Vacation rentals are the fastest-growing sector in the travel industry, with over 4 million properties listed on Airbnb alone in the summer of 2021. While demand is higher than ever for these alternative accommodations, standing out in such a crowded market can be challenging. If you’re struggling to find guests, working with a vacation rental marketing firm can help you capture your slice of this rapidly expanding business. Not sure where to start? Here are some proven marketing strategies for vacation rentals:
Appeal to the Modern Traveler
Travel has changed since the days when a family vacation meant piling in the car to spend a week at the beach or Disney World every summer. Many vacationers today are looking for accommodations that are an Instagrammable destination in their own right: rooms with a view, beachside bungalows, secluded cabins in the woods. As more than a place to sleep, vacation rentals can become an office away from home for relaxing remote work or unique venues for reunions and family celebrations.
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed vacation rental marketing too. Many guests choose properties based on their reputation for cleanliness or their contact-free experience. The inherent social distance of rural and wild properties has led to increased interest in vacation rentals as an alternative to downtown hotels. And adding facilities for self-check-in can make your property anywhere an attractive alternative to waiting in line in a crowded hotel lobby.
Focusing on the amenities and experiences offered at your vacation rental can give it the extra boost it needs to outcompete traditional hotels. There are various other strategies and techniques to make your vacation rental more profitable, from a hospitality standpoint, but what about getting noticed in the first place?
Stand Out Online
The first step to building a vacation rental marketing strategy might seem like it’s getting listed on the biggest names in rental property listing — Airbnb, Vrbo, and Booking.com — but if you don’t already have a long history, impeccable photos, and glowing reviews, you can easily get lost in the crowd.
Optimizing your listings on these sites can help you drive clicks to your property. With their name recognition and gigantic marketing budgets, rising to the top of their search results can have a profound effect on interest in your rental. We can help you make your listing easier to find, and more likely to convert, with compelling content and effective SEO for short-term rental listings.
Find Your Tribe
Beyond Airbnb, there are also niche rental sites for specific demographics (golfers, surfers, skiers, LGBT travelers, etc.) or localities (especially in the most popular vacation destinations). These sites offer a smaller platform, but also a more dedicated audience already committed to one specific type of travel. Marketing strategies for these vacation rental sites often involve focusing on the experience your property provides for one particular group of travelers and building a community of like-minded (and likely to return) vacationers. Social media and FOMO can be valuable assets here. If people see someone else on Instagram or Pinterest with vacation photos from the same place, it can be a powerful reminder to make plans to go back!
Build Your Own Online Presence
This vacation rental marketing strategy might seem counterintuitive after you have already optimized your listings on Airbnb and niche rental sites, but taking up as much real estate as possible on the search results page can help you drive traffic to your property.
After deploying the best search engine optimization strategies, your site will probably rank right below the major booking sites for some choice keywords. This might not seem like such a big deal, but there’s one big advantage: those sites link to many different properties. Your site is only for YOUR property. So when people are searching for “vacation rentals in Tennessee” and click on your link, they’re already at your website, ready to book your property! On your own website, you’re also in control of messaging: you can put your best foot forward with the photos, videos, and testimonials you want to share with future guests.
Nurture Repeat Customers
Once your guests have visited and enjoyed your property, chances are it will live on in their memories. Make sure it stays in their inboxes too with targeted email marketing. If you have a weekend you’re trying to fill, entice previous guests with a special deal for a last-minute impromptu trip. Or start the season off right with a late-winter email campaign just as cabin fever is at its worst. These customers already have a positive impression of your rental, and if you keep it in the back of their minds, they just might be back next year!
Work With The Vacation Marketing Experts
If promoting your vacation rental seems like a daunting challenge, call the digital marketing professionals at South Made. With an extensive background not just in SEO but also in web design, content marketing, graphic design, branding, and more, our team is ready to be your one-stop advertising agency. We can handle every facet of your vacation rental marketing strategy and leave you free to do what you do best!