As an owner it is always beneficial to know the off-season vacation rental strategies. You will not be getting bookings all year round, so what would be the best ways to utilize the downtime? Did you ever think of ways of improving your business during these shoulder seasons?
You can analyze the past performance and undertake improvements, be those to your property or your brand. You could even look at what your guests are saying about their stay at your property. You can even do a competitive analysis.
Revenues are only one aspect of any business and there are many other aspects that act as revenue drivers—you need time to work on those as well. This will result in a multiplying effect on your revenues instead of just additive effects of increasing booking.
So, let us look at a few things you can do in the downtime:
- Analyze & Execute Property Enhancements or Improvements
- Work on Your Listings, Online Presence, and Website
- Review Your Peak Season Performance
- Use Past Experience to Create A Stronger Future
- Do A Competitive Rate Analysis
- Be Alive Online!
- Keep Your Satisfied Guests & Target Audience Engaged
- Develop Your Marketing, Branding, or Business Plan for the Upcoming Year
- Sit Back, Relax, Or Take A Vacation!
- Wrapping Up the Off-Season Vacation Rental Strategies
Analyze & Execute Property Enhancements or Improvements
Property repair takes time and money. Not only that, but it also creates a lot of disturbance for the guests. So, the obvious time to get it done is when your vacation rental property is not booked, and you do not expect a booking for a long time. Therefore, downtime is the best time for getting these done.
Maybe you started off with a small property but as your business grew you were able to acquire another property nearby. You might build a swimming pool there, or create an outdoor seating area with a lawn. These kinds of improvements take a lot of effort, time, and planning because they require huge investments. You should never rush into them. So, it is best to get these done in the downtime.
Further, while your guests are coming and going, the appliances and other parts of your property do not receive regular maintenance. You can get thorough maintenance done in the downtime, so that when the bookings restart, you are able to impress your guests with a spic & span property. Therefore, repairs and improvements are our top suggestions for off-season vacation rental strategies.
Work on Your Listings, Online Presence, and Website
While starting off, you might not have listed your property on multiple platforms, or maybe now that you have improved your property, you need to update your listings to showcase additional amenities. Well this is the right time to do that.
Your Social media presence and website could be updated with pictures of previous satisfied customers have spent at your property, with their permission, of course. Uploading these periodically helps in giving a genuine impression of your property, because you cannot create organic moments overnight. You can edit the pictures of the past season and upload them on all the online platforms. Or better yet, create a unique hashtag to #CaptureTheMoments specific to your property or brand.
As online booking is the most important revenue generator in these times, working on listings and presence is one of the most important off-season vacation rental strategies.
Review Your Peak Season Performance
When you are starting off you only have estimates of bookings, prices, occupancy rates, and profits. After a season or two you can begin to look at the real data and analyze how spot-on your estimates were. If your estimates were highly off, then maybe you over or underestimated or your performance, which was better or worse than expected.
You can have a better and more realistic idea of the industry after having faced a few seasons. This will help you understand your revenue streams and cost structures. There are a lot of hidden expenses too which you might not have been able to estimate at the start. These can now be identified and taken care of in preparation of the upcoming seasons.
Such analysis is necessary for an ongoing business and increasing your profitability.
Use Past Experience to Create A Stronger Future
Now that you have a good idea of what the peak cycle looks like you know when bookings rise, you can develop the strategies of how to maximize your bookings in these peak seasons. You can identify your competitors and compare their bookings to yours.
You can also find out factors driving these bookings and think of ways of improving your bookings. You will not be able to implement changes on the fly, you need to have a plan to execute. If you can Identify what you can do better, then when the time comes, you will have your tools ready, otherwise, you will find yourself running helter-skelter with nothing to show for it.
Do A Competitive Rate Analysis
As in the case of bookings, at the start of any business you only have estimates. After you have faced one or two seasons you now have real data. It might point you to a rate increase or a decrease. You can even look at the rates at which your competitors were getting the bookings. If they were higher than yours and their occupancy rate was also higher, then maybe you can increase your rates too.
Such research is necessary for estimating the correct revenues and profits for the upcoming year. This even tells you how much cost you can bear, what portion of fixed investment can you recover, and other high-level decision parameters.
Be Alive Online!
You can take this time to reply to the reviews, both positive and negative ones. Remember, your guests appreciate acknowledgment. If it is a good review you can show your graciousness and even send them a discounted deal for their next stay.
If it is a negative review, then you can inform them about the improvements you have made to your property to address their concerns, or how you have incorporated their suggestions. This might make them feel welcome to visit your property again, even if they were not fully satisfied.
It is a good practice to write reviews about your guests both positive and negative reviews, it will make you more visible and honest which guests really appreciate.
Further, being responsive shows that you care, which is always a welcoming trait for a vacation rental owner.
Keep Your Satisfied Guests & Target Audience Engaged
If you have uploaded new pictures, send your guests links back to your webpage or social media pages. This will remind them of the happy times they have spent at your property and encourage them to visit again. You can even inform them of the upgrades you have made or include a repeat visit deal. Further, you may request them to review your property online.
Other ideas include conducting online polls to keep your target audience engaged. These might include their suggestions for the upcoming peak season. For example, you may ask them to vote on their favorite decorations and use the results to decorate for the Christmas season. Once you get the poll results, you can implement these to the property. You can even make a contest out of it, by giving out a prize to the best suggestion.
Not only will this keep your audience engaged, but it will also be a good market survey of what your audience wants. Further, it will encourage them in booking your property to see how their suggestions have turned out.
Develop Your Marketing, Branding, or Business Plan for the Upcoming Year
Having updated your listings and analyzed the past performance, you can develop a clear idea of what you need to do in the upcoming season. Maybe your analysis resulted in increasing the rates as you were not fully profiting from the peak season rush. So now you need to develop a plan of how to ease in the price increase without affecting your target audience too much.
Maybe there was some misleading information in your listings that turned some of your prospective guests away. Having corrected these, you should remarket yourself. You also need to draw attention to your improvements.
All these require planning, investment, and effort, and downtime gives you just that. Further, this is the most important of all off-season vacation rental strategies.
Sit Back, Relax, Or Take A Vacation!
If you have addressed all the above issues, and any others that were specific to your property, then you deserve some time off! Some recreation helps in rejuvenation. You offer vacation space to everyone, without thinking of taking a vacation yourself. Pamper yourself a little, because when the peak season comes, you may not get the time to even breathe.
Spend some time with your loved ones, take a day off, take a vacation, and get a first-hand experience of different properties. It can also act as your market research to find out new and innovative things to do with your property.
Wrapping Up the Off-Season Vacation Rental Strategies
These were some must-implement off-season vacation rental strategies, which successful property owners implement in every off-season. Taxes and legal activities also take the foreground during the off-season, however, they run continuously round the year, so get ahead of them as often as you can.
However, there can be some property-specific strategies too such as implementing vacation rental software for listings, marketing, finance, or other purposes. These can also include hiring a property manager if your scale of operations has increased. Off-season is the perfect time to research and find the best manager or agencies.
We hope this guide for off-season vacation rental strategies will help you plan your vacation rental strategies better and get you higher profits. Do not forget to list your property on our platform Rental Trader to get better bookings. All you have to do is simply log in and follow the instructions. If you need any further information, fill out the web form below, or feel free to call us and we will get back in no time!