Vacation rental property management typically goes into overdrive as the holiday season approaches. Owners and operators have a golden opportunity to appeal to travelers who seek that special place to celebrate Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve with friends and family.
Especially this year.
In what’s been a dismal 2020, travelers are looking for holiday spirit as they seek vacation rentals for a reprieve. Properties that are priced right and ring in a little cheer are standing out.
Know Your Market and Price Accordingly
Before banking on all of those holiday booking nights, property managers need to understand what they are up against. COVID-19 has put a crimp in many holiday travelers’ plans. About 31 million fewer are expected to travel, according to artificial intelligence company Zeta Global, even though domestic and international airfare prices are dropping.
Travel advisors say their clients are interested in traveling during the holidays but are uncertain about restrictions, quarantines, and other roadblocks presented by the virus. Those who are planning to travel are likely staying closer to home.
Fewer travelers mean vacation rental operators will be fighting for their share. Properties with pricing accurately based on market rates and using vacation rental booking software are more likely to maximize opportunities and revenue.
Many vacation rental property management companies are finding success requiring minimum stays and setting different rates for weeknight and weekend bookings.
Highlight property size
Families and groups need space, bedrooms, and baths when getting away for the holidays. Vacation rental property managers should highlight the number of beds and baths to attract these types of bookings, and the website is a great place to start.
Vacation rental websites allow property managers to regularly update property descriptions to attract varying types of travelers, including groups and families. Rather than showing off multiple angles of a pool that is not going to be used in the winter, descriptions should highlight each bedroom and living space.
Promote amenities and attractions
Fall and winter holiday travelers look for a soothing, hot soak in a bubbling hot tub on a cold evening or a warm fireplace either inside or outside the home. For watching holiday bowl games or New Year’s countdowns, a large flat-screen TV is a bonus. Promoting amenities such as these helps properties stand out from the competition.
Offering a list of holiday events and festivals that guests can readily attend is also a big seller. Through YourWelcome, third-party integration with Kigo, guests can find local activities and attractions on a smart tablet provided by the property manager. They can also use it to communicate with the property management team for basic issues.
Decorate for the holidays
A little seasonal décor can go a long way at vacation rentals. Properties that are festive inside and out nurture the holiday mood and create memorable experiences. Decorations don’t have to be lavish, and shouldn’t run the risk of offending guests because they reflect an owner’s or manager’s religious preferences.
Staying with neutral winter décor adds appeal inside and out. A nice wreath on the door or a cornucopia on the dining room table sets the mood. A string of artificial lights on the front porch railing adds joy and also doubles as a security measure. Decorated properties will always appear to be occupied, which can deter burglars, especially in remote locations.
Stock the kitchen for holiday chefs
Well-stocked kitchens sell and should be a highlight on the website and in promotional materials. Because of social distancing, guests are more likely to spend extra evenings cooking at the property rather than dining out. Some guests simply may not have the budget for sampling the local cuisine and will shop local markets to prepare their food.
Kitchens with essentials like can openers, sharp knives, strainers, various pots and pans, even a reliable ice maker in the fridge make visitors happy. Be sure to stock the cupboards with decorative plates and cups for munchies. Provide complimentary packets of cider, hot cocoa, and marshmallows to fill those cups.
Travelers are looking for something a little extra-magical this holiday season. Vacation homes that capture the spirit of the season will stand out on the block.
For more on how to help make your guests feel at home – no matter the time of the year or where they are – learn about optimizing your vacation rental property management by visiting Kigo.