Understanding how vacation rental seasonality can impact your home’s performance is a major step toward maximizing profits all year long. But it takes more than simply being aware of a market’s high and low seasons.
Successful vacation rentals need to be knowledgeable about fluctuating supply and demand trends, and they need a dynamic seasonal pricing strategy that keeps you ahead of those trends to help capture bookings at the best rates. Those who do can earn up to 40% more annual revenue compared to more static rate-setting strategies.
Here are simple yet effective ways to fill your calendar and generate higher earnings throughout the seasons.
In most markets, vacation rental occupancy rates, booking windows, and revenue will vary depending on a variety of factors — one being whether or not guests are traveling during slow or peak rental season. Here’s what level of performance you can generally expect depending on the time of year.
An Airbnb’s slow season tends to be the time of year when local weather is less-than-ideal for the area’s prime attractions (think summer in the Arizona desert or winter in a popular Minnesota lake town).
This usually causes periods of weaker guest demand, so there’s typically plenty of vacation rentals available for those who are interested in booking. With supply outweighing demand, that means owners have to be extra competitive in order to win bookings and see profits. Setting lower daily rates and flexible listing policies (like shorter length-of-stay requirements) can help entice travelers to choose your home over a competitor’s. Plus, offering amenities that guests really want can help your home be chosen in a sea of options.
Your vacation rental’s busy season (or seasons) is your greatest opportunity to capitalize on earning potential. Increased guest demand can lead to more competition between travelers, so they’re usually more willing to book homes at higher daily rates. Since they’re expecting to spend more, you can likely charge more.
Peak rental season also creates room to strategically adjust your listing policies. To encourage last-minute bookers to choose your home, for example, you could lower your minimum stay requirement and turn-day restriction. For travelers planning further ahead, you can give them confidence to book by offering a flexible cancellation policy (which data shows can lead to a 53% income jump).
With these considerations in mind, your seasonal pricing strategy should never be a set-it-and-forget-it concept. Market conditions can shift on a dime, and factors like your home’s reputation and tenure also contribute to a successful revenue strategy. To stay competitive and win bookings through the seasons, you or your management company should keep a constant pulse on all of these moving pieces and make daily shifts that lead to maximized earnings.
When your vacation rental’s busy season comes to a close, it’s easy to fear all the profit-driving action is over. But our revenue experts say all you need to do is adapt your approach to capture shoulder and off-season bookings.
Keeping your seasonal pricing strategy flexible — aka dynamic — can help you strike the perfect balance between profitability and occupancy. During your vacation rental’s slow season, strategically setting rates lower than your competitors can help open up your home’s visibility to browsing guests — and capture bookings for dates when it might otherwise sit empty.
Today’s travelers appreciate flexibility, so it bodes well when your policies act accordingly. Staying nimble with length-of-stay and cancellation policies can help convince travelers to book both in advance and as last-minute plans come together.
With so many rental properties available in today’s market, it’s absolutely crucial to list your home on all the top booking sites — a mass promotion effort also known as channel marketing — in order to get seen and booked. Other income-driving marketing tactics also help, like using professional photography and always asking for post-stay feedback to boost your online reputation.
Many travelers plan trips around major holidays that align with school schedules, so take note of upcoming opportunities to make the most of increased demand. On top of popular holidays, stay in the loop on events in your local area — like major concerts, business functions, or sporting events — and decide whether or not historical attendance and associated vacation rental demand warrant any pivots to your daily rates and policies.
On top of offering the most-booked amenities in your region, add thoughtful touches that can create a special guest experience. Spice up your interior design and provide a stand-out welcome gift. Give must-try local intel in your welcome book and offer use of fun gear like bike cruisers or paddleboards. These efforts contribute to that well-taken-care-of feel that leads to five-star reviews. And the more rave reviews your home has, the more likely it is to be booked, given average review score is one of the top five most important aspects travelers say they look at when considering a rental property.
To fully understand vacation rental seasonality, it’s important to get up to speed on market specifics, as a smart revenue strategy accounts for your area’s travel trends. Plus, staying familiar with guest behaviors — like how far in advance they tend to book and how long they usually stay — can help inform decisions around daily rates and listing policies (which should change year-round).
Get a headstart and take a look at seasonality trends you might see across the U.S.
Please note: this market data reflects the range of average outcomes seen from September 2022-September 2023.
While many beach house rentals tend to see their highest demand in the summer, some warm-weathered destinations draw snowbirds seeking a sunny escape in other seasons — which can make a beach house a strong investment. Here are trends you might see in hotspots with frequent seasonal demand.
More seasonal beach destinations may see greater variance in vacation rental occupancy rates, but you may also find nuances in guest booking behavior that can be leveraged to maximize your peak rental season’s performance. Here are trends you might see in sought-after seasonal beach destinations.
Not all mountain markets rely exclusively on one major season to capture bookings. Instead, their activity offerings allow travelers to explore the outdoors through various weather patterns. Here are trends you might see in mountain destinations that draw in guests through multiple seasons.
Vacation rentals near ski resorts have long been a top destination for those hungry for fresh powder, making proximity to the slopes a huge draw. While peak rental season is unsurprisingly during colder months in these areas, these additional insights may guide you toward a broader profitability picture.
Lake area vacation rentals are known for family-friendly getaways, and our revenue experts say properties perform best when they’re close to shorelines and equipped with a comfortable outdoor space. Here are some examples of trends you might see in a top lake area destination.
Desert destinations invite travelers to slip into relaxation mode and soak up the sunshine humidity-free. Our experts say these properties often see demand during winter, and homes with swimming pools help drive bookings. Here are other trends you might see when hosting guests in the desert.
Earning beyond peak rental season shouldn’t feel like one of life’s big mysteries. Evolve’s experts keep a constant eye on the always-changing market trends, so we can make quick pivots to our owners’ custom revenue strategies in response. And it works: Evolve owners earn up to 36% more revenue than the market average.
Our vacation rental services are designed to support at every stage of your journey, whether you’re just starting out or ready to expand your portfolio. With a low 10% management fee, no commitment required, and a 100% Risk-Free Guarantee in your corner, you can tap a team of experts to unlock your highest potential.