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Airbnb is meeting COVID-19 demand and adding tools to help

(REAL ESTATE MARKETING) Airbnb is changing it up to adjust to COVID-era circumstances- customers preferences have changed- longer stays, local stays.

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EU airbnb

Airbnb and other short term rental (STR) platforms utilizing the sharing economy previously reported an average stay in major US cities of less than a week prior to COVID-19. New reports, however, are showing a significant jump in stay length. 1 to 6 month rentals are now the norm, with some hosts fully transitioning to long-term bookings.

In a pivot responsive to the times, Airbnb launched new tools to accommodate more long-term stays. These tools- a new onboarding process specifically to help hosts expand listings to long term guests, and changes to the visibility of local listings in search results – come after rumors and anecdotal reports of declining numbers in the STR host supply base. Although a decline was rumored, the data shows only a 3% reduction in Airbnb listings since February, 2020.

Airbnb says these tools, however, will give hosts a chance to provide local accommodation. It claims that 80% of hosts now accept longer terms stays with a discount for stays of one month or more. Looking at a year over year comparison for the same period in April 2019, this year shows a 20% increase in long-stay bookings.

According to Airbnb, “We’re seeing a larger share of Airbnb guests booking accommodation in their own communities for all lengths of stays, whether that be because they require extra space for their families or a quiet place to work.”

Will Parry, COO of European property management company Altido, which has seen an identical trend to the US, says that while longer stays are on the rise he does expect to see stay lengths reduce as restrictions ease. “In our view, it is too early to say whether the pandemic will have a long-term impact on the average length of stay booked via Airbnb.”

However, Airbnb says: “We saw growing demand for this type of stay before the pandemic, and expect to continue seeing demand as we move forward.” As remote work becomes accessible to more of the workforce, the changes associated with becoming location-independent could have a ripple effect across the housing market, and for those with investment properties.

Yasmin Diallo Turk is a long-time Austinite, non-profit professional in the field of sexual and domestic violence, and graduate of both Huston-Tillotson University and the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas. When not writing for AG she should be writing her dissertation but is probably just watching Netflix with her husband and 3 kids or running volunteer projects for HOPE for Senegal.

Real Estate Marketing

The rise of Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) systems

(REAL ESTATE MARKETING) The emerging success of “buy now, pay later” (BNPL) systems in the pandemic world has breathed fresh life into consumer confidence.

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Credit card being held out to our point of view, part of a buy now pay later system.

Within the last few years, a new payment option has slowly been rolling out across websites for consumers in the form of “buy now, pay later.” This system gives consumers the ability to split a payment up across a longer period of time and in small increments, and also tends to skip on interest or other standard monetary fees. In essence, this makes them a new style of layaway plan for modern day, and proponents of ‘buy now, pay later’ systems are stating this is one of the best chances to revitalize a worldwide marketplace rocked by the COVID pandemic.

On the European side of things, Klarna has an evaluation of $10 billion, which firmly cements it as the most valuable privately owned fintech firm in the country (and fourth overall globally). Australia’s Afterpay is another big player with its own substantial platform, while the United States based Affirm is looking to start its own IPO in the $5-$10 billion range. Of course, Paypal has long been in this market, and other companies – including Visa – are working with their own offerings.

Put another way: It’s big business. Big, big business. Forbes estimates as much as $24 billion annually. That’s definitely something. There are millions of users globally for these apps, with millions of purchases annually, and more are growing by the day.

Traditionally, consumers were relegated to using credit cards to facilitate purchases that they needed additional time, giving them the ability to obtain funds while retaining their ability to bring home goods and services. This comes with interest so that merchants and vendors have an incentive – they still make a sale, gather money over time, and get a little extra on top.

By contrast, ‘buy now, pay later’ systems are geared differently, aiming instead to address a growing digital market where sales are primarily online (or steadily getting there). Consumers may window shop even on websites, and ultimately abandon their carts when the purchase screen finally appears. This is where BNPL shines – it suddenly gives these shoppers a way to still move forward while lessening the initial monetary blow and giving them a way out of dreaded interest. Especially in these uncertain times, this has become a lifesaver for customers and vendors alike. The former gains the ability to purchase more with few penalties (if any), and the latter sees greater conversion and increased sales.

Meanwhile, the BNPL merchant is able to charge a higher percentage commission to the vendors – more so than credit cards even – to net themselves their own piece of the pie. Even with BNPL’s higher merchant fees of 4-6% in revenue compared to credit card companies, the pure numbers emphatically prove that this system is beneficial to everyone. As pointed out by Fintechtris, “Even though higher fees are being paid, retailers are able to take advantage of: an increase in shopping cart size (up to 30%), decrease in abandonment at checkout (down up to 25%), and repeat customers (up to 20% more). In particular, Affirm, Afterpay, and Klarna (some of the largest BNPL fintech companies) saw average order value (AVO) rise 85%, 30%, and 45% respectively.”

