If you are in the vacation rental business here at the Lake of the Ozarks, you are always looking for ways to increase your rentals during the slower times of the year. The first thing you have to come to grips with is that most visitors come here to enjoy the Lake! And when they cannot enjoy the lake, fewer of them come to visit our area.
Our company does 85% of all rentals between Memorial Day weekend and Labor Day weekend. That leaves us with just under nine months to capture the other 15% of our business. That is a horrible business model, but it is the one we are stuck with. So the trick is how to maximize those other nine months to get the most out of your rental property.
So what are some things that you can do to maximize your rentals between Labor Day and Memorial Day? The best way is to see what visitors are doing here during that time of the year. We have a number of festivals and special events that do attract visitors. Know the schedule and then promote those events to your potential guests. We have plenty of events like the Air Show, Liverpool Legends, the Dogwood Festival, Magic Dragon Street Meet, Harbor Hop, Bikefest, the Apple Festival, Enchanted Village of Lights and a large number of fishing tournaments.
Another angle when purchasing is to look for a property that visitors can enjoy during the cooler seasons. There are a few condo complexes that offer indoor pools and our condos with indoor pools have the highest average nights of any complex that we manage at except for one. Last year our Knolls Resort complex averaged 31% more rental nights than our other condos. They have an indoor pool that is open year around and that is one of the reasons they see more rentals each year.
Attracting golfers is another great way to fill some spring and fall vacancies. We do a significant amount of golf business each year with the majority coming outside of the summer months. Knowing what golfers are looking for is the key to attracting them. They all want separate beds, they usually travel in packs of fours, eights and twelves and they love to grill out! If it rains, they need a big screen TV and some cards or games to keep them occupied. Plan accordingly and you can fill some of those slower spring and fall dates.
Another option is to talk with a winery or cave (both good off-season attractions) and create a package with your home or condo that includes a winery or cave tour. They are looking for business as well during those times!