Of the many challenges that vacation rental owners face, increasing bookings in the off-season is perhaps one of the most vexing. While the off-season is the perfect time for vacation rental maintenance, upgrades, and personal use, not having a steady rental income can be quite stressful. But the low season does not have to mean all doom and gloom for your rental property. It does mean, however, that you’ll need to step up your marketing efforts and change your strategy a little. Here are a few of the steps you should consider taking if you’ve been struggling with boosting your vacation rental bookings during the off-season.
Examine Your Target Guest
Your target guest during peak rental season is likely not the same as your target guest during the low season. It’s quite possible that you may not even know what kind of guest you need to be targeting to get more off-season bookings. But there’s quite an easy way to figure this out – simply look at who’s booked your property in this time frame in the past. Who your target guest is will help you make the right marketing and advertising decisions.
Adjust Pricing & Minimum Stay Requirements
Are you pricing your property properly considering the season and demand? Lots of vacation rental owners struggle with finding the best rates for their properties. Low demand can make the pricing process that much trickier. To get a better feel for what the going rate for a rental like yours might be, take some time to peruse the listings on sites like VRBO or Airbnb. Find properties in the same area, with the same number of bedrooms/bathrooms, and that have comparable amenities. Take a look at the pricing of those properties that have a reservation calendar with an admirable number of bookings. With that information, you can determine which adjustments you need to make to your low season prices.
Consider Specials & Packages
Offering specials is a great way to entice potential customers to book your vacation property. You may want to provide a discount for weekday stays or offer a free night with stays of a certain length. Lodging packages are another effective way to get guests book with you. If there are special events or activities in your destination, consider offering free tickets with bookings. You may want to investigate forming a partnership with the organizers of these events so you can get a link back to your website (which will get even more eyes on your rental). Local business are another great possibility for partnerships. You may be able to secure discounted services or goods for your guests.
Show Off on Social Media and in Email Newsletters
If you’ve set up social media accounts for your vacation rental property (which hopefully, you have), you can easily keep previous guests in the loop. This means you’ll be able to let all of your friends or followers know about any discounted rates, specials, or packages you’re offering. In addition, be sure to let everyone know about special events and festivals in the area. By highlighting these specials and/or interesting events, you’re giving potential guests a reason to consider taking a vacation to your destination.
Email newsletters are another wonderful option for staying in touch with previous guests. These, too, can be used to provide information on your off-season discounts and local attractions. Many rental owners also offer their previous guests incentives for referrals. These incentives can be anything from discounts on future stays to gift cards.
Start a Retargeting Advertising Campaign
Retargeting, also referred to as remarketing, is an effective way of re-engaging the attention of previous visitors to your site. You can choose to set up a retargeting campaign through search engines as well as through certain social media sites. Individuals who have been on your website before will then see advertisements for your property when they visit other websites or when they’re on their own social media account. This type of advertising campaign keeps your property front and center to those people who have previously shown an interest in it, which makes them more likely to come back to your site to make a reservation.
Change Up Your Listing
It’s always a good idea to keep your listing on vacation rental sites up to date. This is especially important in the off-season. Take some time to change up your property photos so that guests have a clear idea of what your rental or the area looks like in that particular season. Also, change the verbiage of your listing to address off-season activities or events. Of course, don’t forget to mention any packages or discounts you’re offering. Include that information in the listing as well as in the headline so potential guests see it immediately. As an added bonus, updating your listing regularly can help it to show up higher in search results on certain sites.
One other change you can make to your listing, if you haven’t already, is to enable the instant book function. Most guests prefer to have the ability to book their vacation rental with a single click as opposed to having to wait for their booking request to be approved. This action can also help to get your vacation property listed higher in search results.
This last suggestion for boosting vacation rentals is also potentially the most expensive. However, if your vacation property is lacking certain amenities that are common in other rentals in your area, this could seriously impact your income. While properties without all the bells and whistles can certainly do well in a popular destination spot during the high season, they will be at a disadvantage in the off-season. That’s not to say that you need to shell out a significant amount of money to upgrade your property. But it’s important to be mindful of those things that your guests want in a vacation property, regardless of when they visit. There’s lots of competition out there and during the low season, the small things can mean the difference between you getting a booking or a potential guest booking elsewhere..
How Do You Boost Your Off-Season Rentals?
Have you found an amazing technique to bring more guests into your vacation rental during the low season? Let us know in the comments. We’re always eager to learn more about the different ways vacation property owners succeed.
If you have questions about marketing your vacation rental, give us a call at (720) 336-3939 or contact us online. We look forward to speaking with you