Shoulder season is the period right before and right after peak or high season, where demand for vacation rentals in your market is at its highest. Thus, while short term rental demand during shoulder season is not as low as off-season, it is lower than peak season.
Top 5 Tips for Airbnb Hosts to Increase Occupancy During Shoulder Season
Because high season differs from market to market, shoulder season occurs at different times of the year depending on your market.
For example, the peak season of a ski market would be in the winter months while the high season of a beach location would be summer. Thus, in the latter case, shoulder season would be April-May and September.
Shoulder season weather is often mild and destinations are less crowded. So while demand may not be at its peak, many visitors still opt to travel and some even prefer it. While the rates you can demand are not at their highest, property managers have plenty of opportunities to maintain high occupancy and earn good profits.
With demand less than high season, it’s time to lower your rates accordingly and be a more attractive booking prospect. A general rule of thumb is to reduce your rate to 60-75% of your peak season rate.
Using a dynamic pricing tool however is the best way to adjust your rates as it updates daily based on a variety of factors including demand, competition, and more.
You can stretch out your minimum stay requirements even up to 7 days during peak demand but during shoulder season you will have to adjust lower. As more budget conscious travelers choose to travel during shoulder season to take advantage of the lower accommodation and flight costs, decreasing the minimum number of nights will allow you to appeal to more guests and therefore get more bookings.
Targeting your marketing efforts to the different traveler segments who are likelier to travel during shoulder seasons will increase your chances of getting booked. Demographics include digital nomads, retirees, budget travelers, and people who prefer quieter getaways.
In contrast to high season, shoulder seasons are a good period to offer discounts and deals to entice guests looking for better deals and increase occupancy. Use your social media channels to market your discounts and deals and push the offers through your direct booking website. Use email marketing to offer your previous guests first dibs on your offers.
Not only does regularly updating your Airbnb listing help with your search results but you can add a few keywords, photographs, and even information about what guests can do in the destination that reflect their potential visit during shoulder season, making guests more likely to book and increasing your vacation rental occupancy during the season.
Find out what events, festivals, and other activities are taking place in your destination and nearby areas and highlight these in your vacation rental website and/or blog, YouTube, and other social media channels. This will help you draw more guests, increasing occupancy.
To entice guests to book during shoulder season, provide special packages that guests can book from you. Partner with local event and activity organizers to provide discounted deals.
You can even create tailored packages for your target audience. For example, an adventure-themed package for sports tourists, or one that includes a day at a water park and a fun, buffet dinner for families. Don’t forget to promote these on your social media channels, email marketing, and YouTube.
Because many shoulder season travelers are pickier, you can ease their anxieties and make your listing more accessible by opting for a more flexible cancellation policy. This however does not mean being so flexible that guests can cancel at the last minute without consequence as that could lead to lower occupancy overall.
While nowhere as challenging as the off-season, increasing occupancy during shoulder season requires a mix of general and specific tactics to attract guests and improve the occupancy of your Airbnb vacation rental. From adjusting your pricing and minimum stay policy to tailoring your marketing and optimizing your listing on Airbnb, there are a number of steps you can take to maximize occupancy during the season. This will help you weather the difficult off-season months and ensure you end your fiscal year at great profit.