Every property owner knows that attracting guests during the off-season can pose a few challenges. After having your business run for the last few years, you should be able to pinpoint when your low and high seasons are. This allows you to make some advanced plans and help attract more guests during the low season.
Make the off-season not too off for you. You can still thrive and survive during off season and keep the bookings coming. It is just a matter of making your property all-season ready so you have better chances of having your property booked throughout the year. Yay!
Here are top five tips for attracting guests during the off-season…
from the ones who have tried and tested the same.
1. Have photos of your property in all seasons
Guests vary in season preferences. Some people like to travel during the summer to enjoy the sun and the warm breeze. The adrenaline junkies want to take advantage of the sweat-packed outdoor activities. The winter lovers, on the other hand, like to have a great time playing with the snow and skiing the slopes. Others marvel at the fall colors or at the spring blooms and the not too hot and not too cold weather. Whatever guests prefer, be sure to make your vacation rental property appealing to each one of them.
Stage your property for each season and take great photos.
For spring, in addition to general cleaning and decluttering your vacation rental, upgrade some of the focal pieces in the living room, dining area or bedroom. You don’t have to splurge too much. You can go with just repainting gold or black the frames of large paintings and hanging them on one side of the wall or just right above the sofa or the bed. You can also reupholster a statement furniture piece with bold and cheery fabrics.
For summer, style your dining table at the patio. Add a tropical vibe by adding tropical fruits and cold treats. Get the grill smoking with juicy T-bone steak. Make your pool more inviting, add floats and pool toys. Choose airy curtains or open your windows and let the glorious sunrays in.
For winter, layer your beds with fluffy pillows and cozy and luxurious white duvets. Lay down a blanket next to a toasty fireplace and then add two glasses half-filled with wine. Show off your ski room with equipment, and your hot tub if you have one.
For fall, add some touches of red, orange and golden hues in your vacation rental like festive wreathes, a basket of freshly picked fall treats (apples, flowers and pumpkins), a few rustic elements you may already have, etc. Bring the outside in, forage for leaves and branches. Style them in a simple vase and place on your dining table or foyer table. Set a fall-themed dining table. Change your cushion covers with plaid and striking floral patterns. Hang heavier drapery and curtains.
Include styling the exteriors of your vacation rental too, like your driveway, patio or garden. There are so many different ways of styling that you can do, even with zero to minimal budget. You just have to be creative with things and pieces you already have. Make good use of Google or Pinterest for more ideas. You can post as many photos as you want at Owner Direct. So be as creative as you can be!
Don’t forget to include the nearby attractions and make sure you include all the things your guests can do for each season.
Read here for tips on taking beautiful property photos. Add catchy photo captions and descriptions to excite guests. Wow them with a season appropriate welcome treat.. Guests would surely remember this sweet little gesture when they compose their positive reviews for your property!
2. Reduce your minimum stay requirements
Off-season guests love a good deal, a great steal, which in this case, is having your property as their home away from home for a fraction of time if not for a fraction of the usual rate. They usually want a quick escape from their real world. Quick and easy getaways like a weekend retreat may fit their schedule and be more appealing to them.
Consider reducing your minimum stay from weekly to nightly to accommodate weekend getaways and work holidays. Nightly rate also gives guests flexible travel dates, makes renting more like it depends on their availability instead of your property’s stay requirements.
You can create a last minute weekend getaway to reach out to budget conscious travelers. Plus you can have an extra boost for your vacation rental property as we love to feature great properties in the Last Minute Deals section in our social media.
3. Make your home baby and toddler friendly
Family with very little children like to travel during off-season to avoid the crowds and to make travel truly enjoyable for all. Guests can hardly travel light when traveling with baby or toddler. Make it easy for them. Have your vacation rental stand out by investing on quality stroller, high chair, crib and other essential gears.
If you have stairs or pool, a safety gate for the little ones would be highly appreciated.
If you have bedrooms dedicated for children, be sure to decorate and style with them in mind and make the furniture and decors child-friendly. Include cuddly bears and some toys safe for zero to three years olds. The children would surely love them!
4. Highlight special events in the off-season
Since guests will be arriving during the off-season, it is very important for them to know what they can do and what they can visit during their stay. Highlight off-season special events in your area and nearby places. Visit the tourism or chambers of commerce office and get the events calendar for festivals, sports and concerts all year round. Describe each, give guests a glimpse of the event by including photos with brief yet detailed descriptions.
Maximize your efforts, try partnering with event organizers to include your vacation rental in their promotions. Give out free event tickets or discount cards. You can also change listing title to match the season and attract guests who will be traveling for a particular event.
5. Make your rates competitive
Check out other listings in your area. How much are their rates? Is yours competitively priced against theirs?
You don’t have to price the lowest during off-season to get bookings. Adjust price depending on your vacation rental, amenities and the location. Just make sure you are pricing competitively. You can also try offering free night in addition to your ‘shortened’ minimum stay requirement as a way to make your listing ‘extra’ competitive.
If you are lowering your rate for the first time, you can experiment and see what works for you. Use other’s pricing as a guide.
Make your current guests know of your rates during off-season. Repeat customers are best because they have already experienced staying in your vacation rental. Give out flyers. Add a note in your current listing. Email them.
What have you done so far to prepare for the off-season?
Get your vacation rental off-season ready now!