The vacation rental business has finally revived after the harsh effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Research shows a steady increase in travelers looking for alternative short-term stays wherever they go. Vacation rental companies can encourage this growth with the help of web scraping. In addition, there are endless ways for companies to improve their offerings with extensive market research enabled by web scraping.
Table of Contents
According to the Global Vacation Rental Report 2022, 40% of property managers already utilize the power of market business intelligence (BI) to better their business. But if you’re new to the concept, here’s everything you need to know about web scraping for vacation rental data and how it can positively impact your business. If you’d like to skip ahead, just use the table of contents to navigate the article.
Web Scraping and Vacation Rental Properties
Web scraping is extracting data from a website, collecting information, and exporting it into a useful format, such as APIs or spreadsheets. You can do web scraping manually, but automated web scraping tools are cheaper and faster.
Since websites vary in terms of features and function, web scraping is rarely easy. In addition, you may encounter CAPTCHAs and roadblocks, so it’s crucial to know how to avoid and bypass them. You may want to use proxies, such as Rayobyte, to help your web scraper avoid pitfalls. They have a wide range of proxy products to choose from!
Here’s how web scraping works:
- First, the web scraping tool receives one or more URLs to load before scraping.
- After loading the HTML code, the web scraper extracts all the data on the page or data specified by the user.
- Then, it outputs the data into a CSV or Excel spreadsheet.
There are several web scrapers out there, including self-built, pre-built, browser extensions, software, user interface, cloud, and local web scrapers. They’re typically used for real estate list scraping, industry statistics and insights, comparing shopping sites, and lead generation.
Benefits of scraping vacation rental data
Vacation rental owners can use web scraping to compare their rates and performance metrics with competitors, analyze demand, monitor supply, and tweak prices to attract more customers.
Rental companies can scrape internal and external sources, such as Airbnb or Vrbo, for reliable insights. While these popular external sources can provide valuable data, your internal vacation rental software can help you analyze your data to find areas for improvement.
Vacation rental trends prediction
Other businesses adjacent to the vacation industry, such as hotel brands, online travel agencies, and Lodging REITs, require insights from vacation rental data to thrive. These insights help them predict future family vacation trends for travelers and what they expect from rental businesses.
Web scraping can also analyze market cycles, lowest values, peak prices, and purchase vacation home trends in the vacation rental industry. This analysis enables vacation rental businesses to make intelligent decisions that lead to higher ROI.
They can prepare their business operations by predicting vacation rental industry trends, especially for the off-season.
Real estate investment
Travel-related businesses, such as hotel brands, online travel agencies, and lodging REITs, also need insights from the vacation rental industry to help them predict future family vacation trends for travelers and what they expect from rental businesses.
These vacation rental industry trend predictions can help them understand each property’s real estate prices, availability, and investment potential. This way, vacation rental businesses can make informed decisions about which property to buy and put up for rent.
In addition, they can learn about ongoing project developments and insurance, mortgage, and loan ranges.
Business intelligence and web scraping are best utilized for market research, which is an activity businesses from all industries should practice. Market research requires you to gather large amounts of data, which can be made easy with web scraping.
Web scraping helps businesses determine the investment potential of any market or address by providing information on the factors that drive the real estate market: demographics, interest rates, the economy, and government policies.
Vacation rental businesses can use web scraping to collect the required data and establish an effective analytics system. This way, they can extract key statistics on the changes in their target market and optimize business operations accordingly.
With the right web scraping tool, you can gain valuable insights into your target market’s performance and understand the evolution of short-term vacation rental booking trends and the rental industry.
For example, web scraping can help you find the best vacation rentals in a specific area by providing data like their daily, monthly, or annual ROI. This information can help you determine what marketing tactics or product enhancements to adopt from said competitors and achieve a similar ROI.
Web scraping for vacation rental trends
Web scraping extracts data from the internet with the help of programs called web crawlers. This complex process requires high-end resources and skill, which is why manual scraping isn’t recommended, although it’s possible. However, companies that want to collect large amounts of data will benefit from a web scraper’s high speed and efficiency.
Those new to the concept may have trouble understanding how web scraping vacation rental properties works. Here are a few main web scraping applications in the vacation rental industry.
Building business intelligence applications
The vacation rental industry is highly lucrative with heavy investment potential, which is why building business intelligence applications on vacation rental portals is wise. The industry is growing steadily in every aspect.
