How to Cut Vacation Rental Cancellations in Half

Posted by Team Donovan on Wednesday, April 5th, 2017 at 4:44pm.

Many people who decide to buy vacation homes in Orlando rent them out to holiday visitors when they’re not using them. But one of the drawbacks of owning a vacation rental is the constant need to find new guests. Since turnover is high, and holiday stays are short-term, it’s not unheard of to end up with an empty property, even if your home is located next to Disney. 

One of the most frustrating and costly issues vacation owners have to deal with is cancellations. Here are a few ways you can cut your rental cancellations in half. 

Know Your Market – It’s good practice to check out your competition in the rental market from time to time. Find out what they charge during low season and high season, and what type of amenities they offer their guests. 

When you set a competitive rate for your property, it will help you attract AND keep bookings. Many holiday travelers book a vacation rental online, and then keep browsing in case they find a better rate. When you price your rental correctly, you’re less likely to have those last-minute cancellations. 

Focus on Repeat Guests – It’s a challenge to convince guests to choose your property over a competitors’ (including hotels). However, the good news is that people are creatures of habit. If your guests enjoyed staying at your property, they are more likely to come back time and again. Even better, your guests may tell their friends about the amazing vacation home or condo where they stayed and encourage them to visit. 

There are several things you can do to encourage repeat visitors. For one thing, ask if you can add them to your mailing list. This gives you a chance to remind them every so often about our great property. You can also offer them discounts and other incentives to stay during the off-season, when bookings may be slim. 

Another tactic to use is to make it easy for guests to book another stay. Provide a short form they can fill out so they can save their spot for next year. You can also make a follow-up phone call or send an email too. 

Finally, one of the best ways to encourage repeat guests is to make their stay extra special. You could include a small welcome gift upon arrival, such as a bottle of wine and thank you card. Other ideas include providing a few snacks and cold drinks on hand, as well as a small gift basket with local treats. It’s also helpful to have a local guidebook, restaurant coupons and theme park information on hand to show you put some thought and effort into their stay. 

Make Your Listing Pop! – It can’t be stressed enough how important it is to have a fabulous listing on a vacation website. It’s what sets you apart from your competition. Spend time creating an enticing headline and description that accurately depicts your property. It’s even worth spending money to hire a professional photographer to take indoor and outdoor shots of your home, as well as any amenities the community or condo building has to offer. 

Encourage potential guests to contact you with any questions, or if they’d like more information, and then respond promptly when they do. 

Have a Clear Cancellation Policy – You would be wise to treat your vacation rental like a business. That means having proper policies and plans in place such as a cancellation policy. After all, most hotels and resorts have them! Your policy should state clearly what happens should guests need to cancel their stay, including listing a date they must cancel by, any fees they will incur and how they must inform you. 

It’s common practice to require a non-refundable deposit. This way, you can make it clear when your guests make a reservation that the booking won’t be official until you receive their deposit. It’s a good idea to consider asking for a higher deposit during high-season to discourage last-minute cancellations. 

Need help finding a vacation home in Orlando to buy? Contact Team Donovan today at 407-705-2616. We’d love to help you find the property that’s perfect for your needs.