Managing Your Vacation Rental

Entering pricing for future seasons

5/5 - (13 votes)

Calendar_0How soon do you set up your pricing and availability for the following seasons? If you’re like some of our Cape and Islands homeowners, you hold off until late in the fall or even the beginning of January. But this delay could be costing you valuable early bookings!

So far this year, our early booking numbers are up dramatically (30%!) from last year. Admittedly, this is due in large part to the fact that we opened up next year’s calendar in May rather than wait until September, as we have done in the past. But many vacationers are inquiring about homes earlier than ever in order to book just what they’re looking for. So why miss out on these early birds?

Many homeowners don’t realize that, without pricing and availability, their listing’s exposure may be significantly reduced. Vacationers have the option to search for only listings whose calendars show availability for the dates they desire and within the price range they are seeking. If you have no pricing or availability posted, your listing will not even be viewed by them.

Here are a number of reasons homeowners put off posting their pricing and availability:

  • They haven’t gotten in touch with, or heard back from, their past tenants.
  • Their policy is to give past tenants until January to make their plans/commitments.
  • They haven’t decided yet which weeks to keep for themselves or family.
  • They’re so relieved that the past season’s over, they don’t want to even THINK about the next one yet.
  • They simply forget.

We don’t believe any of these excuses are valid, and we urge you to reconsider.

As suggested in our prior post entitled “Honoring promises to past tenants without losing new ones,” we recommend that you post your pricing and availability for next season but offer your past tenants a right of first refusal if/when you should receive an inquiry for “their” week. This way, you are doing them a kindness without risking anything yourself.

If you haven’t decided which weeks to reserve for yourself or family, why not open them all up in the meantime and then make a decision when you receive inquiries?

If you feel you need a breather and aren’t ready to even think about next year, consider the advantages of getting an early jump on your bookings for next year, providing you with some cash flow to fund your off season projects and saving you the possible stress of ending up with vacancies.

And remember, early bookings bring you your asking price, whereas late or last-minute ones often require you to lower your price or to negotiate with prospective tenants.

Have you provided pricing and availability for the upcoming seasons?

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.