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Just joined the Community. I have a place in Baltimore that I will be renting out soon and listing on Homeaway.com within about 2 weeks. I was thinking of charging $250 per night Sun.-Thurs. and $300 per night Fri. & Sat.
My question arises from the fact that on Labor Day weekend, not only is it a big holiday, but there is an IndyCar race through the streets of downtown Baltimore, less than a mile from my house. This is a HUGE event here. Apparently places have been booked for a long time, it's hard to get a room/house, and traffic will be a nightmare. It would be great to take advantage of this opportunity since I am within walking distance.
I want to increase my rates for that weekend only. Since I am new at this, I don't know if there is a "special event" rate listing on homeaway.com, if this is frowned upon, or how I should go about listing one weekend substantially higher than others. I am sure owners do this when, for example, the Super Bowl is near their house. Any ideas or suggestions would be greatly appreciated!
I too, have 3 homes that rent for 2 huge special events per year. On Homeaway, they give you unlimited spaces to put different rates, etc on the rate section. Just spell out the rates for the time frame you are raising your rates for. It's perfectly ok to raise you rates for a special event. Hotels and airlines certainly do it! It's a matter of supply and demand. On a home that normally rents for $170 per night peak season, I charge $320 for the special event and book it over a year in advance!
Thanks for the quick response, Sophie. Flying around Christmas makes me keenly aware that the airlines certainly do this!
It seems like your special event price is nearly double the regular rate. Might be a good benchmark. May I ask what your 2 huge special events are/were and how close (roughly) your homes are to them? It might help be to better guage how much to increase my rates.
You are so right, it's all about supply a d demand. And, having a home stratigically located helps to insure a higher rate. There is something to be said about walking to an event and not trying to fight thousands of people for that one parking space or paying huge amounts to park in a lot.
Great question. It is definitely not "frowned upon" to raise your rates when a special event comes to your town, everybody does it (try getting a place in Austin during the South by Southwest music fest and you will see what I mean.) There are a couple of articles here and here on the topic you may enjoy.
Thanks for the article links. It will be a challenge for me to find what price is high enough to be special event-worthy, but not too high to end up with my place not rented. Seems like a delicate balance, especially since I'll be listing with only about 3-4 weeks until the race.
For my beach property overseas, I have four sets of rates for each season, two of them are most often used, say Low and Medium Rate, based on past experience.
The third rate is for the special weeks or weekends, in your case it could be 4th of July week, Spring Break month, etc.
My highest rate, more than twice the lowest rate, is reserved for two special weeks: Easter Week and New Years, they have a huge demand and usually are booked almost a year in advance.
In your case, you should identify the seasons and special weeks and set your rates accordingly, don't be afraid to raise them, and monitor the accopancy of your competitors, if you are not getting bookings, you can always lower them until you find the right price. Just like the airlines charge $99 and $499 for the same route depending on demand.
After all, a few hundred or a few thousand bucks are always useful.
Best of luck,
I realize that we can make more money during holiday periods, but I have found that by keeping my rates the same, regardless of holiday or not, that we book faster and earlier.
To me there is no benefit in booking faster or earlier. I am perfectly content to let all the other lower priced properties fill up and then I still get the benefit of the higher rate. Especially for a special event. This works also when someone is undercutting the rental costs in your area. Let the others fill up, then they come to me and pay my asking rates.
So far we haven't been increasing our prices for special event weekends.
We do often get people trying to bargain for a cheap price far in advance. We don't entertain these offers.
I agree with sophie, if you have a property in a location with high demand, and you've got good pictures and a reasonable price ... people will want to book your place. We are generally booked a few months in advance, and we've noticed that we get lots of people dying for last-minute bookings. They contact us out of desperation, even though our calendar clearly shows as booked.
So ... it seems to me, these people would pay just about any price, if only they could find a decent place that was AVAILABLE ... i.e., NOT booked already. In time like these, Sophie must be sitting pretty, because she can say "Yes, I do have something available, and it costs XXX."
The key here is, if you're going to charge high prices, you better have an impeccably clean, high quality property, with a bit of luxury thrown in, so that the guests won't feel the least bit gypped by your prices. The worst thing that can happen is for you to overcharge, causing the guests to feel ripped off and motivating them to write bad / negative reviews. My advice would be to impresss your higher paying guests with plenty of luxury and extras. If you're going to charge a high price, you need the guests to leave feeling "it was worth it."
Also I want to add.
Our family stayed in a vacation rental that, once we got there, seemed WAY OVER-PRICED. Although it was clean, they had duct tape holding the floors together, huge pieces of wall-paper peeling off the walls in main gathering room (the dining room which was open to the kitchen and fireplace), shag carpet that was loose and ripped on the stairways, jerry-rigged plumbing systems .... all in all, it was okay for a family get-together, as we loved the location. But ... for the price they were charging, it did not live up to expectations, especially not when you take into account the prices of other much newer and more modern homes in the area.
I have not left a review yet, but I am still considering it. The interesting thing is, the place had a lot of REALLY GOOD THINGS about it, and it would be very easy to leave a review focusing on the good things, if the price has been more reasonable. But for the price we paid, we expected something much better ... so the shabbiness of the place became one of the main topics of conversation during our family reunion. And so unfortunately that would be the prime thing I would mention if I do write a review.
So my word of advice is ... yes, definitely do hold firm to your prices and get a good price for your rental, but ... be careful of over-charging !