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Monetizing the slow season has always been a challenge for vacation rental managers.

In the world of vacation rentals, the rhythm of the market fluctuates, and there are times when demand experiences a lull. For vacation rental managers, this ebb and flow often manifest as the slow season, a period when bookings dwindle, occupancy rates decline and average daily rates take a beating. It is during these slow months that we need to focus on developing our social media platforms, create a new marketing plan, and seek creative ways to bring in more revenue to support or declining cash flow.

While the timing of these seasonal slumps may vary, with some management companies facing a summer slowdown while others contend with winter doldrums, the challenge remains the same: how to transform the quiet period and stay profitable by monetizing the slow season.

In this article, our Enso Connect experts explore the innovative strategies employed by some vacation rental managers for monetizing the slow season and ensuring a steady stream of revenue throughout the year.

From targeted marketing campaigns to enticing package deals, let’s delve into the realm of vacation rental management and uncover the secrets to thriving during off-peak periods.

Tips for Monetizing the Slow Season

From creative marketing techniques to diversifying your offerings, these practical insights will empower you to turn the slow vacation season into a lucrative opportunity for your vacation rental business.

Increase revenue v4

1.      Develop and Foster Local Partnerships

Developing and fostering local partnerships is a valuable strategy for vacation rental managers to capitalize on the slow season. During this period, reaching out to local businesses and attractions can open up new revenue streams and enhance the guest experience is a good idea and an easy way to make extra money during the slower times and really move the needle when the busy season comes around again.

By forming collaborative relationships with nearby restaurants, tour operators, spas, or event venues, vacation rental managers can offer exclusive discounts, packages, or experiences to their guests.

  • Restaurant Partnership: Collaborate with a local restaurant to offer an exclusive dining experience for your guests. Create a package that includes a discounted meal at the partner restaurant or even a special menu tailored to your guests’ preferences. This partnership can be mutually beneficial, as it brings more customers to the restaurant while providing a unique dining option for your vacation rental guests.
  • Adventure Tour Partnership: Forge a partnership with a local adventure tour operator, such as a kayak rental company or a hiking guide service. Offer your guests discounted rates on tours or expeditions, showcasing the natural beauty and thrilling experiences available in the area. This collaboration not only provides exciting activities for your guests but also generates referrals for the tour operator.
  • Local Event Venue Collaboration: Establish a partnership with a local event venue, such as a conference center or wedding venue, to cater to guests attending events in the area during the slow season. Offer discounted rates or exclusive services for event attendees, including convenient accommodation options at your vacation rentals. This collaboration can lead to a consistent stream of bookings and help you tap into the event market during off-peak periods.

“By collaborating with nearby businesses, we can offer unique benefits that go beyond accommodation. Becoming an authorized seller of ski tickets, for instance, allows our guests to bypass the long lines and dive straight into the exhilaration of the slopes. It's all about finding mutually beneficial opportunities that enhance our guests' vacations and foster a sense of community within our destination, while also creating an additional revenue stream for ourselves. It truly is a win-win-win!"

Connor Griffiths, CEO & Co-founder of Lifty Life

2.      Tap Into the Wedding Scene

Managers seeking to tap into the wedding scene and secure off-season bookings for multiple units can employ strategic approaches to attract engaged couples and their wedding guests. First and foremost, it’s crucial to establish relationships with local wedding venues, event planners, and vendors. This strategy is not only a great network marketing play, but it will also improve your brand awareness in the local community.

Collaborate with these industry professionals to offer exclusive wedding packages that include accommodations for the wedding party and guests. Highlight the convenience of having multiple units in close proximity, making it an ideal choice for group bookings.

  • Room Block Options: Create a landing page which highlights the unique features of the units, showcase stunning wedding-related imagery, and provide detailed information about the proximity to popular wedding venues in the area. The page can also offer special room block pricing for the wedding party, encouraging them to secure accommodations early and ensuring a seamless and convenient experience for the entire group. By providing a streamlined booking process and tailored information for wedding guests, managers can position themselves as the go-to choice for wedding accommodations.
  • Provide Overflow Accommodation: Vacation rental managers can proactively reach out to hotels or operators in the area known for hosting weddings. By establishing partnerships and letting them know about the availability of additional inventory, managers can position themselves as a valuable resource for accommodating extra-large wedding parties or overflow guests.
wedding accommodation

3.      Partner with Travel Agencies

Partnering with travel agencies can be a fruitful strategy for vacation rental managers, especially when targeting clientele who prefer quieter periods and seek value-driven vacation options. Travel agencies have access to a wide range of customers who appreciate the allure of off-peak seasons and are constantly seeking affordable deals.

