Don't Lower Your Rates!

$35 per night…that was the rate that caught my eye when searching a well-known booking site for local accommodations. The price reminded me of a flea-bag motel on the bad side of town where hookers and drug dealers do their thing. $35 per night! How do they even keep the sheets clean???

The point I’m trying to make, although gross, is that the cheapest is rarely the best…especially in the hospitality industry.

Unfortunately, reducing rates is a common strategy for hotel managers and owners faced with low occupancy rates. Factor in a shortage of staff, and reduced rates may seem appropriate. But this strategy is nothing more than a race to the bottom.

Of course, if being the cheapest, low-quality property is your goal, then stop reading. But my guess is that you got into the hospitality industry for something a little more ambitious. So let’s talk about how to get more guests without lowering your rates.

It’s a natural misconception to think that lowering your rates will result in more bookings. But to what end? When you compete with low-rate properties you’ll get low-rate guests. And that’s a lose-lose for you and your guests.

So, how do you reach more guests and increase your bookings? We’ll get to that in a second, but first I want to talk about vacation rental properties.

A few years ago I started working for an international vacation property management company. I saw first-hand how the C-19 pandemic cost people their jobs and shut down hotels. But a funny thing happened to the vacation rental industry that no-one expected. It exploded! And between the various shutdowns, STRs saw 100% occupancy in many regions.

So why am I telling you this. Well, although I think vacation rentals have some good qualities, I got to see the dark side of that industry. And I can tell you wholeheartedly they are not a replacement for boutique guest properties. But here’s the problem…many of your prospective guests don’t know the difference. (BTW...if you own or manage a vacation rental home, I can show you how to set it apart from the crowd by showcasing it like a boutique guest property. Let's talk!)

Boutique guest properties offer so much more than a basic vacation rental.

First of all, many boutique guest properties offer a central point of service. From the front desk clerk to the maintenance crew and housekeepers, staff members are key to setting your property apart from the competition.

Secondly, boutique properties might be more centrally located and closer to tourist attractions than other venues. This makes it more convenient for guests and the savings in gas and transit costs can make up the difference for charging a bit more.

Lastly, boutique properties tend to offer a greater sense of security both on site and online. Located in safer neighborhoods, and providing more secure accommodations allows guests to sleep (and play) better. And utilizing reputable vendors for booking and payments can reduce the appearance of shady business and dissatisfying reviews.


But I'm not saying boutique guest properties don’t have challenges.

According to gourmet marketing, guests are more demanding than ever. The evolution of technology has caused guests to expect more convenience, personalization, and efficiency. Rooms must now be outfitted with WiFi, USB ports, and flat screen TVs as standard.

And trying to maintain a 24/7 industry with a shortage of local employees can be daunting. Not to mention offering unique amenities and keeping them maintained and up-to-date. renovations. It’s no wonder many boutique property managers/owners don’t have time for marketing.

That's why Walden University identified "Maintaining a Web Presence" as one of the top five challenges of small business.

So how do you increase your occupancy without lowering rates?

Well first of all, it’s important to make sure your property is top notch (at your level). That means — at a minimum — you should strive for high quality linens, exceptionally clean rooms, and friendly professional staff (even if that's only YOU!) It might help to get an unbiased person to walk your property and make suggestions. This is where I casually mention that I can do this as part of your a pre-production meeting when you book an Ultimate 3D Tour Package.

Secondly, identify your USP and use it to promote your property. If you don’t know what USP means it’s probably because you’ve been spending so much time managing your business, you haven’t had time to study marketing principles.

So let me explain.

In marketing, USP stands for Unique Selling Proposition and it’s an important factor in advertising. Your USP is what makes your property stand out from the crowd. Are you near a local attraction? Do you have a funky, cool decor? Is your service the BEST in town? (BTW...if your USP is 'The Lowest Rates Around' we need to talk).

The thing about USP is that it’s unique to your property and intended to attract your target market. So the next step is to identify the guests that are perfect for your property. Are they young partiers? Route 66 motorcyclists? Pet-lovers? Perhaps water-sports enthusiasts/competitors?

By identifying your USP and your target market, you’ll be able to fine-tune your marketing and advertising efforts for maximum profit.

Of course, you can always hire a content manager or a marketing company to do it for you, but if you’re like me, you simply can’t afford $2000-3000 per month for this type of service.

That’s why I created The Ultimate 3D Tour Package. For less than the cost of a few nights at a (properly priced) boutique hotel, you’ll get everything you need to showcase your property, reach more prospective guests, and get started on a social media campaign that will boost your views and increase your bookings.

Here's the pitch...

The Ultimate 3D Tour Package includes:

Pre-production meeting

3D tour photo shoot (up to 1500 sf)

Post production editing

Images and video clips for social media posting

SEO package

12-months on Matterport

And…a bonus mid-term photo shoot!

A $1234 value for ONLY $879


I know almost $900 can seem like a lot when you’re struggling to make ends meet. So, if you’re not ready yet, I totally understand. You might want to check out the Vacation Rental Photography shoot. It's a great way to get started on your web presence for less than $300!

Click HERE for more details on all my photo packages. If you're not sure which one to choose, then just book a free discovery meeting and I'll help you figure it out.

Regardless of which service you choose (or if you don't choose any this time) I want you to have a Free Vacation Rental Staging Checklist to make sure your property is ready for photos AND guests. Simply subscribe to BSVT and the free planner will be sent directly to your inbox (plus you'll weekly tips and offers and first access to special rates and freebies).

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