Short-term property managers around the globe share a common goal – to increase their vacation rental occupancy rate and boost profit. So, how do you maintain a healthy rental occupancy rate? The answer is that your property should attract guests all year round and not just during peak season.
We appreciate this isn’t always easy. Competition is rife and things might happen that you just can’t foresee (e.g. the current Covid-19 situation). However, when the going gets tough, the tough get going! It’s time to plan ahead, so we’ve put together a few ideas on how you can improve your vacation rental occupancy rate going forward.
Update Your Listing
Take a critical look at your current listing, and ask a friend or relative to have a look too. Can you make it look more professional and appealing? First impressions are essential and you need to make sure your vacation rental stands out from the multitude of other vacation homes.
You need to make sure your rental is appealing all year round. Offer furry throws and hot chocolate in winter and a picnic hamper and crisp white wine in the warmer months. Make sure you optimize titles and your description to match the season. Your pad could be a “Charming and cozy retreat with log-burning stove” during the winter months and a “Bright and breezy summer hideaway near the beach” in the summer.
Highlight any special features too, such as a hot tub, four-poster bed, welcome hamper on arrival, etc.
If you are serious about improving your rental occupancy rate, your pad not only needs to sound good, it needs to look good too. Make sure all photographs show your rental looking at its best (outside and in). If you’re not confident behind the lens, you could consider paying a professional photographer to help you with this or check out our guide to real estate photography.
Streamline Your Communication
Respond to any inquiries from potential guests in a timely fashion. People are more likely to book a rental if they receive a fast reply and feel the property manager or owner is enthusiastic and professional.
Once booked, your guest might have more questions about e.g. detailed travel directions, or great local restaurants. Again, a swift reply will be appreciated and could earn you a positive review when your guest leaves feedback.
Encourage your guests to leave positive feedback by making sure they have a great experience. It goes without saying, your vacation rental should be spotlessly clean and exceptionally welcoming. Disgruntled guests leave poor reviews, and poor reviews could put off those looking to book.
Provide a guest book outlining important information, and consider leaving a little welcome gift, such as a bottle of wine or home-made cake. Try and resolve any issues quickly and efficiently, and always remember to leave a review for your guests (this might prompt them to do the same for you).
You can save time and effort by creating a template and automating your reviews. Vacation rental software, such as iGMS or Streamline, allows you to do this easily.
Adopt an Effective Pricing Strategy
Enhance your vacation rental occupancy rate by implementing a pricing strategy. Begin by calculating your expenses – you need to make sure you are covering your costs e.g. utility bills, and you ideally want a little profit too! Check out your competition in the local area – how much are they charging and what are they offering? Keep your prices competitive and make sure your rental provides good value for money.
Property managers should expect fluctuations in demand. At certain times of the year, your rental occupancy rate will be naturally higher e.g. peak season summer holidays, Christmas, etc. You can plan ahead to identify peaks and troughs and raise and lower your nightly rate accordingly.
Widen Your Market and Promote Your Property
It’s also worth considering broadening your scope in terms of rental duration. If you tend to attract short-term rentals, you could look at making your property attractive for long-term guests too. Consider listing your property on long-term rental websites or offering a discount for longer stays and let potential guests know about any special offers or deals they can take advantage of.
Marketing can also play a key part in increasing your occupancy rate. You can consider advertising on more than one platform and gain exposure by exploring the use of social media, forums, etc. It can be tricky to manage multiple listings on multiple sites, but vacation rental software can be utilized to help you keep things under control.
Instant Booking and Flexible Cancellations
Make it easier for guests to book your property by including the Instant Book option. Whilst your property might be busy during high season, you might experience a lull during quieter times. Offering the option to instant book opens up your vacation rental to those who are looking for a last-minute trip. This could help you to fill an empty night or two in your rental schedule.
Adopting a flexible cancellation policy could also boost your vacation rental occupancy rate. Whilst cancellations can prove frustrating, guests do like the security of knowing they won’t lose out too much should they need to rescind their booking due to unforeseen reasons.
Ready to Increase Your Vacation Rental Occupancy Rate?
Increase your property occupancy rate and give your vacation rental business a push in the right direction. Go all out to make sure your vacation rental appeals to your target market, be that holidaymakers, business travelers, or both.
Every successful vacation rental manager works hard to juggle the numerous jobs that go hand in hand with being a short-term rental property manager. Make life a little easier for yourself by investing in useful vacation rental software to help keep your business running smoothly.
Mariia serves as editor-in-chief and writer for the Rentberry and Landlord Tips blogs. She covers topics such as landlord-tenant laws, tips and advice for renters, investment opportunities in various cities, and more. She holds a master’s degree in strategic management, and you can find her articles in such publications as Yahoo! Finance, Forbes, Benzinga, and RealEstateAgent.