One Fine Stay Does Not Mean One Night’s Stay

That 7-Night Stay Rule and When We Decide to Waive it for Shorter Stays

One of the most frequently asked questions of us by Property Owners regarding their property calendars and income leads me to realize that you’re all unclear about the 7-night Saturday-Saturday (or Friday-Friday) stay rule, how and when it gets lowered/waived, and how that affects your revenue and occupancy.

To catch up. Once a year in the late summer/early fall we reach out to our Property Owners with a new Rate Sheet with suggested rates for the following calendar year. In this Rate Sheet we seek approval for:

  1. Dynamic Rate Pricing – allowing us to rate agreed rates up and down within a 20% variable off of the agreed rates, reduce the 7-night stay as low as 2 or 3-nights, increase nightly rates sometimes more than 20%, and allow a check in and check out day of any (instead of a rigid Saturday-Saturday or Friday-Friday stay). All of this is done in response to our analytics of Guest booking patterns. Our goal is to maximize revenue first, occupancy second. Data has shown that Guests love flexible booking rules and will pay more for shorter stays. Our goal then is to book the most popular 3-night weekends first at a higher nightly rate, often higher than the original weekly rate. Then we lower the nightly rate and fill the gaps left. This brings in 35% more revenue than setting rates once and leaving alone untouched.
  2. A 1-night rate and a 7-night rate.

In late summer/early fall, we load up the approved rates and stay rules:

  • For the 17-week summer season, we initially have rigid stay rules of a 7-night minimum and Saturday-Saturday (or Friday-Friday).
  • Outside of the summer season we have a 3-night minimum for the shoulder season, and unless something major is happening around town, a 2-night minimum the rest of the year. Check in and check out day is any.

Our general rule of thumb is to stick to the 7-night minimum fixed check in and check days for the 17-week summer season until we get to a magic number of days prior to arrival. Here’s our logic for the summer season:

  1. If a summer season week has not booked by April 1, then we waive the 7-night minimum and rigid check in/check out day rules to allow flexible booking.
  2. We increase the nightly rate higher than the 20% window and leave the weekly rates as is. Again, the goal is to fill the most popular 3-night long weekend to bring in at least the weekly income equivalent.
  3. Once a long weekend has booked at higher rates, we lower the nightly rate and work to fill the odd gaps left by booking long weekends.

As we get closer to the magic Memorial Day week and enter the summer season proper, raising the nightly rates a lot higher than 20% has diminishing returns. Then we turn to a different tactic. We use your pre-approved 20% window and begin to lower 7-night and 1-night rates within the 20% window in response to Guest inquiry and booking patterns. Our goal always is to maximize revenue first, occupancy second, but to get as close to 100% summer occupancy as possible.

All of our work on rates and stay rules always follows the driving goal to maximize revenue. We follow data on Guest inquiry and booking patterns closely. We do not jump too soon and reduce rates and soften stay rules willy-nilly. We’re working to maximize revenue and make as many stays as simple as possible with 7-night Saturday-Saturday (or Friday-Friday) restrictions.

You can trust us with this. We work on commission. The more you earn, the more we earn. As always thought, the Guest is in charge and we modify rates and stay rules based on Guest demand. We never rent by the night. Vacation Rental properties are not hotels. To take one night’s stay jus does not make sense in a vacation rental property.