BY LATE AUGUST or early September, it’s almost as if our island of Bogue Banks takes a deep sigh of relief as summer days grow shorter and the breezes shift to the northeast, bringing cooler temperatures and fewer visitors to our beaches. Now is when we witness the migrations of homeowners returning to their vacation rental homes for the first time since the busy weeks of June, July and August. Experienced owners of beach cottages have learned to manage their expectations and know when they step through the door, the evidence will be all around them of families that have made the most delightful memories, but who have also left their indelible marks everywhere around the happily lived in property. September on the island is time for homeowners to take inventory of all the normal wear and tear of furnishings and be appreciative of such a robust rental season that saw so many weeks of back to back rentals.
If you are the owner of vacation rental property, September is also the time for the vitally important conversations that you should annually have with your vacation rental manager. Marketing for the following year begins now as so many of our rental guests are already planning their family beach trip for the summer of 2017. Websites are being updated and refreshed and the annual glossy vacation rental catalogs are going to press soon. Savvy vacation rental managers know that even with the most state of the art website and on-line bookings, the catalogs are still the “wish book” of choice and a winning strategy for helping rental guests choose their beach getaway.
As part of these strategic conversations with your vacation rental manager, share with them what your focus is for your island home. Do you wish to be very aggressive with your high season rates but are willing to discount if you have a vacant week here or there? Or are you one of the homeowners that wish to be more conservative on pricing to lock in all those summer weeks early? Perhaps you are even very content with open weeks because your mortgage is finally paid off and you love coming at the last minute for a bit of beach fun yourself. Consider each of these scenarios and then share your preference with your property manager when discussing your rental rates for next year.
As part of the September marketing review for your vacation rental home, remember this is your opportunity to tell your unique story to your future rental guests. If you plan to refurbish or renovate, do so this fall – don’t wait for next spring – and truly showcase your home with stunning new photographs and descriptions of these enhancements. If you enjoy social media, invite your friends, family and rental guests to share their beloved memories, photographs and videos on your vacation rental manager’s Facebook, Instagram or Twitter feed. September conversations with your favorite property manager are always a smart revenue strategy and will create a truly personal working relationship, too.
Julia Batten Wax, Broker/Owner
Emerald Isle Realty