Attracting Off-Peak Bookings To Your Holiday Home
Attracting off-peak bookings to your holiday home can prove to be a challenge. Here we have compiled a few tips that can help you keep the bookings coming in when the days shorten and the sun goes in.
Define your off-peak season
Not everybody experiences a drop-off in bookings at the same time. Having a look at your last two years or so and the patterns of bookings is usually the way to do this. However, lockdowns and other disruption might mean you have to go back a little further to get the right picture. Is it because of school holidays or less clement weather? Once you have identified when and why the low season occurs, you are better placed to do something about it and turn those bookings around.
If you are a new owner who does not have this information available for your own holiday home, ask others in the area and perhaps talk to a letting agency. They may know how bookings tend to go in your area.
Who are your off-peak audience?
In the summer months you may do very well, for instance, attracting bookings from families with their dog. In quieter times though, you may find more retirees looking for a peaceful getaway and some gentle walking, or couples looking for a romantic break.
Update your holiday home pictures on the websites you use to advertise. Does your holiday home or the local area look particularly picturesque in the winter? Can you arrange pictures of guests relaxing in a steaming hot-tub with a glass of something special or snuggling by the fire with a cup of hot cocoa? Concentrate on the Christmas and New Year markets too. As these can help you get through the much quieter months leading into Spring.
Create special packages
One way to attract more custom, as every business understands, is to offer more value. Think about deals and discounts you can create to entice people to your holiday let in slower times.
Perhaps a special Christmas or New Year package would work in your area, with vouchers to spend at a local Christmas market or discounted tickets to the local theatre for a pantomime.
Maybe Hallowe’en is approaching and you can arrange a discount for a ticket to the local fireworks display. Displays these days often have a local residence restriction on attendees. Perhaps you could negotiate with the organisers on behalf of your guests.
Try to establish partnerships with local attractions and amenities. A discounted night at a local restaurant or theatre. First drink deals in local bars and pubs, or a free drink with a meal, are all deals which will appeal to local businesses. They will often also experience quieter times when you do. This is a good idea at peak times too, but can really come into its own in off-peak seasons.
Accept short breaks
Be flexible with changeovers. Choosing Friday as your changeover day can allow you to fit two short breaks into one week; one at the weekend and one in weekdays. This can help maximise your off-peak occupancy. Also consider offering special rates during the middle of the week.
In July, Sykes Staycation Index reported that three-day bookings for the winter period were already up by 111% compared to 2019.
Make some seasonal additions or changes to your holiday home
Consider making some changes to your holiday home or promoting different aspects of it during the cooler months. For example:
- Open fires or log-burners and under-floor heating
- A fire pit in the garden
- Hot tub
- Games room
- Perhaps close a couple of rooms and sell to couples looking for a quiet retreat
If you normally attract families to your four-bedroom property and school holidays significantly impact your bookings, perhaps make a few changes to make your holiday home more attractive to families of pre-school age. There are a few simple things you can do to attract parents with toddlers. Include toys and games to keep them occupied when they can’t go out so much. This will also lighten the luggage the family needs to bring with them, making a visit to your holiday home that bit more of a relaxing experience.
Widen your market
In general, the reasons people go on holiday in the peak season are the same as any other time, but you may find that the season itself defines a certain portion of the guests you get. Off-peak holidays tend to be quieter. You may, for instance, want to look for ways to target an older audience of retirees who are more likely to be seeking the peace and quiet of the slow season. It is not just your accommodation that people are interested in but the local area and how easy it is to get around on the nearby streets and roads. The season can make a huge difference to these aspects of a holiday.
You might also want to think about accepting pets in the off-peak season to make your potential audience a bigger one. Do you have a self-contained garden? Are there pet-friendly beaches and walks near your holiday let? Thinking a little differently about your holiday home can bring in bookings from a whole new direction. See our blog post on dog-friendly holiday homes here.
Sell different aspects of the area you are in. Perhaps beaches and outdoor eating are what sells in the summer months but is it good for cycling, walking or climbing as well? Can you find niche audiences whose hobbies might bring them to your holiday home? Researching activity websites and tapping into their audiences is a good approach.
Maybe your area has a particularly good mountain bike trail or surfing beach. Perhaps specialist websites which cater for these hobbies is where you should promote your holiday home in the off-peak season.
We hope that you have found this article helpful in attracting off-peak bookings to your holiday home.
This is a marketing article from My Holiday Home Insurance, a specialist provider of insurance for holiday homes, leisure homes, holiday lodges and static caravans. Our team of experienced advisers are always happy to help, so for more information call our Northampton office on freephone 0800 988 0890.