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  • Writer's pictureMark Pattison

How To Optimize Your Vacation Rental's Occupancy During Shoulder Season

Owning a vacation rental property can be a lucrative venture, but like any business, it faces seasonal challenges. One of the toughest periods to navigate is the shoulder season, that transitional phase between peak and off-peak times. While it may seem like a daunting task to attract guests during this period, it's essential to capitalize on every opportunity to boost your revenue. In this guide, we'll explore effective strategies for attracting more guests to your vacation rental during the shoulder season.

Understanding Shoulder Season

Shoulder season is the time between the peak and off-peak travel seasons when demand for vacation rentals is generally lower. The exact timing of shoulder season can vary based on your rental's location, but it typically occurs during the spring and fall months.

For instance, in North America, shoulder season typically spans from April to June and September to November. In Europe, it falls in April through May and September through October. To identify the shoulder season in your area, analyze historical booking data and market trends, focusing on months when demand is moderate compared to peak seasons but still higher than off-peak times.

Many budget-conscious travelers prefer to explore popular destinations during shoulder season to avoid crowds and enjoy cost-effective travel options. This presents an opportunity for vacation rental owners to attract guests throughout the year and build a thriving business.

To streamline your vacation rental business and maximize bookings year-round, consider using vacation rental software like Hospitable, which offers comprehensive features and an all-in-one solution for independent hosts and property managers.

Now, let's delve into five tips to make the most of the shoulder season:

Adjust Your Rates

During shoulder season, it's essential to adapt your pricing strategy to reflect local supply and demand dynamics. You may need to lower your rates to attract more guests and fill up your calendar. Research comparable vacation rentals in your area on OTA websites and set your rates accordingly, typically around 60% to 75% of your peak-season rates.

Review Minimum Night Stay Requirements

Recognize that during shoulder season, many travelers seek short getaways or single-night stays. To cater to this market segment, consider reducing your minimum night stay requirements, making your property more accessible to spontaneous travelers and vacationers.

Offer Deals and Discounts

Create enticing special offers to attract potential guests during shoulder season. Consider discounts for extended stays, midweek bookings, or special packages in collaboration with local businesses such as restaurants, bars, spas, and shops. Promote these offers on your listing and through email marketing to past guests.

Market Across Multiple Channels

Boost your vacation rental's visibility by listing it on major booking websites like Airbnb, Vrbo, and Additionally, create profiles on relevant social media platforms to expand your reach. Building your own direct booking website can provide more control over your business and drive repeat direct bookings.

Enhance the Guest Experience

Elevate the guest experience by offering unique amenities such as hot tubs, fireplaces, or pet-friendly spaces. Provide welcome baskets and personalized local recommendations to make guests feel at home. Positive guest experiences often lead to excellent reviews, which can attract more bookings.

Shoulder season presents an abundance of opportunities for vacation rental hosts. Many travelers prefer to explore destinations during these transitional months while the weather is still pleasant. By creatively and flexibly implementing these vacation rental marketing strategies, you can maximize your bookings and thrive during this slower season. Harness the potential of the shoulder season to boost your revenue and grow your vacation rental business.

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