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Vacation Rental – Turning Low Season Into High Season – Part 3

Vacation rental owners often ask me “how can I get more bookings in low season?”
The simple answer is REDUCE THE PRICE!
Nearly all owners make the fundamental mistake of thinking, of pricing, in weekly terms, this is the wrong outlook.

Professional owners do not think in weekly rent, they think in yearly income!

There is a big difference here.

Let’s suppose that you have a property for rent at 10,000 dollars a week. Let’s say that it is priced on the high side so you only rent it out one week in the year.
Now, if you reduce the price to 5,000 dollars a week and you rent it out for just 4 weeks, that’s 20,000 dollars – You just doubled your yearly income by halving the weekly price!!

What’s this got to do with low season?

Here’s what I say to all those owners that want more bookings in low season,

“If you gave it away, ie, made it rent free, you would be fully booked”

So, if you want more bookings you need to reduce the price to a more realistic rate.

The demographics

You are highly unlikely to get large group bookings in low season, it’s not going to happen, because the kids are in school so families can’t get away together. 
Generally low season booking come in the form of retired couples, often traveling alone, sometimes traveling in a group of two or more couples.
So, expect smaller groups of guests. 
If you have a five bedroom property either adjust your expectations and be happy with 2 – 4 guests at a time or remain empty. You are highly unlikely to get groups of ten guests outside of Christmas, new year, school breaks and Easter.
On the up side, retired guests often stay long term (up to 3 or 4 months) and they often revisit year on year.

The math

Let’s say that you drop your winter rate to just 100 dollars per person per week (that alone will get a fair amount of attention).
There’s around 20 weeks of low season.
A long term let to just one couple for the winter would bring in 4,000 dollars.
You could of course charge extra for the Christmas / new year week too.
Winter guests will expect to pay extra for electricity, gas and firewood where applicable.
Retired couples often holiday in pairs so you could be earning 8,000 dollars or more through low season.

Vacation rental takeaway

The takeaway for vacation rental owners

If you are sitting in front of your computer shouting “100 dollars per person, per week, is he crazy” – Then you have missed the point because you are still thinking in terms of weekly rental.
The takeaway here is “think yearly income“, there are a lot of low season weeks to fill and the income gained from filling these weeks can cover the yearly costs of the cleaners, the pool man and the gardener. Perhaps with some money to spare!
The added bonus is that the property remains heated throughout the cold season so you can avoid getting those black mouldy spots on your ceilings and walls.

The figures above are abitrary but the message is the same reduce your prices and increase your profits.

What are your thoughts on this?

What techniques are you using to attract low season guests?
We would love to hear your thoughts and ideas on this subject.
Please tell us what you think using the comments section at the bottom of the page.

More on this subject

If you missed part one and part two of this serirs you can read them here,
Vacation rental Turning low season into high season Part one<