If you’re a host in search of the best vacation rental marketing tips, you’re not alone! Many hosts find they don’t know where to begin when it comes to digital marketing for vacation rentals. In this guide, you’ll learn about the importance of marketing your property, why you need to zero in on a target market, and how to establish your brand.
We’ll discuss the best platforms for listings, how to optimize those listings, and the value of five-star reviews. You’ll learn how to market your vacation rental property through your own website, email, social media, and paid ads. We’ll also share many other tips and ideas that are sure to help you bring in more bookings than ever before.
- 1 Why You Should Focus on Vacation Rental Marketing
- 2 Identify Your Target Market
- 3 Establish Your Brand
- 4 List Your Vacation Rental on Multiple Platforms
- 5 Create Vacation Rental Listings that Maximize Bookings
- 6 Earn Five-Star Reviews by Providing a Five-Star Experience
- 7 Build Your Own Website
- 8 Learn About and Implement SEO
- 9 Utilize Email Marketing
- 10 Embrace Social Media Marketing
- 11 Consider Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Advertising
- 12 Focus on Remarketing
- 13 Automate Marketing Tasks
- 14 Run Promotions
- 15 Keep Up with Vacation Rental Industry Trends
- 16 Implement a Public Relations Strategy
- 17 Participate in Vacation Rental Forums
- 18 Partner with Bloggers, Influencers, and Local Tourism Websites
- 19 Run Analytics on All Marketing Initiatives
- 20 Main Takeaways
Why You Should Focus on Vacation Rental Marketing
Maybe you’re wondering whether marketing is really crucial to vacation rental success. If you already have listings on the top vacation rental platforms, is it necessary to spend additional time and effort promoting your business? Here are a few reasons why focusing on vacation rental marketing is worth it.
Reach Your Objectives with Your Available Resources
Whether you have a large budget or none at all to spend on marketing, there are many methods available to help you reach your business objectives.
Maximize Your Chance of Success
When you take the time to research and appeal to your target market, you’re much more likely to reach them and get them to book a stay at your vacation rental. On the other hand, if you don’t have a marketing plan, it’s more likely that the time, money, and effort you’ve invested will go to waste, rather than attracting attention to your property.
Increase Your Bookings
As a vacation rental host, you know that bookings directly impact your business’s success. Perhaps the most obvious reason to focus on vacation rental marketing is to increase your bookings (and, therefore, your income). Successful marketing helps your listings reach your target audience, as well as a larger range of people in general, maximizing your bookings.
Gaining credibility in the vacation rental industry often takes time, consistency, and effective marketing. The longer your property is consistently visible to a wide audience, the greater your credibility will be. In addition, providing a five-star guest experience (which will be discussed later in the article) helps you build trust among not only past guests, but also everyone who comes across your listings and sees your reviews.
Nowadays, travelers have an abundance of choices when it comes to vacation rentals. If they’re choosing between two similar rentals, but one has credibility and trust in the industry, and the other doesn’t, they’re far more likely to choose the credible option as it essentially ensures their stay will go smoothly and according to plan.
Grow Your Client Base
Marketing also helps you grow your client base. As mentioned above, the wider the audience that sees your property, the more bookings you’ll receive and the more money you’ll make.
Form Business Relationships
Another benefit of putting effort into vacation rental marketing is that it enables you to build relationships with other local businesses. Once your vacation rental is well-established in the community, you may find that nearby restaurants and other companies want to form mutually beneficial partnerships. You can use this to your advantage by enhancing your guest experience through discounts, special activities, and free gifts at local businesses.
Scale Your Business
Effective marketing can increase your earnings so that it’s possible to invest in additional properties and scale your business.
Identify Your Target Market
A common mistake made by new hosts when starting out with vacation rental online marketing is attempting to appeal to everyone all at once. While it may seem that this is the best way to maximize bookings, the opposite tends to be true. Instead of attempting to be the perfect destination for everyone, it’s best to target a specific demographic. Often, the location of your property and the type of property (house, villa, apartment, etc.) will have an impact on your target market.
You might choose to cater to families, large groups, snowbirds, honeymooners, business travelers, millennials, solo travelers, spring breakers, or another particular group.
