The cottage is 6 bedrooms which is great for large families or extended families in the summer but after labor day, I have a hard time booking the cottage. We are located in the 1000 Islands in New york State and fall is such a beautiful time to spend there. I am looking for ideas in how to rent it for this season. Any suggestions?
One thing that I do is to update my listing title to advertise my availability for special events in the area. You might also keep your off season rates the same as peak season, but run specials to attract interest. Even though the net rate is the same, it seems to be a better marketing tactic.
For off season my rates drop significantly. I'm in the Cape & Islands and our peak rate of $5,200 per week for July and August drops to $2,000 per week for mid-September to the end of October. We find this encourages renters for the Fall which, I agree, is a wonderful time to visit our region. I emphasize the temperate weather, the quiet to be had (crowds are gone with the start of the school year), and the many festivals and fairs scheduled for the fall. I find that the number of inquiries for the fall increases every year as people recognize they can afford a week in an area that may be beyond their budget during the peak season.
In my experience, seasonal special offers always work well. Google Adwords is a nice ways to promote these deals because you can target your guests so geo-specifically. For instance, if you advertise some sort of "Fall Forward Special: Stay 2 nights, Get 1 Free" to people located in Albany or Montreal, it would be a no-brainer long weekend jaunt.
Also effective is pairing your seasonal specials with tours/activities so the guests can understand why it's so nice at that time of year. Offer some sort of boating or fishing outings as compliments to your guests' stay. For example, "Stay any three nights during our Fall season and get a complimentary fishing outing." These are best promoted on Facebook where you can choose your targeted age, likes, location...etc.
Lastly, I would recommend some practices (not necessarily seasonal) such as...
- Register with Google Places & Google Maps (free) which will improve your organic search results
- Get featured in major press publications with HARO (free) or PRLeads ($99/month)
- Offer up free nights during your slow time in exchange for advertising credit with magazines, newspapers, tv/radio shows...etc. Do it this season and use your credit to boost next season's occupancy!