A Tale of Tragedy and Triumph
Undoubtedly, 2020 will go down in history as one of the most unusual years for the travel industry. We started out strong with record breaking website traffic and inquiries, only to be shut down by the COVID pandemic. At AlaVHR, we started out as vacation rental owners and we knew immediately that this was going to be a challenge for our owners.
We swiftly went into action by granting EVERY owner on our website a FREE 90 day extension on their subscription, no questions asked and no strings attached. We also gave any new subscribers a free trial to get back on their feet as the area reopened.
Once travel restrictions began to lift and the beaches reopened, it became clear that travelers were finally paying attention to those ridiculous booking fees charged by the “big sites” and they flocked to AlaVHR.com for relief. Our site traffic and inquiries spike by 500% over last year in May 2020, and continued strong for the rest of the summer.
Most owners were hopeful that they would have a full recovery from the COVID cancellations and the future looked bright indeed, UNTIL…. Along came Sally. Hurricane Sally had her eye, literally, on the Alabama Gulf Coast and she certainly overstayed her welcome. Sally was stronger and much SLOWER than anyone expected – saturating our land and brutally beating our trees and buildings for what seemed like an eternity.
The aftermath was surreal. Everywhere littered with giant overturned trees, branches blocking roads, fences down, roof shingles littering the streets. Everywhere we went looked like a war zone. It was heartbreaking to survey the damage. But in the midst of the destruction, something else stood out – the strength of a community coming together to help one another. Neighbor helping neighbor – the outpouring of human kindness left us humbled and honored to call Coastal Alabama our home.
Now, almost four months later, most of the rentals are ready to welcome guests, or will be very soon. Some communities were particularly hard hit and those may not be ready until Summer 2020 or even later. Those who sustained damage are working hard to make their homes even better than before. The worst hit areas will ultimately become the most beautiful. One thing is certain, our communities welcome you back with open arms. We want you and your family to continue to make memories with us.
Despite the setbacks, our website, AlaVHR.com, had an exceptional year. Check out these amazing statistics!
- Website Traffic up 93% – nearly 2,000,000 Page Views in 2020
- Inquiries up 150% – over 15,000 Inquiries in 2020 vs 5,000 in 2019
- Listings up 26% – We now have nearly 400 Active Listings – we are the LARGEST “no booking fee” website serving Alabama. We have 60% more Alabama Listings than our nearest competitor.
- We sent out over 300,000 emails in 2020 and our email database has grown to nearly 15,000 traveler emails.
- We have over 18,000 followers on Social Media, including an extremely active Owner Support Group that is open to anyone who owns or manages a vacation rental in Alabama.
While we are growing, our competition is shrinking. What sets us apart? We pride ourselves in giving exceptional customer service, routinely going above and beyond. We have helped many new owners learn the ropes to set them up for success in this business. We continue to focus primarily on supporting individual owners and small scale property managers. We guarantee that your listing will be seen, not buried under major property management companies or hotels.
We truly believe the worst is behind us and that this will be an amazing year for our AlaVHR family – and when you join AlaVHR, it really is like being part of the family. Most importantly, we want to thank every owner who treats US like family and continues to put their faith in us. We will continue to work very hard for you in 2021!