Planning, attention to detail, and providing a positive experience for your guests are just a few of the ways you can set up your short-term rental business for success during the all-important summer peak travel season. We’ve compiled some tips to help you maximize your rental income potential during this busy season.
Setting Up Your Short-Term Rental Rates to be Competitive in Your Local Market
Are you priced too low six months out of peak season? What about 15 days before peak season begins, are your rates too high? Setting up your rate calendar for the year is one of the most important parts of property management strategy, and it all begins with peak season. Research your local market to determine competitive pricing for your area. This can be accomplished through benchmarking tools like AirDNA or just by logging into any OTA site and doing a spot check of rentals in your areas. You can even find comparable rentals on the same block or street and compare their rates with yours for any given date. You can also adjust your rates accordingly to attract guests while still maximizing your income by using pricing tools like Pricelabs or Wheelhouse.
Rates for peak season should be set to maximum six months (or more) out because historically you know it will be the most in-demand time of the year. People who plan their trips in advance will begin to fill your calendar and pay those rack rates to ensure they have their vacation buttoned up. As the calendar fills, you’ll begin to get a feel for demand and how much the market will bear as far as price.
As peak season gets closer and you still have open inventory, you should consider lowering your rates to capture last minute bookings. Think of it like a retail store running a sale to reduce their inventory after months and months of merchandise being full price on the shelves. You’ve captured as much revenue as possible at the highest rate early on, and lowering rates by as little as 10% can do a lot of good in capturing a guest who is on the fence.
Another good tactic is to offer deeper discounts for longer stays or mid-week bookings to encourage bookings during those empty calendar days. There are soft summer periods before and after July 4th week that can be problematic to fill, so you should stay vigilant with how your market is performing and adjust accordingly. Pay attention to your competition and see what discount moves they make and when they make them. Typically the best move is to reduce rates rather than have your property sit empty at the busiest time of the year, leaving your owners angry and confused as to why their home didn’t book fully in the prime season.
Optimize and Promote Your Listings to Capture Guest Traffic
You should always strive to create a compelling and accurate listing that highlights the unique features of your rental. Use high-quality photos, write a detailed description, and emphasize amenities that are in high demand during the summer, such as air conditioning, outdoor spaces, or proximity to popular attractions. You can also utilize a targeted SEO approach to optimize your listings based on the most popular keywords that people search for in Google or other search engines. Tools like BuzzSumo and SEMRush are free-to-try tools that will help you find what people are looking for in your area.
Experiment with various marketing channels to promote your rental, such as online travel platforms (Airbnb, VRBO, Bookingpal), social media, and your own website. And don’t just use one social media avenue, use them all! Use the power of photos on Instagram and link-based Facebook posts to get more traffic and bookings. Before you reduce a single rate, you can capture a potential guest’s attention through the power of attractive visuals and engaging descriptions.
Enhance Curb Appeal and Show Off Your Property with Professional Photography
First impressions matter and can greatly influence a guest’s experience. Professional photography will showcase your property better than dark photos from a camera phone. In fact, studies have shown that properties with professional photography bring in more revenue. Ensure that the exterior of your property looks inviting and well-maintained. Spruce up the landscaping, add some outdoor furniture or decorations, and be sure that the entrance is clean and welcoming. All white bedding in photos performs better and books more often than busy prints or florals in bedrooms.
Prioritize Cleanliness and Guest Satisfaction in your Vacation Rentals
Cleanliness is crucial to guest satisfaction, so pay attention to details such as fresh linens, clean bathrooms, and a tidy living space. Making sure your rental is well-equipped with essential amenities, such as comfortable bedding, towels, toiletries, a fully stocked kitchen, and reliable Wi-Fi, has never been more important than in the peak season. After all, you don’t want to tax your staff or vendors with more work than is necessary during this super busy time. Consider providing extras like beach gear, BBQ equipment, or bicycles, depending on your location and target audience.
Offering a seamless check-in process will give your guests a great first impression and go a long way toward positive reviews. Simplify the check-in process by providing clear instructions and access codes well in advance. Use smart locks or keyless entry systems to make it convenient for guests to access the property. Respond promptly to any questions or concerns during a guest’s stay.
Take Note of What Works for Your Company in a Successful Peak Season in the Short-Term Rental Market
Remember, success in the short-term rental market requires ongoing effort and adaptability. Continuously monitor market trends, guest feedback, and adjust your strategies accordingly to provide an exceptional experience that keeps your guests coming back and attracts new ones.
And don’t forget that adding Safely to your overall property management plan will greatly add to your peace of mind if damage or other catastrophes occur.
Safely’s Short-Term Rental Protection