The white sand that lines the coast near your beach rental property looks more like a desert during the winter months. Fewer bookings during the cool months is a seasonal challenge many Folly Beach vacation property owners face. Fortunately, there are a few ways to combat the slowdown and keep your property booked, even during the off season.
Whether you own a condo with a beachfront view or a beach house spacious enough for large family vacations, these winter beach rental property tips will help you confirm more bookings. There’s no reason to resign yourself to a vacant vacation rental all winter long. Set yourself up for more bookings and increased income with our tips.
Understand The Off Season
Folly Beach offers a number of events throughout the winter months to promote the vacation destination. While the off season is shortening through some of those efforts, most beach rentals begin to slow down in October. When school is back in session and the family schedule is restored, vacation season ends for most families.
The off season in Folly Beach typically runs from October through March. The cooler months bring a different type of vacationer. While the hot summer months are prime time for family adventures, beach rental properties during the winter are often filled with snowbirds. Modifying a few details in your online rental description can help you reach those unique visitors and keep your property occupied.
Know Your Target Audience
Understanding your target customer is likely the element that will help you the most when it comes to renting your beach vacation property in the winter. Tailor your listing to meet the needs of the winter guest, which can vary drastically from the summer crowd.
Snowbirds will likely be the biggest guest for beach rental properties in the winter. It’s good to know more about these winter guests than the fact they like the beach as opposed to the northern homes during the coldest months.
- Majority of snowbirds will eventually make the beach their permanent home.
- A survey out of Florida shows 63 percent of snowbirds consider themselves in “very good” or “excellent” health.
- Some winter guests will take up a seasonal job or volunteer while living at the beach.
- Snowbirds love to share their adventures. Many blog, having the potential to influence other winter guests to check out your beach rental property.
Play up the features and amenities of your beach rental property to meet the demands of this unique guest list. Does your condo building have a 24/7 fitness center? Promote it. Are there great day trip locations near your property? Talk about them.
While the winter guests are similar in that they desire warmer temperatures than their primary home offers during the winter, they each have unique reasons for visiting Folly Beach. Don’t hesitate to promote your property’s proximity to favorite restaurants, golf courses, or winter events in Folly Beach and the surrounding areas.
Hire A Property Management Group
Managing, maintaining, and promoting your beach rental property takes time and money. It may not be something that’s familiar or comfortable to you, so enlisting the help of the pros is a good way to keep your rental booked through the winter.
A Folly Beach property management group is familiar with the changing seasons and clientele. There are a number of reasons why using a management group for your vacation rental is a good idea, but it’s especially beneficial during the winter months.
- Enjoy the holidays: Your Thanksgiving dinner won’t be disrupted by a call from a guest who can’t get the washing machine to work. Any issues go straight to the management company, who acts as the first line of defense in needed repairs, maintenance, and other customer needs.
- Familiar guest list: Snowbirds tend to be vacationers of habit. They use the same property management and rental company year after year. Groups like Dunes Properties have a familiar guest list who trust the quality of properties offered. By enlisting the help of the management group, you get to take advantage of those loyal customers.
- Marketing and advertising: Unless researching, tracking, and refreshing marketing campaigns across social media and other websites is how you like to spend your time, bring a team on board to handle the work for you. Robust marketing and advertising campaigns will be used by the management group to draw more customers to your property.
- Eyes on your property: Whether you live across town or across the country, it’s nice to have a trusted team that will look after your property just as you would. From routine maintenance to cleanliness, a reputable Folly Beach property management group will ensure your property is damage-free and always ready for the next guest.
- Timely payments: Many beach rental properties are available for months at a time. Property management groups will ensure payments are secured and sent to you in a timely manner.
If you live close to your rental property, are skilled in home repairs, and have several hours each month to devote to maintaining your property, a DIY approach may work. But for most rental property owners that simply isn’t the case. Hire a property management team to fill your rental space through the winter.
Lower The Price
If your beach rental property is listed on your own website or rent by owner sites, update the price during the winter months. While the demand during summer months justifies the premium rate, an abundance of options in the cooler months means your pricing needs to be competitive.
Don’t feel inclined to drop your rates to bargain status but get a feel for the average pricing of comparable properties. Keep in mind that winter bookings don’t just bring in rental cash, they’re also an opportunity of social proof that your rental is popular and in-demand year-round.
When you lower the price, don’t forget to update the listing to include the amenities and events that will be attractive to the off-season renter.
Have Flexible Booking Requirements
While summer bookings justify a five- or seven-night minimum stay, winter rentals don’t have to be so regulated. Snowbirds may actually want to rent the property for a couple of months or couples on a weekend get-a-way may a three-day stay. Remove or reduce your minimum stay regulation to attract the ideal winter guests.
By waiving your minimum stay, you’ll beat out the other beach rental property owners who refuse to make that adjustment or simply don’t think of it. Consider creating vacation packages for a long weekend or weekday stays. If you can include tickets to a local attraction or waive the upcharge to use your golf cart, you’ll get more eyes on your property. Consider our package deals for your property:
- Weekday special: Get three nights for the price of two
- Long weekend: Half-price rate for Monday night when combined with a weekend stay
- Double the fun: Book an entire week (or longer) during the winter months and receive a 10 percent discount on a week-long summer stay
Reach Out To Past Guests
For guests who have booked your beach rental property during the winter months in the past, reach out to them with your new, lower prices or package deals. These guests are some of the most likely to book as they’re familiar with your property and you as a host.
Look back in your scheduling tool over the past two to three winter seasons. You’ll have the guests’ email address, so a simple reintroduction and link to your booking site will do the trick. What to include in the marketing email:
- Reminder of the property and date they stayed in your rental.
- Thank the guest for staying with you in the past.
- Invite them as an exclusive guest and link to package specials you’re offering.
- Invite them to share your beach rental property listing with family or friends who may be interested in a winter retreat.
Even if the guest doesn’t have availability for the off season, your email may ignite their desire to book a summer vacation early.
Don’t settle for a vacant vacation property during the winter months. Even a few bookings throughout the off season is an increase in rental revenue. Plan ahead for a different type of guest, adjust your online listing to connect with winter travelers, and create winter vacation packages that entice guests to book with you.
If our ideas sound great, but you’re wondering where you’ll find the time to complete this list, reach out to one of the best Folly Beach property management groups. When you place your beach rental property in the hands of professionals, you don’t have to worry about guest needs, unexpected maintenance, or ensuring the property is prepared for incoming guests. Winter is a great time to increase your rental revenue and following our tips will keep your rental on top in an increasingly competitive market.