Once you’ve zeroed in on your target market, choosing the features and amenities you should highlight on your website and in your listings becomes much easier. For instance, business travelers or workationers would love to see that you have multiple workspaces, reliable high-speed WiFi, and maybe even complimentary coffee, tea, and office supplies. Meanwhile, large groups would be far more interested in amenities like bunk beds, pull-out couches, and large dining tables where the entire group can enjoy a meal together.
Before you move any further in your vacation rental marketing plans, make sure to identify your target market and begin to think about what that specific demographic is looking for in a vacation rental property.
Establish Your Brand
The next step you’ll want to take in marketing your vacation rental is to establish a consistent brand for your business. In general, branding is a marketing practice that consists of creating a name, design, or symbol that identifies and differentiates your product (in this case, your vacation rental property) from others, particularly its competitors.
Branding enables you to stand out and helps you set expectations for your future guests by providing an idea of the kind of experience they’ll have at your vacation rental. Perhaps even more importantly, it forms the basis of your marketing strategy.
To establish a brand, start by conducting a thorough market analysis, focusing specifically on your target market and your competition. Next, it’s time to identify your company’s voice and overall personality. This will help you choose a business name, tagline, logo, and color palette.
Once you’ve set up your branding, keep it consistent across all platforms, from your website to your listings to all of your social media channels. This way, it’s easily recognizable and much more memorable.
You can find our in-depth guide to branding your vacation rental business here.
List Your Vacation Rental on Multiple Platforms
Listing your vacation rental on multiple platforms maximizes the number of people who will come across your listings. Generally, with a wider audience comes more bookings and more revenue. Your goal is to capitalize on each of your chosen platforms’ audiences and traffic to extend your reach.
The Importance of a Channel Manager or PMS
You’ll find that having more than a couple of listings to manage quickly becomes challenging. The task of preventing double bookings can be especially difficult when you’re dealing with several platforms where people can schedule their stays. This is where a channel manager or property management system (PMS) will make your life much easier.
Take a look at our guide to ten of the top property management systems here; we’ve included selections at various price points, so even if your budget is tight, there’s an option for you. A good PMS will help you with vacation rental channel marketing by combining your calendars, preventing double bookings, keeping everything organized, and helping you automate many of the repetitive tasks that come with being a vacation rental host.
Online Travel Agencies
Large online travel agencies, or OTAs, are always a good place to list your rental. These include sites like Airbnb, Expedia, TripAdvisor, Vrbo, Booking.com, Trip.com, and Agoda. The main advantage to OTAs is their high level of traffic, which means it’s possible that your listing could be seen by thousands of people every day.
The downside, however, is that there is no shortage of competition on these platforms, making it difficult to stand out and get bookings. Of course, optimizing your listings can help quite a bit (see our next point in the article for more information), but you may also want to consider listing your vacation rental property on smaller niche sites.
To choose the most suitable niche sites, look for platforms that fit your rental property’s characteristics and your target demographic. Take a look at this list of 35 vacation rental listing platforms for some ideas. You might look for niche or travel trend-related sites focusing on properties that are:
- Close to nature
- Open to last-minute travel
- Meant for micro trips
- Focused on responsible travel
- Catered to digital nomads
- Intended for sports tourists
- Open to crypto payments
Listing your property on smaller sites means you have less competition and are likely to rank higher in search results. It also means that the people visiting the niche site are already interested in a property like yours. Of course, the downside to niche vacation rental platforms is that they receive less overall traffic than large OTAs.
Local Listing Sites
Local listing sites are another good place to list your vacation rental property. These sites are often looked to as specialists in particular areas, and ever since COVID began and people were limited with travel, they took on a more important role. Local sites helped those who wanted to go on a “staycation” or find a new place to work for a few weeks find a rental that worked for them.
You may also want to post your listing on metasearch engines like HomeToGo. These are websites that aggregate listings from various booking sites. Metasearch engines are popular choices for guests that want to compare prices and save on travel.
Google is often the first place people go to search for vacation rental properties in a particular area. In many cases, Google Vacation Rentals are the first listings that pop up on a Google search. You can list your rental directly on Google by becoming a Google Vacation Rentals partner. This comes with perks like more exposure, direct referral traffic, and free booking links that lead to your website.
You can also create a Google Business Profile for your vacation rental business. This drives free organic traffic to your site, and it’s less competitive than the regular organic search results.