By collaborating with travel agencies, managers can tap into this customer base, offering them attractive packages, exclusive discounts, or unique experiences that highlight the advantages of vacationing during quieter times of the year. This partnership not only helps increase bookings during slow seasons but also expands the visibility and reach of vacation rental properties, reaching potential guests who may not have considered this accommodation option before.

  • Create an Affiliate Program: To leverage the partnership with travel agencies, vacation rental managers can create an affiliate commission program. This program can offer travel agencies a percentage of the reservation total as a commission, typically ranging from 4% to 8%. By incentivizing travel agencies with a commission structure, managers encourage them to promote their vacation rentals to their clientele.  Affiliate marketing is one of the most powerful ways to double down on your marketing efforts.
  • Integrate with Expedia: Ensuring listings on online travel agencies (OTAs) like Expedia is another effective way for managers to attract bookings from travel agencies. Expedia, as a leading OTA, has a vast network of travel agencies as part of its distribution channels. By ensuring that vacation rental properties are listed on platforms like Expedia, managers gain access to the extensive reach of travel agencies without having to pay commissions out of their own pocket.

4.      Create a List of Upsells during the slow period

Creating a list of upsells is a valuable strategy for vacation rental managers to maximize revenue and for monetizing the slow season during their guests’ stay. Services like Enso Connect offer the ability to customize upsells, allowing managers to provide additional conveniences and experiences that enhance the guest’s overall stay.

  • Early Check-In: Offer guests the option to check in earlier than the standard check-in time, allowing them to start their vacation without delay.
  • Late Check-Out: Provide guests with the opportunity to extend their check-out time, giving them extra flexibility and allowing for a more relaxed departure.
  • Pet Fees: Offer pet-friendly accommodations and charge a fee for guests bringing their furry companions, ensuring a clean and comfortable environment for all guests.
  • Damage Waivers: Provide guests with the option to purchase a damage waiver that protects them from potential accidental damage costs during their stay.
  • Fully Stocked Fridge: Offer the convenience of a fully stocked fridge upon check-in, where guests can find a selection of groceries, beverages, or snacks based on their preferences. This special offer is a relly valuable add-on for a lot of guests and will dramatically improve the customer experience.
  • Mid-Stay Cleaning: Allow guests to add a mid-stay cleaning service, providing a refreshed and tidy environment during longer stays.
  • Welcome Packages: Offer curated welcome packages or amenity baskets tailored to guests’ interests or special occasions, such as wine and cheese baskets, spa kits, or celebration packages.

“Enso Connect has proven to be an invaluable tool for driving additional revenue for vacation rental managers. Its ability to seamlessly implement upsells and personalized offerings has significantly enhanced our bottom line. By leveraging Enso Connect's powerful features, we've been able to tap into new revenue streams, offer unique experiences, and cater to the specific needs of our guests."

Francois Gouelo, co-founder and CEO of Enso Connect

5.      Attract Corporate Rentals

Corporate rentals present an exciting opportunity for vacation rental managers to diversify their revenue streams and tap into a lucrative market segment.

With the rise of remote work and the need for temporary corporate housing, there is a growing demand for accommodations that cater to business travelers. It is a good time to focus on corporate rentals during the off season since they’re typically not looking to book during the busy time of year.

By targeting corporate clients, vacation rental managers can secure long-term bookings and establish steady income streams, particularly during traditionally slower periods.

