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How to maximise your short-let investment this winter

In this guest piece, Emmanuel Lavoie, CEO of Jetstream Hospitality Solutions, sets out how investors can make the most from their holiday lets this winter - when, aside from those owning ski homes, it's not peak season for owning this type of investment.

Holiday home owners and managers across the board have had a record summer season with staycations and domestic travel winning through. Investors have been getting into the short-term rental sector to take advantage of the current high demand for this type of accommodation, either by flexing their assets or buying properties as holiday lets.

As we move into winter, booking patterns traditionally level off in some regions, depending on location. Some property investors need to cope, maybe for the first time, with the annual challenge of uneven demand as the low season draws in. Whilst other owners, in ski regions for example, will be entering their busiest period.


Whichever camp you sit in, it’s important to plan in advance how to make the most out of your short-let investment all year round - not just during the boom periods.

The holiday high points of Christmas and New Year fall in winter, and with family and friends looking for self-catering short-term rentals in which to gather in and celebrate, it’s worth tapping into this market year on year.

As well as demand spikes, investors need to keep in mind practical concerns such as keeping their properties safe and secure when lying vacant and protected from damage and weather conditions. If investors can get to grips with demand fluctuations and property care issues they will be well poised to ride out winter profitably.

(Emmanuel Lavoie, CEO of Jetstream)

3 ways to make the most of winter:

1. Seasonal, targeted marketing and listing

Drawing up a focused marketing plan for how you are going to win bookings over winter is a smart move. You may want to consider marketing your rental on a variety of OTAs to maximise the exposure. Another tactic is to choose one or two which really speak to your core market, be they skiers or large families.

Consider researching pricing of similar “CompSet” properties for rate comparison and predict local demand surges, for example if a big sporting event or Christmas market is taking place in your area.

Understand when to walk away. It’s worth remembering that it’s actually not always worth accepting every booking. Sometimes low rates for short-term stays in the low season are better left to someone else. Understand your break even point and flex your strategy accordingly. For your marketing strategy, you may decide to focus on higher rates but build in weekly or monthly discounts so as to attract longer stays and digital nomad workers. Leavetown.com specialises in this type of booking.

It’s always sensible to maintain a dialogue with your existing customers throughout the low season. You want to make sure that your property is front of mind when guests decide to repeat book for the next season. A good way to do this is through email marketing - newsletters - or social media.

No marketing strategy would be complete without high-quality, appealing visual collateral. When marketing your property online, ensure that your photographs are top notch to attract the best guests during the low or high season. Think about who your target market is - is it a family booking for a Christmas stay or is it a remote worker wanting to combine business and downtime time in an extended stay? Whichever you decide, check that your property images appeal to your chosen market.

2. Operational tech to protect your asset and drive efficiencies

At Jetstream, we are seeing both owners and property managers increasingly ‘tech’ing up’ and taking advantage of the multitude of operational tech solutions on offer to automate their processes. Whether it's the high or low season for your property in winter, all-in-one platforms can ensure that the whole short-term rental process (from marketing and bookings to customer communication, guest screening and cleaning/maintenance scheduling) is as efficient as possible. This is particularly valuable during low season periods.

Operational tech can also be harnessed to protect your property during the cold season. For example, smart home tech can safeguars your home from the elements and when it is lying vacant, informing you if there’s a water leak so you can make repairs early on and prevent unnecessary damage.

It’s often advisable to use quieter periods to get your operations in order, in preparation for when things pick up again. This is especially useful if you are a new investor in the short-term rental sector. Tech can be used to automate your heating and cooling systems, for instance, and this can all be trialled out during winter.

3. Creating the ‘home office’ from home - remote worker market

One strategy for winter is to appeal to the growing remote worker market. As hybrid working is becoming more mainstream and employees are building on habits learned during the pandemic, the demand for travel blurring work and leisure has increased.

Data from Leavetown.com shows that the digital nomad trend is set to continue as 90% of those surveyed plan to take trips over the next 12 months combining work and vacation - with almost a third (33%) planning at least 4 work/ vacation trips over the next year (into 2022).

With this in mind, and if you plan to make your property attractive to remote workers, it’s essential to create the right hybrid work / leisure environment. When working away from home, guests need seamless tech to create a hassle-free stay. Speedy, reliable Wifi is a basic requirement and going beyond this is helpful if you want repeat bookings. Create a conducive workspace - a comfortable desk and chair, privacy, good lighting etc.

When traveling to combine work and play, it’s helpful to know that you have leisure options close to hand. As an investor appealing to this market, you might want to highlight the attractions on your doorstep, such as nature trails, facilities or retreats, so that likely bookers can feel confident they can both work and relax whilst staying in your property.

Seasonal advantages

These three tips should help owners to make the most of the cold season and turn it to their advantage wherever their properties are located. If investors can weather flatter booking periods confidently, knowing their assets are running efficiently with the help of operational tech, then they should see a long-term profitable annual return.

*Emmanuel Lavoie is CEO of Jetstream Hospitality Solutions


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