Insider’s Tips for your Next Beach Trip

The Panama City Beach Convention and Visitor’s Bureau sent out an email asking for insider tips and it got me thinking about what I often tell our guests when they ask for the same thing. When I think of insider tips, I think of ways to save money, time and effort so that a vacation can be as easy and relaxing as possible.

Being in the property management business, I’ve learned over the years the best time of year to be here, the best places to stay and what to bring when you come to make things easier.

The best time of year to come.

This is the biggest question I get on a regular basis. Of course, the answer depends on a lot of things, like school schedules, whether you’re coming with your kids (or not), what you’re wanting to do while you’re here, etc.

Most come during the spring or summer time, based on school schedules for the kids, and inherent in the principles of supply and demand, rates and occupancy is higher during those periods.

But, if you’re willing to take the kids out of school for a vacation, or if you’re traveling without the hinderance of school schedules, you should definitely try the beach during a shoulder season.

What is a shoulder season?

A shoulder season is a time of year where it’s warm enough to justify a beach trip, but it’s not during a time when the majority of travelers can come down.

March is super busy and that business peaks out the first week in April and sometimes bleeds over to the second week. However, the remaining weeks in April and the first two weeks in May is a phenomenal time of year to be here and usually the beach is pretty quiet. Along with the fewer numbers of people here, property management companies and property owners are typically very willing to work a deal to keep their place rented. All you have to do is ask for the deal or make an offer.

Although, be careful with low-balling as some will see that as a red-flag that you won’t take care of their property.

If you prefer the Gulf waters a little warmer (mid 80 degree water temps as opposed to mid 70’s), you should definitely come in late September or October. The weather is fantastic, the water is still very warm from summer, there is almost no one here and rates are sometimes half what they are in summertime.

And as a general rule of thumb, if you’re looking for a 3 bedroom or larger place, book as far in advance as possible for the best deal. If you’re looking for a 1 or 2 bedroom, the best deals are usually to be had the closer you are to your arrival date.

The best places to stay.

Again, this largely depends on preference and what you’re wanting, but generally, if I can park the car for the week and walk everywhere, I’m a happy camper.

There are a lot of areas in Panama City Beach where this just ins’t possible, but if you can stay around Pier Park, you can easily accomplish this.

Here are some of the resorts around Pier Park that are easily within walking distance:

Most of these, are just a short walk on the beach to Pier Park, which offers pretty much all the dining, shopping and entertainment you could want while you’re not at the beach.

What you should bring with you.

Most of the accommodations options in Panama City Beach are gulf-front condos, homes and townhouses. When you’re staying in one of these options, typically you’re responsible for groceries and sundry items. ¬†And if you’ve done this before, you’ve probably got your first day grocery list all planned out already. ūüôā

Typically check-in day is Saturday, and if that’s when you’re coming in, you know that evening the grocery stores are packed and mostly sold out of anything you’ll need. ¬†Savvy¬†travelers come with the basics that will carry them through the first day or two and hit the stores after everyone else has frenzied the shelves and staff has restocked.

If you’re flying, this probably isn’t possible, but if you’re like the majority of our visitors, you’re driving. ¬†Pack enough toilet paper and non-refrigerated¬†food items to get you to Sunday or Monday morning and you’ll save the headache of finding the grocer out of stock and waiting in super long check-out lines.

Also, plan your grocery trip for an early morning time, when it’s likely most others are wanting to be sleeping in after the previous day’s travels.

Have some tips of your own?

You’re a veteran tourist, right? ¬†Leave some of your pro-tips in the comments below!

5 Ways to Update your Vacation Rental Property for Rental Season

Spring is almost here and for many of us in Panama City Beach, we’re thinking about how we can best maximize the rental season just ahead of us. At Panama City Beach Luxury Properties, you can be sure we see our fair share of opportunities to update, renovate, suggest and redo to help out properties make the most money they can make.

If you have a rental property, you know how important it is to keep everything updated and in good shape. Letting anything fall too far behind can cost positive reviews or worse, a great rental season.

Here are five easy things you can do to help freshen up your Panama City Beach vacation rental property.

Bedding

One of the easiest (and least expensive) ways to give your place a totally new look is to install new bedding in your vacation property. There are a variety of local options, including Target, Marshall’s and local retail stores that sell a great variety of quality, inexpensive bedding options for all sized beds.

When you’re buying new bedding, make sure you pick out styles and colors that are consistent with the theme of the property. And make sure it’s easily washed incase it needs to be laundered during the rental season. If it needs to be dry cleaned, a quick turn around on a turnover day may be impossible.

Also, when you replace bedding, go the extra mile and get some matching throw pillows for each bed to help finish off the look.

New or Additional Art

So often we walk through new condos and they are fitted with the standard setup they came with when they were brand new. There are many advantages to these kits, including having a cohesive look throughout and a design that was likely well thought out.

However, in the interest of saving costs, the property is often left bare with few art hanging on the walls. I’m a fan or organized and purposeful blank spaces, but when the place looks empty, it feels empty.

There are tons of local places that sell great art that is tasteful, beachy (if that’s your thing), and inexpensive. I’ve even picked up some neat stuff from Marshall’s. ¬†There are also a lot of amazing places to shop for art along 30A.