Create Vacation Rental Listings that Maximize Bookings
One of our favorite vacation rental marketing tips is to create fully optimized listings. Your vacation rental property’s listing should represent it accurately while also highlighting its most attractive features.
A good listing paints a picture of what a guest can expect when they stay there by talking about amenities, displaying photos, and sharing information and house rules. While you can simply copy and paste the same listing across multiple platforms, you may have more success if you customize each listing to better cater to the site’s audience.
Your listing’s headline is vital. Along with your main photo, it’s your headline that needs to be powerful and attention-grabbing enough to get potential guests to click on it for more information.
Avoid using simple, basic headlines like “Two-Bedroom Apartment in Chicago.” They may be accurate, but they aren’t doing anything to sell your property. In your headline, be clear about the listing type, whether it’s a house, condo, or another kind of property. Highlight a special amenity and use descriptive words. If possible, mention a nearby attraction and its distance from the rental. For example, the headline above could become “Two-Bedroom Apartment with Floor-to-Ceiling Windows Two Minutes from Downtown Chicago.”
Think of your listing description as your sales pitch, with each line pushing the reader closer to booking a stay. You may want to hire a professional copywriter to complete this task for you, but it’s absolutely possible to write a good listing on your own as well.
Put the most important information at the very top of your description, and choose your words carefully to help potential guests visualize their stay (and to help search engines pick up on your listing). Describe the experiences guests will enjoy. Will they start the day with freshly-brewed complimentary coffee while enjoying views of the sunrise over the ocean? Take a short drive to a delicious restaurant or fun attraction? Or will they enjoy a cozy night by the beautiful fireplace?
Note unique features and amenities and make suggestions for nearby restaurants and attractions. Use bullet points and subheadings, and space out your writing, with no more than a few sentences per paragraph for easy readability.
Write in a friendly, conversational tone that fits your target market, and speak directly to your potential guests through your writing. Be sure to check your spelling and grammar before posting your listing.
Unfortunately, snapping a few quick photos on your cell phone typically isn’t enough to stand out on most listing sites. Evolve explains that hosts who hire expert photographers typically see an average increase of 309% on their listing views, and they earn two extra bookings per month. Think about that in terms of a year–24 extra bookings really adds up! In addition, a study found that potential guests are 20% more likely to book a stay at your vacation rental if you have 20 or more high-quality photos.
Generally, a collection of 24 to 45 high-quality, seasonally appropriate photos is the best way to market a vacation rental. While you’ll absolutely want to show off your property’s best features and amenities, you’ll also want to take care to portray the rental accurately. Posting misleading photos can set you up for negative reviews when guests discover your property doesn’t match the pictures online. Minor editing to remove shadows and mirror reflections is just fine, but don’t go overboard!
Staging your vacation rental before taking photos is a great idea. Remove any clutter, add accessories, straighten up decor, hide away electrical cords, and make sure the property looks its best before taking photos.
For the photos themselves, be sure to use proper lighting, showcase different angles, and highlight the small details that make a stay great. High-quality photos can create an emotional connection and establish trust. Be sure to take photos of both the interior and exterior of the property.
When choosing photos for your listing, always select the best one to be your main photo, as you want to make an excellent first impression on potential guests. The first picture they see (along with your headline) needs to be good enough to make them want to look through the rest of your listing. Meanwhile, the remainder of your photos should keep potential guests wanting more so that they continue clicking through them.
Photo selection will also be dependent on your target market. We mentioned previously that business travelers would love to see all of the different workspaces available at your rental. You might even set up a photo op with a laptop and cup of coffee to help your ideal guest picture themselves at your vacation rental. You can also add photos with a panoramic view of the property so that guests can get a feel for the full space.
Images of the local area, especially if there’s beautiful scenery or fun attractions nearby, can be great additions to your listing photos. You can also add maps that show your rental’s proximity to gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, nightlife, and other locations guests will want to visit.
Videos can have a significant ROI, and they make you stand out from competitors as they’re highly engaging and interactive. You can post a video tour or showcase guests having fun and enjoying the scenery. Another idea is to add an FAQ video. This is a great way to show guests the person behind the listing, and it can help develop trust as well.
While pricing is an operational task, it’s also something that can have a notable impact on your marketing. Pricing is one of the very first things people look at, and if it’s too high or too low, it can drive away potential guests.
