Vacation rentals most often offer short-term stays, but there’s a growing market for long-term stays as well. Read on to learn all about what these are and the types of guests you can market your long-term vacation rental to. We’ll also cover the pros and cons of allowing longer stays, and then we’ll address getting started with long-term stays at your vacation rental.
- What Is A Long-Term Stay?
- Benefits of Long-Term Stays
- Drawbacks of Long-Term Stays
- How to Get Started with Long-Term Stays
- Main Takeaways
What Is A Long-Term Stay?
A long-term stay is generally one that lasts more than one month. You’ll sometimes see long-term stays called extended stays or mid-term stays as well, but in most cases, all of these terms refer to a stay that lasts longer than 28 days. However, be sure to look into your local regulations, because what constitutes a long-term stay can vary from state to state.
You’ll usually see short-term rentals that charge by the day. But when you’re offering long-term stays to your guests, it makes more sense to have a weekly or monthly rate instead. Another option is to stick with the daily rate, but lower it for long-term stays. Keep in mind that long-term guests will be consistently using water and electricity, so your utility bills are likely to go up. You’ll want to factor this into your rate so that you still have a reasonable profit margin.
Long-term stays require a slightly different set of amenities for your guests. For example, the typical short-term rental will often have amenities like a pool or a barbecue grill. Meanwhile, a long-term vacation rental needs to cater to people who aren’t necessarily on vacation, but are making the rental their temporary home.
This entails amenities like a stable, high-speed internet connection and a kitchen filled with all the supplies guests will need to cook their meals. A nice office setup, or even multiple workspaces throughout the vacation rental, is sure to appeal to many long-term guests.
A washer and dryer with detergent, fabric softener, stain remover, and dryer sheets are also valuable amenities for long-term vacation rentals. With a washer and dryer at the vacation rental, guests don’t have to travel to a laundromat to get their laundry done.
With long-term stays, you have a few different options for upsells. You could offer mid-stay cleans, where your cleaning crew can come in and tidy up the vacation rental. Equipment and furniture rentals like bicycles and baby cribs may also be a good option for long-term guests.
What types of guests should you target with long-term stays? There are several different groups that you might want to consider. The first is business travelers or remote workers. Generally, these types of guests are looking for a homier place to stay than a hotel. They’d rather have an entire rental property to themselves, where they can stretch out and feel more comfortable than they would in a small hotel room. The ability to cook their own food and have more than one room to live in during their business function or while working remotely is very valuable to them.
Another group of potential guests that look for long-term stays is a family building a home in a new city. Generally, these families need a place to stay for a few months in between their old home selling and their new home being completed.
You might also see families from urban locations who are looking to get away to a more rural location for a few months. These families generally look for pet-friendly properties that have great outdoor spaces and areas for the kids to run around.
Students who are completing internships may also opt for a vacation rental over a hotel. Not only are vacation rentals typically cheaper than staying in a hotel for an extended period of time, but they can enjoy having friends over and spreading out in the space.
Snowbirds, who are generally aged 55 to 70, often stay at vacation rentals for several months during the year. They also tend to bring their pets with them.
Some people move closer to their aging parents when they go through surgery or major medical diagnoses, and they often prefer vacation rentals to hotels. These guests are moving to take care of their parents, but they aren’t necessarily making a permanent move. They’re looking for a place to stay for a few months until their parents’ health is restored.
You may also get guests that plan for extended vacations. Some guests like to spend a month or two at their vacation destination.
Past guests may also be an option for you to target. You could invite them back to enjoy an extended stay at a lower price.
The average age range for long-term guests is around 30 to 40. In most cases, these guests are professionals and people who travel for business.
Benefits of Long-Term Stays
Is it worth it for a vacation rental owner to allow long-term stays? If we compare short-term vs long-term stay then it might seem short-term is more beneficial but this is not always the case. Let’s discuss some of the benefits.
Fill Your Calendar
First, long-term stays enable you to fill up your calendar during slower seasons. If you struggle to bring in bookings when you’re not in peak season, then it’s worth it to consider allowing long-term stays.
