In most cases, a big event like a Super Bowl would cause hotels and vacation rentals across the host city to sell out weeks in advance. But while this was the case for Phoenix hotels ahead of Super Bowl LVII, vacation rental owners across the city found themselves with empty units at kick-off.

Phoenix hotels and resorts had listed this past weekend as blackout dates over a year in advance. In addition to hosting the sold-out Super Bowl, the city also hosted the Phoenix Open, the best-attended golf tournament in the world, last week. The State Farm Stadium, located in Glendale, Arizona, around 20 miles from Phoenix, held around 73,000 fans. TPC Scottsdale, also located about 20 miles from Phoenix, welcomed between 600,000 and 700,000 golf fans over the week-long event.

With more than a million sports fans descending on Phoenix, why were the city’s short-term vacation rentals left with around 50 percent occupancy? A vacation rental slump could be to blame. Keep reading as we explore what the vacation rental slump is, how to combat it, and how a Utah vacation rental management company like Vibrant Management can help your property succeed.

Are We Facing a Vacation Rental Slump?

Super Bowl LVII in Phoenix wasn’t the first clue that we could be facing a vacation rental slump. Vacation rental owners and management companies have been reporting lower booking rates since at least mid-2022. Property owners who had seen bookings at their properties filled through the pandemic and even in the months and years after suddenly found themselves with more and more available dates.

But the drop in bookings might not be the result of a slump at all.

Statistics show that bookings at short-term vacation properties were down at the end of 2022 compared to 2021—but only slightly. Bookings were down just 1.9 percent in October 2022 compared to 2021. And they were up more than 3 percent over 2020, and up by almost 13 percent compared to the same month in 2019, pre-pandemic.

Instead, low booking rates are likely a result of an increase in supply. Global Airbnb listings were up over 22 percent in the third quarter of 2022 compared to the same quarter in 2019. More supply means that travelers have more properties to choose from. This may drive down nightly booking prices, and make it more difficult for vacation rental owners to fill their properties.

How to Combat a Slump in Bookings

Whether Airbnb backlash or an increase in vacation rental properties on the market is to blame, keeping your properties filled in 2023 starts with adapting some new strategies.

Check Your Pricing

One of the first strategies is to take a look at your pricing structure. If your units have been full in years past and are now suddenly seeing fewer bookings, it could be that other properties, including hotels and other short-term rental properties, are offering more competitive rates. 

Run a Special

If your property is located near a tourist hot spot, like Zion National Park, finding ways to get guests into your property during the off-season is another great way to boost your bottom line. Much like a hotel in the off-season, running a special offer this time of year can help fill bookings, and expose new guests to your property who will be more likely to return again in the future.

Market What Makes Your Property Unique

Another important strategy is to make sure that you’re showcasing what makes your property unique. If guests can book a hotel, with daily housekeeping and other amenities, for the same price as your vacation rental, you’ll likely lose bookings. But if you’re making sure to market your spacious units, fully-stocked kitchen, outdoor living spaces, or contactless check-in process, your property will have a better shot of standing out from the crowd.

Ensure Every Guest Has a Great Experience

The final thing that you can do to help your property increase bookings is to make sure that every guest enjoys an incredible experience. From keeping your properties clean to having a plan for what to do in the case of an emergency, happy guests are more likely to leave great reviews, and return again in the future. Often, simply communicating with your guests before, during, and after their stay can go a long way towards heading off many problems.

How a Utah Vacation Rental Management Company Can Help

When it comes to vacation rentals, building a new addition or adding a variety of new amenities might not be an option. Instead, keeping your units full comes down to managing and marketing them better.

Marketing your property to help it stand out from the crowd of other short-term rentals, and making sure that guests have an incredible experience, leading them to leave a great review or book again in the future, is key. And the right Utah vacation rental management company may have the answer.

Whether your property needs a new website, stunning professional photography to showcase your unit, or you’re looking for full Airbnb management or VRBO management, Vibrant Management can help. We offer a variety of vacation rental management services. They range from full-service management so that you can focus your efforts on expanding your portfolio, to marketing to help you improve your website or to improve your property’s listing on travel booking sites.

Book your free consultation today to learn more about how the best Utah vacation rental management can help your properties face a booking slump head-on.