Managing Your Vacation Rental

When should you consider lowering your prices?

Written by Elizabeth Weedon
4.6/5 - (10 votes)

Still have a few stubborn vacancies at your vacation rental property this season? Although the decision is totally dependent on how incented you are to fill those vacancies, it’s probably a good idea to discount your price sooner than later – certainly by mid-June. Waiting until the very last minute to do so only lowers your odds of finding a tenant and increases the need to offer a more drastic discount.  So, swallow your pride, even though you know that your home is worth the original asking price, and get any remaining vacancies filled!

Promote your new price

If you do decide to reduce your price, though, just be sure to highlight the news on your property listing. There is no better means of drawing attention to your listing and motivating vacationers to book your home than by advertising a price reduction. Everyone loves the prospect of saving money, and seeing that discounted price may well be the enticement they need to choose your property over a competitor’s.

Use an Owner Special

On, we offer a free Owner Special, which consists of 100 characters of space for you to craft an enticing offer to book by a certain date, for example, or take advantage of a price reduction for a specific week or two. Owner Specials provide the double benefit of not only conveying a tempting offer, but also effectively drawing attention to your listing when vacationers are perusing a long list of choices. We also offer a fee-based feature, the Last-minute Availability Alert, which has proven to be even more effective in getting last-minute bookings, especially when used in conjunction with an Owner Special.

Considering already booked tenants

Some homeowners have told us that they don’t want to upset tenants who have already booked their home at a higher rate. This is a personal decision, but we see it differently. Keep in mind that your regular rate is a fair price for your home. As the owner, you need to do what you can to rent your home, even at a reduced price. Rarely do current tenants even notice a price has been lowered, and usually they are happy to have locked in the exact dates that they needed by booking when they did.

Do a little research

A review of competing rentals in your area can give you a good idea of whether and how much other owners are willing to discount to fill vacancies, and can be a guideline for you. Often it’s not as important how much you are willing to reduce your price, but simply that fact that you have. Note: in the past few years, the most difficult weeks to rent by far are the last week in August (due to the earlier start of most schools) and, believe it or not, the first week in July. So keep in mind that, if your vacancies are in either of those two weeks, you have a lot of competition from other motivated homeowners.

The decision to reduce prices and the extent to which you should are completely based on individual circumstances and how critical the need is to fill every vacancy.  There are many homeowners, for example, who would prefer to use the home themselves or even let it lie vacant, if need be, than “give” it away to a bargain-seeking vacationer.

Do you have any advice to homeowners considering a price reduction?

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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.

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