How to profit after rental income is maximised

online property We are in a happy position with Osprey Cottage – sort of….because we seem to have reached our maximum occupancy potential. Over the last two years income has been pretty steady with 44 bookings in 2010 and 42 this year. Considering we had closed the place down for renovations for a couple of weeks each year for putting on a new roof, re-decoration and re-carpeting and more recently for building a new deck, it’s still done very well. Looking at our stats though, there are a few tweaks we could make to pull in a few more bookings.

Changing tack and changeover days

For the 10 weeks of high season we rent weekly only, from Saturday to Saturday and occupancy is consistently good – we are usually booked for the summer by February mostly with repeat guests, some of whom will be back in 2012 for their seventh visit. The shoulder and low seasons are usually made up of weekend rentals and shorter breaks, and on closer scrutiny we realized that our standard weekly rental arrival/departure days might be creating an obstacle to maximizing occupancy. By changing the changeover day to Friday we’d be able to rent a Friday-Friday week, then take a weekend booking, leaving Monday – Friday short break available, which we have found to be more desirable.

Specials

We’ll also be offering some specials to fill in the empty spaces and will target emergency service workers with very attractive deals, since this is one work group that has days off mid-week and are not focused on weekend rentals. It’s helpful that my son is a firefighter and his wife is a paramedic as so we have access to their networks, but it should be easy to find someone who is able to point you in the right direction of appropriate intranets.

2012 Challenge

Even if we do these things and get a few more bookings, there will come a point where there is no further income to be made from renting the place. We are at the limit of the rental rate for the area so even adding more features or facilities will not make much of a difference. So we have set a challenge to create additional income this year by using what we know of the area and creating a comprehensive ebook that we will give free to our guests, and also sell on our web site.

The Ebook Project

I’ve been playing around with this idea for a while but not given it really serious thought. However, over the past few months, I’ve been researching a lot of stuff for our upcoming trip to Costa Rica and would have loved to find a definitive guide to the small area we are visiting. I want to know where to shop, what type of food we’ll find, where to rent a paddle board, which beaches are the best to swim and snorkel, and information for exploring – and that’s just a few of the resources I have been looking for. Although the villa site is very comprehensive and has a lot of information, there is so much more I would like to know. Given this, I want to produce an ebook for my Osprey Cottage guests that will have everything they need to plan their trip. For those that don’t book but will be staying in the area, I’m going to offer the ebook for sale…..then set up an affiliate programme for others to sell it as well. For those of my readers who are members at Renting For Profit, I hope you have downloaded the book on there to help you get started with something similar, and over the next few weeks, I’ll be documenting how this all comes together.

If this is something you are thinking of doing, why not follow my progress on RFP and create a valuable resource for your guests and to sell. This is a great way of creating a new income stream by just using the knowledge you already have. Let me know so we can share what we are all doing.

Four Ways To Make Extra Income From Your Web Site

goals for 2008Having your own website to advertise your vacation rental is the number one way of marketing your vacation home. However, if all you are doing with it is promoting the cottage there is a finite amount of income in weeks rented. Once those have been reserved there is no more money arriving in your mailbox.

But wait! There’s more….. In fact there is even a name for making additional income through your website. This is called….drumroll please….MONETISING. Yes, I know, it’s a horrible name but I would imagine Webster’s dictionary will be listing it soon if it is not already in there.

Monetising covers all types of income generating activities you can incorporate into your website or blog. Here’s four of the easiest ones to set up.

Sell Advertising space

If you have a decent amount of visitors to your website, you may be able to sell ad space on it to local providers. Let’s say your property has a thriving local town where there are a number of restaurants or activity providers. Start a review section on the site and write a short summary of where to eat and what to do. Then contact the restaurant owners and activity companies and ask if they would like to advertise on your site. The advantage for them is that people are coming to your site to look for accommodation in the area – they are already warm leads. You would need to show that you have a good amount of site visitors though, so having a stats programme on your site is important to monitor activity.

Incorporate Adsense

Take a look at the left side of this blog. There’s a block of Google Ads generated every time the page is viewed. These are supplied by a programme called Adsense which is run by the mighty Google. You’ll see them on lots of sites but you may never have clicked on them. In fact I wouldn’t be surprised if you don’t like them much, but they do generate income without you having to do a thing! I’ve heard people comment that they don’t like the idea of competitors advertising on their site, and since you have little control over the ads that are shown, you would have to accept it. The reality is, people are going to find your competition anyway, and if you can make a buck or two out of them doing it, it may well be worth the try.

Affiliate Programmes

Now shift your eyes to the right where I blatantly advertise my book, Renting your Recreational Property for Profit. If you now click on that book image you’ll be sent to the Amazon page and of course you could then buy the book which would be wonderful for my ego, and of course my royalty cheque! Not only that but if you bought my book, or any other product on the Amazon site during that visit, I would also make a few cents commission because the link you clicked on contains my affiliate code. You can advertise any book on your site this way and signing up with the Amazon Associates programme is free and easy.You can even create a complete Amazon Store, select books that you believe are relevant and add the store as a separate page on your web site.

If you want to know more about affiliate programmes and how they can work for you, download the free book, The Affiliate Masters Programme and get set for a great read. I can’t recommend this highly enough as this is the book that really fired me up on how the internet can create additional income.

Create an ebook

They say everyone has a book in them. Well, I wrote one and if I can do it, then I’m betting most of my readers can too. Ebooks are a great way of creating an income generating product to sell on your website. Think for a moment about all the things you could write about that would interest your site visitors. I came up with three topics I could write about straight away.

Day Trips in the Kawarthas – I could come up with at least half a dozen good outings that guests could do from my cottage and include a route map for each with places of interest along the way.

Crafts, Antiques and Farmer’s Markets – a guide for visitors – this would be a list of all the interesting stores and places to go in the area with a description of each.

Hidden Trails and Ghost Towns – find the unique aspects of the area and write about them. Where I am in eastern ontario, there are lots of ‘ghost towns’ and abandoned villages that people may be interested in. Add in a list of trails that are less well known, and there’s a saleable ebook.

If you like this idea but haven’t a clue how to get started, Jim Edwards & Joe Vitale’s ebook, “How to Write and Publish Your Own eBook… in as Little as 7 Days” is a terrific primer.

Remember that people coming to your web site are already primed to buy a vacation. They are looking for information related to that decision, so even if your cottage is not the one for them, or it is already booked for the time they want, there is a good chance they will be interested in any supplemental information you can provide.