The Best Way to Market Vacation Rentals

Friends and family passing salad on a table at sunset. There is spaghetti Bolognese on some of the plates on the table. There are glasses of wine and other food on the table; everyone is having fun laughing and smiling

Starting a short-term rental company is not difficult, but to transform your newfound passion into an ongoing success, you must have an efficient vacation rental marketing strategy in place to attract prospective consumers.

That said, there is a lot of competition in the sector, and standing out in a sea of competing online properties is not simple. You need clients, just like any other company, and you need to know how to promote your vacation rental property to discover them, or rather, for them to find you when they plan their holiday easily.

Are you unsure where to begin? Don’t be concerned. In this post, we’ll discuss how to promote short-term rentals and create a vacation rental marketing strategy.

What exactly is a vacation rental marketing strategy?

A vacation rental marketing plan is a written strategy outlining how you intend to advertise your property to a particular target, in this instance, prospective visitors. It may seem like a mouthful, but it simply means that you take the time to consider what you want to accomplish and who you want to attract.

Niche markets are becoming more popular in the vacation rental management industry, which means that with the correct marketing methods, you will be more likely to discover guests who are interested in precisely what you have to offer, even for more unusual rentals like small homes or cabins.

Why do you need a vacation rental marketing strategy for your company?

A smart marketing strategy is at the core of every successful company because it helps prioritize your marketing activities, allowing you to achieve your business objectives while making the most of the resources available to you.

You have a far higher chance of appealing to your target market if you spend time studying them and considering the finest and most cost-effective methods to contact them online and offline.

Without a strategy, you risk wasting money, effort, and time on ineffective efforts that go undetected while your property sits vacant.

Marketing tactics: Which ones are right for your business?

So, once you have done the homework above, you’re in a much better position to consider which tactics to focus on.

Property listings: OTAs

Listing your property on one of the online travel agencies such as Airbnb, Vrbo, Expedia, or Booking.com, is a good way to get wider exposure for your rental. You can even list your property on all of them with the help of a professional channel manager.

In your property listings, pay attention to everything we discussed above. Target your descriptions to specific guest profiles and highlight what makes your rental special. If you struggle with the listings, you could always try a title and description generator tool for some ideas.

Whatever you do, don’t skimp on the photographs. Most vacationers will choose a rental based on images, so investing in a professional photographer to get quality photos highlighting your property’s most attractive features will make all the difference.

Create your website

In addition to listing on the channels mentioned above, you also definitely want to own your channel – in other words, create your website – to work towards getting direct bookings without having to pay commission.

So, once you have your site, all you have to do is sit back and watch the bookings roll in. Er, no. Not so fast. That is where search engine optimization and online marketing comes in. In other words, that’s where the work, but also the fun, starts.

Search engine optimization (SEO) (SEO)

What happens when your client types ‘family holiday vacation rentals near Boston’ into the Google search engine?

Google’s so-called spiders will crawl millions of web pages to find the most relevant answer to that specific search query and present them in order of ‘relevance’ to the vacationer who typed in the query.

Depending on how many people tried to ‘rank’ their sites or pages for that specific keyword phrase and how well your site has been optimized for it compared to the otters, you have a chance of ranking your website on the first page of Google search results. This means the vacation will see your rental as one of the first options on the first page of results.

Researching the right keywords for your site and knowing where to use them is key to helping your niche audience find your site before those of your competitors.

Blogs and guest blogs (content marketing) are used to help websites rank for different keyword phrases related to their site. For example, ¨Family things to do in Boston¨could be a blog post on your website, if you are targeting families visiting this city.

Search engine marketing (SEM) (SEM)

Similar to SEO, SEM also helps your website to appear in the top search results, but in this case, you are paying for advertising on Google to help you stay at the top of results pages. The moment you stop paying, your page disappears.

Social media marketing

Social media is a way to help draw attention to your website and listings online. When doing your business research at the start of your marketing campaign, also take note of which social media channels your guest personas tend to use and where they spend their time online.

If, for example, your mommy guest persona spends most of her time on Instagram, you should focus your social media efforts on this social media channel.

There is no point spending a lot of time on LinkedIn, for example, if you know your audience is not using this channel.

Email marketing

Email Marketing still is one of the most effective marketing tactics as it gives you access to a guest’s inbox. Start by collecting the email addresses of your guests and getting their permission to contact them with future promotions and news in the area.

You could also build this valuable database through lead generation tools such as opt-in forms to download lead magnets (for example a free Guide about Things to do for Families in Boston) in exchange for an online visitor’s email address.

This way you build a valuable database consisting of a warm audience you can reach out to and you can also target repeat customers this way. For example, if you received fantastic reviews from customers, send them a campaign around the regular booking time to remind you of your property and describe new features and amenities added to your rental that they may appreciate.

Measuring your results

No marketing campaign is complete without assessing the effect of your efforts. When you establish your objectives, you also need to create matching metrics to evaluate whether what you do, is truly making a difference or at least correctly pushing the needle.

For example, if your goal was to attract more families to your business and your tactics included social media, email campaigns, and blog posts, you could measure the traffic and engagement on your blog post, the email opens and clicks, and social media engagement. This would tell you which of these marketing tactics was most successful in generating inquiries and, ultimately, bookings.

If something worked very well, you know what to focus on for the future, and you can also identify what has not been very successful. A marketing plan is never done. You are always using your learnings to improve the plan to boost your performance.

It’s time to implement your plan

If you have worked your way through this text and done your research, you should now have enough information to draw up a marketing plan for your short-term rental business to generate more inquiries and drive more bookings, including direct bookings.

So, dive right in! You don’t need to be a seasoned expert to get started, and remember that Rome wasn’t built in one day. Some of these tactics, such as SEO, take longer to show results but can be very effective in the long run.

Start implementing and measuring your marketing efforts and continue to tweak your plan, and your hard work will soon pay off! Good luck!

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