  • Prioritize Business Amenities: To attract corporate clients, it is essential to provide business-friendly amenities. Ensure that your vacation rentals offer lightning-fast and reliable Wi-Fi, as well as a designated workspace or desk area. Highlight these features in your marketing materials, emphasizing the convenience and productivity they offer for remote work and business-related tasks.
  • Create a Dedicated Landing Page: Develop a dedicated landing page on your website specifically tailored to corporate rentals. This page should provide detailed information about the corporate rental options available, showcasing the amenities and features that make them suitable for business travelers. Include key details such as proximity to conference venues, co-working spaces, corporate offices, and transportation hubs.
corporate rentals in a large hotel building

6.      Offer a Buy 3 Get 4 Package

Hotels have successfully extended off-season bookings by offering enticing package deals such as “buy 3, get 4 nights.” This strategy for monetizing the slow season not only boosts occupancy rates during slower periods but also provides guests with exceptional value for their stay.

By offering an extra night at no additional cost, hotels create a win-win situation where guests feel they are receiving a great deal while the hotel maximizes revenue potential. This approach incentivizes guests to book longer stays and helps hotels generate additional income during traditionally quieter times.

  • Automated Message via Enso Connect: Utilize the automation features of Enso Connect to set up an automated message that triggers when an inquiry comes through for a stay of fewer than three nights. The message can be personalized and tailored to the specific inquiry, offering the guest the opportunity to upgrade to the “buy 3, get 4 nights” package. Highlight the value and savings they would receive by extending their stay, effectively doubling the length of their vacation.
  • Promote the Package on your Website: Create a dedicated section on your website that highlights the “buy 3, get 4 nights” package for the off-season. Provide detailed information about the package, emphasizing the value it offers to guests. Display the savings they can enjoy by extending their stay and make it easy for potential guests to book the package directly through your website.
  • Email Marketing: If you have a large enough email list you can start to send this special offer out to your email followers. It is also a good idea to share it on your instagram account, and create a series of blog posts about the new offer.

6.      Follow Up with Past Guests

Following up with past guests to offer them a discount for rebooking during the slow season is a perfect way to generate repeat business and fill occupancy gaps. By reaching out to previous guests, vacation rental managers can leverage the positive experience they had and entice them to return for another stay.

Offering a personalized discount showcases appreciation for their past patronage and encourages them to take advantage of the slower season rates. This approach not only helps maintain a loyal customer base but also ensures a steady flow of bookings during periods of lower demand.

  • Enso Connect Automation: Utilize the powerful automation features of Enso Connect to set up triggers based on specific criteria. For example, create an automation that sends an automated “If This, Then That” message to all past guests who were marked as “highly satisfied” and had reservations totaling over $1,000. This automation ensures that you are targeting guests who had a positive experience and have demonstrated a willingness to spend on their previous stay.
  • Reaching Out to Guests with Poor Experience: Although it requires careful implementation, reaching out to guests who had a poor experience in the past can be an opportunity to turn their perception around and generate repeat business. Identify guests who had negative feedback or left unfavorable reviews, and offer them a compelling deal or discount to “make things right.” This gesture demonstrates your commitment to guest satisfaction and provides an opportunity to address any concerns or issues they may have had.
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Enso Connect, the above is an image showing the ability to rebook past guests.

7.    Receive Affiliate Commissions for Your Referrals

Receiving affiliate commissions for referrals is an incredibly valuable aspect for vacation rental managers. By establishing partnerships with businesses or platforms that offer affiliate programs, managers can generate an additional revenue stream by referring guests to these trusted partners.

When guests book through the manager’s referral, the manager earns a commission. This mutually beneficial arrangement helps managers with monetizing the slow season through networking and leveraging their influence to drive bookings.

For instance, within Enso Connect’s Affiliate Referral feature, managers can set up a link with Enterprise Rent-A-Car and receive a commission of 2.5% on all car rentals made through the provided link. Similarly, by setting up a link with Viator, a popular activity booking platform, managers can earn up to an 8% commission on all activities booked through that specific link.

By incorporating these affiliate partnerships into the Boarding Pass feature, managers can not only provide valuable recommendations to their guests but also generate additional income through the commissions earned from guest bookings made via the affiliated services.

Enso Connect, the above is an image of Enso Connect’s Affiliate Commission feature on its Boarding Pass

Try Out The Boarding Pass Instantly and See For Yourself How It Can Improve Your Check-in Process

Get Instant Access To The Boarding Pass

8.    Offer Additional Services to your Homeowners

Selling existing homeowners on additional off-season services can be another strategic way of monetizing the slow season. Vacation rental managers can maximize revenue while providing added value to their property owners.

