Asia-Pacific region has experienced a very different covid situation to the US, Latin America and Europe. Lockdowns have lasted longer, and travel restrictions have been/are still much stricter.
The graph below shows how different geographies tell vastly different recovery stories due to varying travel restrictions, COVID-19 case counts, and the strength of domestic travel markets. North America shows strong recovery performance, while Asian countries are showing lower recovery scores as they remain far more cautious in opening their borders, meaning their recovery still remains on an uneven recovery path.
That being said, despite the total travel shutdown, the domestic travel market was able to weather disruptions and has resumed pre-COVID-19 growth even while Asia-Pacific outbound travel is still extremely limited.
We spoke to Maria Saptutri, Deputy Managing Director at Villa Finder, to delve deeper into the Asia-Pacific market and provide us with some insider insight and advice for property managers with inventory in this region.
We have also included a list of niche listing sites that are performing well across Asia-Pacific.
Read on to find out more.
Q- How would you describe the year 2021 for vacation rental managers in the APAC region compared to previous years?
Maria, “In APAC, 2021 has been more challenging in terms of the revenue or the number of bookings. Due to the total travel shutdown, the overall Asia Pacific market reduced by 38% in 2021. The market size has reduced to US $271m from US $440m in 2019. We see a downward trend in villa supply, occupancy and average rate across markets
While some countries have open borders, there are still quarantine requirements, several PCR tests, and a limited number of flights. This has not only prevented but also deterred many guests from travelling. In Asia, all bookings rely on the domestic market and most owners have to offer a huge discount to attract those domestic travellers.
Q- Are there any countries that have already started receiving international tourists?
- Sri Lanka- recently we received a huge number of bookings once the country opened the border to vaccinated travellers. There’s no quarantine required and property managers are once again able sell at normal rates and begin the slowly recover.
- Bali/Indonesia: from 14th October onwards they will be opening thier borders but you must quarantine in approved accommodation.
- Thailand is open for vaccinated travellers but they have to quarantine in approved accommodation.
- New Zealand and Australia have thier travel bubble
We actually have created covid-19 travel requirements for destinations in the APAC region, you can find it here.
Q- Which markets suffered the biggest losses during the pandemic, and which ones remained relatively unscathed (or will be able to recover the fastest)?
From our data, the countries that suffered the biggest losses during the pandemic were the less developed countries such as Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos, and Indonesia. They have had a really hard time, especially since there is limited support from the government.
The Countries that remained relatively unscathed include; Australia which is doing very well with their domestic markets; Singapore (due to Government support); and New Zealand which is getting bookings from Australia.
Q- What can property managers with units in the APAC region do to attract bookings in these times of low demand?
We recommend focusing on the long term instead of short term bookings. We suggest trying to understand what your guest’s budgets are trying to match it to help you get more bookings. Right now, there is so much uncertainty, and guests are afraid to make the commitment to book. Make sure you are providing the assurance and flexibility that guests are now looking for.
At Villa Finder, we don’t actually offer refunds rather allow guests to postpone the bookings, and from our own experience, this hasn’t stopped guests from making bookings.
Q- When are property managers expecting to see the first real signs of recovery? What will 2022 look like?
Travel in the region won’t resume until at least Q4 of this year, we expect to start seeing people making booking reservations for school holidays, Christmas and new year. But most likely we don’t see any proper recovery until the second part of 2022, once countries have opened up borders to vaccinated travellers and quarantine is no longer needed we expect to see a massive demand from international travellers. We are already beginning to see this in Sri Lanka and Mauritius, where most accommodations are already fully booked.
Top 12 Niche channels to get listed on for the Asia Pacific region
Google is a top performer in Asia for getting bookings. Since it integrated vacation rentals into its travel search function, property managers are able to make their listings appear directly in the search result.
Not only that but thanks to our relationship with google our property managers can now receive direct bookings from google. If you are vacation rental managers with 50+ rentals can now send traffic from Google directly to their website. (find out how here)
Consider getting listed on google, it is a great opportunity, considering that millions of travellers use Google to search for accommodation every day, and bookings from Google are currently commission-free.
Want to know more about the Rentals United and Google connection find out more here.
HomeToGo is a Berlin-based metasearch engine for vacation rentals. That is performing wery well in
This alternative vacation rental site allows travellers to compare more than 18 million listings from over 1,000 providers across 200 countries and have a strong presence in Asia Pacific.
The main benefits of HomeToGo for property managers are its immense reach, diverse length-of-stay options and immediate payout. In short, HomeToGo gives you the power of an OTA with the control of a direct booking.
By getting listed on HomeToGo via Rentals United, you can sync your rates, availability, bookings, photos and property info.
To find out why metasearch engines have been so popular with travellers lately, read our article on the rise of vacation rental metasearches like HomeToGo.
Trip.com is operated by the Trip.com Group (formerly Ctrip.com International), one of the world’s largest OTAs and parent company of several other brands including Skyscanner.
Users can book more than 1.2 million hotels in 200 countries and regions and choose between 2 million individual flight routes connecting more than 5,000 cities around the globe.
According to Trip.com’s data, around seven million Chinese tourists booked trips using their platform for the Chinese New Year 2019 alone.
