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How Does Covid-19 Affect the Rental Rate of your Vacation Home?

As a property manager, I list list your property on a multitude of 3rd party rental sites to maximize your properties exposure. These 3rd Party sites provide power tools, such as MarketMaker, that help homeowners and property managers set the best rate for your property against comparable properties within the market. These robust applications show the average rate of comparable booked homes, as well as the average rate of un-booked homes, as well as historical data of rates and vacancies. I continually check these analytics in order to achieve the best rate for your home, within the market.

However, the game has changed considerably since Covid-19 hit. Unfortunately, we can no longer rely on historical data of rates from previous years. This is because the way people travel have changed. market trends are showing an increase in last minute bookings during what would typically be off season. This new travel trend is due to peoples ability to travel anytime as many now have the luxury of working from home. Couple that with inability or reluctance to fly to a vacation destination, we will see more travelers looking to vacation close to home. This reflects our experience with my rental inventory this past September, with a huge spike in last minute bookings in comparison to previous years.

You may be thinking... "Oh, that is wonderful. We should expect more bookings and more income! Maybe?! However, last minute bookings makes it tricky to set the price in what would typically be off season. We set the rate too high, we lose out on bookings; setting it too low, we could be leaving money on the table, or attracting the wrong guests. Guests ability to pay has also greatly reduced, as family incomes have dropped and in uncertain times, families are very cautious about how they spend their money.

It is my opinion that the rental rates will drop considerably during the off season, but we will see an increase in overall bookings. This will either equate to similar income as previous years with more bookings to achieve that income, or an overall increase in income for the year. Here is to hoping for a decent rebound from Covid-19!

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