What to Do If Your Peak Summer Weeks Are Not Fully Booked

    peak summer weeks unbooked at vacation rentalIf you've found that the current state of the economy has slowed down your summer bookings, consider these ideas for filling up your summer calendar.

    Update your headlines. Showcasing a specific week that you have available might capture renters searching for those dates. It can also create a sense of urgency if those dates appear to be last-minute openings.

    Offer a special. Renters might be more inclined to book if they feel like they're getting a deal. However, a special doesn't have to significantly hurt your bottom line. Consider increasing your weekly rates a bit to cover the “discount.” Besides, a special doesn't have to just mean a certain percentage off the total price. You can entice renters by offering “buy X nights, get one free," discounted rates for future stays after booking a peak week, or even gift certificates for local attractions or restaurants.

    Consider shortening your minimum stay. Since many vacationers may be traveling closer to home this year, they might be more inclined to book a shorter weekend getaway versus an entire week. Provide nightly rates on your listing and feature this in your ad to capture shorter-term renters. You shouldn't have to sacrifice full-week renters altogether; just make sure your weekly bookings are Friday to Friday or Sunday to Sunday to accommodate weekend renters as well.

    Keep an up-to-date calendar. Often when renters see a blank calendar, they assume that the dates are full or that the owner is disorganized or unresponsive. Renters that see a recently updated calendar with openings for the dates they are considering are more likely to inquire and book right away.

    E-mail past guests. Consider tapping into your list of past guests to let them know about upcoming openings. If they live close enough, they might decide to come back even without much notice.

    Showcase summertime photos. If your main picture or thumbnail shows your cabin covered in snow or strung with Christmas lights, this probably isn't helping your bottom line. Make sure your photos are bright and colorful for travelers looking for that perfect summertime retreat.

    Highlight local activities and festivals. Independence Day isn't the only summer event. Update your listing with local activities or festivals so travelers realize how much they can get out of their vacation.

    Cater to group bookings or events. Summer is a popular time for family reunions and weddings. If your house can accommodate larger groups, consider featuring your home's suitability for events. While it is best to employ this tactic earlier in the year, there might be some fly-by-the-seat-of-their-pants travelers out there who plan more last-minute gatherings.

    However you approach your summer openings, it is important that you check your e-mail often and respond quickly. Use an auto-responder if you know you will not be available for a certain period of time, and consider following up with a phone call to really engage the potential renter. You should also check your listing to see if you have a back-up phone number listed, which is a simple and effective way to stay on top of inquiries. With a little bit of patience and effort, you might be able to increase your summer bookings even if a little more last-minute than what you're used to.
    Last updated November 28, 2018

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