How to rent to snowbirds

What snowbirds look for in a vacation rental

Goodbye, freezing temperatures and driveways buried in snow. Hello, warm shorelines and sunny golf courses. When winter hits, hundreds of thousands of people who live in colder northern states (or even Canada) start heading south to spend winter in sunnier destinations.

These sun seekers are known as snowbirds, and they’re considered a prime audience to market to in the winter—they book in advance and stay for longer periods of time, sometimes even for the entire winter. Even better, snowbirds are now more than retired seniors. The rise in remote working gives even younger travelers the flexibility for long-term travel in the cold season—making the snowbird market bigger than ever.

Here’s what to know to get your piece of these bookings.

Modern vacation rental management.

Your home is a success waiting to happen. We'll show you how.

Invest in a snowbird-friendly location

This first step is vital. Since these seasonal visitors are chasing a warm winter climate, location is paramount. Start looking at the regions that are already popular with snowbirds:

Then, narrow down to the cities and neighborhoods with the conveniences, activities, and points of interest that snowbirds want easy access to. These include:

  • Arts and culture
  • Beaches
  • Dining
  • Golf courses
  • Hot tubs (Did you know that adding a hot tub to your vacation home can increase rent by 15–20%?)
  • Lakes
  • Pools
  • Shopping
  • Tennis courts

Another smart resource: every year we put together a list of the top 25 places to buy a vacation home to help you simplify your home search. We take market data from destinations across North America, then rank them by cap rate (a forecast of your ROI), so you can make the smartest investment—in snowbird destinations and beyond.

beach homes with ocean views in Destin, Florida

Attract bookings with the right amenities

Start by outfitting your home with all the vacation rental essentials—the non-negotiable items every modern traveler expects, like reliable WiFi, paper towels, fresh sheets, and a coffee maker. (We also put together comprehensive room-by-room checklists for your bedrooms, kitchen, bathrooms, and living room.)

Then, invest in extra amenities to make your home stand out from all the others vying for snowbird bookings. Consider the value-add items that’ll make it easy to have fun and enjoy being outdoors. These include:

  • Beach blankets and chairs
  • Boogie and paddle boards
  • Golf clubs
  • Picnic baskets
  • Pool floats
  • Sun umbrellas
  • Tennis rackets

(Don’t forget to promote these additional amenities in your vacation rental listing description.)

outdoor pool of Florida vacation home

Market directly to snowbirds

With so much competition out there for snowbird business, it’s not enough to simply post your home on Airbnb or Vrbo and wait for the bookings to roll in. Your success depends on your level of investment in marketing. The more visibility you get, the more bookings you’ll get. The best time to start marketing to snowbirds? During winter itself—many snowbirds start planning their next sunny escape when they’re already on one.

There are several smart ways to market your vacation rental. However, promoting to a snowbird audience allows a more targeted approach since you know—generally—where they live (cold winter locations) and why they’re traveling (for warmth and sun).

Here are four snowbird marketing strategies to consider:

1. Create a website and a vacation rental blog

One key component to successful marketing is consistently creating fresh content, like blog posts. Not only does new content boost your rankings in search engines, it helps to keep your vacation home top of mind. This doesn’t have to be complicated or tiresome. You can simply share insider travel tips, like we do on Vacasa’s travel blog.

Take a look:

2. Promote regularly on social media channels

Social media is a great way to get discovered online and connect with potential guests. Don’t get bogged down learning every social media platform. Select one or two sites that you’re already familiar with and start there.

Instagram is a favorite for people looking for travel inspiration. That’s why Vacasa routinely showcases vacation homes on that platform.

Here are some ideas to post about (these can be used for blog posts, too):

  • New restaurants
  • Best coastal hikes
  • Warm-weather adventures
  • Fun nightlife ideas
  • Most scenic golf courses
  • Weather updates

3. Reach even more snowbirds with paid advertising

While there are many places you could pay to advertise your vacation rental, Facebook is a fantastic option. The platform allows you to easily:

  • Narrow in on an audience by location (and other demographics)
  • Tweak ads for better results
  • Test ads against each other
  • View your ad analytics

For instance, if you know that many residents from the Pacific Northwest—including Seattle, Portland, and Vancouver, BC—flock to your area in Southern California during winter, you can target those travelers specifically.

Even better, Facebook still remains the world’s most popular social media platform, with 2.8 billion users worldwide. So, your ads will no doubt reach a large audience.

