15 Replies Latest reply: Dec 4, 2019 9:26 AM by calicalling RSS

    Ski condo owners - how sold out are you by now

    utahdream Contributor

      This is my first season so I don't know what would be normal. I guess I am just neurotic. I have 54 nights booked between Dec 1 and April 11 including 2 separate weeks of my own time. Most of December is booked, 1 week left in January and 1 week and one weekend in Feb with some scattered in-between days (1-3) here and there. Is this normal? I am a super early planner and if I was going skiing I would have mine booked by now. Do people really book as close as 1 month in advance or should I consider unbooked dates within 1 month lost? Any input appreciated.

        • Re: Ski condo owners - how sold out are you by now
          wildiris Active Contributor

          This is very location specific.  Have you looked at the calendars of your competitors?

            • Re: Ski condo owners - how sold out are you by now
              utahdream Contributor

              Yes. Mine is in Park City, Utah. Units in the same complex are all over the place. There's one that is showing almost fully booked (though unclear how many of those dates might be the owner's), some others are sitting nearly empty - again unclear why, perhaps brought on the market late (mine has been on since this summer). The bookings are coming in dribs and drabs since September. I have a 60 day cancellation policy too.

                • Re: Ski condo owners - how sold out are you by now
                  calicalling Active Contributor

                  The VRBO/HA calendar is not the most helpful indicator for exactly the reasons you've mentioned. In addition, some property managers with large inventories *never* put bookings on VRBO/HA ... They keep their calendars empty so that they can get more inquiries and push guests to different properties. So just because a calendar is empty, that doesn't actually mean it isn't booked.

                   

                  Are you savvy about Marketmaker? IMO, it's actually very useful for evaluating rates and occupancy.

                    • Re: Ski condo owners - how sold out are you by now
                      utahdream Contributor

                      Yeah that's more or less what I figured. A bunch of units in the complex are owned by the same person and managed by a management company (i know cause I bought one of those from them) and I assumed they are taking bookings and stuffing them in one unit first, once it fills up into another, etc. to achieve whatever occupancy/revenue goal that they have. There can't be another reasonable explanation as to why one unit would be full and another empty, they are nearly identical from every standpoint. I am playing with the Marketmaker now trying to figure it out. Is it a good idea to let it adjust the rates? I found that Airbnb's dynamic pricing was horrendously wrong. Their algorithm just doesn't get the extreme seasonality of these places. It was "advising" me to set the rates at $59 for a 2br condo in a ski town back in September (for the winter season)

                        • Re: Ski condo owners - how sold out are you by now
                          margaret CommunityAmbassador

                          If you are going to use MarketMaker, you should set your "Revenue Strategy" goal to achieve the results that you want. The suggested rate changes will be based on your choice of strategy. You can choose to accept the suggestions or ignore them.

                          • Re: Ski condo owners - how sold out are you by now
                            calicalling Active Contributor

                            From what I'm hearing you say, you are right on!

                             

                            Airbnb pricing is a joke. Ignore completely. Sometimes I look at it just for giggles and comic relief.

                             

                            I use MM mostly for forecasting and market analysis. I rarely (but sometimes) take the pricing suggestions, depending on the occupancy I'm seeing for the dates of concern (or how desperate I am to book certain dates).

                             

                            margaret is right, though. I have my MM set to a high yield revenue strategy. Make sure you aren't set to the heads-in-beds strategy-- unless that's actually what you're trying to do (which it sounds like it's not).

                             

                            Hope you are there right now. We've had tons of freshies this week and are looking toward tons more in the next few days! Pow is now, baby!

                    • Re: Ski condo owners - how sold out are you by now
                      calicalling Active Contributor

                      Hi! I'm in a ski resort but I'm going to start by saying all properties and markets are unique-- I''m not sure how universal my experience is.

                       

                      I require 4 night mins during holidays, 3 on weekends, 2 on weekdays.

                       

                      .. 90% of my guests come from LA, which is a drivable distance and that affects planning somewhat. My town is very small, and has a finite number of listings. 100% occupancy in town is a usual wintertime occurence.

                       

                      Many of my return guests book 1 year in advance.

                       

                      On my established places, my holidays are all booked by Labor Day (usually well-before that), weekends are usually booked by Halloween, midweeks during school breaks (LA Unified) are usually booked by Thanksgiving. This year we got more December weekend bookings than usual, I think because I lowered our Dec weekend min to 2 nights.

