October 23, 2019
The vacation rental market has changed in staggering ways in recent years. Seeing the benefits of vacation rentals, homeowners have listed over 660,000 properties on Airbnb alone. As guests continue to move away from hotels and into vacation rentals, the industry today is projected to hit $170 billion by the end of this year.
While this meteoric growth is good for the industry, more vacation rentals mean more competition. To compete, you need to keep up with the amenities and offer the experiences your guests expect or your piece of the pie will slowly evaporate. This is even truer as online travel agencies continue to grow and evolve.
So how can you differentiate your property from thousands of competitors? Let’s take a look at some ways you can earn more from your vacation rental properties – how to market your properties more effectively, and several specific tips for marketing your vacation rentals that work.
How to Market Your Vacation Rental Properties Effectively
Today, doing business online means that you have to work hard to get visitors to your listings and then have a limited time to capture their interest and engage with them. Today’s consumers are sophisticated and are not interested in being sold. They are looking for straight-shooting, information that they can use to make an informed decision about where they should spend their vacation dollars.
Here are a few tips to help you build trust, and authority with prospects, and former guests.
Be Accurate and Transparent With Your Descriptions
Transparency is the key to effective marketing. Today, guests appreciate honesty, and building trust is an important step toward building long term relationships. If there’s anything that can affect your guest’s stay – for example, the pool is closed, there’s construction nearby, or the beach is partially closed to protect nesting birds, be straightforward. Especially with negative information. Find a way to communicate the less desirable aspects of your properties in a way that is honest, informative, and yet not off-putting. For example:
“We apologize for the inconvenience, but our community pool will be closed for upgrades beginning on April 15thso we can give you an even better vacation experience. Come and celebrate with us when we reopen on June 1st! “
Your guests will appreciate your honesty. If you ignore it or don’t communicate this from your initial contact, you’ll pay for it when your guest leaves a negative review.
Keep Your Listings and Descriptions Current
To be effective your listing must not be static. Taking a set-and-forget approach will result in less traffic, fewer bookings, and lower revenue. Your property listings are living, breathing entities that are updated regularly. For seasonal rentals like beach or ski properties, the off-season is important, but the selling points will be different. Revisit your listings seasonally:
- When you change your property – for example, renovations or newly added amenities, like that gorgeous hot tub on the back patio!
- When something in your location changes, like a new restaurant, bar, attraction, or museum opens nearby.
Understand Your Audience and How Different Channels Work
Where does your audience go to do their research? Understanding how your guests consume information is important. Do they use Facebook, or Instagram to conduct their research? You can use these channels to drive your potential guests to the sites where they will find your listings.
So which OTA is best for you? The two dominant players right now for vacation rentals are Airbnb and VRBO. The main difference between these sites is the fee structure. VRBO offers you a choice between paying an annual fee to list your properties, or you can pay 8% per booking generated. You’ll need to do a little math and figure out which is right for you. Airbnb only offers a percentage-per-booking based model. Do your research. Marketing through the right channels combined with choosing the right site for your listing work together to drive traffic and revenue.