We highly recommend using a dynamic pricing tool like PriceLabs, Beyond Pricing, Wheelhouse, or AirDNA. These tools take many factors into account and change your pricing accordingly, maximizing bookings and profits.
Be sure to keep your listings up-to-date with accurate availability calendars and rates. If you make any changes or upgrades to the property, take new photos and adjust your description to reflect them.
Earn Five-Star Reviews by Providing a Five-Star Experience
Much of digital marketing for vacation rentals rides on good reviews. Five-star vacation rentals appear higher in search results and give you a positive reputation. But to get five-star reviews, it’s vital to provide a five-star experience. Here are a few ways to do so:
- Respond quickly and politely to all inquiries on booking platforms. A response time of 15 minutes or less is ideal. You can use a PMS to streamline communications and automate messages to frequently asked questions so that you don’t always have to be “on call.” Another option is to hire someone to be your 24/7 guest contact.
- Consider implementing lenient policies. Although this involves taking on some risk, flexibility with minimum stay, cancellation, and other policies can earn you guests’ appreciation.
- Be adaptable. Sometimes, inconvenient situations will arise that are out of the guest’s control. If you can be flexible and work with them, this can earn you great reviews.
- Maintain a squeaky-clean vacation rental. Cleanliness goes a long way, especially after the pandemic.
- Provide professional responses to any negative feedback. If you receive negative reviews, respond to them in a way that acknowledges the complaint and explains how you will fix the issue going forward. Look at bad reviews as helpful feedback.
- Make sure check-in and check-out are simple and streamlined. An easy check-in and check-out process can vastly improve the guest experience. If you don’t already, consider offering self check-in for added convenience.
- Cater your rental to your target market. Thoughtful touches and amenities that reflect your target market’s wants and needs can make all the difference.
Build Your Own Website
Aside from listings on various platforms, building a vacation rental website can be a fantastic distribution channel for vacation rental online marketing. Guests can book directly through your website, which means you can set all the terms and save money on fees and commissions.
One thing to note is that your website will not be a “one-and-done” project. It will need frequent updates and testing to determine what is working and what is not. Luckily, the initial creation of your website can be simple if you use website builders like Squarespace, WordPress, or Wix.
Your website should be filled with tons of information about your vacation rental, frequently asked questions, availability, amenities, photos, and videos. One thing to note is that you’ll want to have exceptional search engine optimization, or SEO. This means using keywords, ensuring your site is mobile-friendly, and creating an intuitive user experience to drive organic traffic. Having a site that can be accessed in multiple languages can also help you get more clicks.
Consistent, fresh content is one of the best ways to make sure your website shows up in search engines, and the most effective way to go about this is to have a blog. While this can seem intimidating, it doesn’t have to be too long or in-depth. Share your favorite travel tips, recommendations in the area, local news and events, and updates on your vacation rental property.
Think of it this way: Travelers love to get a local’s perspective on the area, and you can give them that. You can also hire a content writer to take on this project if writing isn’t your strong suit.
Backlinks, or links leading to your site from other websites, are another way to drive traffic and appear higher in search results. You can get more backlinks by writing guest articles on other blogs in exchange for linking back to your own site.
Learn About and Implement SEO
Learning about search engine optimization (SEO) can help you expand the audience your listings and website reaches, and it’s considered one of the most cost-effective ways to build a successful business. Search engine rankings affect whether anyone ever comes across your vacation rental; are you on the first page, or way back on the twelfth? SEO increases traffic to your site, and that traffic converts into more bookings.
SEO starts with doing research specific to the location of your vacation rental to determine exactly which amenities and property details people are searching for. Then you can work the research into your headlines and identify keywords to weave into your listing descriptions and blog posts.
Having relevant content is another important component of SEO, which you can address by having a blog or directory of informational pages about the local area.
There are also technical elements to SEO. For instance, is your website easy to index? Does it check crucial areas like usability and page speed? Is it crawlable by Google? Does it have effective meta tags? Do other websites link to it?
Photos and videos can also help your SEO. For more information on vacation rental search engine optimization, check out our guide.
Utilize Email Marketing
Vacation rental email marketing is a free marketing method that can help you convert both past and potential future guests into bookings. When you communicate directly through email, you can convey important information, give preferential treatment to your newsletter subscribers, and even offer appealing last-minute deals and special discounts.
