After Thanksgiving, the next peak travel period is Christmas. Last year, over 112.5 million Americans traveled during this winter holiday, meaning there is a huge demand for accommodation, especially for vacation rentals.
It’s a time when friends and family gather to celebrate. As a vacation rental owner, it’s an opportunity to create a festive Christmassy atmosphere for your seasonal guests.
Get in the holiday spirit by following these tips to help you prepare for the festive season in no time.
1. Decorate for Christmas
This is the best place to start with your Christmas preparations. As soon as December arrives, you should plan to put up a few decorations to add festive spirit to your vacation rental. It doesn’t need to be anything overwhelming (for you or your guests), but will certainly add a special touch to put your visitors in a cozy Christmassy mood.
A good way to begin is to string up soft white Christmas lights to set a warm tone throughout the inside and outside of your rental. And of course, buying a Christmas tree. It doesn’t have to be a real one, you can also consider buying a simple, miniature tree instead. You an even add fake snow on your Christmas tree!
Hang a decorative wreath on the front door, it will be the first thing your guests see after all. You could even place a few seasonal ornaments in a glass bowl on the coffee table. If you have a fireplace mantel, hang a few stockings above it. A little effort will go a long way to put your guests in the Christmas spirit.
2. Offer your guests a small gift when they arrive
When guests have booked for the holiday season, consider providing a gift to celebrate the spirit of giving. Welcome every new guest into your vacation rental with a decorative basket full of hot cocoa and apple cider mixes, complete with festive Christmas mugs or a plate of delicious Christmas cookies.
If you want to go further, you could include special discounts for nearby activities or restaurants. You could approach local businesses and create a small basket with a few gift items from local stores. Be sure to include a Christmas card featuring the names of each business so if they love the gift, they can pick up another for their loved ones!
3. Incentivize a vacation getaway as a Christmas present
Everyone knows vacations make great presents for the extra special people in your life, so boost your off-peak reservations in the New Year by incentivizing holiday bookings!
Email your former guests and newsletter readers, or publish posts to your social media followers to convince them that they should give someone special a weekend away at your vacation rental home.
Offer special deals, or a limited number of discounted gift certificates for weekends within a specific time frame and grab the attention of someone who has no idea what to give their loved ones.
4. Create a Christmas package deal
Consider creating a Christmas package deal for guest who books for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Or package it for the whole week or weekend – whichever works best for you. Use images and descriptions to promote the stay in such a way that the appeal far outweighs any extra fees!
Suggestions to include in your Christmas package:
- Gift certificate to a local restaurant
- Champagne or wine gift basket
- Tickets to a local showing of a Christmas production
- Breakfast delivery on Christmas morning
The same concept could be reused again and offered as a New Year’s Eve Special!
5. Send out a Christmas newsletter
Once your Christmas action plan is in play (i.e. the first four points above), make sure your whole network knows about it!
Instead of traditional Christmas cards, create a festive newsletter to send around to your guest database which not only outlines your Christmas incentives, but that will also make them feel unique and remind them of the wonderful time they spent at your rental.
Be sure to include:
- A special Christmas greeting
- Photos of your charming festive décor – preferably showing cozy sofas with heaps of blankets and the little gift like the cocoa basket
- A clear description of how and when to buy gift certificates for your rental as a Christmas present for others, including details of the special offers
- Information about the Christmas Package deal and what it contains
6. Donate to charity
Even though Christmas is about sharing, exchanging gifts and spending time with your loved ones, there are many who are less fortunate and aren’t able to get into the Christmas spirit.
You can use GuideStar.com to get a first-hand look at how much money they use for donations and find the perfect charity for your business. Choose a charity you trust and decide how you’re going to be giving them your donations – Are you going to donate a % of your revenue made with each booking during the holiday season? Are you going to ask your guests to donate?
Ultimately, Christmas is a season of family, cheer, and giving. Embrace that spirit in your vacation rental: decorate with a Christmas spirit and offer your guests a little extra something at every stay.
You know your rental and the type of guests it attracts better than anyone! So embrace the type of Christmas that perfectly fits your rental and offer that to your guests. Even if they come a few weeks before Christmas, they’ll still love that you’ve gone to the trouble of making it homely in the holidays.