You know these annoying gaps in the low and mid season that never seem to fill? Almost any vacation rental owner tries to fill as many nights as possible during that time and everything is in the works for reaching a good score in terms of nights booked. Chances are if your mid season gets fully booked then you will be happy anyway, but in some cases low season also has potential for bookings – you just have to be flexible with your net rates and be in the mood to send a few emails to the right people at the right places.
I have used a method that helps bring more nights to your rentals in the mid season and more long weekends in the low season; and here it is. If you ever had the opportunity to work for a large company with more than 500 employees then you know that such companies tend to have well-organized ‘human resources’ departments, especially, companies that have a well-respected and recognizable brand either at a local, national or global level. The human resources department (also known as HR) comprises of company employees who deal with matters related to…company employees. From hiring to firing from salaries to bonuses for holidays and maternity leaves and from corporate cars to mobile phones the human resources department takes care of everything related to corporate staff and their needs.
Inside many human resources departments there is a section or group known as ‘rewards and benefits’ or of a similar title. It is usually managed by one or two persons who have the mission to find some really good deals for company staff which can be presented to them as part of the company’s ever ‘expanding portfolio of rewards and benefits’. A typical example of this is a special discount card, valid only for shopping at certain shops at a significant discount (-25%). Or a 50% discount for an annual subscription to a fitness center. And so on.
Your mission – should you choose to accept it – 🙂 is to short list companies that have an active ‘rewards and benefits’ employee or group of employees working at the human resources dept. not far away from your area. You can do this via linkedin, just play a bit with the search options for people. Once you locate the right people you can send them an inmail, or, if you really have the time for this, you can locate them in the Groups they are members at, join their group and send them a message as a group member if you manage to get accepted by the group manager.
Just send them a polite message introducing yourself and tell them that you wish to make a contribution to the company’s rewards and benefits program. Make a solid preparation on your offer-use a powerpoint presentation, create a nice .pdf, but whatever you do make sure it looks stellar-I have my reasons for telling you this, read on and you will understand what I mean. Remember that your offer will highly depend on your objectives. For example, if your objective is to fill those vacant 30 nights in September and October and also have a go for filling long weekends in November and March, then be prepared for just that. Make attractive ‘bundles’ for a 5 night stay, a long weekend stay, and a weekend stay, for every month in turn using just your net rates, or go even below your net rates if you can afford it.
Now this is what will happen (more or less). The ‘rewards and benefits’ team will evaluate your offer and actually conduct a research on the web to validate you. Moreover they would check on your rate offer by comparing it to the rate they find on booking.com or any other related site where they will find your listing. If they see that your offer has a substantial difference from the rack rates found on the Web, and they also find that your property is of good standards, then you qualify and your offer becomes an offer that gets disseminated across the whole corporate workforce. In simple English: they will send an internal e-mail to all their employees informing them about “another great deal the company managed to get for the ever improving rewards and benefits program”, where they will be giving more details about you (handing over your presentation, the one you sent to the company), together with contact details and everything. If you wish to expand your reach beyond the company staff, just amplify your offer so that is valid for their employees and ‘their close relatives’. No one would check how relative is the relative so you will widen your reach beyond the employees and your offer will ravel a bit further – quite a bit further I would say based on my experience in running this!
The advantages are obvious. This is a place where your competition is almost certainly absent; your target group will be mostly employees, families with a good income that can afford weekends and short escapes outside the main season. You can use this in any case where your get the hunch that your availability calendar will get blanks in certain periods-you already know these if your rental is in the business for a few years. And it can be a great way to replenish a last minute cancellation in the high season too. Just act fast and send an offer to the ‘rewards and benefits’-there will surely be a “still-to-decide-about-my-holidays” employee who will grab your blank dates in no time.
Remember: it is important to make a stellar presentation of your property and also have a good rate to offer. See if you can work something out for couples or a special rate that depends on the number of people who come to stay. Make it as flexible as possible, as much as you can afford. You will not be disappointed.
I hope you find this useful and I wish you the best for your rental Business!