Attracting Large Groups to Your Vacation Rental: 4 Simple Steps

Erin Colbert —  February 20, 2013

family reunionIf you were looking for the perfect vacation rental for your family reunion, which headline would get your attention?

  1. Amazing, multilevel 6 bedroom spacious home 6000 SF
  2. Waterfront Tahoe Keys Home, Hot Tub, Boat Dock
  3. Comfortable 6 Bedroom, 4 Bathroom House in South Lake Tahoe

The reality is, these three rental properties from FlipKey all have six bedrooms and sleep 16 people. They’re all good headlines, but A stands out. Why? It packs in four ways to tell you it’s big – multilevel, 6 bedrooms, spacious, 6,000 square feet – before you even click.

While some owners shy away from accommodating groups, others rely on it. But, it’s important to think about what types of groups might be relevant for your home. Some groups might include:

  • Family reunions
  • Church group vacations or bible study weekends
  • Close friends for a ski trip
  • Corporate off-site or retreat
  • Activity-based group like geocaching or kayaking

According to FlipKey, houses are the #1 type of vacation rental property, making up 67% of their listings in 2012. If your rental property is a home, you have a large market, but you need to stand out. Here are a few basic steps to attract large groups to your vacation rental.

Step 1: Make every word in your headline count.

Headline A may even seem like overkill, but it pops. Renters might scroll through 5, 10, 15 pages of listings, and they’re not going to click on every single one.The ideal headline is about 60 to 70 characters and incorporates the type of property, what’s special about it, and who it’s suited to. You want words that say big in a more evocative way than just saying big, for example spacious, expansive, incredible. Words like “lovely” are for honeymooners. Use Thesaurus.com if you feel stuck for good adjectives.

Step 2: Style your photos.

A recent survey found that 87% of leisure travelers choose vacation homes over hotels because of access to full kitchen facilities. If you’re in the market for big groups, this especially relates to you. Consider staging your kitchen and dining area – indoors or out – with elegant place settings and simple food items like french bread and wine to create an extra-welcoming vibe. A professional photographer can help with staging and angling the image for maximum space, so consider hiring a pro.

Step 3: Describe what and how.

Don’t just describe your rental, describe how it will be experienced. Let’s look at the first few sentences of Headline A’s description:

“This amazing, multilevel 6 bedroom spacious home is perfect for large groups and family get-togethers. Three levels and 6,000 square feet of living space makes for a lot of privacy while enjoying a full house. Plenty for adults and kids to do. Relax in the private rooftop Jacuzzi and sundeck. Acres of gorgeous Tahoe Pines line the 10 miles of hiking trails right in your backyard.”

“Right in my backyard?” I’m in! Think about the space, the amenities, the surrounding area, who might use it and how when you revise your listing.

Step 4: Think outside the box.

This is really the next step into niche marketing, but if you’re ready, start to stretch your range. Who do you want to rent to and where else might they be looking? Social networking sites like Meetup and LinkedIn have groups of people, like skiers and adventure travelers. If you’re place is family-friendly, look for parenting groups.

Vacation Rental Marketing Blog’s Matt Landau even suggests joining forces. “Why not team up with the closest, most reliable owners and put together a package? We host meetings and team-building exercises all the time between our 7 units and there’s no reason you can’t do this with your ‘competitor’ next door.”

Targeted Marketing for Your Vacation Rental

For more in-depth tips on reaching specific groups of renters, download our free eBook Targeted Marketing For Your Vacation Rental.

Erin Colbert

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Marketing at MyVR.com. I help vacation rental owners improve their online marketing efforts and get more inquiries & bookings as a result. You can find me on Twitter and Google+.
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