High season is over. You’ve said farewell to the last guests of summer, and brushed away the final grain of sand from your doorstep. You can breath a sigh of relief… Hang on! Don’t relax just yet. You’ve got work to do to get your holiday rental ship shape and ready for this year’s autumn/winter season and for the coming year’s spring/summer bookings.
If you want to run a successful holiday rental business, there’s no sitting on your laurels after high season. Now is the time to plan, update and maintain contact with your valued guests. So, what’s next?
Depending where your holiday rental is located you might have 4-6 weeks turnaround between the end of the summer season and the all important half-term school break. Many families choose to catch the last rays of sunshine in the October half-term.
If you have a family-friendly holiday rental, this will be a key week for you, which if prepared well, can be the start of some valuable family repeat bookings.
Here are some ways to put your family-friendly holiday rental in front of potential half-term guests.
- If you have your own holiday rental website, write an article, or listicle, for your blog on the Top Attractions/Activities for Half-Term in your area and share it like crazy
- Promote special half-term offers on the advertising portals you are using
- Use your social media profiles to shout about the reasons why spending half-term in your destination is fab, fun and family-friendly
- If you don’t already, start to connect with family-friendly specialists via social media and tag them in your ‘Things to do’ and ‘Promotional’ posts. Make the posts fun, interesting and shareable.
Blue skies and swimming pools might be the primary draw for guests visiting your holiday rental, but if you want to attract low-season bookings, you need to paint a four-seasons picture.
Even if your destination enjoys year-round sunshine, show potential guests what your holiday home looks like dressed up for Christmas; how locals celebrate New Year’s Eve and Easter, or what your ski destination looks like in the spring and summer months, with flowers blanketing the ski slopes.
Just after summer season ends, start to populate your advertising listings and website with autumn/winter seasonal photos and quirky mentions of what guests can expect during this time. During, or just after the Christmas period, you can start to add seasonal photos and descriptions for spring and summer next year, and so the cycle goes on.
Of course you will always focus on your high season, but adding a touch of four-season magic, could be just what your holiday rental needs to secure those low season bookings.
Keep in touch
If your guests leave your holiday home happy. Having had a positive holiday experience. Keeping in touch via email marketing is not just a courtesy, it’s a very impactful way of getting them back for another stay. Repeat guests provide the best ROI (return on investment). You don’t have to spend a lot of marketing budget on them. In their case it’s time and effort, over budget. Plus they often reflect your ideal guest profile, which means they are likely to stay loyal and recommend you to their friends and family.
When the busy holiday season is over, get in touch with your guests. Tell them what they can expect out of season. Use an early bird discount for next summer to get to them to fill out a post-stay survey, keep them up-to-date with your latest offers and articles, and of course, invite them to follow you on social media.
Review your holiday rental marketing
Better the devil you know? Not when it comes to spending your hard earned holiday rental income on marketing. At the beginning of each year, or at the end of each advertising contract, you need to decide what provides the best ROI (return on investment) and ditch what doesn’t perform.
Stay on top of new platforms, investigate local portals focused on your destination and develop your own holiday rental website and social media profiles. Perfecting your self-promotional channels will ultimately provide a better ROI and more credibility for your holiday rental business.
Focus on the audience
We’ve already discussed adapting your holiday rental marketing to attract families during half-term, but you can also target couples looking for a quiet break, retirees looking to get away for the winter, or group activity bookings: golf, hiking, cycling, etc.
Remember: consumers like added value over discounts, so think about offers that will make them feel as they are getting extra:
- Special one month winter stay prices
- 14 days for the price of 10, or 7 from the price of 5
- Long weekend special promotions
- Weekday rates for weekend stays
Maintenance check: fix and replace items
On to the boring stuff. I know, I know… But keeping your holiday home updated, clean and fresh, and with a full inventory, is an essential part of your holiday rental business.
Here are some of the spot checks and updates you need to do after the busy season ends:
- A lick of paint will freshen your place up and make it feel like new
- Buy new bed linen and towels. After a season of lotioned up guests, your sheets and towels will have seen better days
- Give the cupboards a clean to get rid of unwanted breadcrumbs, coffee stains and sugar granules.
- Stock up on complimentary items, such as coffee, tea, soaps, toilet paper and washing up liquid, etc. Make sure your new guests won’t be left short.
- Make a recce of utensils and cutlery: Recently, an owner mentioned to me that when she came to clean up after her last guests of the summer, she had no teaspoons left! You should be keeping check throughout the season, but after the last guest has left, make sure you restock all kitchen utensils and cutlery, ready for new guests, new season!
- Maintenance check: Check all your kitchen appliances function properly, light bulbs don’t need changing, the toilet flushes and there are no dripping taps.
- Bathroom and kitchen fungus: With so much usage during high season, areas such as the bathroom might need a touch up. Make sure all surfaces, tiled floors, showers, etc. are cleaned and free of mildew and if you’re feeling up for it, why not reseal the bath and shower edges, so everything looks sparkling new.
- Wash down your patio and terrace: If you can invest in the rental of a jet washer to bring out the original colour of your patio and get rid of all the dirt in between the tiles, go for it!
Write a list of things you could have done better and action them for next season!
Changeovers, marketing and advertising, guest communication, post-guest surveys, maintenance, and security. Now is the time to evaluate how success your holiday rental business was this year, and what you can do better for the coming season. Need help bringing all this together to create a holiday rental success? Rental Tonic is here to help!