Anywhere you connect with travelers, whether it be your website, your listings, or your social media channels, encourage them to sign up for your newsletter. Ask your current subscribers to forward your emails to friends and family who enjoy traveling as well.
You can gain additional newsletter subscribers by requesting the email addresses of all guests in each booking, rather than just the email address of the person who booked the stay. If your vacation rental has multiple bedrooms, there’s a good chance that there are several adults in the party that could be candidates to come back and book another stay in the future.
Your vacation rental email marketing list should contain real email addresses, not “hashed” emails. Get email addresses directly from your guests and site visitors, rather than from platforms like Airbnb, which encrypts users’ emails to protect their personal information.
Note that there are some regulations you’ll need to follow. You must always have subscribers’ permission to email them. You can’t use misleading headings, and you need to provide the option to unsubscribe at any time.
To make email marketing simpler, consider using an email marketing tool to automate communications, record subscribers’ preferences and information, and measure how well your emails are performing. You can test out different variables, like the types of subject lines you use and the time of day you send emails, to see if they affect engagement. Campaign Monitor, Mailchimp, Constant Contact, GetResponse, and Active Campaign are a few tools to consider.
Here are some common email marketing strategies that are easy to implement, particularly if you use an email marketing tool:
- Emails to incoming guests containing pre-arrival information
- Post-check-out emails that request reviews
- Biweekly or monthly newsletters with local information, updates, promotions, and links to your blog posts
- Triggered emails that are sent out in response to certain inquiries or website behavior (such as emails sent to website visitors who have opted in to the newsletter and visited your website’s booking page)
- Invitations to join your referral program or loyalty program
- Requests to complete surveys in return for a special deal or discount
Keep your emails short and sweet, and try to focus on two to three topics at most. Use a friendly, conversational tone rather than a salesy one, and pay special attention to your headlines. They should stand out in subscribers’ inboxes, tempting them to open the email. Don’t forget to always have a call to action (CTA), such as “Learn More” or “Book Now,” that links to your website.
Something to keep in mind is that you don’t want to send too many emails, especially for non-engaged leads. It’s good to keep people interested by reaching out biweekly or monthly, but you don’t want to spam your subscribers’ inboxes.
However, sending out occasional promotions and last-minute deals is generally acceptable in addition to your newsletters. Remember to keep these emails friendly, informative, and to the point.
Every year or so, go through your subscriber list and eliminate inactive email addresses. If there are people who never engage with, click, or even open your emails, it’s time to remove them. You want your mailing list to be filled with interested, engaged people, rather than people who instantly delete your emails. Of course, not everybody will open your newsletters every time, and that’s totally okay–but you do want to clear out the people who never open them.
Social media marketing encompasses a number of different platforms and potential strategies. It’s often argued to be the best way to market a vacation rental, regardless of your budget.
Social media marketing enables you to:
Share your knowledge as a professional, not just a host – For example, you might talk about winterproofing your vacation rental or adding safety features to it.
Connect with your guests by asking questions – You might ask them about their ideal view on vacation and add a photo of the view from your vacation rental.
Increase your credibility as you gain followers – The larger your following is, the more credible you appear.
Expand your client base – By creating profiles on multiple platforms, you’ll be able to reach a wide and varied audience.
Team up with local businesses to promote each other – You might partner with a local restaurant or other business to form a mutually beneficial relationship by promoting each other on social media.
Easily spread the word about deals and promotions – This can be particularly beneficial during the slow season and around holidays.
Showcase yourself as a community expert – You can talk about local events, news, and attractions.
Be tagged in guests’ photos at your vacation rental – This can further increase your credibility and trustworthiness by showing potential guests that others have enjoyed their stays.
Make it easy to remain in touch with previous guests – This makes it simpler to convince them to come back for another stay.
Help guests envision the experience at your vacation rental – With images, videos, and descriptive captions, guests will easily be able to picture what their stay will be like.
Below, find general guidelines and vacation rental marketing tips for social media success.
- We recommend creating pages for your vacation rental on all platforms where your target market can be found. This may be Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Snapchat, Instagram, LinkedIn, TikTok, YouTube, or others. In most cases, Instagram is a great place to start due to its focus on aesthetics and images.