By highlighting the benefits of off-season services, managers can demonstrate how these offerings can enhance the homeowners’ investment and generate income during traditionally slower periods.

Present a comprehensive proposal outlining services such as property maintenance, landscaping, winterization, or even home improvement projects.

  • Deep Cleaning Services: Offer a specialized deep cleaning service that goes beyond the standard cleaning routine. This service involves a meticulous top-down cleaning approach, including pulling out furniture, scrubbing hard-to-reach areas, and thoroughly cleaning every nook and cranny of the property.
  • Re-Design and Interior Design Packages: For homeowners whose properties may lack in decor or need a refresh, offer a range of re-design and interior design packages. These packages can include options such as a $500 decor update with new furnishings and accessories or a more comprehensive $5,000 complete re-design plan, involving professional consultation and a full revamp of the property’s interior. While things like interior design packages are not normally a service you offer, it is always wise to look for additional side hustles during the slow period to help the rest of the year.
  • Exterior Maintenance Services: Provide services such as power washing, landscaping, or gutter cleanings during the off-season. By offering these maintenance services, managers can help homeowners maintain the property’s curb appeal and ensure it is well-maintained throughout the year.

How To Monetize During the Winter Season

As the winter season sets in, vacation rental managers face unique opportunities to monetize their properties and maximize revenue. In this article, we will explore a collection of valuable tips and strategies to help managers thrive during the winter season.

From marketing winter-specific activities and experiences to targeting niche markets and offering enticing seasonal promotions, these expert insights will guide vacation rental managers in leveraging the winter months to generate income and create unforgettable guest experiences.

  • Offer a Winter Promotion: Create enticing seasonal promotions to attract guests during the winter months. Consider offering discounted rates for extended stays, last-minute bookings, or mid-week stays. Bundle value-added services like lift tickets, spa treatments, or gourmet dining experiences to create attractive packages that provide guests with exceptional value for their winter vacation.
  • Enhance Winter Amenities: Upgrade your vacation rentals with winter amenities that cater to guests’ needs during the colder months. Ensure your properties have cozy fireplaces, hot tubs, or sauna facilities to provide warmth and relaxation.
  • Create a Winter Retreat Atmosphere: Emphasize the cozy and welcoming aspects of your vacation rentals. Highlight features like warm and inviting interiors, comfortable bedding, and entertainment options such as board games or movie collections.

How To Monetize During the Summer Season

To monetize during the summer season, vacation rental managers can focus on several key strategies.

First, capitalize on the peak demand by setting competitive rates and offering attractive packages that include popular summer activities and amenities.

Secondly, tap into the summer vacation market by targeting families, beachgoers, and outdoor enthusiasts through targeted marketing campaigns.

  • Offer Summer Packages: Create enticing summer packages that appeal to vacationers during the peak season. Include value-added services or experiences such as beach gear rentals, access to water sports activities, or complimentary passes to local attractions. A lot of guests book their summer vacations in advance so you can often get upfront deposits months in advance.
  • Cater to Families and Group Bookings: Get new customers by targeting families and groups looking for summer getaways by offering accommodations with ample space and family-friendly amenities. Highlight features like spacious living areas, outdoor play areas, BBQ grills, and swimming pools.
  • Collaborate with Local Partners: Forge partnerships with local businesses to expand revenue opportunities during the summer season. Establish affiliations with tour operators, water sports companies, restaurants, and entertainment venues. Offer exclusive discounts or package deals for your guests, and in return, receive referral commissions from these partners.

How Enso Connect Helps You Monetizing the Slow Season?

With Enso Connect you can maximize your vacation rental revenue during both slow and peak seasons. Our guest experience platform is your all-in-one solution to streamline, personalize and monetize your guest journey.

Don’t miss out on monetizing the slow season and streamlining your operations.

Sign up for Enso Connect today and unlock the full potential of your vacation rental business!

Supercharge your vacation rental business and drive more revenue with Enso Connect – the best solution to automate, optimize, and monetize your operations!

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