Understanding Your Cabin's Booking Window and Why it Matters

If you own a vacation cabin 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 Smoky Mountains cabin.

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 cabin and guests, on average, reserve the cabin 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 cabin features, the longer booking windows tend to be. In short: Bigger cabins 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 cabin with enough bedrooms. That means locking down reservations early, to avoid missing out on desirable, large cabins.

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 cabins, meaning those with three or more bedrooms, tend to have a longer booking window than smaller cabins 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 cabin 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 cabin’s booking window to set the most effective rental rates. Using data like booking windows is one way Colonial Properties gives cabin owners the best property management possible. Contact us today to find out how we can help you share your beautiful Smokies cabin with more guests.

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