Less Marketing Effort
Another great thing about long-term stays is that you won’t need to spend as much time working on your marketing strategy and advertising. Although you’ll still need to do some marketing, you won’t have to seek out new bookings as frequently as you would for short-term stays. You’ll only be looking for a few long-term stays, rather than dozens of short-term stays, to fill up your calendar.
Less Time Spent on Screening, Check-In, and Cleaning
Fewer stays mean less time spent screening your guests, checking them in, and cleaning up after them. This clears up your schedule for other tasks. It also allows you to take more time to check your long-term guests’ rental histories and backgrounds. You can ensure that the people you’re allowing to stay at your vacation rental property for a month or more will be good, responsible guests.
More Consistent Cash Flow
A common frustration with short-term stays is that the cash flow is very inconsistent. You may have amazing months during peak season, and then you might have months where you make next to nothing during the off-season. With long-term stays, however, you have a source of income that you can rely on more consistently.
Higher Security Deposit
Since your guests will be staying at your vacation rental for an extended period of time, it’s acceptable to charge a higher security deposit than you would for short-term stays. Short-term guests are sure to balk at a $500 deposit and choose to stay with one of your competitors instead, but long-term guests are generally much more willing to pay the higher amount.
Drawbacks of Long-Term Stays
There are a few drawbacks to long-term stays that you’ll want to consider as well.
Lower Overall Revenue
While long-term stays bring in consistent cash flow, short-term stays can potentially bring in higher overall revenue. However, for this to be the case, you would need to spend a lot of time marketing your vacation rental property in order to have as many bookings as possible.
Harder to Block Off Dates for Personal Use
If you enjoy staying at your vacation rental yourself, it’s easier to block off various dates if you allow short-term stays. When you have long-term stays, there will be large blocks of time that you simply won’t be able to use your vacation rental. It’s not feasible to ask your long-term guests to find somewhere else to stay for the weekend just so you can enjoy the property for a few days.
Less Ability to Adjust Prices
With short-term rentals, it’s pretty simple to use a dynamic pricing strategy. You may even change your vacation rental’s nightly rate every day according to shifts in demand! But with long-term stays, you can’t just change your price in the middle of your guests’ stays.
More Wear and Tear
Most vacation rentals are constantly cleaned and maintained. Every time a short-term stay ends, your cleaning crew and maintenance personnel stop by to clean up and address any issues. When you have long-term guests, though, you’re much less likely to be cleaning and maintaining the property as frequently. Therefore, you may notice more wear and tear with long-term stays than with short-term stays. This is also because many short-term vacation rentals only have guests on the weekend. With long-term stays, guests are present and living at your vacation rental every day of the week.
Less Control Over the Property
When you have long-term guests, you can’t just drop in anytime. Long-term guests often think of your vacation rental as their temporary home, and they’ll expect advance notice if you plan to come over for any reason. With short-term stays, your rental will typically be empty in between guests, making it easier for you to stop by as needed.
How to Get Started with Long-Term Stays
Getting started with long-term stays is very simple and only requires a few changes to your listing. The first and most important thing to do is to add weekly and monthly rates to your listings. Having these rates listed shows potential guests that you’re open to long-term stays. You’ll also want to seek out listing sites that focus on long-term stays and make sure your property is listed there. Evaluate your amenities, add items that provide value to long-term guests, and make sure to showcase these amenities in your listing. Finally, consider adding different resources to your welcome binder that your long-term guests will find useful.
- Long-term stays are stays that last longer than 28 days. They’re generally priced weekly or monthly.
- Most guests that take advantage of long-term stays are people traveling for business.
- Long-term stays can fill your calendar, cut back the time you need to spend on marketing, screening, check-in, and cleaning, and provide more consistent cash flow. You can also charge more for your security deposit with long-term stays.
- Some potential drawbacks of long-term stays are lower overall revenue, difficulty blocking off dates for personal use, less ability to adjust prices, more wear and tear, and less control over the property.
- To get started, set weekly and monthly rates and list your property on sites that focus on long-term stays. Reevaluate your amenities and add helpful resources to your welcome binder as well.