As business owners we are all driven to find new and creative ways to make more cabbage. (Cabbage is a technical term for revenue.) I’ve got a crazy one for you; let people stay in your home for FREE! According to a recent survey from HomeAway, more than half of owners have donated or considered giving their home away for free to a charity.
Donating nights in our vacation homes at little or no cost to guests has led to:
- Priceless endorsements and some of our most fantastic guestbook comments
- Goodwill and publicity for our business that would have otherwise been unattainable
- Exposure to paying customers who may not have otherwise known about us
- The fulfillment and joy of using our business to Love guests who needed to be Loved
“But how will letting people stay for free increase my cabbage,” you may be wondering? Good question.
Have you ever been WOW’d by a business? WOW’d in such a way that you not only couldn’t keep yourself from telling people about your great experience, but you almost felt obligated to bring that business new customers? Wouldn’t it be a tremendous WOW to let someone, particularly someone in need, stay in your home at little or no cost to them?
Consider what your reaction would be if someone offered you time in a vacation home, one just like yours, to you and your family for nothing in return. Take it a step further and suppose you were in some type of need, say on an unplanned last-minute trip, maybe visiting a Loved one because of a medical emergency. Would you become an advocate of your generous host? How far out of your way would you go to “repay” their Loving act?
This was the case for one of our donations when our guest wrote my wife, Angela, and said,
“Oh Angela! I cannot begin to express my appreciation. It was so perfect! And your home made it possible for this to be such a lasting, awesome memory for me…and hopefully my kids. I wanted you to know that we had an awesome time and how forever grateful I will be. And I will tell everyone I know about your place. I’ve already posted on my Facebook about your home [and] a small video clip of my favorite moments of the whole trip. Thanks again and God Bless you and your beautiful family!”
Angela and I believe that if we keep our primary focus on Lovingly hosting as many guests as possible, even if some of them aren’t paying us, the seeds we’re planting will continue to grow and bear good fruit.
The steps to driving your occupancy and your revenue up by donating your home are pretty straightforward.
- Decide if you are willing to donate nights in your home and what it should look like for you.
- Consider your cleaning costs, property manager (PM) costs and security deposits. We charged the guest above only for our cleaning costs, our PM was happy to donate her time as well.
- Read Pros and Cons of Donating a Stay at Your Vacation Home, consider any tax implications.
- Decide which dates or times of year would be most ideal for you to offer your home for free.
- You can give away time all year or aim for a time that may likely go unoccupied anyway.
- The further out you can set aside dates the more successful you’ll be at donating them.
- Spread the word and be on the lookout for donation opportunities, find a cause to support.
- Reach out to church groups, children’s charities or military veteran’s associations.
- Google search “donate a vacation home” to explore resources that can help you connect with charities if you are unable to fill a direct need on your own.
The Bottom Line: Donating nights in your vacation home will create goodwill and awareness of your business while endearing you to particular groups of people. Donations will lead to fantastic guestbook comments, enthusiastic guest referrals, and perhaps most importantly, give you the opportunity to bless others tremendously in the name of Love. Using your vacation home business in this way will also increase the joy and contentment you derive from being in one of the most rewarding businesses in the world…and it might even lead to additional bookings.
So here’s to converting your Love into new cabbage!