- Posting frequently can help you remain top of mind for your followers, but avoid posting too much–you want them to be engaged, but not overwhelmed.
- Consider using hashtags relevant to your content so that your posts appear in in-app searches.
- Engage with the community by responding to comments and private messages, liking related content, asking guests to tag you in their experiences at your vacation rental, and resharing their posts on your own page.
- Steer clear from over-promoting yourself by aiming for a ratio of one advertisement to every five informational or fun posts.
- Remember that photos and videos tend to perform better than text alone.
- Work on driving traffic by building a community and brand awareness.
- Don’t forget to evaluate which types of posts perform best by monitoring your social media analytics.
- Run giveaways and other promotions for an engagement boost.
- Respect the rules of each individual social media platform; some platforms may not allow you to directly promote your vacation rental.
- Create eye-catching graphics with applications like Canva.
- Formulate a social media strategy to ensure a good return on investment.
- Set one or two defined, measurable goals for social media campaigns.
- Market directly to your target audience and buyer persona. Plan your content according to when your audience is most likely to be online.
- Get familiar with your competition. Look at what platforms they’re on, what type of content they post, and what types of posts get the most engagement.
- Whenever you post photos, tag your location. This can add legitimacy and draw in potential guests who are exploring the area.
- Post with plenty of variety instead of sharing repetitive posts.
- Poll your followers on their content preferences to receive direct feedback on what types of posts are landing with them and what types of posts they don’t like.
- Look out for fake accounts using your business’s name, and if you find any, report them immediately.
Facebook can be a fantastic platform for social media marketing because it offers a very large audience. There are many different groups and communities focused on short-term travel and vacation rentals to participate in. Plus, there are numerous ways to connect with your following, ranging from text, photo, and video posts to going live and hosting events.
Twitter is more text-based than most other social media platforms, but you can also share images and videos. It’s ideal for short updates, such as dates that have opened up, new renovations, promotions, and discounts.
Instagram is the perfect place to post beautiful photos of your vacation rental property and its surrounding landscape. You can also share guests’ posts at the property on your own page for additional content.
On YouTube, you can post video tours, question-and-answer videos, local recommendation videos, and other long-form and short-form video content.
Much of Pinterest is focused on interior design and DIY projects, and you can capitalize on this by showcasing projects and improvements in your vacation rental with before and after photos. Use keywords in the titles of your posts so that your images show up in search results and drive traffic to your website.
Snapchat is focused on temporary content that’s light and fun. You might choose to use Bitmojis so that guests can get a feel for the person behind the screen.
If you’re targeting Gen Z, TikTok is the place to be! This form of vacation rental channel marketing allows for videos up to three minutes long and is very trend-based. If you can get in on trends, then you’ll absolutely reach more users. Try to showcase the amenities at your vacation rental that particularly appeal to young people–things like exciting nightlife, home theaters, and game rooms.
LinkedIn is a suitable platform for connecting with others in the industry and sharing your blog posts. When users like your posts, they show up on those users’ feeds and can be seen by everyone they’re connected with, which is a great way to spread the word about your vacation rental business.
Consider Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Advertising
Until now, our vacation rental marketing ideas have largely been free. However, this next one will require a bit of a budget.
Pay-Per-Click or PPC advertising works just as it sounds: You pay a certain amount of money each time someone clicks on your link, which will be featured above the organic search results on search engines or on the sidebars or footers of other websites. However, if you don’t set it up correctly, it can become very expensive and fail to pay off.
The key is not just to get visitors to come to your website. It’s to get visitors that are actually interested in what you’re offering to visit your site. To do this, you’ll want to target a specific niche with particular keywords. For instance, you might target “Tennessee cabin rental with hot tub.”
On some platforms, such as social media channels, you’ll be able to filter who sees your ads, so you can set them to specific types of users that fit your target market. Generally, you’ll want to aim for results of five to ten dollars for every dollar you spend.
Start out by doing an in-depth keyword analysis, identifying keywords that have volume in your local area and their average cost per click (CPC). Be sure to send visitors to a highly converting landing page on your website. It’s wise to measure conversions per dollar spent using advanced phone, e-commerce, and lead tracking as well.
The primary benefit of PPC advertising is its speed. Within just a few days, you’ll be able to see an influx of traffic to your website. While many of the other marketing strategies we’ve discussed have more of a long-term payoff, PPC advertising will provide you with nearly instant results. For new vacation rentals, this can be a wonderful way to get the ball rolling and start racking up your first several bookings.
