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Jul 24 2013

Tips for attracting fall vacation rental bookings

Looking to extend your booking season beyond the high summer season? If priced appropriately and marketed well, your home can provide you with some additional revenue with very little added effort.

The word is out!

o Nickerson, Cliff Pond, FallMost of us who own homes on the Cape and Islands are very aware of what an ideal time of year fall is to be here: the crowds and traffic have finally diminished, the water is still warm, the air is cool and dry at night and often sunny and mild during the day, and the lighting and scenery can be exquisite. Vacationers, too, are steadily growing to appreciate the value of spending time there then and are rewarded by considerably lower prices as well. As reported in our last press release, fall bookings this year “saw a double-digit increase for the fifth year in a row, 13.2% better than last fall and over 30% better than the fall of 2008!” So, unless you’re anxious to reclaim your home as soon as Labor Day Weekend arrives, let us help you to take advantage of this opportunity to extend your booking season.

How can you promote your home for fall rentals?

Here are some tips:

  • Update your listing to promote fall rentalsAdd information to your listing to promote the advantages of visiting in the fall (and spring). Modify your property description, temporarily change the title, and add some pictures of fall events, for example. (Just be sure to remember to restore them to summer-appropriate renting after the fall booking season ends).
  • If your minimum stay requirement is currently 7 nights, consider shortening it to 2 or 3 nights – but charge enough on a nightly basis to make the shorter stay worthwhile to you.
  • Small homes rent more easily during the off season than large ones, so if you have a large home, shut off some of the bedrooms, or simply advertise it as a smaller home.
  • Suggest a Fall Getaway, a Girls Weekend, or a Guys Fishing Trip – reminding vacationers of the aforementioned warm, sunny days and cool nights, diminished crowds at beaches and restaurants, warm waters, and lower rates.
  • Appeal to wedding guests. There has been a significant rise in spring and fall weddings on the Cape and Islands over the past few years, so you might suggest your home as a more affordable alternative to hotels and inns. Offer flexible arrival and departure days to accommodate their schedule.
  • Fall for HarwichAppeal to golfers. The Cape and Islands offer numerous public courses, especially in the off season. Offer a gift certificate to one near you for a round of golf. Include a picture of the nearest public golf course.
  • Promote local activities and events. Check our Vacation Planner to find fishing tournaments, flower shows, road races, harvest festivals, seafood fests, and craft shows near your home.
  • Offer a gift certificate to a local restaurant or tickets to a whale watch.

And then use a couple of features on our site to make your listing stand out from others and entice vacationers to view all your clever changes!

  • Set up a free Owner Special promoting either a specific price reduction, an incentive of some kind (like a gift certificate or an extra night free).
  • As soon as the available weeks are within the next month, boost your free Owner Special with a Last-minute Availability Alert.

Have you noticed an increase in your fall bookings over the past few years? Do you have any other suggestions to promote fall rentals?

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Tips for attracting fall vacation rental bookings
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About the author

Elizabeth Weedon

Elizabeth Weedon - Although I’ve worked for WeNeedaVacation.com since 2008, I’ve been a loyal homeowner on the site since early 1998, just a few months after the website was launched by the Talmadges. I grew up summering on the Vineyard and have managed my family's rental home there since the mid-1980’s. I’m passionately devoted to the Vineyard – and to WeNeedaVacation.com, which I credit with enabling me to hold onto the special property that has been in our family since the 1920’s. An enthusiastic member of the WNAV.com Homeowner Support Team, I am particularly involved with our new listers, providing assistance with the sign-up process and advice about how to create the most effective listing to ensure their booking success with us. I have recently taken over our press and public relations needs. And, with owner Joan Talmadge, I am also responsible for editing and writing much of the content on our website, our monthly newsletters, and the blog posts. My husband and I live in Wellesley where we have raised our 2 grown kids and our Black Lab, Maisie. Email Elizabeth

6 comments

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  1. Martha Newman

    I allow dogs off season and I have multiple bookings every month of the year. 90% of my fall bookings have dogs. There have been two very minor problems over five years of doing this, both were easily remediated by the security deposit and no big deal, I have had more problems than that with humans. I have realized that the math works way in favor of allowing dogs, especially off season when you usually have time to do extra vacuuming of the furniture, etc. I have experienced more and more fall and spring bookings, every year there are more than the last. I also believe in leaving everything accessible to the renters, I do not lock up one thing in the house or cellar. If they need a sewing kit, there is one available. So for wedding groups and such they always like that. I also provide all household products, cosmetic items you would expect in a hotel, and great linens – with restrictions on baggage weight these days they can’t bring much anyway. In five years of renting I haven’t missed one fork, so “more is better” works for me!

    1. Shannon Russo

      Those are some smart practices you have there, Martha! I like your observations about pets being ideal for the off-season – how you are able to expand your market and extend your booking season while still taking care of your home fully between rentals. And it sounds like your guests get the royal treatment and that it’s paying off for you! Isn’t it wonderful when guests appreciate all we do? Best, Shannon

  2. Chloe

    Great tips! Now is the time for vacation rental owners to start thinking about adapting marketing efforts to attract guests in fall.

    I like your idea of offering a gift certificate for a local restaurant, partnering with local businesses is in an excellent way to increase booking chances. It is importnat to partner with businesses that are complentative to your vacation rental so that both businesses will benefit. We wrote an article on the different ways you can partner with local businesses to boost bookings here: http://kigo.net/blog/five-ways-to-partner-with-local-businesses-to-boost-bookings.html Good luck!

    1. Shannon Russo

      Another great reference article, Chloe. Thank you!

  3. kathy

    Fall rentals tend to be more of a last minute thing – especially for long weekends. We seem very slow this year for the fall – especially since we had a very strong summer season.

    I wish I could figure out how to target the people I view as the primary potential tenants for off-season – couples who are not on a school schedule – families with small kids or empty-nesters, and gay couples, who may be less likely to have kids. Does anyone have any suggestions on where I might advertise, in addition, of course, to We Need? I’m thinking more of the flyers in a pediatrician’s office sort of thing…..

    The wedding guest pool is a likely audience. Has anyone tried the wedding planners? I’ve thought of sending them cards or a discount. Thanks.

  4. Vicki Dempsey

    I have ‘owned’ my listing title for many years. If I change the title for Fall attraction, what if someone else uses my original title? Hummm…I guess while I’m asking- can two properties have the exact same tile?

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