That includes customers, revenue, profit margins, and more. These portals need deep and actionable insights into the market to stay well-rooted. As a result, building a business intelligence application is a practice that gets more popular daily, made possible with web scraping.
As mentioned, web scraping can enable more intelligent real estate investment while predicting future vacation rental market trends. Of course, you could simplify the process by asking Airbnb or VRBO for their APIs, but a response isn’t probable.
Aligning competitor prices
The next way to use web scraping to find vacation home trends is scraping and aligning competitor prices. Competitive intelligence, especially in midwest vacation rent cost trends, can be highly effective in the short-term rental industry.
Airbnb, Flipkey, and HomeAway tend to dominate the property listings on vacation rental sites, which is why smaller businesses must get smarter with their pricing structures. It never hurts to take inspiration from the competition’s historical vacation rental price trends.
Web scraping for vacation rental data allows you to track the price data for similar properties in any location. Then, you can use this data to create a better pricing structure. That includes determining where to increase prices, which customers could benefit from a lower rate, and when to offer discounts/promos to increase sales. However, regularly extracting price data from multiple vacation rental sites without web scraping would be inefficient, time-consuming, and expensive.
Creating aggregator websites
Finally, web scraping can assist with creating aggregator websites, which you can find in every space now. Aggregator sites fetch and display information from multiple sites, helping travelers make faster and informed decisions about their travel plans.
A web scraping tool is the best way to build a vacation rental aggregator website. Those on a lean travel budget benefit greatly from price aggregator websites, as these sites help them compare prices to find the most affordable vacation rental company. It also benefits companies by advertising the optimized prices they may have reduced with the help of competitor data analysis.
Data fields in vacation rental data scraping
Web scrapers often use specific data fields for custom data extraction. A data field is an attribute of the webpage you’re scraping. You can add these custom fields as a new column in any data report in Data Explorer.
Using different attributes helps web scrapers analyze the webpage efficiently. For example, web scraping data fields can help you determine your competitor’s cancellation policies, average daily rate, cleaning fees, etc. Here are some data fields used in web scraping for the vacation rental industry:
- Property type
- Listing type
- Average daily rate
- Number of reviews
- Max guests
- Cancellation policy
- Security deposit
- Check-in/checkout time
- Minimum stay
- Listing images
Sources for Vacation Rental Industry Trends
Now that you know how web scraping can help your vacation rental business, it’s time to learn where to find that data. It may seem like Airbnb and Vrbo are the only reliable sources for vacation rental data, but your vacation rental software has the most valuable data to scrape. Therefore, you must utilize internal and external sources for the most effective web scraping strategy.
Vacation rental software
The most reliable source for web scraping is your vacation rental software, such as the property management system (PMS), channel manager, or website. You’ll find large amounts of valuable, structured web data that you’ve been underutilizing this whole time!
This data can help you with price monitoring, price intelligence, news monitoring, lead generation, and market research. It’s also wise to utilize data aggregated by third-party platforms, especially if you want to track vacation rental trends and analyze competitors.
Airbnb is the biggest peer-to-peer home-sharing marketplace, with 7 million active listings from 220 countries. However, Airbnb’s Terms of Service prohibit “bots, crawlers, scrapers, or other automated means to access or collect data or other content from or otherwise interact with the Airbnb platform.”
You may try to negotiate a proprietary agreement with Airbnb to stay on the legal side. Besides that, Inside Airbnb provides free, anonymized snapshots of Airbnb listings with reviews, calendars, and over 50 data points.
Booking.com and Expedia Group
Finally, Booking.com and Expedia Group are Airbnb’s only competitors, making them ideal sources for financial data extraction. Since these companies don’t allow data scraping or any commercial use of their content, you can contact them directly to negotiate private terms and access their listing history.
You may also find certain aggregator websites that combine data from Booking.com and Expedia Group into unified datasets and remove the overlap.
Web scraping has endless benefits, but most importantly, it lets you access vacation rental data you can’t get anywhere else. So if you need meaningful and well-structured scraped data to predict vacation travel trends on quicker terms, contact Scraping Robot.
Their 5-step custom module request process creates a web scraping solution that fits your exact needs, whether a CSV file, Excel file, or even a database. Sign up now to make more innovative data-driven business strategies for your next vacation or vacation rental business.
Isaac has been writing for and about the tech industry since 2014 and has no plans to stop anytime soon. He now edits, and occasionally writes for, the Scraping Robot blog.