buying your first home - what you should know

Find Guests When The Gowns Leave Town: 3 Tips To Promote Your College-Area Rental

University and college areas often become ghost towns over the summer and during holiday breaks, but all it takes is a bit of savvy marketing of your rental property to attract paying guests throughout the year.

Try one of these methods to increase traffic during off-peak seasons:

Provide appropriate amenities

Off-campus housing developers have learned that students want to have fun, and these investors now design their rental properties with wave pools and other resort-style features. If your summer rentals sag, add similar features that will appeal to summer visitors who are interested in leisure pursuits. Install pools, hot tubs and outdoor kitchens to enhance family gatherings.

If possible in upscale rentals, provide automatic guest memberships to local golf and country clubs to give busy guests the all-in-one experience they seek. Keep extra towels, pool toys and golf clubs on hand in these properties for an all-inclusive touch.

If you want to see more holiday activity, decorate the property for the appropriate season so that out-of-town visitors feel a sense of elegant and festive coziness when staying at your property. If your guest list includes people of many faiths, provide a special service of decorating for their specific holidays to personalize your rental spaces. Go the extra mile and provide gift-wrapping materials, holiday-themed media and guides to local seasonal events to guests who visit during holiday periods.

Network and show support in the community

Most college towns have summer programs including music camps, sports training weeks and new student weeks. Parents, coaches and music directors may want to stay at your rental home or condo during these events, so find ways to reach these clients.

Attend program-sponsored games, performances and events. Take out old school ads in their event programs; donate to local arts programs and non-profits; and post on local-event social media pages to let new clients know how to contact you if they need a convenient rental during their upcoming visits or for out-of-town guests.

When you support their students and their causes with small, tangible donations and social acknowledgment from time-to-time, parents and adult leaders positively view your rental property business, and they trust you to provide the services they seek.

Look and plan far ahead

Take the time to research all of the important happenings near your rental property during your slowest periods. Your own social media should be updated to include advance promotion of these local concerts, cultural events and important sporting matches.

When you keep up with what's going on in town months from now, you can target those niche groups early and lock in reservations. For example, if a university basketball playoff is taking place near your rental during a slow winter month, e-mail the potential participating schools' administrators to offer them off-campus housing or whatever other benefits your property conveys. Post a few small blurbs on participating team and club forums to get even more exposure.

Investigate offerings at local music venues, museums, galleries and parks and promote them on your own sites as well as on forums dedicated to the art and music scenes. A few tasteful posts in the right spots can bring in quality guests any time of year.

If you want more off-season revenue from your college-town rental, but you don't have the time or resources to market your property, consult with a competent property management team to handle the legwork for you. They will already have solid connections in town to bring in the off-peak traffic you seek, and they are happy to help you develop your property to keep it profitable.