Travelers are making their trip plans.
Every region has its own peak season for vacationers. As you begin to prepare for your own busy season, make sure you and your rental property are prepared. You might find yourself booked every night of peak season, which is great for your rental income, but also taxing when it comes to time and resources.
We’re offering a checklist today, so you can organize yourself ahead of your busiest season as a vacation rental property owner. If you’re not already working with a professional company, you might want to consider it. We rent out vacation homes for owners who don’t have the time, resources, and expertise to take care of all these details. You might find you’re earning more and stressing less when you turn your property over to professional management.
Here’s your checklist for preparing your vacation rental for peak season.
Update Your Calendar
Make sure your availability is accurate across all of the rental platforms you may be using. Up-to-date availability is going to be necessary for your peak booking season. You’ll find that your listings are getting more traffic as reservations start to come in for peak season. You have to have a calendar that’s accurate, otherwise you’ll have confused guests and conflicting dates.
When you have a last minute cancellation, be prepared to market your new availability. Consider putting together a waitlist for peak travel times in case someone wants to be notified when a weekend or a week happens to open up.
While we’re on the subject of calendars and availability, you might want to consider being more flexible than usual during peak season. If your check-in time is normally 3pm – 7pm, for example, maybe extend the hours to accommodate for later check-ins. Travelers don’t have a lot of control over flight delays and traffic. You don’t want them stressing out that they’ll miss your deadline. Make it easy for them.
Travelers appreciate flexible arrangements when it comes to checking in and checking out. Adjusting your standard time preferences to accommodate individual requirements will go a long way.
Take Some New Photos
Photos are the most important part of your vacation rental listing, and before peak season starts, you want to make sure you’re really showcasing your rental with the right photos.
Ask yourself these questions:
- Do you have enough photos?
- Do the current photos accurately reflect your property and what it offers?
- Are there photos of all the rooms, as well as the outdoor space and the front of the property?
- Have you included pictures of special amenities, such as a pool or a fireplace?
- Are the photos easy to click through and clear?
Finally, ask yourself if your pictures are telling a story. During peak season, your potential guests will be looking through a lot of listings and they’ll be scrolling through a lot of photos. Each property can start to look the same.
You want to use your photos to connect emotionally. If you think your listing could use an upgrade, take some fresh photos.
Review Your Peak Season Rates
It’s a good time to review what you’re charging. The cost of lodging is often different during peak season than it is during slow seasons. Make sure you’re in the same range as other vacation rental homes in your area.
How you price your rental is going to impact how much business you attract. Without the right prices, you won’t make a profit. But if your prices are too high, you’ll likely turn a lot of potential people away. As homes get booked during the busy season, you’ll be able to raise your prices a bit. Visitors will need a place to stay, and if they wait too long to book, they’ll have no choice but to pay premium rates.
Consider setting different terms during peak season, too. You might want a minimum one-week rental policy, for example. Or, you could require a two or three-night stay. This is common during busy seasons.
Prepare to be More Responsive
Things move quickly during peak season and bookings come in at a rapid pace.
Have a process in place that provides for a quick response time. This will help you earn business ahead of other owners who may not have the time or the capacity to respond as quickly. Travelers are sending multiple inquiries about multiple properties at one time, when they hear back from you first, they’re more likely to book with you.
Do a Deep Clean of Your Vacation Rental
Spring cleaning is a ritual for a reason. It’s not just about clearing away cobwebs and dust; it’s also about acknowledging that a new season is upon us.
This should happen as you prepare for peak season as well. Give your vacation rental a good clean so you can feel ready to take on the extra number of guests you’re likely to welcome.
Hire a professional cleaning service to do a thorough cleaning that will focus on the hard to reach areas of your vacation rental. You’ll want them to pull appliances out from the walls to sweep under and behind them. You’ll want ceiling fans dusted and baseboards scrubbed.
Make sure to add deep cleaning tasks for every room to your vacation rental cleaning checklist:
- Dust light fixtures and clear away ceiling cobwebs.
- Clean the tops and insides of bathroom and kitchen cabinets.
- Wash the floor underneath appliances.
- Clean window treatments.
- Scrub toilets and tubs
- Steam clean any carpets.
You’ll also want to give any outdoor areas a thorough cleaning as well.
Your patio or balcony could likely use a power wash. Clean your outdoor furniture, clear out the gutters, and make sure the bushes, trees, and grass are healthy.
Consider Some Upgrades and Improvements
As you prepare for peak season, you’re in a good position to consider some upgrades and updates that will make your vacation rental property even more attractive to guests and visitors.
We recommend that you take it one room at a time. Start in the kitchen and look at your appliances. Are they working well? Are they attractive? Inspect the fixtures on your sink and faucets. Consider installing a backsplash if you don’t have one already. Look at your lighting and think about whether it’s time to install new drawer pulls or knobs on the cabinets.
Check your furniture. Is it still comfortable, sturdy, and clean? Are your pots and pans in good shape, and does the coffee maker work reliably? Take a look at your household goods, your plates, and your cutlery. Replace any wine glasses that were broken or bowls that have been chipped.
This is an ideal time to replace worn or outdated appliances, furnishings and decor.
Be sure to check your lines as well. Towels and sheets and bedding must look, feel, and smell fresh. No one wants to climb into a bed with sheets that look faded and worn. As guests come and go during peak season, you want them to feel cozy and at home. This is also a good time to stock up on amenities your guests will love you for, such as coffee and snacks. Make sure your internet and television are working.
The Florida climate will always draw guests outside, and they’ll likely want to eat and gather there. Make sure the outdoor space has all the upgrades and amenities that are necessary. Prepare the pool and the spa if you offer those amenities.
Consider Offering Extra Services
Peak season is more competitive for vacation rental property owners than the rest of the year. You might need to put some incentives out there to help guests choose your property over any others.
Some of the added value services that are most popular with vacation guests include:
- Babysitting service referrals
- Grocery delivery
- Breakfast and catering
- Concierge services like restaurant reservations and bike rentals
Put together a special package deal that your guests can select during peak season. You’ll find you can charge a bit more for these added amenities as well. Always use these features in your marketing. You’ll get the attention of guests you might not have attracted otherwise.
Speak to Some Vacation Rental Experts
The best way to get a read on the current market and what you can expect from this peak season is by talking to people in the know. Local property managers, for example, can tell you what kind of season they expect to have. They’ll know if rental rates seem to be trending up and down. They’ll have data on bookings and how far in advance people are making plans.
This is an important resource to leverage. It can make a big difference in how you manage the busiest season for your vacation rental property.
We can be your resource if you’re looking for information and additional tips. Our team handles peak season expertly, and we make sure our owners make as much money as possible, with as little effort as necessary. Contact us at Anchor Down Real Estate and Rentals. We’d love to tell you more.