Winter is coming, part I: how to market your warm weather vacation rental
This article is part of a two-piece series. Part II discusses winter marketing tips for rental hosts in cold-weather climates.
Is your rental property in the Southern Hemisphere, equatorial, or just comfortably chilly between November and March? There’s a whole world out there of tourists who would love nothing more than a break from their freezing-cold climates. Even if your property is wildly successful during the summer, it’s a good idea to make some changes to your marketing approach for the cold-weather months. These changes aren’t hugely time consuming or complex, and you could potentially see quite a spike in your winter occupancy rates.
Target the Right Audience for Winter
With the exception of a few days of winter break, families with school-age kids may not be thinking of traveling at this time of year. Since that is the case, you might consider targeting other vacationers, such as:
- Solo travelers
- Adult couples
- Families with children too young to be in school
How can you appeal to each group? For solo travelers and couples, you might consider offering last-minute booking deals and trip packages. For families with very young children, you might consider adding baby-friendly items to your rental such as cribs, high chairs, and baby gates. Additionally, including a voucher for a local babysitting service as part of your vacation package may help motivate young couples with kids to book with you.
Wooing with Warmth (or Relative Warmth)
It is always a great idea to play to your strengths. What can you offer that your potential renters desperately want? Warmer weather, for one thing. Make your listings sizzle like summer by evoking the mental picture of a long, lazy summer afternoon in a hammock for the solo traveler or couple. For the family with kids, conjure up the joy of year-round water attractions, amusement parks, and family-friendly warm weather activities, all minus the nuisance of heavy winter clothes and such.
Does your property’s climate fall somewhere in the middle? Rainy and cloudy, but bearably crisp? This is also easily marketable. Vacationers looking to escape the gloomy, snowy winter months will be happy for a vacation in warmer climates, even if this doesn’t mean scorching beachy weather. “Paris is gorgeous in the rain!” or, “Ditch the heavy coat for a lightweight jacket” are nice selling points as well. Remind potential vacationers that they can still enjoy the outdoors, even in winter.
Consider increasing your ad spend for markets in colder climates. An ad depicting warm weather fun will surely catch the eye of the potential guest who has just spent some time shoveling snow in a bitterly cold wind.
Showcase Local Seasonal Events
Does your town host a holiday market? A local film festival? An exciting, unique harvest? Let your potential guests know. Otherwise lesser-known events could turn into occupancy boosters during the quieter months. Many visitors enjoy the quainter, authentic, less touristy attractions, so you can definitely market this angle to your target audience.
Tap Into a Market You Already Have
Think about the guests you have already hosted in your rental. At least some of those summer travelers may also enjoy a trip in winter. For instance, retired couples may vacation more than once a year. Make your summer rental their winter rental by sending them a friendly email with an offer they cannot refuse.
VRMIntel offers this suggestion: “A monthly email newsletter is one of the best ways to get guests back to your property during the off-season. You can include and highlight the interesting activities available during these off-season months, as well as include special deals and packages that will draw anyone’s interest.”
Adjust Your Pricing
Many consumers choose to wait until winter to travel simply to cash in on better prices. Keeping an eye on your bottom line, offer discounts to lure travelers to give your rental a try in winter. After all, what is the point of charging full price for your rental if no one is booking it?
Lower Your Minimum Stay Requirement
While it may be no trouble at all to book your rental consistently through the summer months for weeks at a time, winter travelers may be more interested in a shorter stay. Consider lowering your minimum stay requirements from a week down to two or three days. This gives winter travelers with limited time off an incentive to choose your rental over others.
Turning Off Back On
You can turn an “off” season back “on” by thinking like winter travelers think. Target solo travelers, couples, retired people, or families with young children. Entice each segment of your target audience with discounts and trip packages tailored to their particular needs.
Consider lowering your rates slightly or lowering your minimum stay requirement to snag those budget-conscious, last-minute travelers. And put your warm weather ads in a conspicuous place for your potential guests in cold weather climates to see.
The final piece of your marketing puzzle is, of course, making it easy for your guests to pay for your rental. At Payoneer, we handle payment processing for rental hosts all year round. Let us show you how we can help.