Having standout vacation rental properties and offering a wonderful guest experience are important factors, but if you don’t know how to market your vacation rental business, you may find lower occupancy rates than you're expecting.
Whether you’re just starting out in the industry, or have a few properties under your belt, these ten tips will help you effectively market your vacation rental business and increase your bookings.
How to market a vacation rental business
1. Determine a brand for your property. In order to market your business at its full potential, you have to create a brand. When you're branding, you should consider how you want guests to feel about your property.
Are you selling a relaxing beachfront experience, or the excitement of being in the heart of the city? Is it a getaway for couples? A comfortable resting place for business travelers? Or a sprawling, safe, family friendly home?
Determine what your property has to offer, and how it aligns with travelers. That's where you’ll find your brand fit.
2. Capture excellent photographs. You know how wonderful your property is, but you have to demonstrate that to your leads through your photos. Be sure to stage your property before you have a photographer come and take professional vacation property images.
Then, when you put your website together and promote your properties across listing channels, you’ll have property thumbnails that make your listings irresistible to travelers.
3. Send email marketing newsletters. Building a newsletter list is a good way to market a vacation rental business because it allows you to stay top-of-mind with travelers who have inquired about staying with you or have stayed with you in the past. Newsletters help you create relationships with your guests and increase the likelihood of driving more direct bookings.
4. Add multiple listing channels. There are many listing channels where you can post your vacation property rentals: Airbnb, VRBO, HomeAway and Booking.com to name a few. The more listing channels you use to market your properties, the greater the potential for your business to be a success.
While it can take some work to get on each channel, it’s worth it. MyVR has seen our customers significantly increase their monthly revenue per property with each additional channel, whether it be their second or their fourth.
We understand that spreading your properties out across so many different sites can be difficult to manage, but MyVR has you covered. We centralize all of your booking calendars and inquiries into one centralized destination, ensuring you never double book again.
5. Create a vacation property website. To effectively scale your business, you need a channel you can call your own. With a direct channel, you have a tent pole that you can plan your marketing efforts around - whether it be newsletters, social media or hosting your blog. Not only does a beautifully designed direct channel gives travelers the impression of professionalism, it avoids the costly channel fees from OTAs.
There are a number of website builders out there, but as a vacation rental property manager, you have specific needs to be met. To get the most out of your direct channel, we recommend choosing a website builder that was designed with your needs in mind and integrates with your property management software so you can simplify your workload.
6. Develop a social media presence. Once your vacation properties are online, via your website and listing channels, you can use social media to market them. Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram are all great places for you to promote your short-term rental business.
7. Engage prospects with video. Just like with your photos, hiring a professional to film a video tour of your property will pay dividends. Video engages travelers like no other media because it brings your listing to life. Not convinced? Check out this example from a MyVR customer.
8. Write great content. You don’t need to be a best-selling author to engage travelers with compelling headlines, property descriptions and blog content. For your listings, remember to lead with your unique selling point and let your passion for your properties shine through.
When building up content, it’s important to be persistent and make your content count by researching relevant content ideas for your locale. If you need extra help, try these tips on writing engaging descriptions.
9. Optimize for SEO. Having a direct channel is great to link past guests to, and it can also be an excellent marketing tool for bringing in new guests - but not if searchers can’t find it.
Search engine optimization (SEO) should be a growing area of focus for your business as you scale. While there is an overwhelming amount of content on the web regarding increasing your organic search ranking, MyVR has made it easy for you. Check out our ultimate guide to improving SEO, written specifically for short-term property managers.
10. Experiment with Facebook ads. While it is necessary to invest in a Facebook Page as noted in #6, you can also serve highly targeted ads to people matching similar profiles of your past guests. With $100 ad spend in Facebook, you can reach thousands of people who share the same interests and habits as your past guests!
Marketing a vacation rental business can be overwhelming, but the rewards will make the effort worth it. The best way to simplify your business, including the marketing execution, is to implement a strong property management software (PMS) that will take care of much of the work for you.