Although it’s not difficult to start a short-term rental company, you’ll need a strong vacation rental marketing strategy to draw in customers if you want to convert your newfound love into ongoing success.
The demand for short-term rentals is growing every year, especially after the COVID outbreak in 2020, which had a significant influence on travelers’ travel habits and the kinds of vacations they choose to take.
Travelers nowadays seek personal space, privacy, individual attention, and remote working capabilities. Our U.S. Vacation Rental Industry Forecast for 2022 has further information.
That said, there is a lot of competition in the market, so it’s not simple to make your rental stand out in a sea of other homes online. You need clients, just like any other company, and you need to know how to promote your vacation rental home if you want people to discover you while they are planning their holiday.
Not sure where to begin? Not to worry. In this post, we’ll discuss short-term rental marketing strategies and how to create a marketing strategy for vacation rentals.
What is a marketing strategy for vacation rentals?
A written strategy outlining how you intend to advertise your vacation rental to a certain group of people, in this example, prospective visitors, is known as a vacation rental marketing plan. It may seem complicated, but all it requires is that you spend some time considering your goals and the people you want to attract.
The vacation rental management industry is seeing a rise in niche markets, so even for more unconventional rentals like small homes or cabins, you are more likely to discover visitors interested in precisely what you have to offer with the correct marketing methods.
Why your company needs a marketing strategy for vacation rentals
Any successful firm must have a solid marketing strategy since it is essential to prioritize your marketing activities to achieve your objectives and make the most of your available resources.
You have a far higher chance of attracting their attention if you take the time to thoroughly study your target market and choose the best and most affordable methods to contact them online and offline.
Without a strategy, you risk wasting too much money, time, and effort on ineffective measures while your property remains unoccupied.
Questions to consider while drafting your marketing strategy for vacation rentals
What are your objectives?
Spend some time defining your marketing objectives and goals, and try to be as clear as you can. Of course, as a vacation rental owner, you want to boost the number of reservations and inquiries as well as your revenue.
However, you could just want to rent out your home at a certain season of the year and want to use it for your own family during the busiest time of year, or you might want to attract visitors who plan longer stays especially. Driving direct reservations is something you must do to save commission costs.
Since your rental is often fully booked during the peak season, do you wish to increase the number of reservations during the shoulder season?
You may develop sensible marketing objectives that align with these strategic business goals to expand your company by being clear about what you want to accomplish and when.
Whom are you trying to reach?
Who your ideal visitor is is a crucial question to consider yourself as you prepare. Do you want to draw in visitors from a certain nation or region? What about families, business travelers, large groups, or even tourists?
This would often depend much on the kind and dimensions of your property. For instance, if you have a large rural property, you presumably want to rent to families or groups. You should generally focus on business travelers who fly in and out for meetings and conferences if you have a tiny apartment in the city center.
Do web research about your target visitor, for instance, in online forums and social media sites. Additionally, discuss the demands and preferences of this kind of visitor face-to-face. Consider identifying your hypothetical visitor persona or guests and providing details about their demographics, such as age, income, and residence, for your usual guest guests. Do not forget to include their other interests and pastimes.
To appeal to families, for instance, you would presumably target the mother, who often performs research on family vacations.
What criteria does she use to choose a family vacation? Moms often search for local family-friendly restaurants, attractions, and other services. Another major concern for this prospective visitor is safety.
Similarly, you could wish to target remote employees to make longer stays because of the change in travel patterns. As a result, in this instance, you would focus on this visitor profile by emphasizing the attributes and amenities in the area that would interest them. For instance, you may mention the nearby jogging trails or the lovely workstation with the coffee maker.
Where can you find your target audience?
Spend some time learning where your ideal guests could explore vacation homes once you’ve determined who they are. Yes, there are rental listing sites, but in the instance of the mother persona mentioned above, she may also depend on recommendations from other parents in social media groups, in online forums for families, or Instagram reviews from influencers in this industry. One of your strategies may be to get a person with power in this field to check out and evaluate your home.
Then, for each character, build a list of all the online and physical locations where you are likely to find your target audience.
Most of your guests will find you online, so digital marketing for vacation rentals is crucial today. In the past, marketers heavily relied on traditional media like print and radio for vacation rental advertising.
But it does not mean you should completely disregard conventional marketing. When attending local events, for instance, business cards or brochures for your vacation rental still have a place. A well-placed brochure or a gorgeous business card might help persuade your visitors to tell their friends about your establishment.
What distinguishes your vacation home?
Your marketing approach will be successful if you can identify what makes your rental unique and why visitors would choose it over those of your rivals. Once you know your USP, or unique selling proposition, you can use it for advertising your hotel to the aforementioned visitor profiles by emphasizing it in your communications.
Focus on the features that make your rental stand out from the competition rather than just repeating what a rival is saying about theirs.
What niche does your rental occupy in the industry?
It’s essential to research the market and industry before starting any company endeavor. To get a deeper grasp of your market, invest some time reading industry websites and discussion forums.
Pay attention to the most recent trends in the vacation rental market and observe what rivals in your region and specialty are doing.
What are your main points?
What are the key details about your home that you want visitors to be aware of? The messages are closely related to the aforementioned guest personas. Knowing your audience makes it much simpler to comprehend their needs, which will help you craft messaging and market your business both online and offline.
Therefore, for our mother’s guest profile, you might include a message that would be appealing to her and emphasize all the little things she would value, such as:
“While your kids sleep soundly upstairs, relax with your sweetheart and a glass of wine on the terrace. For your peace of mind, our property has stair gates, baby monitors, and a safety latch on every window.