Vacasa promotes its vacation homes to targeted audiences on Facebook all year long. Plus, we continuously test our ads to make sure we continue to get the most conversions.

Facebook marketing example

4. Give an incentive for long-term bookings

Encourage extended stays by offering a small discount if guests book your home for a month or more. You can also offer a special monthly rate. In exchange for the discount, you’ll save time on check-ins, inspections, and cleaning—all while enjoying a steady cash flow.

Snowbirds may come just once a year, but they tend to be lucrative guests who book for multiple winter weeks or months (or even entire winters) at a time. Leverage these tips to target more of these visitors and market to them all year long.

Snowbird vacation rentals FAQ

Yes, Vacasa markets to snowbirds throughout the year to drive bookings in our snowbird destinations. Some of our efforts include:

  • Strong SEO practices that help us consistently rank in the top 3 search results for terms like “long-term vacation rentals,” “snowbird rentals,” and “monthly vacation rentals.”
  • A specific landing page for snowbird rentals where visitors can search for vacation homes that allow long-term bookings
  • Discounts for long-term bookings
  • Installment payment plans
  • Regular marketing emails promoting vacation homes in our snowbird destinations

A snowbird rental is a vacation rental that is available to rent for a long-term stay—most commonly for 2 to 3 months in the winter season. The term “snowbirds” refer to people who live in northern states (or Canada) where winters are cold, who then travel to sunnier states in the wintertime. These visitors will find many snowbird rentals in states like Alabama, Arizona, California, Florida, and Texas.

The best amenities for snowbirds can depend on your location and the type of experience your vacation home offers. Snowbirds generally like to take advantage of activities that are nearby. So make it easy for these winter visitors to have fun. If you have a beach condo, provide beach chairs, beach towels, sun umbrellas, and boogie boards. Other amenities include tennis rackets, golf clubs, and fishing gear.

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California licenses
Vacasa Seasonals Inc.
California DRE #02160171

Vacation Palm Springs Real Estate, Inc.
California DRE #01523013

Vacasa offers property management and other real estate services directly through Vacasa LLC and through Vacasa LLC's licensed subsidiaries. Click here for more information about Vacasa's licensed real estate brokerage/property manager in your state. Vacasa’s licensed real estate brokerages/property managers include: Vacasa Alabama LLC; Vacasa Arizona LLC; Vacasa of Arkansas LLC; Vacasa Colorado LLC (Micah Victory); Vacasa Delaware LLC, 302-541-8999; Vacasa Florida LLC; Vacasa Illinois LLC 481.014072, Micah Victory Managing Broker Lic# 471.021837; Vacasa Louisiana LLC, Dana MacCord, Principal Broker, ph 504.252.0155 (Licensed in LA); Vacasa Michigan LLC, 602-330-9934; Vacasa Missouri LLC, Vicki Lyn Brown, Designated Broker; Vacasa Nevada LLC; Vacasa New Hampshire LLC,45 NH-25, Meredith, NH 03253, Susan Scanlon, Broker of Record; Vacasa Minnesota, Broker: Micah Victory, license #40877637; Vacasa New Mexico LLC, 503-345-9399; Vacasa New York LLC, 888-433-0068, Susan Scanlon, Real Estate Broker; Vacasa North Carolina LLC; Vacasa Oregon LLC; Vacasa Pennsylvania LLC; Vacation Palm Springs Real Estate, Inc., California DRE #01523013, Mark Graham, California DRE #00700720; Vacasa Real Estate LLC (licensed in Texas, Debra Brock, Designated Broker); Vacasa Real Estate LLC (licensed in Washington, Robert Brush, Designated Broker); Vacasa Seasonals Inc., California DRE #02160171, Lisa Renee Stevens, California DRE #01485234; Vacasa South Carolina LLC; Vacasa South Dakota LLC; Vacasa Tennessee LLC; Vacasa Vacation Rentals of Hawaii LLC, 69-201 Waikoloa Beach Dr. Ste. #2F17, Waikoloa, HI 96738; Vacasa Vacation Rentals of Montana LLC, Terah M. Young, Licensed Property Manager; Vacasa Virginia LLC; Vacasa Wisconsin LLC; Vacasa Wyoming LLC. In Canada, this advertisement is provided by Vacasa Canada ULC, CPBC lic. number 75826, 172 Asher Rd. V1X 3H6 Kelowna, BC.