Each year, thousands of seasonal travelers make the great migration to warmer climates during the winter months. These south-flocking travelers (typically retirees) are referred to as “snowbirds,” and often hail from Canada. According to the Canadian Snowbird Association, 87% of its 100,000 members are or are planning to travel to the US this year. So, how can short-term rental owners reach more of these folks? We’ll cover how you can prepare your vacation rental for snowbirds, optimize your listing, and ultimately increase your bookings and revenue.
Popular snowbird destinations
If you’re wondering where snowbirds are heading, simply follow the warmer temperatures. Arizona, California, and Florida are popular destinations for seasonal visitors. At AvantStay, San Diego, Scottsdale, and Coachella Valley were some of the most booked destinations for the winter months this year. If you’re looking to purchase your first or next vacation rental home, consider buying in one of these top destinations for snowbirds:
- Coachella Valley
- Emerald Coast/30A
- Fort Lauderdale
- Joshua Tree
- Key West
- Palm Springs
- San Diego
Prepare your vacation rental for snowbirds
Snowbirds will typically be traveling a long distance to enjoy your vacation rental (and staying for an extended period) so make it feel like their home away from home. Make sure your space is stocked and ready to welcome guests. From quality linens to a fully stocked kitchen and luxury bath products, don’t skimp on the vacation rental essentials. But don’t stress—we created a complete inventory checklist to help you become the host with the most.
Now, here comes the fun part. One of the easiest ways to make your home stand out is by providing top-of-the-line amenities. There are some amenities that snowbirds view as a need rather than a nice-to-have. These can make or break a good review, so invest in the following if you can:
- Fast WiFi
- Smart locks for contactless check-in
- Smart TVs with streaming options
- Workout equipment
- Pet-friendly stays
Take it one step further and provide experiential elements and amenities for all kinds of activities. Use your location for inspiration. Is your home on the water? Have kayaks, paddle boards, and other water toys ready for snowbirds to enjoy. Outdoor fire pit? Don’t forget the roasting sticks and supplies for s’mores. If budget and space aren’t an issue, consider installing a putting green or pickleball court to make your rental shine.
Also, supply equipment like beach chairs and umbrellas, towels, pool floats, tennis rackets, and pickleball paddles. These details won’t go unnoticed and can lead to more bookings and higher ratings.
Optimize your vacation rental listing
Reach more snowbirds with a well-optimized listing. This is your first touchpoint with potential guests and entices them to book a stay. Start with your title, description, and keywords. Your title should describe your vacation rental and leave travelers compelled to click your listing.
Next, use your description to paint a picture of the guest experience at your home, including all the details that make your property stand out from the competition (especially the intangible perks like location!). Be sure to list your rental’s proximity to popular snowbird activities and attractions like beaches, golf courses, museums, tennis courts, dining, and more.
Also, don’t just list amenities—describe how guests can make their own memories at your home. Do you have a cozy patio perfect for enjoying morning coffee? Or a private pool and hot tub for relaxing after a day on the golf course? Use these in your listing to encourage snowbirds to hit that “Book Now” button.
When creating your title and description, incorporate search engine optimization (SEO) strategies to further boost your reach. Research search terms (“keywords”) that are popular in your market and add those to your listing. Some examples could be “private beachfront cottage in Destin” or “dog-friendly Palm Springs vacation rental.”
Another key component of your vacation rental listing is the imagery. Capture snowbirds’ attention with eye-catching photos. Hire a professional photographer to take high-resolution photos of your vacation rental that accurately reflect the space, amenities, views, and what guests can expect when they walk into your home.
Tweak your marketing strategy for snowbirds
Promoting your vacation rental on multiple online travel agencies (OTAs) gets your home in front of more snowbirds and means more potential bookings. Airbnb, Vrbo, Expedia, and Booking.com are popular OTAs for vacation rental homes. Also, promote your rental on niche sites specifically for seasonal travelers, like American Snowbird.
Make sure you understand each site’s criteria and functionality for listing your property and create a strategy for managing your listing across each. You’ll have to stay on top of guidelines, optimizing your listing, guest inquiries, reservations, and reviews for each platform to enhance your home’s performance.
Start a vacation rental blog
Show off your local expertise with a vacation rental blog. A blog is an easy way to increase your visibility on search engines. With a thoughtful SEO strategy and the use of relevant keywords, you can drive more traffic to your website and increase bookings.
Snowbirds appreciate recommendations and tips from a local. Pair your expertise with keyword research to write useful content for potential guests. Some examples of blog topics for snowbirds include:
- Best Things to Do in Key West in February
- 18 Best Restaurants in Coachella Valley
- Top 5 Best Beaches in Oahu
Leverage the power of social media
Allocate some of your marketing budget to social media ads. Facebook and Pinterest make it easy to narrow your target audience. You can choose to show your ads to your ideal guest by using filters like location, age, interests, and more. This allows you to get the most out of your advertising budget while optimizing for bookings.
Welcome more snowbirds with AvantStay
Successfully running a vacation rental, especially if you don’t live in the area, is a heavy lift. From keeping your home stocked and clean to strategic marketing and distribution, there are a lot of moving parts. If you want to reach more snowbirds (and travelers all year round), partner with a professional vacation rental manager.
AvantStay offers end-to-end management programs to give you peace of mind. From financials to design to maintenance, we take care of your home as if it were our own. Our proprietary tech suite powers bookings, operationalizes in-field management, and activates an elevated guest experience. Plus, upgrades and experiences booked through our app can help snowbirds schedule tee times, organize at-home massages, request mid-stay cleans, and more! Say hello to more five-star ratings.
Interested in learning more about what it means to partner with AvantStay? Our team is ready to help. Get started with our vacation rental management experts today!