Archives For Niche Marketing

Air New Zealand Hobbit Plane on flickr, by Simon Clancy (CC BY 2.0)Having your city or neighborhood featured in a movie, TV series or book can bring a sense of pride—even some residual acclaim—to the people who live there.

A new report from Skift confirms that status can also draw tourists, bringing a direct boost to the local travel industry.

Whether it’s the spectacular backdrops or a connection to their favorite stories, people are drawn to follow in the footsteps of their favorite characters. New Zealand has developed a booming business around first the “Lord of the Rings” franchise and now “The Hobbit”, as evidenced by painted airplanes and the recently-launched “Book of New Zealand”.

But your efforts don’t need to be quite so epic. In their report, “The Rise of Destination Marketing Through Movies and TV”, Skift cites a number of examples from the past few decades–including some you might not expect. Continue Reading…

"Z Stage Build" by MakerBot Industries on flickr (CC BY 2.0)Always be selling, the old business mantra goes — as true for vacation rental owners as it is for the hardware store up the street.

While you have a finite amount of “product” to sell, not an endless supply of widgets, nothing is stagnant these days — and definitely not the vacation rental industry.

How can you keep your marketing plan evolving so you’re left tweaking, and not scrambling, as things change?

Your network needs care and feeding

I think the number one thing you can do to maintain a healthy marketing strategy is to look after the people who’ve either stayed with you in the past or wanted to.

It’s cheaper and easier to hold onto your existing fans than to attract and keep new ones. But a lot of vacation rental owners sink all their energy into attracting new guests. After all, some trips are once in a lifetime, or at least once in a decade — why would they come back? Continue Reading…

A lot of vacation home renters want to include a little love in their vacation time: A survey by TripAdvisor found that one in four think the best benefit of a vacation rental is “more privacy for romance”.

LOVE sculpture NY

Photo credit: Hu Totya

How can you adjust your marketing plans to catch the eyes of folks who are looking for some time alone?

Most travelers turn to vacation rentals because they want more space for family and group vacations, so don’t focus all your efforts pitching your home as a romantic getaway.

However, chances are your home can meet the needs of two groups who will appreciate their privacy: Those who want to stay somewhere without any other guests, and those travelling with a larger group who like a lot of space so they can get away from everyone else once in a while.

While you can tell people what a romantic location your property is — “take long walks on the beach” or “watch the sunset over dinner on the veranda”, for example — reflecting it through photos and highlighted activities makes it easier for potential guests to envision how they will spend their time.

Continue Reading…

inquiry formOnce you have your vacation rental management process figured out, it’s time to start getting guests through the door. With the growth of social media and the omnipresent Internet, marketing isn’t what it used to be — and it’s changing all the time.

As you start moving forward with your marketing plan, here are some terms you’ll likely hear, particularly when it comes to your website and online promotional activities.

Keep hearing a term that’s not on this list?  Please post it in the comments section below.

Analytics — the numbers you use to measure progress and results, and watch for patterns. For example, you may keep track of your web conversions, like the number of website visitors who send you an inquiry. Or, you may use this information over time to monitor whether the number of visitors to your website peaks at particular times of the year. (See also Conversion Rate.)

Auto Responder — an email that is automatically sent when someone sends you a message or inquiry. They can be a great way to deliver better customer service and help connect people quickly with important information about your property.

Call to Action — a word or phrase that encourages your reader to take a particular action, like “continue to reservation” or “share your review”.

Categories — broad topics used to group blog posts. For example, MyVR’s categories include “Contracts & Payments”, “Inquiries & Bookings”, and “Social Media”. (See also Keywords, Tags.) Continue Reading…

Passport International TravelerInternational travel is on the rise and awareness of vacation rentals is improving, making overseas inquiries increasingly likely for your vacation rental property. What can you do to help accommodate foreign guests and ensure they have a good stay?

International Travel Growing In The U.S.

International travel grew 4% last year globally, and the U.S. is angling to get a bigger slice of that market. “In the first half of 2012 alone, international visitors spent an estimated $82.2 billion… an increase of 11 percent when compared to the same period last year,” according to the U.S. Commerce Department.

Earlier this year, President Obama announced the Task Force on Travel and Competitiveness, an effort that aims to double the travel and tourism business by 2021.

Where will these travelers come from? Over the next five years, visitors from other parts of North America (i.e. Canada and Mexico) will account for 42% of those visits, while people from Asia — and specifically China — as well as Western Europe and South America will comprise most of the remaining 58%. Continue Reading…

Corporate Business TravelerYou’ve considered various niche markets for your vacation rental and you’re sure you’ve found the right one: The corporate traveler. And why not? A 2011 survey by Deloitte found that business travel will increasingly drive growth in the travel, hospitality and leisure industry.

With a furnished corporate rental, you have the benefit of being more agile than larger operations when it comes to tailoring to a niche market. Once you know your property provides the essentials that business travelers expect, you can move your marketing to the next level by:

  • Looking at the needs of your ideal corporate traveler, and
  • Clearly differentiating yourself from the competition.

Identifying your corporate traveler

Do your market research to identify any service gaps or particular needs for corporate rentals in your area. Chances are you’ll find that the short-term corporate housing market is well looked after; regardless of preferences, people will often make do with what’s most convenient or affordable for a night or two.

For longer stays, however, details matter more. The better you understand what’s needed in your neighborhood, the better you can customize your space to fit. For example: Continue Reading…

Bike Riding Niche Vacation Rental TravelTravelers have a lot of options when it comes to accommodation – vacation rentals are just one of them. Getting your property to jump off a page of search results is no small feat.

What if you could position your rental in a way that maximized your efforts and did a better job of attracting your ideal renter, while possibly increasing your income? Experienced marketers advocate an approach that does just that: Niche marketing.

A niche market is a distinct group of people within a larger group of potential customers. Many consumers aren’t even aware of the rental home market yet, which makes vacation home renters a distinct group of travelers already.

However, people are always on the lookout for accommodations and destinations that meet their particular needs. That’s your opportunity. Continue Reading…

You don’t have to live in a big city like Austin or San Francisco to take advantage of renting your home during local events. Homeowners in Ardmore, PA, a small town of 12,500 residents, are already starting to talk about how to rent out their homes for the 2013 US Open golf tournament just under a year away. But, in order to rent your home, you need to stay abreast of local events and get up-to-speed quickly on your local rules and regulations.

Lake Tahoe Local Event GuideWhether you’re renting your home for a one-off event, or marketing your existing vacation rental, it’s important to set up an informative website with plenty of photos, including rooms, amenities, and the surrounding area. Maintain your website with a local area guide, like this one in Tahoe, and list upcoming local events, happening now and months in the future.

Find out about local events in your area

  • Contact your visitor’s bureau. In larger cities, this might be a convention and visitor’s bureau (CVB). They should have a list of major events and conferences happening in your area.
  • Check out local event directories like Eventful.
  • Subscribe to your city or neighborhood newspapers and magazines.
  • Search for press releases or news. Set up a Google alert to get notified by email when new items are published to the web.
  • Contact local entertainment centers, theaters, and concert venues to obtain a copy of their calendar.
  • Follow event companies on social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, or Plancast as they are most likely to promote their events through these channels.

While you may find renting your home during an event very lucrative and enjoyable, there are many things you should do before starting to advertise, especially if you’re renting out your primary home or new to managing a vacation rental. Continue Reading…