Every rental property has its own “slow season” when bookings are fewer and farther between. Here are five suggestions that will help you fill up that rental calendar, even in the off-season months.
1. Price it Right
Per several different studies, 41% of Americans do not plan to take all of their paid vacation days, with the high cost of travel being the biggest reason for not taking a vacation. What does that tell us? There is an untapped market of people who WANT to take a vacation, but who need the right pricing to do it.
This is a bit of a no-brainer – lower your prices per night during your off-season. One way to do that is to compare your cost to a nearby hotel. How can you meet or beat their price while offering the full luxury of a home? Other options to consider in lieu of price reductions include:
- lowering your minimum number of nights
- offer a “free” night if they book 3 or more
- forgo the damage deposit or cleaning fee
2. Promote Local Happenings
What’s going on in the area during your low season months? Update your listing to let potential guests know about all the fun things happening during that time such as festivals, art shows, Restaurant Week and more. To sweeten the pot further, offer an off-season “vacation package” and include a couple tickets to an event with their stay.
Additionally, reach out to the local organizers of some of those events and offer a quid-pro-quo marketing effort – you’ll promote their event if they’ll promote your rental property.
3. Know Your Seasonal Audience
Remember that as the seasons change, so does your audience. Your target guest during peak rental season is likely not the same as your target guest during the low season. Do a little research. Look back over the past couple of years to see who booked your property during the slow times. You’ll probably see a pattern. Couples without kids? Retired people? Entrepreneurs looking for an affordable retreat for their team? What part of the country did they come from? Once you know that, you can target your marketing efforts to that specific demographic and geographic areas.
Also, don’t forget to take a look at the folks who inquired about your property during this timeframe in previous years, but didn’t book. Maybe this is the year! Reach out to them and offer them a good price.
4. Boost Your Social Media Marketing
Take this time to put a strong effort into boosting your social media presence. Social media is a powerful medium and platforms like Facebook and Instagram have low-cost options to target very specific groups demographically, geographically, etc. Put dollars behind directly reaching your aforementioned target audience via these channels and offer up last-minute packaging and pricing. Post pictures of your property during this season, showing the beauty of it even in the winter.
This is also a good time to freshen up your social media content. Take new images of your home during this particular time of year. Freshen things up with a new paint job or new throw pillows. Schedule these new, refreshed photos to post several times over the next two or three months.
5. Slow Season Extras and Upgrades
Boost the appeal of your rental home by offering seasonal luxuries (depending on your slow season) such as free flip-flops or snow boots to use while renting, warm socks and heavy bathrobes or sun hats and a free bottle of sunscreen, unlimited logs for the fire (or a stand-alone electric fireplace), baskets of ingredients for smores and hot chocolate or free airport transportation. Also, investing in the addition of some more expensive items now such as the latest game console, a big-screen TV or a hot tub, will increase the value of your home year-round.
Don’t forget that your bookings don’t simply generate income! They also help you maintain a higher conversion rate than your competition. The listing sites’ algorithms know that your home was popular even in the low season and you’ll experience priority page placement as a result.
What are some of the ways you get through your low season or try and boost attention for your property? We’d love to hear your thoughts!