If you’ve been running your vacation rental with primarily short term rentals, you may be wondering how mid-term stays work and how they can impact your business. Vacation rentals aren’t just for families getting away for a week or two for vacation anymore. As more and more people understand the benefits of vacation rentals vs. hotels, they’re choosing vacation homes for business travel and as an in-between accommodation when moving to a new city. This means they are staying longer and looking for safe, affordable and convenient places to stay during this transitional period.
If you’ve ever wondered how incorporating extended stays in your business could help reduce vacancies, increase profits, and expand your marketing reach, check out this comprehensive vacation rental guide to mid-term stays:
What Are Extended Stays or Mid-Term Rentals?
Extended stays are longer than the usual vacation or short business trip. Typically, mid-term rentals refer to lease terms from 28 days and can last anywhere from one to nine months.
Extended stays provide incentives for calendars to be booked during uncertain times, off-seasons and other low-occupancy cycles.
Why Are Extended Stays Relevant Now?
The need for short-term stays has declined in light of COVID-19 and travelers are gradually searching for rentals for a month or longer. In fact, compared to this time last year, Airbnb has seen a 20% increase in longer-term bookings.
Of such Airbnb monthly stays, the most popular cases are frontline staff that needs a temporary place to stay close to work and separated from family members; people that want to social distance and avoid populated areas before the worst of Coronavirus blows or remote workers/digital nomads finding a more comfortable or better-equipped environment now that remote employment has become the standard.
These types of guests don’t want to commit to signing a multi-month contract and are looking for all the amenities they can find in a spacious vacation rental.
Short-term vs Mid-term/Extended stays
Short term stays and mid-term rentals have a lot in common, but they also have their unique differences. The booking process is the same for both, but the pricing methods may differ.
For a short-term rental, it’s customary to charge by the day, But with longer stays, it may make more sense to offer a weekly rate or even a monthly rate. Some vacation rental owners choose to stick with the per day method but lower the traditional daily rate.
Guests looking for a mid-term rental also have different needs and expectations than those looking for a traditional short-term rental. Families and individuals needing a short-term rental will look for luxuries like BBQ grills and pools, but mid-term renters will be looking for more practical things to make a longer stay more comfortable, like reliable WiFi and a fully equipped kitchen.
There may be aspects of your short-term rental agreement that need to be adapted to accommodate mid-term travelers. For example, you can offer mid-stay cleans, modify your security deposit policy, and change some things in the wording of your contract to better serve guests staying longer periods. You will have to consider things like consistent usage of water and electricity for guests staying in your home for a month or more, and factor this into your pricing strategy.
Who’s Looking for Mid-Term Rentals?
Guests who are looking for mid-term stays usually are not on vacation. Some of the types of travelers are:
- Business travelers who are away for extended business functions and don’t want to spend weeks in a hotel.
- Families building a home in a new city who need a place to stay in between the sale of their original home and the completion of their next one.
- Students completing internships.
- Travelers moving closer to aging parents to help after major surgery or medical diagnosis.
- Travelers that plan extensive vacations and want to spend a month in a comfortable vacation.
Overall, the demographic of travelers looking for a mid-term rental is typically in the 30-40 age range, and usually business travelers or other professionals. They’re guests that know that they will be in that area for a limited period of time, yet they don’t want to commit to a 6 or 12-month rent or pay the higher costs associated with short-term rentals.
While there’s no guarantee that this type of renter will be a problem-free renter, they do tend to take care of smaller issues on their own (vs calling you or management for every little thing) and treat the property with respect. Their mindset is that this is their home for an extensive period of time, so they’re more likely to take care of it. This group of travelers is also willing to pay more for a safe, comfortable, clean, fully furnished living accommodation.
Who Should You Target When Marketing Extended Stays?
As we mentioned above, there are a lot of different types of travelers interested in monthly rentals but who you target will depend on the type of property you own or manage and the services you offer.
Some examples include:
- Domestic travelers are looking for extra space and amenities like BBQ grills, pools and anything that will help them disconnect and enjoy their staycation.
- Business travelers would be perfect for furnished rentals with excellent office set-up and strong WiFi.
- Families from nearby urban areas will be on the lookout for off-beat and rural properties with lots of outdoor and kid-friendly spaces.
Just don’t forget to reach out to your past guests! They may not be considering to travel but would be persuaded to do so if it means they can stay at a vacation rental they love and trust.
Benefits of Renting Your Properties for Extended Stays
Incorporating extended stays into your rental strategy and shifting towards a mid-term rental has many benefits. Not only can it help you fill your booking calendar during slower seasons, but it also means you spend less time marketing and advertising for new bookings.
Mid-term rentals also reduce the amount of time you spend handling check-ins, inspections, and cleaning. With short-term stays, you have new guests cycling in every week or two, and may not have time to vet them or make sure they are a good fit for your property. With mid-term renters, you can take time to check out references and make sure they have a clean renting history.
Once mid-term guests get settled in, you usually won’t hear very much from them. They will settle into the home, and take care of most of the day-to-day maintenance issues on their own. This means you interact with guests less frequently and spend less time going over to the property to take care of little issues such as clogged toilets or not being able to find the TV remote.
Mid-term stays mean less turnover and more consistent cash flow, which are two things almost every vacation rental owner aims for when getting into the vacation rental business.
How to incorporate extended stay bookings into your strategy
Fortunately, you can start adding mid-term bookings to your vacation rental strategy pretty easily. You may have to make small changes to your contracts and rental policies, but with a little preparation, you can start modifying your marketing strategy to attract business travelers and families in the middle of relocating.
Some things you can do to get ready for mid-term bookings include:
- Adding monthly rates to your listings, whether it is on your direct booking website or other major vacation rental listings
- Expand your marketing reach by listing your rental on sites tailored to mid-term rentals and extended stays
- Re-evaluate the amenities your rental has to offer. What can you add to your amenity list that will benefit a long term guest or business traveler? What resources and information can you put in your home that a mid-term stay guest would appreciate?
What You Need to Know About Airbnb Monthly Stays
If you want to be featured in the Airbnb Monthly Stays tab, your listing should have a maximum booking period of 28 days or more and offer a monthly discount of at least 10% off your usual daily rate. You will also have to list amenities that make extended stays more comfortable such as strong WiFi, a kitchen, a washer and dryer, bathroom essentials, towels, linens and pillows.
A Final Thought
The world of travel is quickly changing, and vacation rental owners need to be adaptable to be successful. Mid-term vacation rentals can be profitable and relatively low maintenance and can help fill your calendar during otherwise slow booking seasons. Making the shift to accepting extended stays can be easy with a little flexibility, planning, and patience.