• Wendy Bixby

6 Ideas to Boost Your Off-Season Bookings

It’s no secret that tourism is cyclical. Even tourist meccas like Orlando, Florida or Las Vegas, Nevada have their seasonal ebbs and flows.

Here are a few ideas for vacation rental owners and property managers to boost their low season bookings.

1. Reduce your rates.

I know— duh, right? But offering steep discounts is the quickest way to fill up your home fast. Make sure you’re getting your awesome offers out there on social media.

2. Lower your minimum stay.

Consider bringing the minimum night stay all the way down to one or two nights. A lot of off-season travelers only have the weekend to travel, and allowing for shorter stays will open you up to all sorts of new travelers.

3. Don’t skimp on social.

Some hosts or property management companies will go into social media hibernation during the slow months— which is a mistake. Continue to market your vacation rental on social media. Take photos of the local pumpkin patch or ice skating rink. Showcase the kitchen and invite guests to spend Thanksgiving. Hang twinkle lights in December and share photos.

4. Partner with a local business for a retreat.

Yoga studios are ideal for this type of offer. Partner up with the local yoga place or meditation center and brainstorm ideas for a week-long retreat. Offer your home as the ideal spot for guests to stay, or even a spot to hold a few off-site workshops. You can also partner with a local restaurant and offer special weekend packages that include a few meals.

5. Update your listing.

Re-write your listing to highlight the season. Add some sensory adjectives that set the scene. Describe the crackling fireplace, the warm, local apple cider, and the rosy cheeks your guests will have during peaceful hikes in the crisp winter air. Remove the summertime photos and update your listing to showcase it in the snow, looking cozy and inviting.

6. Market to business travelers.

Reach out to local companies that have employees or consultants traveling to them— you’ll be surprised how many you find. Reach out to them and offer your vacation rental home as an alternative to the local Residence Inn or Courtyard by Marriott. Highlight your lightning-fast wifi speed, the huge antique desk that overlooks the backyard, and the large dining table that doubles as a conference area. Re-brand your off-season discounts as “exclusive business traveler rates.”

Being proactive, open-minded, and resourceful will go a long way to filling your vacation rental home during a slow month. If you do find yourself with some long stretches of vacancies that you’re unable to fill, it’s the perfect time to do some renovations. Don’t forget to take photos and share the renovation or improvement on social media!

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