Through 3 pacing charts, we illustrate the importance of being in tune with booking trends in your market. Compare occupancy pacing market to market, season to season and finally, pricing pacing seasonality. How well do you know your market’s booking seasonality?
3 Pacing charts
You are probably aware that rates fluctuate throughout the course of booking window. The challenge as a vacation rental property manager or revenue manager is selecting the right price at the right time. If you can match your pricing strategy with current demand and consumer choice, you ensure selling at the optimal rate. The first step is understanding the pacing in your market, and here’s why…
Understanding pacing in your market
Our first chart shows the variation in pacing between markets for a June check in. A good way of considering occupancy pacing charts is as demand radars.
You can see above that Burlington, the capital of Vermont in the US is in high demand from 11 to 9 months away from check in. Meanwhile, Ljubljana – capital of Slovenia – sees an initial lull, with very little occupancy booked 10 months out. If we compare the markets at 9 months from check in, while Ljubljana just reaches 17% occupancy, Burlington is storming away with 38%. This difference, along with the plateau then seen in Burlington bookings and overall fluctuation contrasting with Ljubljana’s consistent gain, highlights the significance of understanding demand in your own market.
How well do you know your market’s booking seasonality?
In the previous chart we talk about the fluctuation in Burlington’s pacing through the year approaching June check in. But is this fluctuation mirrored for other check in dates?
Vacation rental data in the second pacing chart above shows this ‘temporal repeatability’ in pacing not to be the case. While the solid orange line representing pacing for June check in is familiar from the first chart, the dotted line shows pacing for check in in January. Whilst ultimate occupancy ends similarly, the variation in demand peaks is plain to see. So, it is not just about understanding average booking window in your market any longer. Having your rates hinge on this ‘peak’ window will leave you exposed through the demand curves of the majority of your bookable periods.
Whilst COVID may well have impacted the booking seasonality for January, the take-home here is that different periods of availability in your vacation rentals will be subject to different demand trends and rates should be pitched as such, and evolve appropriately. Comprehending the starts and stalls in booking demand through your market’s seasonality enables you to price each date optimally.
What does pacing mean for pricing?
Finally, we can see rate pacing in the below chart. First dealing with the obvious – different seasons will have a broad price point difference. Burlington, which is in close proximity to several notorious ski resorts – Stowe, Jay Peak and Sugarbush for example, pitches higher in the Winter months.
Seasonal pricing is of course important, and is clear above. However, what is also apparent is the difference in pricing trends through the booking window for the different check in months. For a Summer check in, prices gradually decrease until 3 months from check in, when ADR picks back up – above that of January rates. The full trend of January rates however does not increase significantly from 10 months out until check in. Rates decreased across Burlington 6 months from January check in, which corresponds with the subsequent demand peak in our second chart, where occupancy jumps from 30% to 63% in 1 month. Why not get up to speed with pricing by pacing? Pricing strategy across markets adapts to seasonality of demand, and this will, again, differ from market to market.
So, how well do you know your market’s booking seasonality?
Of course, there is an element of chicken and eg between occupancy and pricing. Either way, it is important to understand current demand and the price points of your competitors in order to align with consumer expectations and achieve a superior ADR.
- Know market-specific occupancy pacing
- Get comfortable seasonality-specific pacing
- Be aware of seasonal market pricing pacing
Get to know vacation rental data for your market
This of course means knowing your market inside out, and gaining the necessary visibility to make proactive changes to your strategy, across your availability and portfolio.
If you need to better your visibility, data can help. Click to search for your market in our free dashboard: