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Christine's Vacation Rental Insights

3 Posts tagged with the seasonal_rates tag

Hi Everyone,gingerbread_house_small.jpg


Do you have all of your Christmas shopping done? Tom Aiello, division  vice president for Sears Holding Corp. said "(A National Retail Federation) survey indicated 70  (percent) to 80 percent of people still had not done the majority of  their Christmas shopping by the last week."


As you’re reading this, you might be thinking, "Okay Christine, have  you gone off your rocker? What can this possibly have to do with  vacation rentals?" Stay with me here…


Think about the most difficult person on your list. What you can you  possibly buy the person who has everything? I’m sure there are millions  of other people out there who are wondering, "What in the world can I  get [fill in any name here] for Christmas?" Well, I have the perfect  gift idea: MY vacation rental (or even yours!).


This idea came to me this weekend when I got a call from a man who was  perplexed about buying his wife the perfect gift for Christmas. He had  an idea that he wanted to run by me. He and his wife have rented many  vacation rentals through VRBO before so he was very familiar with  vacation rentals and all the strict cancellation policies that come with  them. He asked me if I was willing to take a booking that might  possibly change. While his wife had returned some of his gifts he had  purchased in the past, he was quite certain she’d love the gift. But his  dilemma was he wasn’t too sure about the exact dates they would want,  though he knew it would be sometime in March.


While this is not my usual way of running business—to take a booking  without exact dates, in this instance I was willing to make an  exception. So here’s how we worked it all out.


We worked out some prospective dates that he thought would work and I  went ahead and blocked them off but here’s the major difference: I did  not require him to pay penny upfront! That’s right. The agreement we  made was he’d pay the deposit after he presented the gift. I sent him a  rental agreement and if his wife doesn’t like my cabin, doesn’t want to  go to the mountains or just plain hated the gift, we’d cancel the  reservation. Period-- no strings attached!


The best part of this story: After I worked out this deal with this  man, I took another call from another renter who was buying a gift as  well. He didn’t ask me for any special provisions. He was willing to  take a gamble and just buy a weekend at my cabin for a gift whatever my  circumstances were. I offered him the same exact deal and he was elated.


So if you want to capture some of those last-minute shoppers, go change  your headline on your vacation rental advertisement to say something  like: Gift Certificates Available!




Will I Eat Crow?

Posted by christinekarpinski Dec 7, 2010

Hi everyone,

Last week we sent out our newsletter and we highlighted an article about raising rates. Who would have known it was going to be such a controversial topic?!?

We got a lot of responses both for and against raising rental rates next year. The pros felt that they could justify raising their rates especially since many stated they had not raised their rates in the past year or two. The cons were quite vocal stating the economy was the reason that they will not be raising their rates.

Last year I had a healthy debate (you might call it an argument) with a good friend of mine who also owns where I do. She lowered her rates last year and I raised mine by 25%. She said I was crazy; I said she was crazy (two good friends and also very strong willed women.) Anyhow, last week we shared our year end results and yes, her lower rates did indeed yield her more nights booked than my higher rates. But…you knew there would be a but…Surprise, surprise, we both made the same amount of money!

I told my friend I win because I worked smarter not harder--less coordination with guests, housekeepers, etc. and less wear and tear on my home. No eating crow for me!

Whatever you decide to do, raise your rates, keep them the same or even lower them there is no absolute right or wrong answer. It’s your decision.

Hello Vacation Rental Owners!

price your vacation rental appropriately for fall breakIt looks like it might be a strong fall season for me and many others! Last week was a very good week for inquiries and bookings for my properties in both Florida and Tennessee. After speaking with a number of renters, it seems like many of the schools in the southeast have fall breaks this year, which is awesome for the vacation rental industry. I spoke with one guest who lives in the Nashville, Tennessee area, and she said that her children have the first two weeks of October off for their fall break.

To stay on the lookout, here are some of the fall breaks I know about from speaking with my various guests:

  • September 18-25
  • October 2-9
  • October 9-16
So why do you care about those dates? Well, if your guests generally travel from the southeastern part of the U.S., then you could and should be able to get those weeks booked at your published fall rates. Don’t make the mistake of taking a 2-night booking too early and miss out on a full week.

Happy Renting your fall break!