(b) Digital real estate investments
Google Insights for Search:
Preparation: Estimate a number of key words for your vacation rental
There are a couple of important variables you can see here:
- Seasonality – if the search volume is impacted by seasonality you will see it going up and down as shown in the screenshot above. So your property will be more likely to be fully utilized when search volume is up.
- Regions – with the second screen shot you can see where most of the search volume comes from. This is important for advertising purposes and to understand if demand is driven regionally or through other factors.
- You can add other variables and compare it to your search volume. You can see that ice cream has seasonality (screen shot 3)
In order to check which specific key words people are searching for you can use Google’s keyword tool.
Enter an initial keyword such as “Pocono Mountains” and add a “#” symbol. Google will not only provide the specific search term, but show a range of suggestions based on what people have been searching for. Here you will see the monthly search volume and also see if competition for advertising based on these search terms is either low, medium or high. Play around with this tool for a little bit to get a feeling for numbers – for example compare the screen shots looking for “Pocono Mountains” with a search for “Marthas Vineyard”.
Local digital competition analysis
Access a range of online booking agencies (Wimdu, AirBnB, etc.) and find out how many properties are listed in the region. Note down certain differentiating aspects (number of bedrooms, proximity to regional attraction points, coast/lake etc.) and the average weekly/monthly prices. This should provide you with a good understanding of regional pricing.
Depending on the time you want to spend you can also check their calendars and available opening for the next two months to see if there is a high demand for rental properties.
Local booking/vacation agencies
Call local vacation rental agencies and tell them that you have a property you would like them to manage. Find out how many bookings they are willing to guarantee on average and what they charge as a management fee. In addition, ask them about regional aspects, seasonality and their experience of managing local rental properties. Use these factors to improve your online research and analysis.
Investment decisions can now be supplemented with free and easily accessible data that only a couple of years ago was only available to sophisticated large investors. Now you can use this data to make better investment decisions!