Further, BNPL users have a variety of reasons for choosing this method over credit cards, including avoiding interest, the ability to borrow without a credit check, and being able to go outside of an existing budget without straying into troubled territory.

BNPL graph: growth is being driven by people who can't or don't want to use credit cards

Image source: PaymentsSource

Perhaps even more interesting is that BNPL companies are suffering lower delinquency rates compared to credit cards, with problematic payments at around 1.1% compared to 5.7% elsewhere. BNPL – with its lack of punitive measures – seems to attract all kinds of customers; it’s not just for those that might represent risk.

There is still something to be said about the dangers of overborrowing, with the possibility of charges sneaking up on someone. It should also be noted that avoiding using a credit card means that someone might build their credit history more slowly and sluggishly, and this could have negative ramifications long term.

Everyone is looking for ways to improve their cash flow right now, and as such, evaluating each and every option out there is vitally important. We might even see an accelerated push toward a cashless society following the pandemic. BNPL is still in some early stages, but it’s likely to see increased acceptance and usage as we continually push toward online sales.

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Real Estate Marketing

Retargeting: are you really getting the most bang for your buck?

(MARKETING) Retargeting cookies can eat up more budget than you would expect, but these simple code solutions will help cut that cost down.

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Retargeting ad graph

Up to 80% of visitors to your site will leave within seconds. Are you wasting time and money retargeting this demographic — one that has shown no interest in your services or products? If so, you may be able to save a substantial amount of your retargeting budget by adding a simple script to your website’s code.

Retargeting is a massive part of any marketing endeavor, but it has its downsides—chief among which is that retargeting cookies are indiscriminate and thus are often applied to clientele who aren’t spending enough time on your home page to warrant the attention. This in turn leads to overspending on underwhelming conversion results.

One solution, proposed by Kevin Ho of Wishpond, involves adding a simple script that delays retargeting cookies for the first 45 seconds (or so) to your website’s overarching code. In doing so, your cookies will not be wasted on anyone who bounces from your site within moments of arriving at it.

Of course, your site may have nuanced clientele which require you to adjust the parameters around the retargeting delay code. Given the relative simplicity of JavaScript and HTML coding, you should be able to change the amount of time for which cookies are restricted with ease.

Variations of the retargeting delay code itself can be found on sites such as GitHub and SlideShare. Once you’ve edited the code to accommodate your needs, you can paste it directly into your website’s home page file to prevent people who leave your site within your specified timeframe from receiving retargeting emails or ads.

Using a this code has a couple of huge advantages. Since the code itself is open-source and easy to modify, you don’t need to outsource to a web developer or spend extra cash trying to implement your delayed retargeting cookies. On the flip side, you could easily (and cheaply) commission a custom version of the code should the open-source version not work with your site.

Either way, cultivating and installing a retargeting delay on your website is quick, painless, and about as cost-effective as a marketing strategy can be.

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Real Estate Marketing

Tech startup seeks to make cold sales suck 800% less

(REAL ESTATE MARKETING) This one service can help you get a jump on creating or expanding your business through cold sales, lead generation, and management.

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cold sales tool

Cold sales are perhaps the most loathed aspect of any marketing process, a fact made worse by their sheer necessity for upward mobility and the lack of intuitive or convenient software for executing the sales. A full stack outreach program by the name of Mails.wtf may have a solution for at least one of those problems.

Mails.wtf — yes, you read that correctly — is a cold sales tool that offers nine individual tools for generating leads without needing to open a different service or outsource your marketing along the way.

On the surface, it’s a perfect way to consolidate the nasty business of hooking new clients — a process that sucks for so many reasons before you even discuss clunky UIs or unfriendly software suites.

The process begins, feasibly, with the built-in email finder–a service that, like its name suggests, allows you to look up potential leads by name and company. If that isn’t enough, Mails.wtf also offers website extraction, LinkedIn integration, company lookup, and domain search engines to help you generate as many actionable leads as possible from within their interface.

Once you have all of the email information you need on-hand, Mails.wtf has a couple of different options for automating and tracking your cold sales, including click, open, and reply logging. While some of these metrics may be offset by a growing awareness of pixel-tracking and many browsers’ decisions to block these kinds of trackers by default, there’s no denying that the Mails.wtf platform is comprehensive.

A lot of the Mails.wtf allure seems to come from its simplistic presentation of tools and information, and though the platform may appear to be bare-bones to veterans of the cold sales process, maybe it’s time to scale back. If so, this service is on the right path.

Upon signing up for Mails.wtf, you’ll be offered 100 free B2B (business to business sales) leads which doesn’t pertain to real estate, but perhaps the fact that this is NOT a real estate tool could put you ahead of competitors sticking to technologies everyone else in the biz is already using.

$99 per month earns you the full suite of tools and support, but you can spend about $2,000 for personalized help from the Mails.wtf team themselves. If you’re looking for a new cold sales platform with minimal setup and an intuitive interface that the industry hasn’t yet adopted, this is a strong contender.

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