Focus on Remarketing
Remarketing, or earning repeat bookings from past guests, can be an effective way to market your vacation rental.
Not sure how to market your vacation rental property to previous guests? Well, remarketing can begin as soon as a guest books their first stay at your property. Once a stay is booked, you can send an automated email that thanks them for scheduling a stay at your rental. This email can cover any important information and ask them if they’d like to sign up for your newsletter. You can also include links to all of your social media pages. If a guest signs up and follows you on social media, they’re far more likely to book another stay with you in the future.
As their stay approaches, you can send an additional email with a special deal, perhaps a discount at a local business, or an optional add-on to enhance the guest experience.
Once they check in, you can send a welcome email with any pertinent info, plus tips and recommendations for the area. You could customize this depending on the type of guest they are–maybe fun, child-friendly activity recommendations for families, or romantic dinner suggestions for couples.
You can also let your guests know that they can feel free to reach out to you at any time. Keeping the lines of communication open in this way can make your guests feel comfortable and cared for.
Of course, after check-out, it’s time to send out a final email thanking your guests for staying with you and encouraging them to leave a review with any feedback they may have. This is also the perfect point to offer up special repeat guest promotions or invite them to join your referral program (if you have one).
You can encourage them to sign up for your newsletter for additional deals if they haven’t already and remind them to join you on social media. You can also ask them to tag you in any photos they’ve posted at your vacation rental property. This can increase your exposure and generate additional interest in your property.
Automate Marketing Tasks
At this point in the article, it’s probably very clear to you that many of these vacation rental marketing ideas take a lot of time and effort. We’ve mentioned this previously, but we’ll repeat it here: automating or outsourcing your tasks can make your life much easier.
This could mean investing in a channel manager or PMS to take care of your repetitive daily hosting tasks so that you can spend more time on marketing. It could mean adding email and social media automation tools to your arsenal so that you can free up your schedule. If you have the budget for it, it could even mean hiring content writers, copywriters, and social media managers to outsource your marketing efforts.
Who doesn’t love a good deal? One of our favorite vacation rental marketing tips is to run promotions on various channels. You can advertise promotions on your website, listings, social media platforms, and your newsletter. For example, you may want to send a special offer to a certain segment of your newsletter subscriber list. Or perhaps you want to thank your Twitter followers for their support by Tweeting out a discount code they can use for their next stay.
Something to keep in mind is that many people will wait to book a stay until there’s some kind of discount available for them to take advantage of. The discount doesn’t need to be crazy–even five or ten percent can make a huge difference and lead guests to feel like they’re saving a lot of money.
An especially great time to run promotions is during the slower season. During peak season, it’s best to charge full price and earn maximum profits, but when bookings are fewer and farther between, offering a discount or special deal can be just the incentive travelers need to book a stay and fill up your calendar.
Keep Up with Vacation Rental Industry Trends
The vacation rental industry is always evolving, with new trends emerging as others fade away. Staying on top of trends and using them to your advantage when marketing can be beneficial. For example, if a new social media platform begins to gain traction, creating a profile and starting to build a following there can be an excellent way to get more eyes on your vacation rental business.
Transparent and AirDNA are two places where you can get regular insights into the industry and current trends. While it may not be necessary to act on every single trend that arises, incorporating your up-to-date industry knowledge into your marketing strategy and decisions will definitely be helpful.
Implement a Public Relations Strategy
This strategy is one that very few hosts use, and it can provide you with a notable advantage. Strategic public relations creates a sense of trust between your brand and potential guests. It also enables you to increase the authority of your online presence, get exposure to new markets, grow your reputation, and attract high-quality leads.
To implement a PR strategy, build relationships with journalists, and pitch story ideas related to the vacation rental industry to various publications. If you can secure an article or even a mention in an article, it can help get the word out about your vacation rental business.
It’s wise to pitch to both consumer-facing and business publications. Consumer-facing publications may be happy to include you in a piece on your destination, specifically in their recommendations of where to stay. Meanwhile, business publications may be interested in your business growth story or industry data and insights. You can cover different angles of your story in each publication to attract different audiences, expanding your reach.
