The off-season for vacation rentals is a difficult time for rental owners. Despite your best efforts to keep your calendar filled up through the winter, it’s likely that you’ll still face periods of a week or longer between bookings.
Of course, every vacation rental has a different low season. Beach vacation rentals book a year in advance for July and August, but drop off significantly in the winter. Ski cabins, on the other hand, are often the opposite.
Wherever your rental is, it’s your job to identify the least busy times of the year and plan accordingly. Below we detail 5 things you can do this off-season to increase off-season bookings and make your property even more appealing for the next peak season.
Clean, Clean, Clean
Obviously, cleaning isn’t something you should only save for the off-season vacation rental. Regular cleaning is essential for keeping your guests (and your home) happy. That said, the off-season provides time for deeper cleaning of high-use areas as well as for areas that might get neglected during your normal cleaning routine. A true, deep clean is one of the best uses of your time on days where your calendar is empty of guests.
Cleanliness is one of the biggest things renters look for when booking a place to stay. Not investing proper time in thorough cleaning can not only ruin a guest’s vacation, it can damage your entire business by turning away potential future visitors.
If you aren’t comfortable doing the cleaning yourself, hire a professional to do it for you. Or if you’d rather tackle it yourself, I recommend finding a cleaning checklist like this one to keep you focused and make sure nothing gets overlooked.
Restock, Refresh, and Retool
Most guests appreciate fully stocked kitchens, bathrooms, and even laundry rooms when renting a vacation home. The off-season is the perfect time to empty your cabinets and take inventory of what you have, what you don’t have, and what needs replacing.
If you have utensils, cookware, or other high-use items that are beginning to look worn or tired, it’s a good idea to replace them with upgraded products. The phrase “the devil is in the details” is an especially relevant one for vacation rental owners.
Now is probably the best time for restocking kitchen staples like sugar, flour, and oil, as well as other household essentials such as toilet paper, laundry detergent, and shower products.
Your ultimate goal here should be to have your property in perfect shape before the peak season rolls back around. To accomplish that, it’s possible your home needs more than just a couple more forks and spoons.
Take note of rooms that could use a fresh coat of paint or appliances that need repairs and make room in the budget to make necessary updates to keep your space feeling fresh.
Make Some Updates
The off-season is a great time to evaluate your rental value and look for upgrades that will increase your bookings and raise your rates.
Like any business decision, do your research before investing in an upgrade to be sure the upgrades you make will pay off.
Here’s a couple ideas for amenities that might attract more guests both during peak and off-seasons:
Beach, mountain, and urban properties alike can all benefit from the addition of a hot tub. Giving visitors a way to relax and unwind without having to leave the property will not only attract more visitors, but also means you can raise your rates and keep a constant stream of bookings.
Investing in a hot tub can be especially smart if your off-season falls in the winter months. The idea of a hot tub on a cool winter evening might be just the thing to convince a potential guest to book your home over a competitor’s. This is a great investment to make for the off-season vacation rental.
Outdoor Living Space
Everyone wants a room with a view, but what’s even better is being able to step outside and comfortably enjoy the fresh air and scenery. Investing in outdoor seating and even an outdoor fireplace or fire pit can boost your off-season rental rates instantly.
Bonus: Outdoor furniture is on sale in the winter, making the off-season the perfect time to make upgrades without breaking the bank.
Offering added-value deals might just sweeten the pot enough to drive off-season bookings. Some common off-season promotions you might consider are offering three nights for the price of two, or one week for the price of four nights.
The off-season is also a good time to experiment with longer-term discounts, such as a percent rate decrease for bookings of a month or longer.
Promotions are also a great excuse to slide into past guests’ inboxes and get them to come back. You might find that by offering deals, you’re able to fill up more days on your calendar than you originally thought.
Book It For Yourself
One last piece of advice that you might not have considered is to take time to book the property for yourself. Spending extended time in your own rental home can open your eyes to changes that need to be made to enhance the guest experience.
After investing time, money, and maybe even the hair off your head (the stress can do that), it’s time to kick back and enjoy the beautiful property you’ve created.
You deserve it.