Financial Matters Marketing Your Vacation Rental

Be sure to catch the vacationer wave!

Sharp increase in vacationer traffic kicks off Summer 2019 booking season
Written by Elizabeth Weedon
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Despite the recent passing of the controversial Lodging Tax Bill, vacationers are jumping out of the gate to book their vacation homes on the Cape and Islands early for the 2019 season! Across the board, email inquiries, vacationers new to our site, website traffic, and – most importantly – bookings are all up significantly over the same period last year (which saw a pretty strong start to its season, too!).

What’s causing the wave?

One of the biggest reasons for the increase in inquiries is the huge influx of new vacationers using our site.  Returning vacationers has always been a strength, but this year, new website visitors are up 24% since December 26th.  And the number of vacationers who have inquired is up 43% over 2017-2018 and up 69% over 2013-2014.

Sharp increase in vacationers during early part of booking season

Sharp increase in vacationers during early part of booking season

Why the unprecedented influx? Vacationers are savvy. They understand the benefits of direct communications with the homeowner, making sure their specific questions and needs are met.  And of course, there is the financial incentive to book direct and avoid the service fees (up to 16%) that the majority of big box sites add on.

A recent vacationer contacted a homeowner:

We have never used We Need a Vacation (homeaway/airbnb is what we are familiar with) however we have heard great things and are hoping for another fabulous week on the Cape this year!

Other contributions to the wave:

  • The summer season is short, due in large part to how early schools now start in August.
  • Family logistics only seem to get more complicated every year, demanding that vacation plans get made as soon as possible.
  • Travelers to the Islands particularly require earlier planning than ever to coordinate with increasingly limited ferry reservations.
  • It’s possible that vacationers delayed too long last year and had trouble finding exactly what they were looking for. Beachfront/waterfront homes and those within walking distance of a beach, for example, are the most sought after properties – and there is a limited supply of those.

Following a trend – but how long will it last?

This year’s early booking season numbers follow the trend that started a few years ago wherein vacationers are planning their vacations earlier than they have in the past.  This doesn’t necessarily mean, of course, that the wave will continue throughout the rest of the booking season. It’s impossible to tell whether the numbers merely indicate an initial enthusiasm or whether, as we homeowners would like to think, this could be the start of a very good year.

How can you be sure to catch the wave?

Make sure that your listing is active and totally up to date, including your pricing and availability calendar, and that you have plenty of fresh, quality pictures and current guest reviews.  There is a tremendous amount of competition, so whether vacationer activity is strong or not, your listing must be as effective as it can be from a marketing standpoint.

Have a vacation rental on Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard or Nantucket? Learn more about listing a property with us.

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About the author

Elizabeth Weedon

Elizabeth Weedon - Although I’ve worked for 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 managed my family's rental home there since the mid-1980’s. I’m passionately devoted to the Vineyard – and to WeNeedaVacation, which I credit with enabling me to hold onto the special property that has been in our family for nearly a century. An enthusiastic member of the WNAV Homeowner Support Team, I endeavor to keep my finger on the pulse of the Cape and Islands vacation rental industry so that I can provide homeowners advice about how to ensure their booking success with us. With owner Joan Talmadge, I am also responsible for editing and writing much of the text on our website, our monthly newsletters, and Homeowner Blog posts.