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.
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.
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.