If you own a vacation rental or have ever rented a cabin, house, or condo yourself, you know that rental rates seem to change the closer you get to the date you want to travel. The key to those changing rates is the booking window. Here’s a primer on booking windows and how you use them to set rental rates for your vacation rental.
BOOKING WINDOW BASICS
A booking window is the time between when the guest makes the reservation and when the guest checks in.
Say you have a one-bedroom vacation rental and guests, on average, reserve the rental 34 days before the day they’ll arrive. Your average booking window is 34 days. Set the rates higher before the average booking window. Set them to be competitive around the average booking time--when you’re likely to get the most interest--and then look at dropping rates for vacant nights once the booking window starts to close.
The calendar alone doesn’t dictate booking windows. The number of bedrooms has a big effect on booking windows too.
BEDROOMS AND BOOKINGS
The more bedrooms a rental features, the longer booking windows tend to be. In short: Bigger vacation rentals book farther in advance of the guests’ arrival.
When people vacation in larger groups--a family reunion, a gang of friends--they have to plan well in advance. Everyone needs to check schedules, ask for time off work, and generally coordinate their lives with everyone else’s. Anyone reserving accommodations for a larger group wants to be sure to get a rental with enough bedrooms. That means locking down reservations early, to avoid missing out on desirable, large vacation rentals.
Small families, couples, and single travelers don’t have to coordinate with others. So they’re more likely to make plans much closer to the time when they want to travel.
The result for your booking windows: Larger vacation rentals, meaning those with three or more bedrooms, tend to have a longer booking window than smaller rentals with one or two bedrooms.
Vacationers in 2019 booked one-bedroom properties 34 days in advance, according to Transparent, which gathers data on the rental market. For each added bedroom, the booking window grew by 12 days, on average. Those figures aren’t specifically about Smoky Mountains vacation rentals, but they show the general trend toward longer windows on larger properties.
GET EXPERT HELP
Colonial Properties Cabin and Resort Rentals can help you optimize your vacation rental's booking window to set the most effective rental rates. Using data like booking windows is one way Colonial Properties gives owners the best property management possible. Contact our Owner Success Team as 865-365-0240 to find out how we can help you share your beautiful Smokies vacation rental with more guests.