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Jun 16 2015

Fourth of July booms are causing a bust for homeowners

Cape Cod FireworksThis year, the Cape and Islands have a substantial number of vacation rental homes still showing available weeks between the end of June and mid-July.  Contrary to what many would think, the week that contains July Fourth is traditionally very difficult to book – and this year it’s been especially hard with July Fourth falling on a Saturday.

Historically, there are several reasons for the week of the Fourth being a less popular time to rent than the rest of the summer season:

  • folks often have local, traditional commitments in their communities or annual family/social events during the holiday weekend
  • there are fears of worse than usual traffic problems
  • there is a preference to split vacation time so that they enjoy the long weekend in addition to a full week’s vacation at a separate time

But this year is more difficult than ever because many vacationers don’t want to either start or end their vacations in the middle of the July Fourth weekend.  Also, schools are getting out later this year due to excessive “snow days” in the winter.

What can you do at the eleventh hour?  It’s not too late.

  • Reduce your weekly price, if you haven’t done so already, and don’t forget to post a free Owner Special advertising your price reduction.
  • Purchase a Last-minute Availability Alert to enter your listing on our Last-minute Availability and Deals page, which is very popular with vacationers.
  • Consider being flexible with your arrival and departure dates either in addition to, or instead of, a price reduction. If you have 2 or even 3 of the difficult weeks available, for example, consider sacrificing the earlier week and offering to allow vacationers to arrive a day or two earlier or stay a day or two later.  The odds at this point are slim that you would get both of the weeks booked anyway – perhaps it’s worth it to give up one for the successful booking of the other. Flexible dates can be equally as attractive as price reductions.
  • Consider being flexible with your minimum stay requirements, too. As long as you charge enough on a nightly basis, why not allow for a shorter stay?
  • Again, set up a free Owner Special afterwards to promote your flexibility such as, “Book any 7 or more days between June 27 & July 11 for only $1900.”

Like it or not, if you still have vacancies between June 27 and July 18, you are not alone!  It’s not just you, and not just the homes listed on our site – rental homes across the Cape and Islands are being impacted significantly this year.

And keep in mind that the last two weeks of August are also considerably more difficult to rent than the first 2-3 weeks of August!  If you have either of those open now, don’t wait until the last minute to use any of the suggestions above to entice vacationers to choose your home over the myriad of others that are also available then. Read more about “tiering” your pricing to fill less popular weeks.

Do you have any other suggestions for booking hard-to-rent weeks?

Fourth of July booms are causing a bust for homeowners
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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