Advice for getting off season bookings for your holiday rental

Get more off season bookingsOff season doesn't have to mean fewer bookings. Here are some tips for getting guests to come to your holiday rental during the quieter months.

Update your property advert: Many areas change dramatically during the seasons. During the off season why not adjust your advert to sell the delights of autumn and winter. This could include:

Displaying attractive pictures of your property and its surroundings during autumn and winter 
Updating your location information to mention any special events that are taking place during the low months
Mentioning popular winter time activities and attractions

However be sure to sell spring and summer once January comes, as this is peak time for holiday makers to book to book for the warmer seasons.  

Allow shorter minimum stays: During the peak season travellers take longer holidays so it's normal to set your minimum stay at one week. During the slower months try reducing your minimum stay to attract travellers looking for a short break. Your nightly rate should be roughly 1/5 or 1/6 of your weekly rate. If weekends are more popular, you can charge more.

Allow one month stays: If your property is often empty outside peak season, consider charging a monthly rate equivalent to one peak season week. This should cover your mortgage repayments and means your property won't be sitting empty.

Re-think your target market: Retirees and people with pre-school age children aren't constrained by school calendars or office hours, and often prefer to travel when the weather is milder. If your home is suitable for these groups, make sure your home will appear in the search results by checking the 'Children Welcome' or 'Suitable for the elderly' boxes in the property details section of your advert.

Offer an incentive: More holiday rentals will be available during the off season, so owners often have to be more competitive to attract business. Try advertsing a reduced rate or special deal for any last-minute availability. This way the holiday maker will feel like they are getting more for their money if they book with you. You can choose to apply the special offer for weeks that are usually hard to book up.
September 2011