On Cape Cod, the shoulder season is typically in spring and fall – after the busy summer, but before the Christmas holiday. This is a good opportunity to step back and take a look at your Cape Cod rentals, and determine how to manage them – and the likelihood of a much lower occupancy – for the upcoming season.
Here are a few fall Cape Cod tips for managing your rental during the shoulder season.
Prepare Your Rental for Winter
Whether your own a year-round property or not, it needs to be winterized.
If your house is fully insulated, this might mean simply storing the barbecue and water toys. If your property needs a bit more work, you may have to put some more time to install sealant for doorframes and windows to keep the cold air out.
If this is your first time renting outside of summer, you might find yourself blowing insulation into the walls. Whatever condition your vacation rental is in, you’ll have to put some work into it to prepare it for winter rentals on Cape Cod.
Now that you’ve got a few tenants here and there, be sure to create a check-up schedule and keep up with regular, ongoing maintenance. Vacation rentals outside the city can run into all kinds of problems in the winter – everything from drafty rooms to frozen water mains.
Change Your Marketing Strategy
If you’re keen to rent Cape Cod vacation homes year-round, you’ll have to rethink your marketing strategy. The Cape sells itself in the summertime, but it needs a little bit of help come shoulder season.
That’s where we can help. We offer listing services for rental homeowners, allowing them to tap into both our expertise and network of renters. We can help you determine how to market your place to a different audience and highlighting different activities, and, ultimately, increase shoulder season occupancy.
You may need to lower your prices somewhat for the shoulder season – not as low as the off-season, but not as high as peak weeks in July and August. While you may have to lower your nightly rates to an extent, that’s not the only strategy that has proven successful.
Have a five-night stay minimum? Try lowering it to one or two. Sure, it’s more work for the owner, but it will increase both business and exposure. Who knows? If they like it they might even come back at another time.
If you’re still having trouble finding tenants, rethink your audience. Who is your most common shoulder season renter? If it tends to be couples with no children and you’re advertising a four-bedroom house at a four-bedroom price, chances are your property can be affected by low occupancy. Figure out who your potential customers are, and find ways to highlight the things that make your property appealing to them.
Use Slow Weeks for Home Improvement
When you’ve done all the marketing you can, and you still have periods of vacancy, don’t stress. Instead, use it to your advantage. Use the shoulder season to put an addition on the house, paint, build a shed, renovate the living room, improve the landscaping, or redecorate the bathroom. Remember: upgrades you make during the off-season will increase the value of your property in the high season.
For more information on how we can help you manage your rentals on Cape Cod during the shoulder season this year, request an information brochure on the “Home Owners” section of our website. We can provide you with a rental income analysis that considers the colder, quieter months on the Cape, as well as the hot, sunny ones. Call us today at (508) 619-7658 to discuss the off-season possibilities for your Cape Cod rentals.