If you're a vacation rental homeowner or property manager, you know that peak season is the best time of year for your rental properties. It’s when demand is sky-high, and you have the opportunity to make some serious bank. But peak season can’t last all year long. Because of this, you need to understand how it affects occupancy and what you can do to keep your rentals fully booked and your profits flowing.
Understanding Peak Seasons & How They Affect Your Occupancy
In most places, peak season usually happens during the summer months when families are on vacation and the weather is hot, hot, hot. But it can also coincide with holidays like Christmas and New Year's as well as major events like music festivals or sporting events.
If you own a vacation rental in the mountains of Washington, peak season will likely occur during the months when skiers and snowboarders travel to the mountains to escape the heat of summer. According to AirDNA, Enumclaw, Washington had an occupancy rate of 76% in July of 2022 during peak season, and those rates dropped to 45% in October.
(See an overview of Enumclaw’s occupancy rates over the last few years in the chart below.)
During peak season, your rental properties are going to sell like hotcakes! Renters are looking for the perfect place to stay, and if you price your rentals appropriately, they’ll come running to you. Be careful not to overprice your rentals. Check out the competition and make sure you’re not pricing yourself out of the market.
Now that we’ve talked about how great peak season is, it’s time to talk about the elephant in the room—peak season can’t last all year long. We know, it’s a bummer. But the truth is, demand for vacation rentals slows down somewhat in the off-season and shoulder seasons.
But don’t fret! That doesn’t mean you can’t make money during these seasons too. It just means you need to adjust your strategy. Consider offering discounts or other incentives to attract renters during slower times. Different audiences like business travelers and retirees with the time and flexibility may enjoy staying in your property for longer periods.
If you want to dive into this new market of promoting vacations in the off-season and don’t know where to start, consider listing your vacation rental properties on a specialized listing site like Monthly Rentals by Owner. As a listing website specifically targeted toward monthly rentals, you are guaranteed to get in front of your niche market.
<p">Don’t let this next shoulder season get you down! Get ahead of the competition and use it as an opportunity to keep your properties full all year round.
Vacation Rental Regulations & How They Can Affect Your Business
Depending on where you’re located, there may be laws and regulations that restrict or limit vacation rentals. These regulations can impact your ability to rent out your properties during certain times of the year.
Some cities have implemented short-term rental regulations limiting the number of days per year a property can be rented out as a vacation rental. Other regulations may require property managers to obtain special permits or licenses to operate vacation rentals.
It's important to research and understand your area's regulations to ensure you comply with local laws. Failing to comply with local regulations can result in fines, penalties, and even legal action. Here are some examples of regulations that may impact your vacation rental property:
- Some cities have specific requirements for vacation rental properties, such as requiring a permit or inspection before allowing them to be rented out.
- Some cities may limit the number of people that can occupy a vacation rental property.
- Some cities may require vacation rental property owners to collect and remit local occupancy taxes.
- Some cities may limit the number of vacation rental properties that can operate within a specific area.
To stay on top of vacation rental regulations, stay informed about any changes or updates to local laws. You can also consider joining local vacation rental associations or organizations that can provide guidance and support such as community-building and education advocates like Rent Responsibly and VRMA.
For example, the Florida Keys are governed by Monroe County, which has specific regulations for vacation rental properties. These include requirements for registration and licensing of rental properties and restrictions on noise levels and occupancy limits. The Florida Alliance for Vacation Rentals, formerly known as FVRMA, represents all vacation rental owners, managers, suppliers, and industry partners in Florida, educating them about these regulations and advocating for them.
According to Monroe County, Florida legislation, zoning regulations restrict vacation rentals to certain areas, and properties must be inspected and meet certain safety standards before they can be rented out. Owners of vacation rental properties in the Florida Keys should ensure that they are in compliance with all relevant regulations to avoid penalties and stay on the right side of the law.
We've covered a lot, from the joys of peak season to the importance of rental regulations. But let's not forget to have some fun, because after all, vacation rentals are all about having a good time, right?
During peak season, it's time to make some serious cash! Renters are looking for the perfect place to stay, and if you price your rentals appropriately and offer great incentives, they'll be beating down your door to stay at your properties. But don't get too caught up in the hype! Remember to stay informed about any regulations or laws that might impact your operations.
And during the off-peak season, don't let things slow down! You can still make money and attract renters by being creative with your pricing, targeting different audiences with longer stays in mind, and taking advantage of specialty listing sites like Monthly Rentals by Owner. But most importantly, let's not forget why we're all here: to provide renters with the best possible vacation rental experience.
Over the next few months, we will dive deeper into this series on seasonality and vacation rental regulations in areas across the US from Washington state, Arizona, and Texas to the Florida Keys, the Carolina beaches, and Maine. As we dive deeper, we hope this information will help you understand your vacation rental market better than ever before and provide tips on how to increase your occupancy.