Busy season is coming to a close… Winter is coming!
Whether you spent the summer occasionally booked or filled to capacity, things are about to bottom out. Keeping your occupancy rate up is, for the next few months, going to require a little extra work on your part.
So how do you continue to rake in guests when things are quiet on the interwebs?
We have a few suggestions! Which one strikes a cord with you?
1. Create a package deal.
You don’t have to wait for a special event or a major holiday to offer your potential guests a great reason to stay with you. In fact, by offering a package deal that your competitors aren’t, you’re giving yourself an extra little edge.
Many hosts have the most trouble filling weeknight slots – weekends tend to stay fairly solidly booked. Offering special packages is a great way to fill some open spots during the week and entice guests to break away from their normal schedule for an unconventional rendezvous.
Whether you require your guests to stay multiple nights or not is up to you, but make their experience even more memorable by throwing in some pizzazz:
- Design a “romantic getaway” for two: This may arguably be a bit overdone, but that’s only because it’s always a crowd pleaser. Throw in some traditional Valentine-esque additions to your guests’ stay, such as a bottle of wine, a box of chocolates, and a lineup of rom-coms to watch so they can enjoy a few of nights of mid-week romance.
- Create a retreat and respite from work: Sometimes, people just need a break from their jobs. Why not offer guests a place to unwind? This works well for folks who may live nearby and just need a break from their own home. Getting away from a stressful environment can be, for some, as easy as living somewhere else for a few days instead of going home to their own place.
- Let the guests focus on food: Give your guests the opportunity to get culinary! Consider subscribing to a meal kit and giving your guests the option to prepare meals for themselves via ingredients delivered to you or to their vacation rental door. This will require some major attention to detail and communication on your end, so be sure you’re well prepared to play chef-host.
- Be creative!: The best part of creating package deals is that the sky is the limit! There’s no wrong way to build a unique stay experience for your guests. Go with your gut and plan something you would enjoy. Chances are, you’ll find guests who will love your ideas, too.
2. Reach out to previous guests and cut them a deal they can’t pass up.
Every host has a few “favorite guests” they’ve had stay and chances are, the list is fairly short. It never hurts to reach out to folks you’ve hosted before and invite them back for another fantastic stay with a twist.
Offer them the opportunity to stay with you and consider sweetening the invite with one of your fancy package deals or simply at a slightly discounted nightly rate.
This will likely work better if your guests don’t live terribly far away and won’t always work out but it’s worth a try every once in a while. Be sure not to constantly be hitting up your previous guests – that’s a good way to turn fans into enemies.
3. Lower your nightly rate.
If all else fails, drop your nightly rate in the middle of the week. This is a wise thing to do anyway, to a point.
You’re far less likely to stay consistently booked if you stick with your summer rates through the fall and winter. Drop slightly across the board – this may take a little trial and error – and if you spot vacancies a week or two ahead, start dropping the rate on those nights only little by little until you either get booked or time runs out.
Remember, as you make changes to the costs for your guests be sure you’re not messing with your fees to ensure you cover yourself for cleaning costs and other expenses.
Pulling in bookings during the slow season isn’t impossible, but it will take a little elbow grease. No matter how you go about pulling in guests, don’t forget that even if you find yourself spending a little more to bring in guests, don’t lose sight of the reality: Some money is better than no money!
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