97% of hosts and property managers notice variations in demand throughout the year.
40% of hosts experience shorter stays during their low season.
88% of hosts modify their prices for the quieter months, with 98% of those decreasing their nightly rate. Furthermore, 66% set up a minimum night stay for the off-season.
53% of all respondents claimed Airbnb was the most effective platform to generate off-season bookings, followed by direct booking channels.
In the world of short-term rentals and hospitality, the rhythm of the year has a unique cadence, and every season brings with it its own set of opportunities and challenges. While the peak months may dazzle with high occupancy rates and soaring prices, it is the often-overlooked low seasons when property owners and managers can make the biggest improvements and maximize their business potential.
In our pursuit of comprehensive low-season insights, Lodgify has reached out to a diverse range of survey participants, including seasoned property owners and managers with large portfolios to independent hosts with just one rental. Their valuable experiences and expertise have been instrumental in shaping this report.
We asked them to generously share their best tips and strategies to prepare for the low season, with the aim of creating a collective knowledge resource that can benefit the entire vacation rental community. Their contributions have added depth and practicality to our findings, ensuring that this report presents not only key insights but also offers actionable advice to help others thrive during the quieter months.
You can download our free survey analysis packed with data and advice using the form below:
Don’t see the form to download the Low Season Survey Report? Click here.
We understand that the concept of low season is as diverse as the destinations themselves, and we recognize that not every vacation rental business is entering low season, and for those who do, it may not always coincide with the winter months. However, our commitment to providing valuable data extends beyond the confines of a traditional calendar, embracing the nuances of year-round operations.
So, whether you are a vacation rental property owner seeking to optimize your occupancy rates year-round, a manager looking for innovative ways to market during the quieter months, or an industry enthusiast eager to stay ahead of the curve, this report is your guide to the world of off-season bookings.
Tracking demand: Are fluctuations really noticeable?
If you were unsure about the impact of the off-season on customer demand, then check this out. Out of 368 survey participants, 97% said they did indeed notice a change in demand and in the number of bookings received during their low season.
But has this always been the case? Well, 32% of hosts have said that although low season ultimately brings less revenue, they have seen an increase in off-season bookings within the last two years alone.
Okay, so where do these bookings come from? While many property owners and managers have their properties listed on several OTAs (Online Travel Agencies, such as Airbnb and Vrbo), including having a direct booking website, it’s clear for many which booking channels make the most impact on their low-season bookings.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, 53% of all respondents claimed Airbnb was the most effective platform to generate off-season bookings; however, it’s direct bookings that take second spot, with 17% declaring their direct booking website as the best when it comes to attracting low-season guests.
Last-minute bookings: The allure of spontaneous getaways in low season
So, despite the lower demand during the off-season, are there any other significant changes in bookings in the low season? Well, 24% of property managers said that they receive more last-minute bookings than during high season. In contrast, 13% said that their guests are more likely to book further in advance during low season than in high season.
It’s quieter in the low season, so guests are staying longer, right?
You might think that with lower occupancy rates guests have the freedom to stay longer on their low-season vacations. In fact, 40% said guest stays are shorter than in peak season, while only 20% said the average length of stay actually increases. 40% of all participants said they don’t see any changes regarding length of stay.
Captivating low-season guests: How do hosts attract bookings?
We know demand and guest behavior change throughout the low season, as well as where the bookings come from, but how do hosts prepare for the slower pace and ensure their vacation rental business still runs smoothly?
Our research reveals that 88% modify their prices for the quieter months, with 98% of those decreasing their nightly rate. Furthermore, 66% say they set up a minimum night stay for the off-season, with 56% of those requiring a minimum of two nights and 26% requiring a minimum of three.
Additionally, 23% of respondents said they used some form of dynamic pricing to help them decide their low-season rates.
Beyond rates and availability: Hidden factors shaping the off-season
As the aim of this report is to help guide hosts through the low season, it’s important to highlight the proactive steps hosts and property managers take to prepare their vacation rentals for the quieter periods.
From seasonal maintenance and property upgrades to crafting enticing off-season packages and implementing flexible booking policies, there is an array of strategies that can be implemented throughout the booking process.
Over half (52%) of our survey participants use the low season to perform essential maintenance on their properties, and 41% take measures to update their listings, be it with new photos or new descriptions.
Enticing those longer-stay guests can be key to ensuring a healthy off-season, with 32% recognizing this by offering discounts on longer stays.
Leveraging vacation rental software for low season success
For many hosts and property managers, it can be difficult to manage all these adjustments independently when navigating the challenges of low season. Especially when, after all that work, booking revenue still decreases.
To save on time, energy, and stress, 59% confirmed that they use vacation rental software to help them manage bookings, including synchronizing listings, rates, and availability, as well as automating key processes like check-in/out, cleaning, and guest messaging.
Survey insights: Key lessons
Through our extensive survey of property owners and managers, several key lessons have emerged. We’ve discovered that low-season travelers are increasingly seeking unique and immersive experiences, making it crucial for hosts to offer personalized touches and local expertise.
Additionally, flexible cancellation policies and competitive pricing play pivotal roles in attracting off-season bookings, and embracing technology, from smart home amenities to robust channel managers, can help streamline operations and enhance guest satisfaction.
This report delves into these insights and more, providing actionable strategies to help you thrive during the low season and ensure that your vacation rental business stays resilient year-round.
Methodology: How did we prepare this study?
This report was created based on the responses of over 360 short-term rental hosts and property managers who participated in the Lodgify survey about low season. Representing a total of 2,923 rentals, participants were mainly based in the U.S., the U.K., Ireland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa. We’d like to thank everyone who took the time to participate in this survey.
Did you find our study interesting? Let us know in the comments, and remember to download our free PDF for the best homeowner tips to prepare for the low season!
Don’t see the form to download the Low Season Survey Report? Click here.
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