Growing up, I remember that a lot of the time spent at our vacation home was in the off-season when it wasn't booked by paying guests. As a result, we got a bit creative in terms of finding activities and other things to do during the off-season. In fact, those off-season activities comprise some of my most precious childhood memories.
This was before the days of the internet, so finding fun activities was a bit more challenging. Even so, I always wondered why more people didn't visit during the off-season. I was a firm believer that if they could enjoy Aspen in the way that my family enjoyed it in the off-season, then they would travel there during the warmer times of year too.
If you're like most property owners, your Aspen vacation home is likely booked solid during the colder months of late fall, winter, and even well into the spring. But once summer rolls around, keeping your property booked consistently can be a real challenge.
So why not work with a property manager to develop a winning marketing strategy to help boost booking rates during the warmer months? Here are some ways you can work with a property manager in Aspen to reduce vacancies in the off-season.
Get to Know Aspen in the Off-Season
Aspen is truly wonderful year-round. So if you're a skiing or snowboarding nut who has spent most of your time enjoying Aspen in the winter, then one of the first steps is to explore this beautiful region of the Rockies in the summertime for yourself.
There is so much to do locally, especially if you're an outdoorsman. There's hiking, gondola rides, rock climbing, cycling, rafting in the white water rapids, horseback riding, fishing, paintball, or observing wildlife in the John Denver Sanctuary. For those who prefer the indoors, there's everything from museums and concerts to boutique shopping and some of the nation's finest dining.
If you're not compelled to visit yourself during this time, this is where you can tap your property manager, who will know precisely how to stay entertained when the ski slopes are closed for the season. In fact, your property manager will be a wealth of knowledge in this regard, so even if you have visited in the summer months, you should consult your property manager to determine what other activities you can promote.
If your property manager hasn’t already done it, it can also be helpful to snag a few brochures next time you visit and stock them in your rental home for use by the guests. You may even want to determine what brochures will be relevant in the summer and have your property manager switch them out at the start of the off-season.
Working with Your Property Manager to Market Your Aspen Home in the Off-Season
Aspen offers tons of year-round activities, so work with your property manager to choose a few of the most popular activities that you can emphasize on your website and in your marketing materials for your vacation rental.
Work with your property manager to develop an idea of your target audience for off-season marketing. Instead of skiing and winter sports enthusiasts, you'll likely want to target a more outdoorsy demographic; folks who just enjoy spending time outdoors hiking, fishing, climbing and observing wildlife. Your property manager will have a better idea of precisely what type of people are attracted to your unique Aspen home, giving you valuable insight.
Once you know your target audience for the off-season, you can promote your vacation home to these people more effectively. In the winter, your home may be the ultimate skier's retreat or a snowboarder's bungalow, but the summertime marketing description will be quite different. For example, if you're targeting hikers, rock climbers, and outdoorsmen, you might work with your property manager to market your Aspen vacation home as a wilderness retreat or a Rocky Mountain hideaway. How you describe your property can make all the difference.
You'll want to ensure that the photographs in your marketing materials and on your website appeal to this precise demographic. Therefore, when it comes time to shift your focus to summertime rental bookings, add some photographs of outdoors activities like hiking, rock climbing, white water rafting, or whatever other activities you're promoting.
You can also sweeten the deal by contacting a few local companies to join forces. For example, you might form a partnership with a nearby white water rafting company, offering a 20% discount to your guests. Or you could purchase summer passes to a local museum.
Any sort of perk or bonus that you can offer to your guests will increase your chances of getting a booking, especially if someone is on the fence trying to decide between your home and another similar property. You can work with your property manager to determine what perks and offerings are likely to be most popular amongst your guests.
You might also consider whether you'll stock your home with loaner items that can be used during the warmer summer months, like bikes, ATVs, fishing rods, or camping equipment. Again, your property manager will have a good idea of what activities your guests tend to enjoy simply from casual discussions when greeting or checking in on the guests. Just be sure to provide your property manager with an inventory of any loaner items you leave at the property, so he or she can check to ensure they're all present after a guest leaves.
Also, reading your guestbook can also offer wonderful insight into what activities your visitors are enjoying, as many guests will discuss the activities that they took part in during their trip.
With these tips, you'll be well on your way to keeping your rental home well-booked during the off-season.
Finding Quality Property Management to Boost Off-Season Bookings
If you're in search of a property manager for your Aspen vacation home, check out Rented.com. Rented.com works with many property management firms that offer a guaranteed revenue model, so you can receive a set monthly amount that's paid out regardless of bookings. That's perfect for ensuring a stable income from your vacation home, even in the warm summer months! Connect with some of the top vacation rental property managers on Rented.com by signing up today for a free account.
Lead image: Flickr CC user Nan Palmero