How to Market Your Vacation Rental Properties Effectively
Doing business online means that you must 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 they can use to make an informed decision about where they should spend their vacation dollars. (In case you missed it, check out Increase Your Bookings and Profits Part 1.)
Here are a few tips to help you build trust and authority with prospects and former guests.
Visuals Are Crucial
As the number of listings on sites like Airbnb and VRBO has increased, professional photography has become a necessity. You need to create a visual brand that has an impact and will engage with renters quickly, or they will click off your listing and go to a competitor.
Use plenty of photos in your listings. Show your properties in the best possible light and in as many conditions as possible. Guests are 80% more likely to inquire about properties with more than 20 photos. Organize them in a logical way that shows the flow of the property and consider including a detailed floor plan so your prospects can get a full understanding.
Make Their Experience Memorable
To grow your business, garner repeat bookings, create a more predictable income, and get great reviews, you need to make your guest’s experience memorable. That goes beyond simply having a beautiful property. A study conducted by the University of Texas found that travelers are 73% more likely to remember their trip if they are excited before it even starts! That means offering an exemplary customer service experience.
Stay in touch with guests from their first contact right through booking, checkout, and beyond. Offer clear instructions about check-in and other key information as soon as they book the property. Offer suggestions of local sights, restaurants, and attractions, and provide clear rental instructions to make their stay as relaxing as possible. Leaving a small welcome gift, for example, a basket with coffee and muffins, or tickets to a local attraction, a bottle of locally produced wine, or a gift certificate for a local business offers a personal touch and can welcome your guests in style.
Leave a Detailed Manual
Sound systems, TVs, appliances, and hot tubs have the potential to frustrate guests if they’re not familiar with how they operate. Create a book, binder or virtual manual that details the functions of every item in the home. Include information like:
- How to program the thermostat
- How to use entry systems like electronic locks and gates
- Which remote controls which device
- How to operate kitchen appliances like high-end coffee machines, or blenders
- Include items of interest like local “must-see” attractions, and history. Offer recommendations, a warm welcome and instructions for checkout.
Differentiation is Key
In today’s competitive vacation rental market, differentiation is the key to building your brand. Exemplary customer service can help your property to stand out from your competitors.
Remember, repeat business is easier and more profitable than prospecting for new customers. Building a solid portfolio of repeat guests can help you to increase profitability, increase bookings during your shoulder seasons, and build your brand. The best marketing is word of mouth and providing your guests with exemplary service and memorable guest experience will turn them into vocal proponents for your brand.