What are orphan days and how can they affect the profitability of your tourist accommodation?

You’ve probably already heard about orphan days. But do you really know what they are and how they can impact the profitability of your holiday rentals? In this article, we’ll explain everything you need to know about orphan days and how you can manage them to maximize your profits

What are orphan days?

Orphan days, also known as single days or empty days, are those days when your vacation rentals don’t receive any bookings. This can happen for various reasons, such as the off-season, cancelled events, or lack of promotion.

Orphan days can seriously affect the profitability of your vacation rentals since they represent a fixed cost in terms of overheads, such as cleaning and maintenance, which aren’t recovered if the apartments remain unoccupied.

Let’s illustrate with a simple example:

Suppose a vacation rental is booked all 7 days of the week, that apartment bills 1,000€ during that period. Now, imagine that one week, for different reasons, the apartment is only booked from Wednesday to Sunday, that would be 2 orphan days where you’re missing out on about 285€. But now, consider the fixed costs of that apartment, say they’re 40€ per day. This means you’re missing out on 285€ and also paying 80€ in fixed costs, so 2 orphan days result in a total loss of 365€. That’s just in 1 week. What if it’s in 1 month? 1460€. And in a quarter? 4380€.

If these numbers have given you chills, don’t worry, we’ll answer the question you’re probably asking now: How can I avoid orphan days?

The industry has strategies to prevent orphan days, but they’re not enough. They only focus on bookings and not on all available data. Let’s look at some of the strategies we adopt at Turbosuite:

  • Segmenting travelers: Understanding who your potential guests are and when they’re most likely to travel can make a difference in your bookings. You can offer them early bird discounts when they are about to book.
  • Visibility: It’s vital to be present on the right channels and optimize your online visibility. Make sure to research how your guests search for holiday rentals and adjust your strategy to be present on those channels.
  • Pricing and rates: Analyze the demand and adjust your prices accordingly, prioritizing the days that attract different types of guests. Moreover, offer special rates and promotions for one-night bookings to fill your calendar, as well as bigger discounts with stricter cancellation policies.

*Turbotip:* A good way to minimize orphan days is by applying different rates and discounts on Booking.com, Expedia, or AirBnB based on the minimum stay. This ensures you’re on all search filters, thereby increasing visibility on the sales channels you use.

In summary, segmenting your travelers, maximizing your online visibility, and setting a suitable price strategy by segments and sales channels are essential components to ensure orphan days don’t impact your profitability, and even to boost it. By understanding the behavior of demand elasticity and adjusting your prices accordingly, you’ll benefit even during lower demand periods.

Interested in learning more about orphan days and how we manage them at Turbosuite? Download our ebook on orphan days here (download link for the orphan days ebook).