Like many rental owners this year, you’re likely looking to recoup some revenue during the holidays. Global vacation rentals fell by around 47 percent in 2020, according to AirDNA. This is your last chance to pull in some payments before the new year rolls in.
Fortunately for owners like yourself, up to 17 percent of holiday travelers plan to stay at a bed-and-breakfast or in a short-term rental.
That’s why we want to talk about ways to increase the likelihood of renting out your house during the winter holidays. Today, we’re sharing 10 tips and tricks for getting people to book, as well as helping your rental look its best.
1. Start with a Clean Slate
First things first: get your rental in order. Do some in-depth cleaning prior to breaking out the holiday decorations or adding on. Clutter, dirt, and disorganization is a surefire way to prevent valuable vacationers from booking.
2. Provide a “Cozy” Atmosphere
People who are traveling during the holidays are most likely looking for something warm, cozy, and comfortable. If your rental doesn’t already highlight those feelings, work to make things a little warmer. Prepare your fireplace for use, place candles, blankets, and other cozy decorations around the space.
One of the worst things you can do before winter sets in is fail to check your HVAC system. Take a few hours to inspect your setup and get professionals involved if need be. Don’t know much about HVAC systems? Consult a furnace guide and educate yourself on the details – it’s a great knowledge base to have.
3. Stick with a Color Scheme
Decorating for the holidays is a great way to entice renters, but beware: your idea of holiday decor could clash poorly with your current rental palette. Try to match your winter decor to the overall feel of your place. If you’re renting out a beach house, stick to ocean-blues and tropical ornaments on the tree. If your rental is in the woods, add decorations that are based on mountains and pines.
4. Play Up Your Best Features
What are your rental’s most attractive features? Is it the hot tub outside? The large indoor hearth and fancy ceiling lights? The family room that’s perfect for cozy gatherings? Think about the parts of your rental that are special, then talk them up in your online rental listings.
According to Bookfull, the top amenity for most vacation renters is the kitchen. Highlight the cooking options, appliances, and various features of your kitchen – especially during the holidays when people are whipping up big meals and baking often.
5. Pick the Right Tree
A beautiful Christmas tree is a great addition to any rental during the holidays – but be careful. You don’t want a tree to consume the space or detract from other decorations. If the space is small, consider a tall but skinny tree. If the space is fairly cluttered, choose a tree that’s simple but elegant.
6. Simplicity Over Chaos
Remember: less is often more when it comes to the holiday spirit in rentals. Rather than putting out every last Santa Claus statute and strand of garland, pick and choose your decorations to draw in vacationers. Travelers will appreciate the hint of Christmas cheer but the lack of clutter.
7. Share Your Decor Online
This is a big tip: don’t just decorate for vacationers who actually book. Share your holiday festivities online prior to bookings. Update your rental listings to show off your special decorations and encourage people to pick your house. Show people how great your rental would be for their holiday gatherings or relaxing vacations.
8. Take Good Pictures
Speaking of sharing your holiday updates online, take good pictures. Quality photos on your rental listings can (and will) make a world of difference. Rather than snapping some mediocre shots on your phone, consider hiring a professional photographer to come in and help your rental look its best. They’ll ensure you have great lighting and implement tried-and-true tricks for making spaces seem bigger, lighter, and more attractive.
9. Post on the Right Sites
If you’re struggling to attract renters during the winter holidays, you might not be posting on the right websites or apps. Make sure you’re using the top platforms, including:
You might also want to consider creating a social media profile for your rental. Up to 52 percent of travelers seek recommendations for places to say on their social media platforms, so building a presence there is a great tactic.
10. Offer the Right Price
You might be tempted to charge extra during the holidays, especially this year. However, keep in mind that the average traveler in 2020 is also looking to save money. The Washington Post reported that nearly 12 million home renters are behind on their payments – which means that even if people are traveling, they’re not going to be willing to fork over huge amounts for your vacation house.
Take a look at the prices other rental owners are offering during these difficult times. Are they giving discounts to essential workers or healthcare employees? Can you do the same to bring more vacationers to your place?
In general, it’s smart to change things up with your rental during the holidays. Highlight different features, such as cozy hearths or Christmas decor. Update your online listings to showcase how perfect your lodgings are for holiday travelers.
The holidays are certainly different this year, but some people will travel. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to safely house vacationers during these winter months. Not only will this give you a chance to recoup some of your losses from 2020, but it will also bring a little extra (much-needed) holiday cheer to those who are on the road.