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Why It’s Never Too Early To Plan For the Off Season

How to move from a successful summer into a successful autumn.

It may seem premature to be considering this during the height of the summer season, but planning your strategy for the dwindle in demand will make for a seamless transition between the seasons. The off-season does not mean that your business has to stop being profitable. We even think the term ‘off-season’ is a misnomer. Autumn and winter can still be a very profitable time for property managers. It just requires a different approach. Refreshed marketing and a new way to present your properties will allow you to enjoy consistent bookings throughout the autumn and into summer.

We’re sharing our top tips for how to capture the attention of autumnal travellers and guests.

From the H.V. National Park. I saw it while cycling through a forest and just had to stop to take this photo, it reminded me of those autumn wallpapers (it was also raining at the time and I ended up with a nasty cold). The place was so orange, I thought that an invisible man in the sky might have been playing around with photoshop.

Competitive pricing
As the demand for vacation rentals tapers off from summer, your prices should lower to reflect this. Having seasonal pricing blocks is the most common way to do this, with periods of months being set at different prices. However, this is broad and inaccurate. It doesn’t take into account the week by week and year by year variations in the popularity of your property. The research and analysis of demand allow you to set more delicately calibrated prices. But, this research takes time, and for managers with global properties, it can be far too much to undertake.

Revenue management will automatically calibrate your pricing to match the real-time demand for your properties. This means that if you do experience a spike in bookings, your prices will reflect this popularity meaning you don’t miss out on potential revenue.

As well as the prices of your nights, you will need to change the Images on your website. Have photos and descriptions that reflect the season you’re aiming to sell. Summer images will look out of place. Move towards the deep reds and burnt oranges of autumn and away from the primary yellows and blues of summer. People want to see and anticipate what their vacation will be like, they want to envisage themselves in your property. Having summer images will make this harder to do.

Rebrand the Property
This doesn’t have to be a major operation. Along with your images, a subtle change of focus in the descriptions and overall theme of your listing will help to capture the new season. Swap beachfront headline images to mountains and hiking, choose roaring fires over cool breezes. Find the properties that are most appealing during this season and push them to the forefront of your website. Minor changes to the decor such as new plants, or a change of artwork  will also help make your properties look appealing for the new season.

Save Guest Details
Your guests from summer should now be part of your marketing lists. When you refresh your website, coincide this with content and email marketing to let your guests see the other options they have for staying in your properties. Encourage every guest to subscribe to your emails and follow your social media accounts.

Promote Local Events
The summer sun is often enough to make people choose a destination, but now, people will be looking for events and activities to occupy their time on holiday. Promote the events and activities in your area that guests may want to travel to see. Fairs, festivals, museums are reasons for people to consider an autumn excursion and a quick blog post detailing the events in your area will give people some great inspiration to book that trip with your business.

Next, consider your Demographic. The summer is all about families. Children have no school so it is the best time of year for everyone to get away. Some people wait for the autumn to go on holiday as the prices are lower, the children are back in school so places are less crowded and quieter. The hot weather can often sustain into the later months  of the year so outdoor activities are still a possibility. The demographic of the off-season traveller is going to be fewer families, more couples and older people. Highlight themes of peace, quiet and relaxation.

Finally, as well adjusting your price, it is also advisable to reduce the length of your Minimum Stays. In the off-season, people are more likely to book for a long weekend than the fortnights of the summer. With unpredictable weather, reducing your minimum length of stay will help to attract guests. Offering 3 nights for the price of two is another way to encourage bookings without having to dramatically increase the amount of handovers, cleanings and check-outs you will have to complete.

Having these ideas ready, and your content prepared in advance means that you can transition from summer to autumn with ease. Your website will look consistent and professional and your guests will see that your marketing is well designed and curated to reflect the changing demand of your customers rather than being an unplanned, almost random collection of emails and posts.

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