How long will your marketing campaigns last?
Next, think about when you want to draw customers. For instance, if you want to fill up your calendar in July and August, you must understand when customers start to plan their vacations and market to them at that time.
The normal internet visitor path, often known as the sales funnel in marketing lingo, is another thing to keep in mind. In other words, are you aiming for visitors who are still thinking about a vacation and a location, or are you aiming for people who are certain of what they want but need one more push?
However, understanding who you are targeting and what phases they are in can help you focus your marketing efforts. You might even target all stages.
The daydreamer stage of the visitor trip, for instance, is targeted by a blog article on your website about Why your location is perfect for families.
What are your time and financial capacity?
As a result, you should consider how much time and money you are willing to devote to promoting your home. Your time will be restricted if you are the only person who has to split their time between marketing, property maintenance, guest communications, and the other 101 chores associated with vacation rentals. Before extending, it’s a good idea to concentrate on one or two main strategies and master them.
Suppose you are an experienced multi-property owner with a larger budget. In that case, you may want to think about hiring a freelance marketing individual or firm to handle this aspect of the business.
If you’re just starting, there are risk-free methods to put up a vacation rental website and dip your toe in the water so to speak before spending more. Online marketing doesn’t have to be costly.
Which marketing strategies are best for your company?
Therefore, after you have completed the aforementioned research, you will be in a lot better position to choose which strategies to concentrate on.
OTAs that list properties
A smart approach to increase the visibility of your rental is to list it on one of the online travel agencies like Airbnb, Vrbo, Expedia, or Booking.com.
Pay close attention to everything we covered above while creating your property listings. Target certain visitor profiles in your descriptions and emphasize the unique features of your rental. You might always attempt a title and description generating tool for some inspiration if you have trouble with the listings.
Do not cut corners when it comes to photos. A professional photographer can help you capture high-quality pictures that showcase your property’s most appealing qualities since the majority of vacationers base their decision on photographs.
Make a personal website.
You should develop your website in addition to listing on the channels previously stated if you want to work toward obtaining direct reservations without having to pay a commission.
Therefore, all you have to do is sit back and watch the reservations come in once you have your website. Er, no. Wait a minute. Online marketing and search engine optimization may help with that. In other words, there is where pleasure and labor both begin.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
What comes up in the Google search results when your customer searches “family vacation rentals near Boston”?
To locate the most pertinent response to that particular search question, Google’s so-called spiders will comb through millions of websites, ranking them according to how “relevant” they are to the traveler who entered the search.
You have a probability of ranking your website on the top page of Google search results, depending on how many people attempted to “rank” their sites or pages for that particular keyword phrase and how effectively your site has been optimized for it compared to the competitors. This implies that your vacation rental will appear as one of the top choices on the first page of the results.
Finding the appropriate keywords for your website and understanding how to utilize them is essential for your specialized audience to discover your site before that of your rivals.
Websites may rank for various keyword phrases connected to their site by using their blogs and guest blogs (content marketing). If you’re trying to attract families to Boston, you may write a blog article on family activities there.
Internet advertising (SEM)
Similar to SEO, SEM also aids in getting your website to the top of search results, but, in this instance, you are paying Google to keep your website at the top of results pages. Your page vanishes the instant you cease making payments.
Using social media
You may use social media to assist promote your website and online listings. Take note of the social media sites and websites your target audience often uses while doing market research at the beginning of your marketing campaign.
You should concentrate your social media efforts on this platform if, for instance, your mother’s guest character spends most of her time on Instagram.
Spending a lot of time on LinkedIn, for instance, is pointless if you are aware that your target demographic does not use this platform.
Email marketing is still one of the most successful marketing strategies as it allows you access to a visitor’s mailbox. Begin by gathering the email addresses of your visitors and requesting their consent to contact them with upcoming specials and local news.
This priceless database might also be created through lead-generating tools, such as opt-in forms that ask for email addresses in return for free downloads of lead magnets (such as a guide to family-friendly activities in Boston).
By doing this, you may create a useful database with a warm audience that you can contact and use to target returning consumers. For instance, if your rental received rave reviews from guests, send them a campaign around the typical booking time to remind them of it and describe any new features and amenities that have been introduced that they may find appealing.
Evaluating your performance
Without assessing the effectiveness of your efforts, no marketing strategy is complete. Setting goals and corresponding measurements will help you determine whether your efforts are impacting or at least moving the needle in the right direction.
You could track the traffic and interaction on your blog post, the opens and clicks on your emails, and the activity on social media, for instance, if your objective was to draw more families to your company and your methods included social media, email campaigns, and blog articles. You may find out which of these marketing strategies was most effective in bringing in inquiries and, eventually, reservations by doing this.
If something went very well, you can figure out what to concentrate on moving forward and what didn’t work out so well. A marketing strategy is never finished. You continually update the plan to increase performance by utilizing your learned lessons.
It’s time to carry out your strategy
After reading this article in its entirety and doing your research, you should have enough knowledge to create a marketing strategy for your short-term rental company that will increase inquiries and encourages more reservations, including direct bookings.
So get in now! To begin, you don’t need to be an accomplished professional; just keep in mind that Rome wasn’t built in a day. Some of these strategies, like SEO, require more time to produce results, but they may be quite successful in the long term.
Your hard work will quickly be rewarded if you start implementing your marketing strategies, track their success, and keep improving them. Good fortune!