Whether you’re looking for the next best real estate investment or want to competitively price a new Airbnb property, short term rental data can guide you. Data analysis is invaluable for those in real estate, property management, destination marketing and even those starting out as first-time hosts. Statistics for occupancy, revenue (RevPAR), or locations can help those in the industry benchmark, predict trends, and make smart business decisions.
So, knowing where your data comes from is pretty important. Especially if you’re going to be making decisions that affect the future of your business. Using trusted and reliable data sources is a must, but how can you identify which data is bulletproof? The key is knowing how your data is collected.
For those unfamiliar with the logistics of data collection, there are two main ways in which data can be sourced: scraped or direct. Let’s start by looking at the differences between the two.
Direct Source Data vs. Scraped Data
When it comes to using data for real estate predictions and insights, neither is superior to the other but both offer different benefits.
Benefits of Direct Source Data
Direct source data, also referred to as primary data, is collected directly from the origin instead of through third-party platforms. For the short term rental market, data is pulled directly from the reservation systems of property management companies where a partnership integration has been formed. For this reason, many consider direct source data to be more accurate. Key Data has established relationships with almost 300,000 properties in the core leisure sectors, and we’ve already pulled data on 43 million property reservations. These direct sources span 220 different countries, territories, and regions — offering a broad look at the industry.
Direct source data can be used to identify occupancy rates, booking windows, length of stay, property revenue estimates, vacation rental performance, and more. It can also help to highlight revenue-generating or non-revenue-generating nights. For example, it allows us to see how RevPAR (Revenue Per Available Room) typically peaks during Spring Break and between June and August for summer peak markets.
The downside to direct source data is that it is limited. Property managers must be willing to share their data, and it doesn’t include short term rental data from small-scale owners and hosts. This means a portion of the market isn’t represented by the data.
Benefits of Scraping Data
Scraped data is systematically collected from third parties. In the short term rental market, this is extracted from vacation rental booking platforms such as Airbnb.com, Vrbo.com, and Booking.com. We currently scrape data from 6.15 million Airbnb properties, and 1.85 million Vrbo properties. As this process is automated, scraped data is easier to collect and is more time efficient. This is why scraping is used more widely in the industry than direct source data.
A major benefit of using scraped data is that it encompasses the vast majority of short term rentals on the market. It can be used to demonstrate supply levels and market-level revenue. For example, findings such as ‘active Airbnb listings in the U.S. reached 1.22 million, a 15% increase over October 2021.’
But, the downside is that some data points may be less accurate, such as occupancy rates or revenue estimates, due to the system recognizing all unavailable nights as booked, paid-for nights — which isn’t always the case. Sometimes a host or owner chooses to make a night unavailable so they can stay in the property themselves. For this reason, it’s possible platforms only relying on scraped data may be providing unreliable information with data discrepancies.
How Direct and Scraped Data Strengthen One Another
Taking into consideration the pros and cons of each form of data collection, direct source and scraped data can work in tandem to create stronger conclusions. As direct source data is more accurate than its counterpart, it’s able to identify and correct anomalies that can occur in large-scale scraped data.
Essentially, direct source data is used as a quality control feature to ensure the analytics of scraped data are accurate.
Vice versa, scraped data is able to support comprehensive reports sourced directly by filling in any market gaps, such as with owners or hosts who don’t use property management systems (PMSs), giving a wider insight into the performance of the industry as a whole. This insight enables you to plan for the seasons ahead.
When used together, these data types enable platforms to provide in-depth short-term rental data analysis, such as how ‘ski-season pacing trends indicate a long-awaited return to normal (travel)’. Trends like these help those in the industry predict factors such as occupancy levels for the coming months/year, which allows them to better prepare and make well-informed decisions.
- Direct source data is more accurate and reliable than data collected via scraping third-party sources.
- With greater reach, scraped data can provide wider market insights.
- When used in tandem, direct source and scraped data provide reliable real-time information on the state of the short term rental market.
Where your short term rental data comes from matters. To ensure you get the most accurate information for your vacation rental business or real estate investments, use a platform like Key Data. We utilize both direct source data from over 500 markets and scraped data from Airbnb.com, Vrbo.com, and booking.com, to provide the most accurate and comprehensive reports possible.
If you’re interested in finding out more about how you can use data to maximize your revenue, appeal, and investments, book a demo with us, and we can walk you through how it works.