Peak seasons – from the end of summer to winter holidays to school vacation weeks – can make a major difference for property managers’ annual productivity given the endless consumer demand for rentals. Managers tend to fully rent out their existing properties during these prime weeks far in advance, however consumer demand for rentals tends to continue all the way up until the last minute and such “late bookers” are willing to pay a premium to rent.
This common scenario begs the question: how can property managers find last minute inventory to rent to these late bookers during prime vacation weeks to capitalize on the premium rental prices?
One easy answer that will bolster your peak season business while also helping build your inventory year round: create smart partnerships and connections with other property managers, real estate agents, and marketplaces. Knowing these resources ahead of peak season will assist in making the most of a potentially lucrative time.
Create mutually beneficial partnerships with other property managers to create a pipeline of referrals that may help you snag inventory last minute for peak rental seasons. If you help other property managers with basic business needs regularly and are connected to them personally, they are likely to send rentals your way when they are over capacity. Remember to keep these managers apprised of your desire for more inventory and to ask for referrals directly if they seem busy.
While it is advisable to operate transparently given that reputational excellence is key, you can also consider accumulating strategic information from property managers in your circle that can be used to follow up for the next rental season, for marketing purposes and to check in on cancellations / openings.
Real Estate Agents
Given that homeowners must buy the house before they can rent it, partnering with real estate agents is another way to create a seamless inventory pipeline. Create relationships with real estate agents who work on sales, as they can refer their clients to you for future renting purposes during the closing process. Some agents could even use a partnership with you as a way to convince their clients to buy, as expected income from renting could make them more comfortable with a higher purchase price.
Look for and become familiar with marketplaces that constantly add new inventory of rental homes. One unique marketplace is VacationFutures, which connects homeowners who are looking to rent their home to professional property managers. Such a marketplace allows you to get new inventory in real time, which can be relevant at any time of the year. However, VacationFutures may be particularly helpful to property managers during peak season, as once you agree to a price to pay the homeowner you can rent the home to vacationers for whatever price works – a great situation for managers dealing with last minute renters who have less price sensitivity. Whatever marketplace you choose, it is best to become familiar with their terms and conditions and site before peak season hits so that you can be immediately ready to participate when you have capacity.
Whichever sources you use to build up your inventory pipeline, remember that building relationships takes time but if you always display good business judgment and transparency such partnerships can become quite fruitful. As a property manager seeking to build your business, remember to stretch yourself to capitalize on peak seasons in order to bolster your bottom line.