Thanks to the internet, it’s easier than ever before to find all the information you need before booking a vacation. That’s why it’s so important for you, as a vacation rental business owner, to provide your guests with a travel guide. Offering a travel guide is beneficial on a number of different levels. As potential guests are researching their destination and they come across your guide online, this helps your business to stand out as an authority. This, in turn, can increase the chances that these individuals will book with you. When you provide your guests with an in-home guide, it adds an extra level of convenience to their stay. A useful guide will help them to make the most of their vacation, which makes it more likely that they’ll give you a good review.
But, how do you create a travel guide for your vacation rental business? It’s not too difficult, but it will take some time and consideration. We’ve put together some pointers to help you create a great guide that your guests will love.
Decide What Format You’d Like
As we previously mentioned, you can opt to have an online guide, a printed guide, or both. Each one has its own advantages. A digital travel guide can be accessed from almost anywhere. A printed guide in your vacation rental makes an easy reference for your guests. We recommend offering both as this allows you to offer added value to guests and potential guests. If you’re considering creating both formats, keep in mind that printed guides purchased through a printing company may have certain length requirements depending on the style you’d like. Bound guides may need to have page lengths that are divisible by four.
If you do a quick internet search for digital publishing platforms, you’ll find that there are quite a few out there from which you can choose. There are plenty of free and paid options available that will allow you to embed the guide on your site or host it on theirs. A few online choices you might consider include Yumpu, issuu, or Joomag. There are many more platforms out there and it might take some time to find the right one for your purposes.
Printing a guide can be a bit more straightforward. If you have a decent printer and only need to create a few copies of the document, it’s very easy and affordable to do on your own. If you’re in need of lots of copies or want special touches, like binding, you should consider using a professional printing company. Many cities have local printing companies that can assist you. Alternatively, there are online options like FedEx Office and Vistaprint that will print and ship your guides.
How Do You Make the Guide?
Whether you’re creating an online or a printed travel guide, you’ll still need to consider how you’ll actually create the guide. If you already have design software like Adobe Illustrator or CorelDRAW, you can use them to make your guide. If you don’t, however, there are lots of great online options for free or at a low cost. Canva is one such option – it’s free, incredibly easy to use, and it has a wide variety of templates you can use. Many digital publishing platforms will require a PDF upload of your document, so you’ll need to make sure you have that capability when looking at design software or programs.
Figure Out the Focus
You need to consider what type of guide will best serve your clients. Start by looking at the reasons why guests come to your destination. Is one season more popular than another? If so, you might want to create a guide that specifically addresses that one season. You can opt for concise guides that cover just one topic, like a shopping guide, or many topics, like a winter activities guide.
Determine the Need-to-Know Info
Once you’ve figured out what your guide will focus on, it’s time to define your content even more. Obviously, the amount of information you include will depend on how long you want the guide to be. It’s best to put all your content together first, craft a rough draft, and then edit it to get to your preferred length.
As you consider what to put in your travel guide, start by looking at some of the most common questions you get from guests. If you’ve heard the same query from a variety of travelers, this is information that you should include. Then, think about any items that are very important for area visitors to know. You may want to include information on certain rules and regulations, local wildlife, weather, or any other items that might fall under the category of “I wish I knew this before I booked my vacation.”
This is one of the more popular topics to include in travel guides. As a vacation rental business owner, you’re probably quite familiar with all the fun events in your destination. But someone who’s new to the area might not know that a particular festival will be happening during their stay. Share all your expertise on the area’s events, especially those that are unique to your destination. This information will help potential guest determine when they’ll visit and it will help current guests know what’s going on while they’re there.
Local Attractions & Activities
Most destinations have much more to offer than just one activity or attraction. But, as before, visitors might not be aware of special activities that they can enjoy. You might want to highlight things to do in your destination that are popular and/or unique. If your area attracts a lot of families, consider including a section that specifically addresses family- or kid-friendly activities.
Notable Shops & Restaurants
When you’re in a new area, it can be difficult to know which restaurant or shop you should choose. By including some of the area’s top establishments, you’ll help your guests with their planning process and make it even easier for them to experience the best your destination has to offer. Information like this helps visitors feel that they’re getting an inside look at your area, which makes their trip that much more enjoyable.