The website has 20 million daily active users, and 70% earn 12,000 RMB or more a month. The main traveller demographic that uses Trip.com is 20-45-year-olds: a young, aspirational middle-class who prefer to book their own travel experiences instead of group tours.
Learn how to get listed on Trip.com with Rentals United here. Or if you would like to find out more about why you should advertise on trip.com you can read all about it in this article
Holidu, based in Munich, is a metasearch engine specialised in short-term rentals. It aggregates listings from hundreds of vacation rental websites so travellers can compare over 15 million listings.
By getting listed on Holidu via Rentals United, you can sync your rates, availability, bookings, photos and property info.
To learn more, read our exclusive interview with Holidu CEO Johannes Siebers.
5. Villa Finder
Villa Finder is the market leader in luxury villa rentals in the Asia-Pacific region. Its portfolio consists of more than 2,000 handpicked villas in 14 countries.
The luxury vacation rental site’s top destinations include Bali, Phuket, Koh Samui, Sri Lanka, Mauritius, and Niseko, as well as European destinations like Italy and France.
Villa finder stands out for its competitive prices and top-of-the-line concierge services. It helps property managers increase their profits through a seamless distribution solution.
Retreatmi is an innovative platform bringing together wellness experiences with vacation rental properties so travellers can curate their personal wellness or active getaway. Offering affordable wellness retreats and packages, RetreatMi guarantees the best price for healthy travel adventures.
The vacation rental website’s most popular destinations include Thailand (Koh Samui, Phuket) Bali and Indonesia,
By getting listed on Retreatmi via Rentals United, you can sync your rates, availability, photos and property info. You can work with Price per Night, Price per Guest or Length of Stay pricing.
If you manage or are thinking about managing wellness rentals, check out our article on the best channels for listing your wellness properties.
TravelStaytion offers a selection of handpicked properties around the world. Their portfolio consists of over 85,000 professionally managed properties in 600 destinations.
The London-based alternative vacation rental site targets an audience that’s looking for quality and a value-added experience.
By getting listed on TravelStaytion via Rentals United, you can sync your rates, availability, bookings, photos and property info.
8. Glamping Hub
Glamping Hub is the leading online platform for unique outdoor accommodations.
Its portfolio consists of more than 30,000 handpicked tree houses, yurts, safari tents, tiny houses, tipis and more across the globe.
Popular in Asia, it offers unique accommodation types close to nature.
For property managers, getting listed on this alternative vacation rental site can be a great opportunity to showcase their unique properties and attract travellers who seek a luxurious camping experience.
By getting listed on Glamping hub via Rentals United, you can sync your rates, availability, photos and property info. You can work with Price per Night, Price per Guest or Length of Stay pricing.
If you manage outdoor rentals, check out our article on the best channels for listing your camping and glamping properties.
9. Rakuten Vacation STAY
Vacation STAY is one of the biggest travel accommodation booking sites in Japan with over 60,000 homes, apartments and hotels. It’s owned by the multi-industry company Rakuten.
Properties listed on Vacation STAY can also appear on Rakuten Travel, Japan’s largest online travel agency. To expand its distribution network, Vacation STAY has partnered with major global OTAs and Asian metasearch partners.
By connecting to Vacation STAY through Rentals United, you can get access to a large pool of travellers in the Asia-Pacific market.
Coming soon to Rentals United
10. Top Villas
Top Villas specialises in luxury villa rentals. Its portfolio consists of more than 4,000 luxury villas in over 50 destinations, including Orlando, Miami, St Tropez, the Caribbean and Asia.
The platform has a growing presence in the Asian market, currently offering rentals in Bali Indonesia and Koh Samui and Phuket, Thailand.
By listing your vacation home, condo or villa on Top Villas, you can reach a distinguished customer base that does not shop around on mainstream OTAs.
Australia-based EzyStayz is a community marketplace where travellers can book accommodation in 190 countries around the world. The platform has more than 1 million listings to choose from, including hotels, villas, apartments, hostels and vacation rentals.
Powered by blockchain technology, EzyStayz offers a new way of travelling based on trust, power to people and transparency. Guests can choose from more than 10 payment types. In addition, guests can use the EzyStayz platform’s native cryptocurrency, EZY coin to book their stays and get membership benefits.
By getting listed on EzyStays, you get access to a group of travellers who share EzyStayz’s vision of a decentralised, community-based OTA. And, you can attract people travelling within the APAC region where EzyStayz is especially popular.
12. Hostel World
Hostel World is a leading OTA focused on the hostel market. Founded in 1999 by two entrepreneurs – a hostel owner and an IT executive they aim to provide an affordable global distribution channel for property managers and hostels.
The typical travellers booking through hostel world are looking to explore the world and come back with life-changing experiences. Hostel world provides these unique experiences by providing an unbeatable selection of hostels and properties in unmissable locations – all in the palm of their hand.
Hostel World is a particularly strong channel in Asia-Pacific, so if you have a property located there that is unique and different, why not consider getting listed on Hostel World.
If there are any more niche APAC listing channels you think we missed, please reach out. We., love to find out about all the new channels out there.