Here are the things you need to know to come out on top. Some last-minute tips, if you will, to be sure you’re ready for peak season.
Wait, What’s Vacation Rental Peak Season?
Very quickly, we need to cover this aspect just in case you’re a bit newer to the vacation rental market. Almost every vacation rental has three main seasons. Peak season, shoulder season, and off-season. You need to know the basics of all of them to maximize your rental’s potential. Let’s start at the lowest (off-season) and build up from there.
Off-season: This is the slowest time of year for your particular vacation rental home due to many factors. Most often it’s when the weather isn’t optimal for your part of the country, or in off-season for travel overall.
Shoulder Season: This is essentially the ramp-up period just before (and the cool-down period right after) the peak season. It’s a middle ground that sits somewhere between the peak and off-seasons.
Peak Season: This is when people who are traveling most commonly book vacations. It’s the pinnacle of bookings and when the demand for your vacation rental is highest.
The main factors that these seasons will affect will be your base rate per night, and the number of bookings overall. And when it comes to the peak season, if you’re not at the top of your game, you can miss out on boatloads of opportunity and revenue.
Here’s What You Need to Do
Here is a list of the targeted, important, and hopefully not last-minute things you need to do to get ready for the peak season.
Hire a Reliable Cleaning Company
No matter how busy your vacation rental becomes, it always needs to be cleaned between bookings. This becomes more and more difficult when you’re booked solid– but no matter what you do, do not slip in this area.
Take an honest inventory and ask yourself if you could possibly keep up with cleaning your vacation rental constantly during the peak season. The true answer for most is that they need to hire a reliable cleaning company, ASAP.
As the high season is upon us you need to have a reliable cleaning company that will be able to handle the workload, will show up as promised, and who will not cut corners to fit in more houses. You also need to be sure that the cleaning company you’re working with is fully aware of and compliant with AirBnB’s new enhanced cleaning process that is a requirement for hosts.
(The company we recommend for all of your cleaning in Southwest Florida is Coral Breeze Cleaning. They do excellent work, specialize in AirBnB cleaning, and are 100% reliable.)
When the bookings are rocking and rolling, you cannot afford to gamble on “finding some time to clean” your rental, and you need to be sure your cleaning company will show up as promised.
Spruce Up the Property
You have to think like an investor for a moment here. You are about to have loads of opportunities to book your space, so you want to make sure it stands out in a sea of other vacation rentals. Now is the time to invest some cash into your rental, specifically on some killer updates and amenities (you’ll read more about why in the next tip). Here are some things to consider:
- New patio/outdoor furniture
- Some new luxurious beach chairs/ beach umbrella
- Upgrade to the highest speed internet possible (also update your WiFi router)
- Buy a couple of new beach cruiser bicycles
- Get a few Amazon FireTV sticks for the TVs in the main areas and any bedrooms
- (This is a big one, buy can pay off) Get a new, high-def, big screen TV
You might be thinking “Why would I spend all of that money?” Well firstly, we’re not suggesting you do every single one of these things (unless that makes sense), and only do what you can comfortably afford. A good rule of thumb is to look at that list and ask yourself which of your amenities are the oldest (or that you don’t have) and start there. These things can absolutely pay dividends.
Update Your Listing
This is especially the case if you just purchased some of the new amenities we recommended. You’ll want to take some fantastic photos of anything you’ve updated, and be sure to update your descriptions with all of the amazing new stuff your guests can enjoy. You can absolutely use phrases like “brand new,” “fresh out of the box,” and others to communicate just how recently these updates were made.
Even if you don’t buy any new amenities, it can still be worth it to take some new photos and update your description. Here’s your homework: flip through your photos and find your three weakest ones, then replace them. For your description, find two things that sound boring and– either replace them with something better– or re-write them to be more lively and enticing.
Run an Audit
This goes a little deeper than just sprucing up your listing. We’re talking about a legitimate audit of your vacation rental as a business. There are a few aspects you need to take into careful consideration.
The Competition: What are their listings looking like? Their nightly rates? Their headlines? Their photo captions? Their photos? Take a look at at least three different competitors (five if you can), and compare yourself pound for pound against them. Use this little checklist to see how you measure up, and then adjust accordingly:
- Nightly rate
Regulations: Did your city (or region, or country) pass any new regulations about vacation rentals? What about AirBnB– are you up to snuff with any new policies they’ve rolled out? You don’t want to be surprised by this.
Overall, it’s a good idea to audit your vacation rental business and make sure you won’t face any surprises for the peak season.
Get the AirBnB App
During peak season, people are trying to nail down their rentals as quickly as possible to beat out the competition of other travellers. It’s important that you have the AirBnB app, and enable notifications on your phone.
If someone messages you about a booking, you’ll get a notification on your phone. Treat this like a text message, and reply as quickly as you can. In many cases, the person who replies first (with optimal answers) will get the booking. Be ready, and try to keep your phone closeby as often as possible for when you get those important messages.
It’s Not Time for Serious Home Improvements
It can be tempting to want to “update” the property in preparation for rental season so that you have the newest and best, but draw the line at any construction projects. It’s okay to replace some furniture or update some amenities, but don’t dig any ponds in the backyard or attempt to remodel a bathroom or kitchen.
There are just far too many opportunities for delay. If you start a construction project that isn’t finished in time for a booking, that can be a nightmare. You’ll likely have to cancel at the last minute, and probably get yourself a scathing, low review in the process.
Something else: don’t count on any appliances or furniture arriving on time– no matter what a website or salesperson says. Many parts of the nation are having issues with things on backorder, and shipping delays. Just because it says your new furniture will arrive in time for peak season, don’t get rid of anything until you have the new stuff in hand.
Do an Insurance and Safety Checkup
Do you have insurance that covers the events that could occur during a stay at your vacation rental? If you have a policy that covers damage during guest stays, personal injury, or liability, take a look and make sure your coverage hasn’t changed or lapsed. Sometimes an insurance company won’t auto-renew, and the most you get is a nondescript letter you may have thrown away. If you don’t have any sort of insurance for your vacation rental, you should take a look at getting some that protects you and your guests.
Additionally, it’s easy to forget some of the basic safety checks that should occur regularly. Triple check:
- Smoke detector batteries
- Carbon monoxide batteries
- Air filters
- Door locks
Are You Really Ready for Peak Season
Peak season is upon us, and if your vacation rental isn’t ready you’re going to miss out on opportunity and revenue. This list is only the beginning of what it truly takes to be successful during peak season. If you’re not fully prepared, you’re not just going to miss out on bookings, but run the risk of poor reviews that will stick with you forever.
Here at Sunshine Cohosting, we can take care of all of your vacation rental needs just in time for the peak season, and beyond. We’ll take care of the marketing, cleaning, upkeep and other details so you won’t have to run yourself ragged.
Give us a call now and let’s talk about how we can help.