Armed with all the information you want to include in your destination guide, you’re ready to start writing all the content. Try to present your information in shorter paragraphs. Not only will this make it easier to read but it’s more visually appealing on a page. Make sure you proofread everything, or better yet, have someone do it for you. Typos, misspellings, and incorrect information don’t paint your vacation rental business in a good light.
Don’t Forget About Pictures
Finalizing the Guide
Now’s the time when you can sit down with your design software and start creating a beautiful and informative destination guide. If you’re in need of some inspiration, you can take a look at two of the guides we’ve created below. Browsing through online travel magazines is another great way to get different design ideas. You don’t need to be a design expert to create an awesome guide. Your guests will be more interested in solid information and local pictures than they will with graphic design aspects like kerning or tracking.
Not Feeling It?
If you want to put together a destination guide but you’re hesitant to take on the project yourself, feel free to contact us or give us a call at (720) 336-3939. Our team of content marketing specialists can help bring your perfect travel guide to life.
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As a vacation rental owner or manager, you know how important it is to get your property in front of as many people as possible. There are a number of elements involved with maximizing your property’s online visibility. And while steps like putting your property on vacation rental listing sites are important, you may be overlooking one crucial marketing strategy: local search engine optimization (SEO). Search engines are now focusing more on providing optimal results for local searches. So, if your vacation rental doesn’t show up in local search results, you might be missing out on a significant number of bookings.
Local SEO in a Nutshell
With local SEO, you are able to put your vacation property right in front of those guests who are looking to stay in your destination. This makes it an incredibly effective technique for targeting the perfect audience: those who are actively researching their vacation plans. When your property’s website has been properly optimized for local search, it will come up at the top of the search results page (even preceding the organic search results). This top position goes a long way in attracting guests and maximizing your rental revenue.
Local Search is Here to Stay
If you’ve ever searched for businesses in a certain area using Google, you’ve seen that the first three results show up on a map and are then listed below. As we mentioned, search engines strive to give you the best results. Their algorithms have determined that these top results match your query the best. And considering the facts that about half of all Google searches are local searches and that the majority of internet users (86%) use Google maps to find a business’ location, it’s easy to see the value of optimizing for these types of searches. Internet users have changed the way search engines perform, so businesses need to change their optimization strategies in turn.
With a good local SEO strategy in place, this increases your potential for conversions. When guests see that your vacation rental has a strong local presence online, this leads them to assume that you’re one of the top businesses in that area. It also increases your brand’s trustworthiness. Guests are far more likely to book with companies that they view as credible and as authorities. As local SEO puts your business right in front of those who are actively interested in taking a vacation, it ensures that you’re reaching those who are most likely to book a stay with you.
Two of the many benefits of optimizing your local strategy are that it’s not only affordable but it’s cost-effective as well. Many local directory sites don’t cost anything but they offer a significant amount of exposure. Keep in mind, though, that while you won’t need to spend a lot of money to increase your property’s online exposure, you will need to spend time on the process. This is a fair trade off, however, as you’re able to expand your online reach without emptying your wallet.
An Investment Worthy of Your Time
The vacation rental industry has become increasingly more competitive in recent years. The steps and effort you put toward your local SEO will not only help your rental stand out online, but it will give you an advantage over your competitors. Solid local strategies are not cost prohibitive. So with time, you’ll enjoy a worthwhile return on investment. Your business will grow as will your revenues. If local search engine optimization isn’t among your current marketing strategies, it’s time you add it.
Quick Guide to Getting Started
One of the most important first steps you should take is ensuring that your vacation rental’s name, address, and phone number are visible on every page of your website. Then, make sure you have a Google My Business listing set up. If you haven’t done it yet, it’s quite easy to claim and complete your listing. A presence on Google My Business makes it more likely that your property will appear in local results and Google Maps.
Then, you’ll want to take a look at your local listings. While there are a number of online services that make this process easy, we recommend Moz Local. It provides users with a good amount of valuable information and highlights which of your listings are complete, incomplete, or inaccurate. If you find listings with incorrect information, make it a priority to fix these. It’s important that all your listings have the same name, address, and phone number. Next, take the time to build out any incomplete listings.
These are just a couple things that can help you get started with the process. If you have questions or would like to know how VR Marketers can help with your local strategy, give us a call at (720) 336-3939.
