Using The Fall “Lull” To Organize Your Vacation Rental Business

Mike Stachowiak —  September 10, 2013

"Slow Time in Wrist Watch on Dry Leaf" by epSos.de on flickr (CC BY 2.0)When renters are constantly coming and going, it’s easy to push non-urgent administrative tasks to the side for “later”.

If your vacation rental slows down between Labor Day and ski season, “later” is here! The shoulder season is the perfect time to catch up and start laying groundwork for next quarter.

Push through the paperwork

You’ve probably done a good job of staying on top of bills, expenses and rental-related transactions like deposits and refunds — your phone will ring pretty quickly if you fall behind on these!

But here are a few tasks that may have slipped over the last few months.

  • Make sure your records (for bookkeeping and guests) and receipts are all up-to-date. Since you have a bit of breathing space, this may be a good time to consider making the switch to a paperless office! Also, look for any options to automate these transactions that you’re not already taking advantage of.
  • Review your listings for anything you might want to change or update, and confirm that your online calendar is 100% accurate. You may also want to look ahead to 2014: Do you have long weekends flagged on your calendar?
  • Consider your reservations over the next few months. Do you have any availability that you might be able to fill with last-minute deals?

Update your marketing

Travelers will be looking ahead to next year, so make time to plan your marketing for the next few months.

  • Update your local guide, or information you share on your website. What events are scheduled in your area for the coming year? Do you need to adjust any of your restaurant or entertainment recommendations?
  • Highlight the best of the season. Depending on your location, you may have the same sand and sun year-round. In other areas, season are distinct, and each one has its highlights. Spend an afternoon pulling together a list of suggestions for the fall and winter. What do the locals do this time of year? Where is the best place to catch fall colors? Is there a trail that’s perfect for snowshoeing? Where can people rent season-specific outdoor equipment?
  • If you have a blog, brainstorm new blog post ideas — and start drafting them, while you have time and the idea is still fresh.
  • Consider running a Facebook contest to attract attention to your vacation rental. This could be a great time to highlight your home and the surrounding area with a photo contest!

Sometimes, finding good marketing ideas is just a matter of having time to brainstorm. We recently shared a few ideas to get you started; over the next few weeks, we’ll recap other ideas that have worked well for us or other vacation rental owners.

Are you running any interesting promotions this fall? Tell us about your creative ideas in the comments section below!

Mike Stachowiak

Mike Stachowiak

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Co-founder at MyVR.com. Mike Stachowiak is an entrepreneur, technologist, and active member of the start-up community in Silicon Valley. He has a vacation home in North Lake Tahoe and has been active in the vacation rental industry since 2009. You can find him on Twitter and Google+.
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One response to Using The Fall “Lull” To Organize Your Vacation Rental Business

  1. Thanks for the post!

    To add: we took this whole week off the books to do a “post-summer” deep clean and a/c upgrade before our busy shoulder season kicks into high gear.

    We had so many back-to-backs during the summer that my poor housekeeper could barely keep up.