Shoulder Season: How to Get More Bookings for Your Vacation Rental

shoulder season

By The Hospitable Team

Owning a vacation rental offers excellent opportunities for property owners to generate real estate passive income by renting out their spaces to travelers. But the vacation rental industry is highly seasonal, and it’s one of the biggest challenges for STR hosts.

While many vacation rental owners and managers have solid strategies for high and low seasons, finding tactics that work for shoulder season, which is the period between your peak and your low, is often more complex. Still, taking advantage of every opportunity to increase your revenue is essential.

So, what can you do to attract more guests to your property during shoulder season and maximize your bookings? Read on to find out.

What Is Shoulder Season?

Shoulder season is the travel period between peak and low seasons when the demand for vacation rentals is lower. The months considered shoulder season can vary depending on the rental location, although in most countries, this period typically falls during spring and fall months.

For example, shoulder season in North America generally occurs from April to June and September to November. In Europe, this transitional period usually occurs in April through May and September through October.

You can identify shoulder season periods in your local area by analyzing historical booking data and market trends. You should look for months when the demand for accommodations and pricing may be moderate compared to high seasons, but they are less low than during off-peak times.

Many budget-conscious travelers prefer to explore popular travel destinations during shoulder season. This way, they don’t have to deal with large crowds and can take advantage of cheaper flights, stays, and activities.

That means that many potential guests could be interested in booking a stay at your property during shoulder season, and you should ensure that your place is attractive to them. That will help you increase your occupancy rate throughout the year and build a successful vacation rental business.

Your business will be more efficient if you use vacation rental software like Hospitable, which has comprehensive useful features and offers an all-in-one solution for independent hosts and property managers.  

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5 Tips to Make the Most of the Shoulder Season

The good news is that shoulder season doesn’t have to mean a drop in bookings and revenue. If your vacation rental home is located in a popular travel destination, you can make a lot of money during this transition period. Here are a few practical strategies that may help to keep your calendar full.

Adjust your shoulder season rates

Adjusting your pricing strategy considering your local market’s supply and demand dynamics is essential. You may need to decrease prices to attract more guests and boost occupancy during this period.

The simplest strategy is to explore OTA websites, look at comparable vacation rentals in your area, and then price your STR property accordingly to stay competitive. A typical nightly rate during this period can be 60% to 75% of your peak-season rate.

Review your minimum night stay requirements

During shoulder season, many travelers might be looking for accommodation for a quick weekend getaway or places to spend the night. So, you should consider lowering your minimum stay requirements to attract these spontaneous travelers and vacationers. That can help you increase bookings.

Offer deals and discounts

Shoulder season travelers usually look for better deals, so creating special offers can help entice potential guests to choose your listing. For example, you may offer discounts for extended stays and midweek bookings. Promote these special offers through your listing description and on social media.

You can also use email marketing to contact your past guests to inform them about activities and attractions in your area and invite them to enjoy your property during this transitional period. Your promotional discounts might inspire them to book a stay.

A good idea is to partner with local businesses in your area, such as restaurants, bars, spas, and shops, and create packages to incentivize travelers to book with you.

Market your vacation rental across multiple online channels

The more places your vacation rental shows up online, the more likely potential guests will see it and the more likely you will get bookings. You should list your property on all the major booking websites, such as Airbnb, Vrbo, and Booking.com, and create accounts on all the social media platforms your target guest spends time on.

A good idea is to build your own direct booking website to get independence from OTAs, control your short-term rental business more, and drive repeat direct bookings.

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Our system will ensure your calendars stay synced with OTAs, and your guests get the best experience.

Enhance guest experience

Help your guest to make the most of their stay at your property, offering a unique vacation experience, and you’ll be rewarded with great reviews, which can win you more bookings.

Consider adding extra amenities that could attract shoulder season guests, for example, a hot tub, a fireplace, or a pet-friendly space. Offer your guests welcome baskets or give them personalized local recommendations. This way, you can set your vacation rental apart from the rest and make it more appealing to travelers.

The Bottom Line

The shoulder season offers a lot of opportunities for vacation rental hosts. Many travelers prefer to take their vacation in the shoulder months while the weather is still good. You should do your best to promote your property and grab their interest. By being creative and flexible with your vacation rental marketing strategies, maximizing your bookings and thriving in this slower season is possible. 

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