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You may not realize it, but the travel industry has been utilizing content marketing for a long time. Whether it’s been through things like in-flight magazines or travel brochures, it has proven to be an effective marketing tool. It’s also one that has easily been able to make the digital transition. Anymore, content marketing is an essential element of the travel industry, whether you’re interested in increasing the exposure of a vacation rental business, hotel, or resort. If you’re not presently engaging in this type of marketing, you’re missing out on significant opportunities to reach more customers. The process will take time, but it’s an investment that’s well worth it.
Through informative and engaging content, you have the ability to not only target a defined audience but to attract new ones as well. Research is the key element to creating effective text, video, or graphic pieces. You need to know what your ideal audience is interested in, what they’re searching for, and if they’re unable to find answers to certain questions. This knowledge will enable you to create useful pieces specifically directed toward those individuals who are interested in your particular destination. This specificity increases the likelihood that your content, and subsequently your website, will be found by those who are most likely to need your services.
Once you’ve gotten the content ball rolling and you’re consistently producing quality pieces, you’ll notice some beneficial results. First off, your content will rise in search results rankings. This will serve to increase your website’s organic traffic. Sites that rank among the top four search results get 96% of all the clicks. When you’re listed among these top results, this leads customers to infer that your brand is an authority on the topic at hand. The more information your site has, the more likely it is that visitors will spend a significant amount of time looking through everything. In turn, this increases your potential for conversions.
Not only do search engines love quality content, but customers do, too. As we previously mentioned, a high search result ranking helps to establish your company as a reputable source of information. When your pieces are tailored to your target audience’s interests, this makes it much easier to develop authentic customer relationships. Even better, these informational items will go a long way in developing your brand’s personality. Brand trust and personality are critical factors in customer retention.
You have the ability to use your content pieces on a variety of mediums. This makes it easier than ever to ensure that your information is reaching as many people as possible. Using social media and email newsletters will increase your brand’s reach, expanding your potential audience. When your information is shown on several mediums, you’ll get even more traffic to your website.
You can even develop your content so that it can be used in different formats. With even just one good topic, you can create a blog article, an infographic, a video, and more. This extends the life of your content and will increase its visibility as you’ve created multiple opportunities for customers to interact with and to get to know your brand. As different social media platforms do best with certain types of posts, you can modify your delivery method to best suit the platform and its users.
This type of marketing should be seen as an investment. You won’t see immediate results from your efforts as it takes time for search engines to find and index your informational pieces. If this strategy has been implemented properly, you will see results after several months. And even better, these results will be long-lasting requiring little additional effort from you to ensure they stay among the top search results. It’s a technique that’s both cost-effective and affordable.
Content Marketing and the Travel Industry
Content marketing is important to the travel industry as it offers companies an affordable way to maximize their online visibility. It works to establish brand reputation and awareness and to increase organic search traffic. This strategy plays an important part in targeting and retaining customers. As the travel industry continues to grow and become more complex and diversified, content will prove to be a value-added service that differentiates one brand from another.
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If you’ve been wondering whether advertising your vacation rental business on Facebook is a good move, we’ll let you know right now that it’s time to stop wondering and start putting your strategy together. You may have heard that Facebook advertising doesn’t work. The truth is that it won’t work if you aren’t properly targeting your audience or if your advertising efforts aren’t clearly planned out. However, when you’re extremely focused on your target market and you provide added value to that audience, Facebook is a great route to take. There are no other platforms that allow you to target audiences with such specificity. Even better, Facebook ads are frequently less expensive than Adwords.
Start by Planning Your Strategy
You’ll need to have a straightforward strategy in place before you start advertising. Without that strategy, your advertising efforts’ success will be negatively impacted.
Define Your Target Market
You know your target market better than anyone. When you start setting up your ad campaigns, you’ll need to narrow your focus down to your target customer. Where do they live? Are they male or female? How old are they? As we previously mentioned, Facebook allows you to get very specific with your targeting efforts.
Maybe you want to focus on audiences who like skiing or those who have shown an interest in log cabins. You can further refine your target audience with actions like excluding certain groups or focusing on those who already have a connection to your page (friends of those who have already liked your page, for example).
What Value Will You Offer Your Target Customer?