Try to find an appealing hook that isn’t primarily self-promotion, as journalists and publications are constantly bombarded with companies hoping they’ll write about their businesses. A pitch built upon solid data that tells a story can be a good place to start. Ask yourself whether what you have to say is relevant, different, unique, or newsworthy.
Participate in Vacation Rental Forums
A marketing strategy that can absolutely be worth it, but that may take some time to pay off, is participating in forums meant for vacation rental hosts and guests. Quora and Reddit are just a couple of options, although there are many more, like BiggerPockets and Community with Airbnb. We also recommend looking for regional forums that are smaller and more specialized.
Avoid constantly promoting yourself. Instead, offer helpful advice and support to travelers and other hosts. Share your knowledge and engage with the community in a meaningful way.
Over time, your reputation on the forum will grow, and your helpful advice will put your name out there and help you achieve increased bookings.
Partner with Bloggers, Influencers, and Local Tourism Websites
Bloggers and influencers have massive collections of loyal followers who place a lot of trust and stock in their recommendations and suggestions. If you can secure a partnership with one or even several of them, their mention of your vacation rental in a video, social media post, or blog post can earn you numerous bookings.
Look for local bloggers that write about tourism in your area, or look for lifestyle influencers that talk specifically about travel and attractions near you. For example, there are many influencers whose content centers on staying near Disney.
Similarly, reach out to your local tourism website to see if they’d like to work together in some way. Maybe they’re willing to link to your vacation rental website or would be happy to mention you in a post about recommended places to stay locally. Even if your local tourism website isn’t willing to promote your vacation rental, you may be able to speak to them to learn more about what travelers to the area are looking for. This feedback can help you optimize your rental and attract more guests.
Run Analytics on All Marketing Initiatives
No matter the marketing initiative you choose to run with, it’s crucial to run analytics to determine whether your efforts were successful and to see how much of an impact they had on your business. Whenever you’re about to begin a new marketing campaign, be sure to establish goals and key performance indicators (KPIs) that will help you measure your performance. Remember, it’s impossible to know how well you’ve done unless you record and analyze the data!
Let’s say your goal is to get more families to stay at your vacation rental property and you used social media, blog posts, and email campaigns to try to reach that goal. You could measure KPIs like social media engagement, blog post engagement, and percentage of email opens and clicks to determine which of your marketing tactics made the biggest difference in earning you more bookings from families.
If a marketing campaign worked well, then that tells you exactly what you need to focus on in the future. The opposite is true as well; if something doesn’t generate the results you were hoping for, you can learn from that and try different strategies going forward.
The best thing you can do for yourself is to always apply what you’ve learned to your future marketing strategies so that you are constantly growing and improving your business.
Here’s a quick recap of our top vacation rental marketing tips:
- Identify your target market so that you know who your marketing initiatives should appeal to.
- Establish your brand for consistency and recognizability across all platforms.
- List your vacation rental on multiple platforms to widen your audience.
- Create vacation rental listings that maximize bookings with high-quality headlines, photos, videos, and descriptions.
- Earn five-star reviews by providing a five-star experience.
- Build your own website to save on fees with direct bookings.
- Learn about and implement SEO to help your site and listings rank higher in searches.
- Utilize email marketing to promote your rental to past and potential future guests.
- Embrace social media marketing by joining multiple platforms.
- Consider Pay-Per-Click advertising to get the ball rolling with a new vacation rental property.
- Focus on remarketing by offering special deals to repeat guests.
- Automate marketing tasks with various tools or by outsourcing projects.
- Run promotions to bring in more bookings during the slow season.
- Keep up with vacation rental industry trends and use them to your advantage.
- Implement a public relations strategy by forming relationships with journalists and pitching story ideas to publications.
- Participate in vacation rental forums to gain a reputation as a knowledgeable and helpful host.
- Partner with bloggers, influencers, and local tourism websites to spread the word about your business.
- Run analytics on all marketing initiatives to measure your success.
Of the numerous vacation rental platforms where you can list your property, we highly recommend listing on Rental Trader. Here at Rental Trader, we aim to take back the industry from the big guys and make travel affordable and accessible for all.
It’s easy and free to list your property, and our fees are among the lowest in the industry at just 4.5% per booking. Join the revolution today! Click here to get started.
Still not sure how to market your vacation rental? Watch out this video now!