Most vacation rentals have three main seasons, these include peak, shoulder, and low season. We understand that your peak season will drive the most people and that it will probably be a bigger struggle to draw people to you rental during the shoulder and off-season. In this blog, we’ll discuss this in more depth and provide tips on how to stay competitive no matter what season you’re in.
The Basics of Staying Competitive
Your peak season will be your highest season. This is when people are most often visiting the locale where your rental is located. You can charge more during this season, increase your minimum stay requirements, and even make a stronger cancelation policy. In this season, your main objective is just to get people excited to book your rental over a competitors’.
There are a few ways that you can keep your property competitive during the peak season (and really, every season thereafter). You need to create an excellent and accurate listing. This should be detailed, but not too lengthy (using bullet points can help break up the text). Include a listing of your amenities (this can help people choose your property over another). If you have amenities for different seasons, you can adjust your listing depending on the season or include a note about seasonal amenities that are offered. Another thing you can do in your listing is mention a few of the local attractions (try to include information for every season, or update per season). Also, include professional photos of your property in the listing (capturing various seasons). Another way to motivate more people to book with you is to keep your pricing competitive. Make sure you know what others are doing in your area so you can create just the right price for your market. In addition, capturing great reviews will help you stay competitive. You can do this by keeping guests satisfied when they book with you through great communication, excellent maintenance, and going the extra mile. Don’t forget to request reviews too; ask your satisfied guests to leave you a review before or right after their departure.
Finding the Right Price for Your Rental
Let’s talk about setting the right pricing a little further. Take a look at your base rate (this can be created by doing research and discovering what your type of property typically rents for). The base rate can then be moved up or down depending on the season. For example, your peak season will typically be at your base rate. However, you may have another “season” such as a holiday or event. If the locale is a popular destination during Christmas, July 4th, or an annul festival, for example, you can increase your base rate for those days (possibly up to 200%). On the other end, during the shoulder season (which is located between your peak and low season) you’ll reduce your base rate. The rate usually lands somewhere between 60 to 75% of the price you’d charge during your peak season. So, if you charge $300 a night normally, you might charge around $225 a night during your shoulder. Then your low season drops further. This is typically closer to 25 to 30% of the base rate. So, if your base was $300, then you might charge closer to $90. A holiday that lands during your low season may also be at a reduced rate, depending how much it attracts visitors during this time. As you can see, to stay competitive, it’s important to adjust your pricing as the season changes.
When creating your pricing structure, take time to carefully consider what your seasons are so that you can adjust it appropriately. It’s best to do this at least a half a year or even a year ahead of time, since some people will book ahead (especially for popular destinations in peak seasons).
Staying Competitive During the Low Season
If you’re struggling to get people to book with you during your low season, remember to switch up your marketing strategy. You want to consider what might draw people to your area during this season and use that to your advantage. Consider what amenities you can offer and local happenings you can mention to make the area more attractive during this time. It can also be beneficial to reduce your minimum stay requirements during this time as well as make the cancelation policy more flexible. Also, consider reaching out to previous guests to see if they’d like to book with you (possibly at a reduced rate). Another way to help fill your rental during the low season is to change it up to a one to three month rental to fill the void (just make sure to check any applicable laws). This strategy can work in a few ways. It could make it attractive for someone local that’s new to the area and still apartment/house shopping, someone having their home remodeled, or in warmer destinations, it can attract the snowbirds.
You can see there are ways to keep your rental competitive and increase bookings no matter what time of the year it is simply by making adjustments per season. We’d love to provide you with more tips and help your investment success. Please reach out to us at PMI today.