Vacation rental owners face a number of challenges and usually, chief among them, is that which comes with maximizing rental revenue and occupancy rates. Frequently, these issues arise because vacation rental owners are having a tough time marketing their properties. We’ve heard the same question repeatedly from our clients, “What’s the most effective way to market a vacation rental property?” And while we wish we could provide a simple, straightforward response, anymore, there just isn’t one strategy you should follow to ensure vacation property success. Instead, the most effective way to market vacation homes and condos depends on incorporating several different types of marketing techniques into one comprehensive strategy.
Build Your Brand
Elevate your vacation rental into something beyond just a home or condo by creating a brand for your property. While this may sound like a grand undertaking, it really only involves a few steps. First, give your vacation home or condo a name.To guests, properties that have names come across as having more personality than those that don’t. In addition, repeat or referred guests will have an easier time finding your property online when it has a specific name. Try to find a descriptive name that captures what’s special about your property (Mountaintop Manor, Lakeside Chalet, etc.). Before you commit to a name, do a quick internet search to guarantee your chosen name’s uniqueness.
Set Up a Website
Once you’ve got your name picked out, it’s a good idea to set up a website for your property. There are a variety of platforms out there that make setting up websites quick and easy. Website hosting is also very affordable, with many plans costing just a few dollars a month. In order to get your site showing up in search results, take the time to optimize it for search engines. If you’ve never dealt with search engine optimization (SEO), we’ve put together a vacation rental SEO guide that covers just about everything you should know.
Set Up Social Media Accounts
Social media accounts are another important element of your vacation rental brand. You can use Facebook and Twitter to show off photos of your property, events in your destination, and much more. Facebook is also great for advertising and getting reviews. Set up a Google My Business page for your vacation home or condo, too. This will ensure that your property shows up in local map search results. Plus, if you get Google reviews for your property, they’ll show up in these search results as well. Having these types of accounts makes it even easier for guests to find your property online.
If your property isn’t listed on the major rental listing sites (VRBO, HomeAway, Airbnb, etc.), now’s the time to create those listings using the property name you previously devised. Many factors on these sites will affect how successful your listing is at attracting guests. First and foremost, your destination and its market saturation can negatively impact your property’s visibility. For example, major metropolitan areas can have thousands and thousands of vacation homes and condos available for rent. Getting your property to stand out and rank higher than all those other rentals, will take time and effort.
Listing sites take several criteria into consideration when ranking vacation properties in their search results. Most of these have to do with how good of an experience potential guests have with your listing. Best practices include:
- Giving guests the ability to book online
- Responding to guest inquiries in a timely fashion
- Keeping the availability calendar up to date
- Using high quality property photos
- Having good and current reviews
- Providing an accurate and engaging property description
- Verifying your property’s location on the map
Content marketing is one of the more effective marketing strategies out there for the travel industry. Essentially, with content marketing, you’ll need to write articles about your property or your destination and then post them on your website and social media accounts. The key to great content marketing is research. You’ll need to take some time to research what your target audience is interested in and what they’re looking for online. Topics will obviously depend on your destination but may include things like events, seasonal activities, festivals, transportation options, restaurants, and lots more. If you’ve put together a quality, SEO article, search engines will notice and your article will rise in results rankings, which will get more organic traffic to your website. Infographics and videos are other great content pieces that appeal to a wide variety of audiences.
While search engines love quality content, so do guests. Your content will lay the groundwork for developing customer relationships and establishing your brand’s personality. And, the more frequently your content pieces come up in search results, the more brand recognition you’ll develop. If potential guests come to identify you as an authority on the area, this makes them more likely to trust you and to consider your rental when thinking about their next vacation.
Keep in mind that content marketing will take time. You won’t see results immediately as you’ll need to wait for search engines to find your content and index it. But the results from your efforts will be long-lasting, which is what makes content marketing quite affordable and cost-effective.
Email marketing is a cost-effective and useful strategy that can help to maintain occupancy rates throughout the year while also keeping previous guests engaged. Most email platforms that are out there have free and low-cost versions that will more than pay for themselves. Emails make it easy for you to stay fresh in the mind of your previous guests and to continue building on your relationship with them. In addition, emails are a great way to encourage repeat business through things like discounted rates, last minute deals, and reward programs.
An added bonus of email marketing is that you can easily see how well your messages are being received. You’ll be able to see how many people opened your emails, how many clicks they get, and more. You can also use custom campaign parameters (snippets of code at the end of your link URLs) to better help you see how users are interacting with your site once they get there. When you know what messages are resonating with your audience members, you can tailor your emails to suit their interests, which will result in higher open rates and an increased potential for bookings.
How’s Your Marketing Strategy?
As the online marketplace for vacation rentals continues to evolve, property owners must adjust their marketing techniques accordingly. Currently, the best and most effective way to market your vacation rental property is by using a combination of marketing strategies that work together to increase your property’s online exposure, develop its brand reputation, and increase the organic traffic to your property’s website. With these items in place, you can look forward to getting more booking and more rental revenue.
If you’ve got questions about marketing your vacation home or condo, we’re here to help. We offer full-service marketing packages that can get your property seen online. To get started, give us a call at (720) 336-3939 or contact us online.