The art you hang should reflect a fun personality, should match the decor of the rental property and should be creatively hung. Take advantage of bare walls to create patterns of pictures and don’t be afraid to hang some family portraits to make it feel personal.

New Furniture

Lets face it, this is probably one of the more expensive things to update in a vacation rental property. Furniture can be costly and very difficult to move in. But, when that old couch can’t be cleaned anymore and the cushions are looking slouchy, it’s time to replace it with something new. The more you try to squeeze that last rental season out of it, the more you’re going to hurt your reviews and repeat visitation.

Sometimes it isn’t all about wear and tear either. Its important to keep your property looking up to date as well. The style and decor of your property should be reviewed about every 5 years or so as styles change. What was considered “in” back in 2008 isn’t necessarily in-style today. You have to realize as new property owners come online and redecorate, eventually you’ll see an industry wide shift in style. And if you miss it, you’ll be left behind.

Decorative Nick-Nacks

One thing I’m asked a lot is, “What about decorative nick-nacks? Should I have them, what if they are lost or broken, and how much is too much?”

These are all great questions. I don’t have some magic formula for how much is a good amount or what to go where, but I reiterate, if it looks empty, it feels empty.

Just like art on the walls, there should be decoration on the shelves, countertops, and nooks and crannies. Now, this is not to say there should be something on ALL countertops and shelves, but there should be some.  The trick is to stay tasteful and consistent with the decor and have a balance of not too much and not too little.

Also, just like art, many neat decorations can be found in the same places you’re looking for art. And it doesn’t have to be expensive.

Consistent with all rental properties, I would strongly consider the amount of money you put into decorative items knowing they could be broken or lost by guests, or their children. I never recommend keeping things you’d have serious heartburn over if it were harmed.

Flooring

Again, like furniture, this is one of the more expensive things to address in an aging vacation rental property.  But, it is something that needs to be taken care of on a regular basis.

The first thing I recommend on the property with carpet is to have the carpet replaced with a hard-surfaced floor.  Now, I like having a soft surface in the bedroom just as much as the next person, but that is easily accomplished by putting in a nice big rug that is easily replaced when needed.

Many people prefer just to tile the entire place, and while that can be a very tasteful solution, there are many other things that you can do to make your condo stand out from the rest.

One of my personal favorite flooring options is a ¬†manufactured laminate wood floor. ¬†This flooring material is intentionally created to be extremely durable and very good-looking. ¬† Generally speaking, it is manufactured so well, that upon first inspection it is indiscernible to the real thing. ¬†The reason I personally favor the laminate hardwood flooring is because of its durability, low cost, and it’s ease of replacement should it ever need to be replaced.

When I get to do it however I want, my personal preference is to have a hardwood floor surface in the bedrooms with a huge rug under the bed (extending out the sides) and tile throughout the living and all common areas.

Some Examples of Tasteful Decoration

PAT_1678wtmk

This is one of our Southern Exposure townhomes.¬† It’s been a phenomenal rental, partly because it’s a townhome right on the beach; but also because it was very tastefully decorated.¬† Guests comment regularly that it’s one of the nicest places they’ve stayed in, hands down.

IMG_1132And9more_fusedwtmk

This condo is one of our Calypso three bedrooms owned by Karen Smith at Beachy Beach (one of the owners of PCBDaily.com).  When she bought it, she went all out, buying local art, some new furniture and decorative items to spruce up the existing furniture.  What she has done with her rental has created a frenzy of activity that will net a tangible revenue one-upmanship over the competition.

IMG_3562_3_4_5_6_7_fusedwtmk

This home is one of our rental properties in Watersound West on 30A.¬† Our 30A rental company, Swantree 30A manages this one and it’s tasteful decor promised positive reviews and a comfy, beachy style.

 

 

Great Deals on Family Spring Break Vacation Rentals

If you’re still planning your family spring break trip to the beach, there are still some sweet deals to be had down here at the beach. ¬†We have a number of condos in family friendly resorts that are nicely amenitized (like that made-up word?) and guaranteed to provide you with a blast of a vacation.

We have condos in Emerald Beach Resort, Towne of Seahaven, Calypso Resort, Majestic Resort, Tidewater, Sterling Breeze, Splash Resort, Edgewater Beach Resort and a cute little house next to Pier Park.

Spring Break Vacation Rental Deals

Here are some sweet deals in all of our condos. ¬†These prices are good for the rest of March and the first week in April. ¬†The “April” rate starts that second week in April. ¬†The second week in April, all the prices drop quite a bit. While some of these condos are available for less than a week, I’m just showing the weekly rates.

I should also note, these rates include all taxes and all fees.  The price below is the final out the door price.

1 bedrooom condos

2 bedroom condos

3 bedroom condos

4 bedroom condos

A special deal for the readers of PCBDaily!

Because we love you, and we know you love us. ¬†Well, almost all of you love us. ¬†Some of you don’t love us. ¬†But we still love you. ¬†ūüôā — — We have a super special deal just for you!

Can you say promo code? 

Yep, since you’re a reader of PCBDaily.com, we have a special promo code you can use when you book with us online. ¬†Just use promo code “pcbdaily” for a super fast 5% off!