                       

                      Regular midweeks book more slowly, but I often get those bookings from Airbnb, since those guests usually are a little more last minute.

                       

                      I do have a new (very expensive) listing, and it has booked more slowly this year (only been online since Sept and its one of the most expensive in town).

                       

                      In the end, though, its all driven by the snowfall. We get a ton of late-season bookings (into May) when we get late snow. Conversely, if there isn't snow, I get cancellations. I just changed my policy to 60 days for a refund, because this year (for the first time) I had guests hold a 10 day window just to 'keep their options open" for holidays and then cancel because there wasn't snow on the ground at cancel time. Grr. (I take secret pleasure in knowing that we ended up having "the best holiday in recent history" because of a massive storm that started mid-week last week. Still, that's small consolation considering one of my properties ended up vacant for Thanksgiving for the first time in 5 years thanks to these date-holding guests...)

                       

                      FWIW, I automatically push a discount on dates with 2 weeks that aren't booked. That has helped me fill my shoulder season calendar.

                       

                      Hope that helps.

                      • Re: Ski condo owners - how sold out are you by now
                        feibus Senior Contributor

                        I can tell you from the research I did looking at that rental market (I almost bought at PCMR in 2004) and at my own behavior over the years:

                         

                        1. A lot of spring skiers wait until after Christmas to book their spring break vacation.  That's true in a lot of places, not just PC.

                        2. Spring skiing is very weather dependent, so I often wait until I see how deep the base is in early March before pulling the trigger on a late March or early April visit.

                        3. Easter is once again later in the calendar year, so that affects your ability to book that week.  Which is a shame, Easter skiing in the SLC area is outstanding.

                        4. From what I've seen, being 50-75% booked during the PC ski season is really good, but maybe doing a sampling of your neighbor-owners to find out how busy they get during the season would provide the best information about how well your home might book, since your neighbors have similar homes at the same location and are in a similar situation as you are.

                        • Re: Ski condo owners - how sold out are you by now
                          hmmmm Senior Contributor

                          It takes time, to book now.  People are starting to hold off to book later than the tradition norm.
                          Check your pricing to make sure its competitive, if that is what you want.

                           

                          You will do fine, stay calm and watch to see how it unfolds for your first season.  Do not get desperate and wind up booking to undesirables.

                          They can smell a newbeee

                            • Re: Ski condo owners - how sold out are you by now
                              utahdream Contributor

                              Thank you, I hope so. I have the last year's metrics from the seller to compare to and I am about 70% there (and almost 100% there considering I am no longer paying ridiculous management fee). My first guest checks in tomorrow and it is actually an Olympic medalist coming for some sporting event there. I am excited and anxious at the same time. I really hope they like it and leave a good review

                                • Re: Ski condo owners - how sold out are you by now
                                  puttermac10 Contributor

                                  I have 2 units in Canyons and we are booking slow this year - I usually fully book.  I think there is now so much on the market and so many say that they are at the lifts and are not.  People are going to be disappointed when they see where they really booked on arrival. I hope you see things book up and I hope the same for me.  I do know renters are frustrated with VRBO.

                                    • Re: Ski condo owners - how sold out are you by now
                                      utahdream Contributor

                                      Thanks! randomly, I took in 20 days worth of bookings yesterday so pretty much sold out through March 19 with some odd lots in between left. May be the word got out about the snow storm we had over thanksgiving  

                                        • Re: Ski condo owners - how sold out are you by now
                                          calicalling Active Contributor

                                          Not random! At all! The weekend of/after Thanskgiving is a big booking time for me, too. In fact, I see a boost in bookings on most holidays. It  makes sense when you think about it. People finish breakfast and start.thinking about lunch. They finish one holiday and start thinking about the next. Also, often holidays are a downtime when people are with their travel companions and can compare calendars, etc. That's why the fraud of my listing was so brilliant and so effective. They basically stole one of my most successful booking periods of the year.

                                           

                                          Congrats!.

                                  • Re: Ski condo owners - how sold out are you by now
                                    green_mango Active Contributor

                                    I'm in a ski area, but drive-to destination - my ski season does not book far in advance, aside from Ski Week & New Years.  People tend to wait and see how the base is and book more close to the time of their visit in my area (California, Sierra Nevada mountains).