to say if 2020 will approximate a more ‘normal’ reservations season with the bulk of summer bookings coming in from January – March, it’s unusual to be getting this volume of pre-season reservations for the following summer. What does this mean?

  1. For our current Property Owner clients, we’ve been working feverishly to get our 2020 rates locked in and published online. We’ve also been working to get any 2020 season property renovations/upgrades completed ASAP so that we can refresh property listing photographs.
  2. For our new Property Owner clients bringing new vacation rental listings to market. You know it! We’ve been nagging at you to get paperwork signed and returned so that we can take advantage of this early booking pattern for your new listings.
  3. For prospective Property Owner clients out there who have not listed their vacation rental property with any Agency yet for 2020. What are you waiting for? Don’t miss out. Call us today (302) 727-5566. We need to get moving on marketing your property right now!

Seachange Vacation Rentals 2020 Plans

I’m speaking to current and prospective Property Owner clients and Guests alike! Here are the plans in place or under proof of concept study for roll out in 2020:

  1. E-signature. For implementation January 2020, Seachange is moving all Guest related documents to online digitized versions with electronic e-signature. This is a huge efficiency savings for Guests and Seachange staff alike. Expect our Property Owner related documents to be similarly digitized in the 3rd Quarter of 2020.
  2. TouchStay. I’m thrilled to announce that Seachange Vacation Rentals has inked a partnership deal with the awesome people at TouchStay. Effective January, 2020 all of Seachange Guest Welcome books and packets will move to the online, digital TouchStay platform. Instead of emailing Guests a PDF document that they lose or do not read, the Guest will be sent a link to an online version in the cloud. There is also a mobile platform app that Guests can use. This new version of our Guest Welcome Book is content and media rich allowing website links and video content. Guests will get access to property specific pre-arrival and stay information in addition to local area information to help them plan their stay at the Delaware Beaches. How cool is this? Expect Seachange to expand the use of TouchStay to our Property Owner needs in 3rd Quarter 2020. TouchStay is headquartered in London, UK.
  3. Revenue Management and Dynamic Rate Pricing Software. Seachange is currently test piloting two sets of vendor software to partially automate dynamic rate management based on real time market data. If all works according to vendor claims, Seachange clients will benefit from a more scientific approach to property stay pricing. Seachange is testing this software on properties that are owned by the Seachange company Owner – Andy. All client owned properties continue to have their rates and stay rules managed manually outside of this software by our company Revenue Manager, Andy.
  4. Property Video Walkthrough Style Content. During 2019, Seachange has been researching proof of concept ideas for adding property videos to supplement the property photos on our vacation rental listings. We’ve decided on our platform/service provider and will begin rolling out new property videos in the spring of 2020.
  5. Video Production Marketing. During the 4th Quarter, 2019, Seachange has been researching proof of concept ideas for expanding our marketing to high quality, high production value video marketing. We’re close to a decision on this with new video marketing content expected to begin shooting in spring/early summer 2020. Expect content to cover: property lifestyle shoots; promotional/informational content for the Delaware Beaches resorts; hints and tips videos; and Seachange Vacation Rentals company marketing. This will also improve the quality and content on our existing YouTube Channel.
  6. Media Advertising Outreach! We’re currently speaking to media companies to help us build advertising campaigns in the Philadelphia and Washington DC metro areas. We’re looking at print ads, mass transit (metro rail and bus), and billboards. Watch this exciting space!
  7. Vacation Planners and Operations Services! Quietly in the 4th Quarter of 2019, I reorganized the structure of Seachange Vacation Rentals so that we can serve our Property Owner and Guest clients better. Effective 3rd Quarter 2019, Tom AKA “Mikey” sold his Financial Planning business, retired, then joined Seachange Vacation Rentals full time as our new Vice President reporting directly to me as one of now two Seachange Company Principals. Not only do we now have two company Principals with clear lines of accountability, but I also separated out reservations sales from operations. On the reservations sales side, Guests now have savvy sales professionals intimately familiar with the Delaware Beaches to not only book their vacation, but also help Guests plan out their holidays in our beautiful area while building a long term relationship with a Seachange team member. You’re already familiar with Tom, AKA, “Mikey.” Tom will direct our new Vacation Planner Team. Congratulations Tom! On the Operations side, I promoted Jennifer, our dedicated Office Manager, to Director of Operations and opened up initially two new Administrative positions. This new department will formalize our existing operations into three new streams of support covering: Owner Services, Guest Services, and Property Services (‘Property Management’). Congratulations Jennifer! More here on our company reorganization…

So that’s a lot in the pipeline for 2020! We continuously research improvements and additions to better support our Property Owner and Guest clients. Watch this space for more announcements as applicable.

Thank you for your business! Andy, President and Owner, Seachange Vacation Rentals, Delaware Beaches.