Fine-tuning your vacation rental marketing enables you to show off your property and lure in potential guests. Here we list the top 13 marketing strategies we find to be most effective:
1. Design & fine-tune a notable listing
Without a striking listing, how do you expect to attract customers? Your primary goal is to create a listing that truthfully represents your rental, balancing accuracy while also highlighting the best aspects of the property.
You must consider what your
- General information
convey to potential customers!
The main purpose of the title is not only to convey basic information, but to catch the attention of users. With the endless possibilities online, users will likely ignore boring or bland titles. So, avoid simple titles like “1 bedroom apartment NYC.” There are thousands of 1 bedroom apartments in NYC, so this title gives no incentive for the user to find out more information. So break out your thesaurus and use illustrative words to your advantage! “A Heavenly Beach Getaway” sounds much more appealing than “House Near the Beach.”
Your description does the heavy lifting; an informative and interesting description can turn a moderately intrigued user into your next customer! So, make sure to detail exactly what your customer will expect; they should be able to close their eyes and be transported right to the property! Include all the necessary information: location, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, amenities offered, nightly rate, check-in and check-out times, and any specific house rules. Making sure all of this information is up to date is of utmost importance to avoid any confusion or issues arising. If a customer feels they are not receiving accurate information, they will likely avoid booking, or worse, they may leave a bad review.
Despite the importance of a good description, when browsing, users will naturally gravitate towards the pictures. So, invest in quality photos! Including unattractive or low-quality photos has the power to deter an interested user. If you cannot hire a professional photographer, follow these guidelines:
- Ensure you have good lighting, preferably natural light, so open up your windows!
- Take wide-angle shots from the corner to accurately display the size and scale of the rooms.
- Make sure the area looks neat and clean while also maintaining coziness. Add some blankets, candles, or books!
2. List on Several OTA’s
You may have crafted an immaculate listing, but it doesn’t matter if no one sees it! Listing on several popular sites is the easiest way to broaden your reach. Post your listing across all the leading OTAs including but not limited to TripAdvisor, Airbnb, Booking.com, and Vrbo.
3. Cut Down on Tediousness
Running a successful business involves a multitude of tasks, many of which are quite tedious. Utilizing vacation rental software tools, like iGMS, automates repetitive tasks, allowing you to focus your time and energy on other business affairs. iGMS software enables you to:
- Automate messages and organize chats to ensure prompt replies
- Manage multiple accounts and listings from a single interface
- Streamline guest communication and track guest support team productivity with the add-on PROtrack
- Synchronize reservations across multiple platforms to eliminate potential double-bookings
- Connect Stripe account to iGMS to receive payouts and create invoices
- Automate guest review send-outs
- Share daily cleaning schedules and auto-assign cleaning tasks
- Manage direct bookings
- Create performance reports
Take advantage of pricing adjustments
4. Let Glowing Reviews Speak for Themselves
Never give your customer a reason to leave a bad review! Make sure your rental is immaculately clean and practice good guest communication. Good reviews will surely entice others into booking!
5. Leverage Social Media
Utilizing various social media platforms and receiving glowing reviews will elevate your listings tremendously. The nature of social media makes reaching a wider audience very easy and it’s free! The best social media platforms to market your rental include:
As already mentioned, people primarily gravitate towards images. Instagram, an image-based platform, is the best place to showcase the aesthetic appeal of your property. Instagram also allows you to see guests who post photos at your property and tag your account. You can post these on your own account to engage with previous guests. Other users seeing happy customers at your property will spike their interest and potentially lead to a booking!
Facebook is one of the best places for marketing due to its extremely large number of users. Along with providing a large audience, Facebook offers many groups and communities that allow people with common interests to convene online. Take advantage of this feature and search for groups interested in travel and market your property; this ensures you reach an audience that may be genuinely interested in your property. To take your marketing even further, Facebook also offers paid advertising options that target specific groups.
Youtube, being an online video-sharing platform, is the premier place to give video tours of your property. If you cannot hire a professional videographer, most cameras are user-friendly enough to shoot your own videos!
Pinterest, also an image-based platform, is an option to show off your property’s aesthetic appeal. Because Pinterest is less focused on follower count and curating a profile that reflects one’s personal identity than Instagram, the best way to utilize the platform is to conduct research into what users are searching for relating to vacation rentals. By formulating your titles to resemble frequent searches, you will show up in search results and subsequently draw in more traffic.
TikTok is useful for attracting a younger audience. If your property offers amenities that appeal to a younger crowd, then marketing on TikTok will be useful. TikTok, like Youtube, is a video-sharing platform; however, TikTok limits videos to 3 minutes. So, you can post short, enthusiastic videos that resemble a commercial rather than a detailed tour.
6. Create a Business Profile
Creating your own business website is another opportunity to be found through search engines. Your own website also allows for direct bookings for your rental and avoids third-party service fees. Because of the many website builder options, creating your own website is quite simple, and you don’t need to be a skillful web developer.
7. Take Advantage of Google My Business
Google My Business allows you to create a free business profile, making you more accessible to those searching for you directly.
8. Incorporate SEO Practices
Search engine optimization, or SEO, is a proven effective digital marketing tactic. Advertising costs are continually increasing, so adopting good SEO strategies is key.
9. Invest in Pay Per Click Advertising
The internet offers an array of marketing and advertising possibilities, so use this to your advantage! Although there are many free marketing alternatives, paid advertising is highly effective. For example, Google ads would market your rental more directly to your target market by analyzing users’ search patterns.
10. Set Up an Email Marketing Strategy
Email marketing also proves effective in reaching potential guests and staying in contact with previous customers. There are many ways to market via email including monthly newsletters and sending exclusive discounts.
11. Foster Local Partnerships
You can’t run a successful long-term business alone! The industry is comprised of not just vacation homes, but cultural sites, local restaurants, and entertainment establishments. Forming partnerships with local businesses will give your business a major boost and you will benefit from the mutual promotion.
Vacation rental forums provide a good space for networking and finding like-minded individuals to share knowledge and experiences.
12. Offer Specials and Discounts
Everyone loves a good deal! Regularly advertising discounts on your website, social media accounts, and listings will persuade travelers to book with you if they believe they are getting a good deal. Providing discounts is especially helpful during off-seasons when you don’t have as many bookings.
13. Stay Informed
The vacation rental industry, just like everything else, is constantly evolving, and technology plays a big role. Tools like Transparent and AirDNA can help you stay informed by providing the latest market insights. Being aware of industry trends can help you stay ahead of your competition.
Now, why is this all so important? Do these strategies really provide meaningful results? Adopting smart marketing strategies will help you:
- Increase bookings & grow client base
- Build credibility and relationships
Your number of bookings makes up the majority of your revenue and determines your business’s long-term success; so, they must be your top priority!
However, to ensure the long-term success of your business you must also build trust and credibility amongst your clients, as well as other business owners. Because of the endless options available online, having someone’s trust and a credible reputation could be the deciding factor between your property and a competitor’s.
Building mutually beneficial partnerships with other businesses will allow you to offer better experiences for your guests. These partnerships open up the possibilities for offering free gifts, exclusive discounts, and special activities.
Employing all of these tips and strategies will help your business long-term and potentially allow it to grow exponentially into a franchise!