This step can be a tricky one, especially in the vacation rental world. Most travelers are interested in getting more information on the area they plan on visiting. This might include fun local activities or popular restaurants or bars. Helpful blog posts or videos are great ways to address this. We’ve also found that creating a travel guide is a fantastic way to provide value to your customer. If you create a travel guide, make it audience-specific so that it, just like your ads, focuses on families, mountain bikers, bird watchers, etc. Coupons and discounts are always popular options as well.
Design Your Ad with Your Audience in Mind
This may seem like common sense, but sometimes when you’re creating a design it can be easy to forget what your audience might like. On Facebook, you’ll have several ad options, which include the standard image option, carousel ads, or video ads. Carousel ads are great if you want to send your audience to different sections of your website. Video ads are becoming more and more popular. They may take more time to put together, but they can also make a huge impact. The standard image ads are always a reliable choice, though they are admittedly less flashy than the other two options.
With Facebook ads, you can also choose to advertise on Instagram. If you opt for Instagram ads, those ads should be somewhat different than your Facebook ads. Instagram is based on images, so your ad (regardless of which format you choose) should be striking and concept-driven.
Across the board, though, your ads need to capture your target audience’s interests, needs, and/or desires in order to be successful.
Build a Lead Capture Page
Building a lead capture page makes it easy for you to gain a lead. This step is very important and it’s frequently overlooked when people start down the advertising road. Remember – the reason you’re doing this whole advertising thing is to get bookings. When you get a prospective guest’s information, you are creating a lead, which you can then turn into a booking. You’ll want to at least get an email address, although in some cases, you may be able to get a phone number, too.
Keep your lead capture simple and straight to the point. Don’t provide your potential guests with too many options. You want them to put in their email address and submit their information. Nothing else!
Set Up Your Email Automation for New Leads
After you get some new leads, then what? You’ll want to follow up with them. Set up an automated email series that will not only provide your leads with more value but that will get them back on your site. There are a variety of platforms out there which will seamlessly sync your captured leads with your email automation series. So it’s an incredibly easy way to ensure that your leads are getting the attention they deserve.
Test, Test, Test!
This is a very important part and it’s one that most property managers and marketers in general miss. It can be a tedious step in the process, but it’s essential. Testing allows you get the biggest ROI with your marketing efforts. It allows you to figure out which ads offer the highest conversion rates. You’ll want to make testing a regular part of your advertising efforts so that you can lower your cost-per-click and increase your revenue.
We hope that this Facebook tutorial helped to give you a better understanding of why and how to use Facebook funnels to improve marketing efforts. You can’t just put up a Facebook ad and expect to get results. You need to follow a process if you’re want to see great results. After all, Facebook has over 1.7 billion active monthly users. Isn’t it time that you get your vacation rental business in front of some of them?
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As a vacation rental owner, it can be difficult to make sure that you’re using all the resources available to you. Anymore, there are so many options out there for listing and marketing your property, that owners frequently feel overwhelmed with all of their choices. How do you know which steps will be the best to take if you want to make more money from your vacation rental? While there are countless things you can do in an attempt to make more money, we’ve put together a list of the 6 best ways to increase your rental income.
- Have a Website! This is one of the most important steps you can take. Having your own website makes your property stand out from the rest. You can include all the information and pictures that you want, without facing any of the limitations that you may encounter when using a listing site.
- Sell Other Products in Addition to Your Lodging. Perhaps your vacation rental is located in a ski destination. If so, a good way to get some extra money is by partnering with a local ski shop and getting a commission when you drive business their way. Another option is to set up a program with a travel insurance company so that you can sell that insurance to your guests.
- Engage in Email Marketing. Email marketing is one of the best ways to re-engage with previous customers. Your email newsletters will keep them informed and interested in your property. If you’re not currently using email marketing, you should start now!
- Get Reviews from Previous Guests. Getting good reviews from past guests is a surefire way to increase interest in your home. People are more likely to reach out to you if other travelers enjoyed staying in your property and took the time to write about it.
- Set Up Your Vacation Rental on Google Business. Surprisingly, most vacation rental owners do not do this. But, it’s one of the easiest and cheapest ways to get your business to the top of Google search results and displayed on Google maps.
- Allow Guests to Book on Your Site with a Credit Card. There’s a reason why online shopping is so popular – it’s easy, fast, and secure. Prospective guests want this same ease when they’re booking a vacation rental online.
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