Vacation Rental Lingo: Rental Seasons Explained

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Welcome back to our series on vacation rental terminology! In our first blog post , we covered some of the essential terms that every vacation rental host and guest should know. We talked about things like VRs vs. STRs, destination vs. urban market vacations, and vacation rental lodging, but those just touched the surface and there are many more commonly misunderstood terms and concepts to explore when it comes to the world of vacation rentals.

In this second installment, we'll be delving deeper into some of the more advanced vocabulary you might encounter in the vacation rental industry. Whether you're a seasoned host or a first-time guest, this post will help you navigate the terminology and make the most out of your vacation rental experience. So without further ado, let's dive in!

Length of Stay

After you know what type of property you want to stay in, the next step is to decide how long you’d like to stay there. Length of stay in vacation rentals, or short-term rentals, refers to the amount of time that a guest stays in a vacation rental property. It is the duration of time that the guest has booked the property and can be measured in nights, days, or even months. The length of stay can vary depending on the specific vacation rental property, the booking policies of the property owner or manager, and the preferences of the guest. Some vacation rentals may require a minimum length of stay, while others may allow guests to book for as little as one night.

These lengths of time are broken down in multiple ways: monthly vacation rentals, long-term rentals, mid-term rentals, and short-term rentals. This may seem a little self-explanatory, but there’s more to it than meets the eye. Many people just think about nightly, weekend, or weekly stays, which are classified as short-term rentals, but there are many more lengths of stay to consider.

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A monthly vacation rental is a type of vacation rental that is booked for a duration of one month or longer. This type of rental is typically used by travelers who are looking for an extended stay in a specific location, whether for work or leisure. Monthly vacation rentals are often fully-furnished and equipped with amenities that provide guests with the comfort and convenience of a home away from home. They can range in size from small apartments to large houses and can be located in a variety of areas, such as cities, beachfront locations, or mountain retreats. Monthly vacation rentals can offer more flexibility and cost savings compared to traditional accommodations like hotels, especially for longer stays.

Long-term rentals are a bit different from what you would normally refer to as a vacation rental stay. A long-term rental refers to a type of vacation rental that is booked for an extended period, typically several months to a year or more. They are often preferred by guests who are relocating to a new area and require temporary housing for an extended period. These rentals are typically fully-furnished and may include utilities and other services such as cleaning or laundry.

They can also offer flexibility and freedom, as guests can choose a property that suits their individual needs and preferences, and they can stay for as long as they need without being tied to a lease or rental agreement.

Similar to a long-term rental, a mid-term rental in the vacation rental industry refers to a type of vacation rental that is booked for a period that is longer than a typical vacation stay but shorter than a long-term rental. Typically, mid-term rentals are booked for a duration of 1-6 months.

Lastly is our most common length of stay in the vacation rental industry—the short-term rental. Vacation rentals and short-term rentals are both terms used to describe a type of accommodation that is rented out for a temporary stay, but there are key differences between the two. Vacation rentals are typically properties that are rented out for the purpose of providing travelers with a place to stay. On the other hand, short-term rental is a broader category that encompasses any type of property that is rented for a short period.

This can include properties that are rented out for business travel, short-term housing for people in the process of moving, or even just a weekend getaway. Additionally, vacation rentals are often located in popular tourist destinations, while short-term rentals can be found in a variety of locations, including residential or business districts. Vacation rentals are simply a type of short-term rental that are typically rented out to travelers on vacation and offer a higher level of amenities and services than other types of short-term rentals.

Types of Seasons

In the past, the industry looked at seasons differently than today. For example, peak season was the part where you had your highest occupancy, while the rest of the year was considered the off-season. Today, the booking seasons in vacation rentals can vary depending on the location and type of rental, but generally, there are three main seasons.

Peak Season is the most important time of year for vacation rentals. It is the high season, which usually falls during the summer months or around major holidays such as Christmas. During peak season, vacation rentals can be in high demand, and prices can be significantly higher than during other times of the year. This is also the time when many families take their vacations, and the most popular destinations can be very crowded, resulting in the highest number of profits.

The period between peak and off-season when demand for vacation rentals is lower is known as the Shoulder Season. This usually falls just before and after the peak season, outside of major holidays and school breaks. During this time, vacation rentals may offer discounted rates to attract more guests. This time of year can vary according to destination. For example, in southern beach communities across the sunbelt and the Florida panhandle, shoulder seasons are typically March-May and September-October. On the other hand, the shoulder seasons of mountain and ski areas such as Aspen, Colorado are March-April and September-November.

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Off-Season is the low season, usually during the winter months in colder destinations or during the rainy season in tropical destinations. During this time, demand for vacation rentals is typically lower, and prices may be at their lowest. Some vacation rentals may even close for the off-season or limit their offerings.

It's important to note that booking seasons can vary depending on the location and type of vacation rental. For example, ski resorts may have a high season during the winter months, while beach destinations may have a high season during the summer months. Additionally, some vacation rentals may cater to specific types of travelers, such as business travelers, who may have different booking patterns than leisure travelers.

And there you have it - a closer look at some of the more complex terms and concepts that are commonly used in the world of vacation rentals. We hope that this post has helped you to expand your knowledge and feel more confident in your understanding of vacation rental terminology. But this is just the beginning - there are still plenty of other terms and concepts to explore in the vacation rental industry.

In our next installment , we will dive into the vacation industry technical terms that are commonly used as well as define exactly what an OTA is…and what it isn’t.

For a full and complete list of vacation rental terms and their definitions, see our Monthly Vacationer Vacation Rental Glossary.

Resources best used for finding or advertising each type of vacation rental:

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