A rental home is a great way to make money during peak travel seasons in your area. Yet what do you do when low season hits? Do you take a financial hit, or do you make the most of your off season? Find out the best way to market your home to potential guests in the off season, or discover how you can make the most of the time your home isn’t bringing in the big bucks.
1. Take Advantage of Your Downtime
Most property owners feel as though they are scrambling during high season to ensure everything is running smoothly for guests. Even though you may have guests, you still need to keep your property up to code and ensure that everything is ship-shape. Take advantage of your off season to make mandatory updates on your home. Complete the long projects you’ve been putting off for months, take the time to update the interiors and hire a someone to give your home a deep clean. Making major renovations to your home in the off season will ensure your property is on the market and ready to rent every day during your high season.
2. Enjoy a Staycation
Many rental property owners only intend to rent out their properties for 10 months out of the year. Most owners originally intend to buy a vacation home for themselves and only rent the property to pay for maintenance the rest of the year. Unfortunately, it’s easy to forget about your own vacation needs when you’re trying to rent out your property the rest of the year. Use your off season to enjoy a staycation on your own property. Take advantage of beautiful scenery and amenities. Doing so will help you fall in love once again with your own property, so you can more efficiently market your home to others.
3. Redefine “Low Season”
Most rental property owners define their slow months by seasons. Beach destinations don’t see as much traffic in the winter months, and ski resorts often see their most visitors in the winter. Yet this type of thinking can often lead to profit losses. The property owners who see the best year-round sales often think out of the box when it comes to their low seasons. A ski chalet isn’t simply a great place to stay in the winter; many visitors can enjoy summer activities that include hiking, swimming and hunting in the spring, summer and fall months. A beach vacation shouldn’t be appealing only in the summer; many families can enjoy time off in the winter that they can’t take in the summer ones.
4. Offer a Bargain
Many customers often rent properties during swing seasons and off seasons because they are looking for a bargain. Try to appeal to these customers during your low seasons by offering a deal on your property. Make sure you let your prospective customers know they are getting a deal. List your high-season price on your brochure or website, and mark a red X through the price with the sale price listed below. This way, customers understand they are getting a reward for traveling off season.
5. Become More Lenient
Many property owners have specific rules for each property. In your off season, you might want to become a bit more lenient to bring in extra cash. For example, many owners require minimum stays for guests, do not allow pets and do not allow children under a certain age. Mention in your ad that you are willing to waive these policies for guests staying at your home in the off season. You could even throw in a deal where your renters don’t need to pay a cleaning fee if they’re willing to clean the property themselves before they leave.
6. Add More Amenities
Make your property more attractive by adding more amenities to draw in more visitors. Throw in a free bottle of wine, movie tickets, park tickets, museum passes or spa gift cards for guests. You may end up spending a little more money this way, but it will pay off in the end. If a guest is debating whether to stay in your home or someone else’s then he or she may be swayed by the thought of romantic activities or “exclusive” packages.
7. Redesign Your Marketing Strategy
Most property owners spend less on marketing and sales in the slower seasons. Instead, try amplifying your marketing efforts during these times. Most property owners will be scaling back during the low season, so you will have more visibility to prospective renters. Depending on your channels, your marketing costs could be less expensive during these seasons. Try to cut a deal with your third-party resellers if you think they might also feel the hit during slow seasons.
8. Get to Know Your Guests
Do a little market research to find out what types of people are traveling to your region. Analyze the demographics of your past clients. Who has rented your property previously? Are men or women making your bookings predominantly? What age groups do you attract? Are large groups or small families booking your property? Try to find out what demographics are visiting your area overall, and try to reach out to demographics you have previously alienated.
9. Target Previous Customers
Reach out to some of your best customers, and find out if they want to book during the off seasons. Send an email to previous guests to let them known that you appreciate their business. Offer them a discount to stay in your property during the off season, but pose the discount as a special offer for previous clients. Guests who had a great time on a previous stay are more likely to want to return for another great vacation.
10. Scale-Down Your Home
Many large property owners find it difficult to rent their homes during off seasons. Try to scale down your property during your off season by only renting out part of your home. Many visitors may simply want to rent a few rooms. You could even try to rent one property to several tenants. Many solo travelers simply want to rent a room in a home and not the entire home itself. You can often make more money by renting out individual rooms rather than renting out the entire home.
11. Get Seasonal with Festivals
Find out what festivals take place in your area during your off season. Does your town host an Oktoberfest every year? Is there a Christmas lights festival in December? Find out what holidays the locals celebrate, and offer a package that caters to these festivals. You could even turn your area’s low season into a mini high season by using this marketing technique.
12. Market Off-Season Travelers
Make sure travelers understand that there is no “off season” for your rental property. Give them ideas as to what they can expect at your property all year. Take photos of your property in every season, and offer off-season ideas. Place a canoe near the lake in the summertime and ice skates on the pond in the wintertime. Give your guests ideas, so they don’t need to do all the work themselves.
Just because you don’t get a lot of hits on your home in certain months doesn’t mean that you need to lose money. Get creative in order to make money on your rental property all year long.