While ideally you’d like to have your vacation rental properties fully booked all the time, realistically you will have gaps in your calendar from time to time.
One way to reduce the number of vacancies you experience is by targeting last minute travelers. Experiment with these strategies to attract last minute guests to your vacation rental properties.
1. Offer special deals
Consider offering special promotions for those dates when your property is vacant. “Special deals” don’t just mean discounts. Think outside the box by pairing your rental with a local event, restaurant or experience.
Travelers searching your location may already have tickets to the big festival nearby, so including tickets may not be your best bet. Instead, parlaying your property with a unique experience or class with a similar theme as the festival could be a great idea! Or include a tee time to a nearby golf course with the reservation of your property. Your pairing may change depending on the season, but think about what might entice those last minute travelers to book and proactively create partnerships in your community to make it happen.
2. Update your listing title and description
If you want to target last minute travelers, try putting the available dates right in your listing headline. For instance, think about how helpful it would be for a traveler to come across a heading that clearly states: “July 4-8 open! Luxury condo with water views!” Noting your upcoming open dates and what makes your property special will draw more clicks.
3. Make good use of your email list
If you have an email subscriber list of past guests and inquiries, send them an email with your special offer. Specifically targeting the portion of your contacts who are in driving distance and can make a spontaneous getaway to your property will serve you well! Be sure to make your subject line catchy, noticeable and meaningful to your call to action - that is, to book your vacant dates.
If you’re not already sending regular newsletters to your guests, this is a great reason to start. By collecting the email addresses of your past guests and inquiries, you’ll create a solid database of guests who you know are interested in staying with you.
Staying in touch via newsletters, special offers and useful information throughout the year will help form a relationship with them, priming guests for their next stay with you. If you do have a list of email subscribers, send out a mass message to them about your upcoming vacancy. Be sure to use a subject line that entices them to open your email as well.
4. Update your social networks
Share news of your upcoming dates with the people who care the most! Include a booking link across your social media pages to let your followers know you’re unit is available. If you really want to motivate people in your circle to help you find renters, consider offering a referral bonus for new bookings.
5. Create an ad on Facebook and Instagram
Facebook’s sponsored advertising is powerful. Facebook collects so many data points from its users that you can place your rental’s ad in front of a highly targeted audience. The best part? It’s inexpensive. With less than $100 or so, you can reach hundreds of prospective travelers with the right targeting filters.
Because Facebook owns Instagram, you can have your ad viewed across both social platforms at once. Like your channel headers and email subject line, be sure to use an enticing headline with a strong call to action to attract last minute travelers to book with you.
6. Turn on Instant Book
When travelers need a place to stay on short notice, they want to book that minute! Make sure you have Instant Book turned on across all channels to show up in last minute travelers’ queries. If they have to wait for your approval, they’ll move on to the next option they find.