Thanks to modern online marketing, it’s never been easier to promote and hype up a vacation rental business. Of course, this also means that the competition within the vacation rental market has become tougher than ever, pushing businesses to continuously innovate and find unique ways to stand out in a crowded market.
Thankfully, you don’t always need a massive advertising budget to draw customers to your properties. Resourcefulness and a strategic focus on authentic connections can be powerful tools to enhance your property’s visibility. If your current marketing efforts aren’t cutting it, try these creative approaches to get more bookings:
1) Consistently Optimize Your Listings
A big chunk of bookings start from online travel agency (OTA) listings, so it’s a good idea to outdo your competition by keeping your own listings up-to-date with current photos and relevant information. To save time when updating your listings, make sure to adopt the right vacation rental channel manager into your business processes. In addition to facilitating listing updates, a channel manager can also serve as a hub for managing guest questions and more, giving you better control over your communications across different websites.
2) Install Contemporary Furniture and Fixtures
Dated or beat-up furniture and fixtures can result in poor ratings from guests, no matter how functional they actually are. Unless you’re going for a specific kind of theme for your properties, it’s a good idea to give them a fresh new look every five years or so, depending on turnover and the overall profile of your guests. Generally speaking, you want furniture and fixtures to be trendy enough so that they elicit a positive sense of novelty and to boost your vacation rental business’s online reviews and word-of-mouth recommendations.
As mentioned, however, this isn’t necessarily the right strategy if you want your property to fit a certain aesthetic. Properties in historical districts, for example, can be elevated with pieces that fit in with the general vibe of the area. That being said, if your guests aren’t visiting for the area’s vibe, contemporary pieces tend to be the better bet.
3) Produce High-Quality Videos Featuring Your Properties
If you want to avoid paying through the nose for social media ads, you’ll want to invest some of your marketing budget in creating shareable content. Of all the content types that you can create, videos are, by far, usually the most engaging and the easiest to adapt for different social media platforms. What’s more, properties that offer high-quality video tours tend to be easier to trust compared to those that simply offer low-quality static photos.
For a videocentric strategy to work, you’ll want to hire a professional videographer or invest time learning to take good videos yourself so that your content quality aligns with your prospective guests’ expectations. Be sure to highlight your properties’ most striking interior design elements, the scenic views that may be found in the immediate environs, as well as any other amenities or features that could help set your properties apart.
4) Feature Positive Guest Testimonials
Authentic testimonials build trust and credibility, making your vacation rental more appealing to potential guests. Make it a habit to politely ask guests to leave an online review either upon check-in or after they check out. You might be surprised at how willing many guests are to provide reviews if you ask them.
As mentioned, videos can create an added sense of authenticity, so you can try asking satisfied customers if they’re willing to do a short spot for you in exchange for small perks or discounts. Prioritize guests who have already signaled their satisfaction and provide stronger incentives for these guests’ feedback.
5) Get in Touch with Relevant Influencers
If most of your guests are millennials or younger, influencer marketing can be a good way to build trust while also reaching a wider audience. The notable advantage of this approach is how affordable it can be compared to traditional celebrity endorsements, which are generally out of reach for many small vacation rental operations. Even with bigger influencers, sponsored stays, social media takeovers, and featured blog posts are generally easier on your marketing budget while also being far more targeted.
The key to successful influencer marketing is to engage with influencers whose following largely overlaps with the demographics you’re hoping to capture. You can draw some key demographic data from your vacation rental channel manager as well as from your own booking histories.
6) Develop Relationships with Local Businesses
Lastly, being a good neighbor to surrounding businesses is probably the best thing you can do to raise your vacation business’s profile. Collaborations with nearby restaurants, attractions, and service providers can help enhance the overall experience for your guests and also peg your business as a pillar of the community. This can translate to better guest reviews and more positive local word-of-mouth, increasing the odds of bookings.
Why You Should Rethink Your Vacation Rental Marketing
Promoting vacation rentals in today’s competitive climate can be tricky, especially with the cost of OTA site commissions, Google Ads, and paid social media promotions. If you have to put your brand out there, it helps if your properties offer the kind of trustworthiness that allows them to sell themselves. With a focus on these creative, high-value marketing strategies, you can further build trust in your business, making it possible to stretch your marketing dollars even further.