There is no definitive right or wrong decision when determining the best day to set as your “turnover day” for your vacation rental. The vast majority (85%) of our Cape and Islands listings, however, use Saturdays as the date of check in and check out for their tenants. We believe this accurately reflects the needs of the majority of vacationers who prefer to leave their homes on a Saturday morning and return home on the following one, with an extra day on Sunday to unpack and prepare for the work week ahead.
Saturday to Saturday
The high volume of vacationer traffic every Saturday can, however, pose problems for vacationers and for homeowners, too. Vacationers certainly don’t enjoy sitting in traffic trying to get on or off the Cape, and Saturday car reservations on the ferries to/from the Vineyard and Nantucket seem to reach capacity earlier and earlier each year. Homeowners often experience the same traffic woes on a Saturday when trying to get to and from their rental properties for their turnover cleaning and responsibilities. In addition, they may have difficulty hiring a cleaning crew to commit to the critical turnover cleanings during those precious few hours between 10 AM and 3 PM on Saturdays.
Sunday to Sunday
The second most popular day for a turnover is Sunday, which 12% of our homeowners opt for. Although there is undoubtedly less volume getting TO the Cape and Islands on Sundays, heading back can be even more difficult with the addition of the masses of weekender traffic. The advantages are that cleaning crews may be less heavily taxed then, and vacationers are still not inconvenienced by having to take another day off from work. Even if they lose the day upon their return to unpack and prepare for the work week, they can use the Saturday beforehand to pack and prepare for the trip. Another advantage is that anyone staying with you to attend a wedding would probably prefer to be there through the weekend.
Friday to Friday
Only a mere 2.2% of our homeowners opt for Friday turnovers. Not only do Fridays pose a challenge for them to attend to their rental homes on a weekday, but they also require the vacationer to take an extra day off work (in many cases, both the husband and wife). And again, like Sundays, they must also contend with regular weekend commuting traffic woes. Also, cleaning companies often have routine, weekly cleaning jobs during the week, preventing them from committing to a weekday turnover cleaning.
Not surprisingly, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday turnovers each constitute less than 1% of our listings. How many vacationers are willing to take a midweek-to-midweek vacation? Insisting on a midweek turnover would drastically reduce a homeowner’s ability to book their home.
The recent trend shows people taking as many, if not more, vacations as in the past – but of shorter durations. Due to the fact that often both husband and wife now work full time, it’s more difficult for them to get away together for long periods of time. Thus, they are more than ever required to start and end their vacation weeks on the weekends. Again, the exception is wedding guests, who may prefer a mid-week to mid-week rental.
There is no question that traffic can be heavy, and ferries to and from the Cape and Islands fill to capacity on Saturdays during the summer. But unless the traditional work week changes drastically, we homeowners will be bound to provide our vacation homes on a Saturday-to-Saturday basis.
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When we bought our Vineyard home 20 yrs ago we decided on a Sun. turnover day as it was a bit easier to get ferry tkts than for Sat. Yes, we buy ferry tkts for our in-season tenants and sell them back at cost. We’ve stuck with it and have never had any complaints. Several tenants have commented that they like have a “whole wkend” – Fri and Sat night – as an ending to their vacation wk.
Off-season, I’m very flexible as to rental times but so far the summer Sun turnover day has worked well for us.
We bought our rental home almost 2 years ago. The previous owners used Monday as the turnover day. I asked when we were talking before the sale if that posed a problem for them. She said “no”, and because the property is on Martha’s Vineyard requiring most guests to use the Steamship Authority, Monday is an easier day for getting a reservation for the boat. It was easier to find a cleaning company who wasn’t super busy also. I have had some people who have inquired, but didn’t notice that the turnover day was Monday. The past 2 summers were completely booked. I have 3 weeks of the upcoming summer left to book. So far, it has worked for us.