Out of the approximately 120 properties we represent and manage for summer rentals, about 88% of the owners schedule their weekly turnovers on Saturday. Most rental guests much prefer a weekend day to start and end their Cape Cod vacation, and most of them prefer Saturday, because when they return home, it gives them an extra day to unpack, do the laundry, re-acclimate, and relax before starting the new school and work week. In other words, soften the blow of re-entry.
Today’s preponderance of working couples underscores the importance of a Saturday turnover day, according to Elizabeth Weedon of weneedavacation.com:
“Due to the fact that often both husband and wife now work full time, it’s more difficult for them to get away together for long periods of time. Thus, they are more than ever required to start and end their vacation weeks on the weekends. There is no question that traffic can be heavy and ferries to and from the Cape and Islands fill to capacity on Saturdays during the summer. But unless the traditional work week changes drastically, we homeowners will be bound to provide our vacation homes on a Saturday-to-Saturday basis.”
So, what’s wrong with Sunday?
Nothing at all, really. Traffic coming to the Cape on a Sunday morning in summer is a piece of cake compared to Saturday, when things get a bit backed up, to say the least. Even leaving on Sunday morning makes for pretty smooth sailing, because you’re over the bridge and gone before the Cape weekenders strap on their kayaks and hit the road later Sunday afternoon.
We’ve had some guests who had their first taste of the Sunday-to-Sunday term tell us they would never rent Saturday-to-Saturday again. The ease of getting on and off Cape on a Sunday far outweighs any other factors for them.
For owners, it’s often easier to find good cleaners to handle the turnover day on Sunday, since most are booked solid on Saturdays and jump at the chance for the incremental revenue.
While some vacationers would rather get back home on Saturday and have Sunday to decompress, we have not found that listing your property Sunday to Sunday is any deterrent to robust reservations.
And if you’re even thinking about having your rental term run Friday to Friday, we have one word of advice: Don’t.
Rental guest groups absolutely hate having to take an extra day of paid vacation and will avoid your property like the plague. One of our owners was actually advised to do Friday-to-Friday rentals, probably because it fit the broker’s schedule better. Weeks went unbooked until the owner listed with us and we switched the turnover day to Saturday. Problem solved.
Yes, Saturday does have its traffic challenge. This advice from the TripAdvisor Cape Cod Forum can reduce the pain:
“Avoid the Saturday morning traffic by crossing the bridge (in either direction) before 10am or after 3pm.”
Once outside the peak rental weeks of high summer, essentially July and August, arrival and departure days often move all over the place. At least, they do for owners who truly expect to generate income in the off-season months of June and September. Most guests are not looking for full week rentals at those times, so long weekends become the most sought-after rental term. It can get a little tricky scheduling the cleaning and prep work, but renting partial weeks and weekends are your best shot at success in the off-season.