Tips on Filling Gaps and Vacancies Between Guests

Tips on Filling Gaps and Vacancies between Guests - Article Banner

Vacancies between guests are going to happen; unless you’re renting out a home with a long-term lease, you can expect frequent turnover periods between your short term guests. This can be disruptive to your recurring income and your long term return on investment (ROI). 

Unless you make good use of that time.

What can you do to keep your property in excellent shape and to ensure that new guests are eager to book your home? 

We have some ideas. Here are a few tips on how to fill gaps and vacancies between guests. Sometimes, you’ll have just a few days between one guest and another. Other times, you might have a longer period of time – weeks or even months. 

Here’s how to make the best use of that time.

It’s Time for a Deep Clean

You probably have a team of professional cleaners come in and give the property a good once-over before the next guest checks in. 

However, with a longer vacancy period in front of you, there’s an opportunity to take things a bit further. Give your property a thorough, deep clean. Consider changing out the towels and the linens if they’ve been used, washed, re-used, washed again, etc. Power wash the outside of the property if it’s looking faded, dirty, or dusty. 

Cleaning is always a good option for your downtime during vacancies. Clean out the gutters if they’re looking packed with leaves and sticks. Have the carpets steam cleaned and put an extra shine on the wood floors. Re-seal the deck if it’s getting close to the time that you would do it anyway. 

Have your cleaners put in a little extra elbow grease. You can ask them to pull appliances away from the wall to dust and scrub behind them. The lint filter in the dryer could be vacuumed out. Re-organize the kitchen so all the plates, cookware, and utensils are easily accessed. 

Every property can always use a deep-clean, and now you actually have the time to do it right.

Use Vacancy Times to Manage Upgrades and Renovations 

Without a tenant in place, you have a significant opportunity to get some work done at your rental property. This may be as simple as repainting or as complex as putting in new floors. Maybe it’s time to switch out some appliances or install a new backsplash in the kitchen.

Whatever maintenance projects and updates you’ve been meaning to do, these gaps between guests in your seasonal or short term rental property are an excellent time to plan and complete the work. 

Take a look at your calendar every few months. You might see a gap that enables you the time you’ll need to tackle the big projects. When you have just a few days or a week between guests, take care of the deep cleaning and the minor updates. Strategize your timing and create a budget so you’re prepared and ready to maximize every day that the property is empty.

Use This Time to Re-Invest in Marketing 

While your rental property in Vancouver is vacant, you can spend some time making sure you have less vacancy in the coming year and seasons. 

Make some marketing moves while you have the time and an empty property. 

  • Update Marketing Photos 

Is it time to update your marketing photos? 

If so, get over to the property with a camera or hire a professional photographer to take some great and updated shots. You have the benefit of a clean, unoccupied property, so you can take your time and line up some of the best photos you can get. These will only improve your listing and draw new potential guests to you. 

Stage your rental home to look comfortable, inviting, and welcoming. Use the best possible natural light and take a lot of photos so you can judge which the best ones are when you’re re-writing your listing. 

You might want to consider taking a video if your listing does not have a video yet. Since your guests are normally not able to physically see your property before they rent it for a span of time, having a video available can make them feel like they’re enjoying a tour. It will help you set up expectations for when they arrive.

  • Pay Attention to Your Marketing Platforms

This is also a good time to work on your website or whatever marketing platform you’re using. See if there are better ways to attract good tenants. Are you active on social media? Do you know where your likely short term and seasonal renters can be found? 

Zero in on your guest reviews. If there are some positive reviews from former guests that have been recently left, take the time to respond to them. 

  • Communicate With Former Guests

During gaps in stays, you also have an opportunity to touch base with all of your former guests. If you don’t already have an email or a newsletter that you send out on a regular basis, this is a good time to create one. Nurturing relationships with past guests is a good way to invite them back as guests again in the future. Send along the new photos you took so they know about the upgrades and improvements you may have made. Talk about what’s been going on in the community, and why it’s a great time to plan a return trip. 

Prepare yourself and your property for the next big advertising campaign during vacancy periods. It’s a good use of time and resources, and it prepares you for future guests.

Marketing is a huge part of renting out properties in the shorter term. You are doing more of it than you would with a long term rental, so you need to have a consistent process in place that is improved and tweaked when you have the downtime. 

Evaluate the Market in Vancouver and Camas and Check Your Pricing 

Are you sure your rental property is priced correctly? Inflation has been driving up the cost for everything, including short and long term rental homes. 

During a gap or vacancy, you’re not rushing to manage your occupied rental property, and you don’t have to communicate with guests who need you. So, you have the time to evaluate the current rental market. Figure out where your rental home fits in. Are your rates competitive? Are they high enough? This is an ideal time to make any adjustments that may be necessary. 

You may also want to reduce your rates for those weeks that are vacant. Could this be a factor in the gap you’re currently experiencing? You probably know that the market is driven by season. Determine when your property is in demand and when it’s empty. 

You can use this time to strategize your average rental rates and to look at what you’re earning. Run some financial reports and analyze where you are, where you thought you’d be, and where you want to be. Decide if a price increase is justified based on your market research. 

Put Together Deals and Discounts to Motivate Repeat Bookings

Vacancy Between Bookings

What should you do when you find yourself with a full month or two of vacancy between bookings? 

One option is to offer a last-minute deal at a dramatically low price to guests who have stayed with you previously. They might be enticed into coming back, especially if you can offer a specific time period and an attractive discount. 

Maybe you find yourself with November completely open. You can check in with someone who has stayed with you in the fall previously to see if they’d like to come back for a few weeks or the whole month. Take a look at what they paid previously, and give them a discount that will get their attention. It’s possible they’ve thought of returning, but they haven’t found a place they like in their price range. You can solve that problem and keep your property occupied. 

It’s also a good opportunity to ask your existing bookings if they’d like to arrive early or stay longer. When you find yourself with extra time between reservations, offer an extra week for half price. That might be a great way to earn more income and keep your property occupied. 

Be creative with your existing and past reservations. When you have established good relationships with these guests and provided outstanding stays, they’ll always be looking for a good reason to come back.

If you’re finding that it’s stressful and frustrating to keep up with the management of your seasonal or short term rental property, and the gaps and vacancies are more frequent than you’d like them to be, it might be time to ask for help. Property managers can come into your property while it’s unoccupied and make some recommendations. We can review your rental rate and tell you if you’re spot-on or if you could use an adjustment. 

Even if you don’t want to hire a full-time property manager, your downtime is a great opportunity to talk through some of your challenges and hear some advice. 

Please contact us at Utmost Property Management. We manage homes for investors like you in Vancouver, Camas and the Greater Clark County area.