Rental properties are often unprofitable during the shoulder season, but with proper property management, you can avoid this and continue to run your short-term rental lucratively. In this post, we’ve put together a few ways to ensure that your South Florida results in great returns throughout the year.
What is the Shoulder Season?
The shoulder season describes the travel season prior to the peak season. In some states such as Florida and California, the peak season would likely be summer, but in states such as Wisconsin, it would be the winter. For example, a short-term rental in Palm Beach County would probably have a peak season over the summer, and it shoulder months in the seasons that “sandwich” it. On the other hand, a ski lodge’s peak season would likely be in the winter.
There aren’t that many travelers during the shoulder seasons as classes are still ongoing. However, that doesn’t mean that no one will want to travel at this time. The shoulder season is preferred by people who want to be as far away from the crowds as possible, as they will likely be present during the peak season.
Furthermore, some parts of the state may not fall under the state’s overall shoulder season. For example, Florida’s peak season is in mid-April or the entire summer, but if there’s a festival or event, it may experience a peak season even when the state is “supposed to” be in its shoulder season.
How to Manage Your Short-Term Rental During the Shoulder Season
#1 Identify Your Shoulder Season Tenants
You know that you likely won’t rent to a family of four in the off-season, so who exactly are your tenants? To answer this, review your local tourism site and find out what events, festivities, etc. to expect. Then, ask yourself who will likely attend these events. Who would be willing to go to your area at that time?
Your property management firm can identify who has rented similar short-term rentals in the past. Are short-term rentals popular among remote workers who want to put work and play together? Or do they attract retirees that want to take a vacation before the crowds get too wild?
Once you pinpoint who will likely want to book your Airbnb, you’ll be able to tweak your marketing strategy.
#2 Change Your Seasonal Rates
You shouldn’t set a premium rate for the shoulder season, as people won’t be actively looking for a vacation rental during that period. As a general rule, you should lower your seasonal rate to 60 to 70 percent of your peak season rate. By lowering your rate, you’ll be able to attract tenants who want to grab the unbeatable deal.
Don’t forget to compare prices with similar short-term rentals as well as hotels to ensure that your rental rate is realistic. Your goal should be to get your potential tenants to rent a home and not reserve a hotel room. After all, if they can stay at a hotel for the same rate, why would they consider staying at your short-term rental? Offer them a discount they can’t refuse.
#3 Reduce the Minimum Number of Nights
On platforms such as Airbnb, hosts can set the minimum number of nights that a guest can stay. During the shoulder season, guests will be less likely to book long vacations, as they probably need to get back to work. Chances are, they’re looking for a getaway that lasts only one weekend. Hence, you should consider allowing your guests to stay overnight, and give them flexible terms.
Keep in mind that obtaining bookings during the shoulder season can be challenging. You need to adapt to your short-term tenants’ needs, not the other way around. If you don’t have the time to handle multiple move-ins and move-outs, you can always delegate it to your property management agent.
#4 Offer discounts and deals
Why should people book your Airbnb during the shoulder season, when they can book it during the peak season? Your goal should be to lure potential tenants with deals that won’t be available to other travelers. They’ll be excited to avail themselves of this “exclusive” deal. Here are a couple of discounts and deals you can consider for the off-season:
- Direct discounts. Slash your rental property’s rate. Email your prospective tenants with discount codes they can use to reserve your vacation home. You can also directly reduce the rate but make sure to display the rate during the peak season so people can see how substantial their savings will be.
- Free vouchers. Treat your tenants to dinner. Sponsor your tenants’ day trip. Pay for your tenants to go see the sights. You could even provide them with tickets to festivals, events, and the like. These bonuses are irresistible to your tenants.
- Post appealing pictures of the property. Change your photos during the shoulder season to show people how peaceful it would be to book it during the off-peak season. In the spring, highlight photos of your rental property’s garden so they can imagine themselves reading a book there on the weekends. You could even add photos of events to entice people to stay there over the shoulder season.
- Reduce the number of rooms. If your vacation rental is ideal for a large number of guests, consider allowing guests to book by room. This will open up your tenant pool to smaller groups that want a spacious place to say in the off-season. Bear in mind that you probably won’t attract large groups during the shoulder season, so it’s best to accommodate their needs now.
Want Help Managing Your Property During the Shoulder Season?
From tweaking your marketing strategy to making sure your guests’ needs are met, the team at Luxury Property Care is here to expertly manage your short-term property throughout the year – including during the shoulder season! We’ll conduct a market analysis to find out who your tenants are, and then work our way from there!
The best part? When you work with us, we will start with an obligation-free quote that considers your requirements. That means you can commit only once you’re satisfied with the tailor-made property management plan that we’ll prepare! If you’d like to know more about how we can help, feel free to call us at (561) 944 – 2992 or contact us online.