Globally, vacation rentals have certainly become an option for travelers. According to Grand View Research, the global vacation rental market size was valued at USD 74.64 billion in 2021 and is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.3% from 2022 to 2030.
That being said, the demand for luxury vacation rentals is increasing especially for travelers such as celebrities, and high-income digital nomads seeking more private, unique, and luxuriously designed spaces to enjoy with their loved ones. Not to mention, being well taken care of their every need throughout their entire stay.
With all things considered, high-end travelers will not devote their time hours browsing sites such as Airbnb or Booking.com but instead, leave their vacation needs to agents, companies, or selected luxury booking sites that will handpick the perfect villa and create a customized vacation experience. Therefore, appealing to high-end travelers or high-value bookings requires optimizing marketing and distribution strategies and the standard approach of a short-term rental will not cut the demands of today's high-end travelers.
This article will help guide you on:
In general, appearance is like the heart of a vacation rental and we are not talking about those rip-off furnishings or fake arts that can be seen through by modern high-end travelers. What actually differentiates and makes a vacation rental "luxury"?
Think about it! Appearance is not everything in a vacation rental. While it does help attract high-value bookings, what sets it apart from other vacation rentals are three basic elements that are discussed below:
To attract high-end travelers or high-value bookings, your vacation rental ought to strongly display exclusivity. What this means is that your exclusive property or vacation rental should not market and distribute to every OTA site but instead think about the top 1%. Take the example of branded fashion industries like Loui Vuitton or Gucci. They hand-picked selected collections rather than mass-produced products that are generic.
That being said, vacation rentals are no different. High-end travelers opt for a luxury vacation rental instead of generic hotels to feel a sense of a one-of-a-kind vacation rental experience.
Think about your niche market? Once you’ve thought about and selected your niche for your vacation rental, the very next step is to customize and personalize their stay by understanding the needs of the guests. To do so, ask important questions like:
Take note, high-end travelers work with travel agents. Therefore, take advantage of the travel agents as your point of contact and customize their stay accordingly which will help outshine guest satisfaction.
If we think about it, luxury travel does not only mean the property itself but the hands-on experience gained by the guest. It is far beyond material wealth. It is the moment of being there, experiencing it, and building that moment while making it your one-of-a-kind travel experience.
That being said, giving guests the tools to enjoy and build moments at your vacation rental is what distinguishes you from ordinary to extraordinary. Glance through your vacation rental and see what already tells a story and what potential it has for a new story. Think about amenities that could turn into a narrative. Or what other added services can you offer for your guests to ensure a high-end experience?
More importantly, give the guests a reason to rebook at your vacation rental by ensuring the potential to create special moments to further improve their stay.
In theory, vacation rentals are marketed and distributed in many sales channels. This means that the more exposure you get, the more potential guests and the more bookings you'll receive. But of course, this theory is not the best practice for luxury vacation rentals.
Earlier, we talked about the example of designer brands like Louis Vuitton or Gucci and you see that these brands target specific niche markets. Luxury vacation rentals are no different. Luxury vacation rentals are not meant to attract or appeal to everyone but rather appeal to a specific niche. In fact, listing your luxury vacation rental in too many channels can hurt its position and devalue the property which will risk its potential revenue. Think? Would you as a luxury guest book a luxury rental if it was listed on all sales channels? Would you desire it? The answer is no.
Luxury brands are rare and desirable, the same applies to luxury rentals. Remember, high-end travelers, seek luxury vacation rentals because of their exclusivity and status. Therefore, it is important to strategically hand-pick selected distribution channels such as Plum Guide, Homes & Villas by Marriott International, and Airbnb Luxe to name a few, and focus on getting direct bookings from your own vacation rental website to preserve the property's exclusivity.
To exceed the expectations of luxury guests, accommodations are simply one part of the guest experience. That being said, 70% of the guest experience comes from curating customized experiences provided by learning who your guest is prior to their stay. For instance, if your guest is vegan, arranging eco-friendly and sustainable toiletries will imply a guest a tailored luxury experience.
Take note, experiences do not mean expensive. It simply means going far and beyond delivered by trained and professional staff. Moreover, personalized experiences should be exclusive; in other words, one-of-a-kind. Therefore, design a unique experience that is not available to the masses. Consider collaborating with local artists or brands around the area. That way, you can create an authentic experience for your guests just as expected for luxury rentals to be of a high standard and a higher level of service.
"Love at first sight" is ideally what draws travelers into deciding when booking a vacation rental. The goal of a marketer is by selling a dream of making the property desirable to the guest's heart. So, how do you make luxury rental desirable to guests?
Paola Geiss, co-founder, luxury rentals consultant, property manager, and event host, states there are four foundations to luxury marketing strategy: uniqueness, craftsmanship, excellence, and emotion. That being said, to capture an aspiration, first is to know and understand who your target audience is, build a marketing persona, and create an emotional and narrative impact that steals the heart of the guest.
Additionally, sell a story of the vacation rental. For instance, the property was built by a famous architect or built around historical grounds. Moreover, convey to the audience its local history and culture or its breathtaking surroundings and landmarks. Remember, part of selling a dream is transforming its guest experience into a unique lifestyle and grabbing its emotion. Moreover, guest communications should far and beyond expectations. Lastly, listings should be displayed with high-quality and professional photos and videos.
The golden rule of the hospitality business is to supply a top-notch experience to the guests which means that the common won’t simply cut the expectations of a five-star plus level of service. Moreover, attaining this level means setting extremely high standards for each and every incoming guest by pouring effort, time, and service into your vacation rentals.
Today, luxury guests have high demands and expect more from a luxury rental which also implies maintaining each detail of your exclusive property such as retouching the walls and polishing silverware to name some.
To show off your vacation rental property in the absolute best way, it is always advisable to invest in professional high-quality photography regardless of who your target market is.
That being said, while appearance could seem everything to draw in high-end guests on the very first look of your vacation rental, invest in marketing tools such as innovative technologies like drones.
In addition, drone videos are an excellent way at showcasing your exclusive property by capturing stunning and inventive angles that are unreachable through a traditional camera. Apart from that, drone videos provide dynamic, swooping views of your property and its surroundings. And keep in mind, that the premium location of your luxury rental is everything. This is often what helps to focus on emotions, desire, and exclusivity which will help increase the perceived value of the property.
For a luxury rental to look extraordinary in photos, it needs to fit the part of being luxury. Apart from that, luxury rental needs to be outstanding in real-time which by all means has the finest things, little-to-no clutter, high thread count sheets, luxury furnishings such as stylish yet comfortable furniture, access to entertainment, and neutral color palettes with accent walls, and so on.
More than that, staging your vacation rental also involves smaller finer details such as a perfectly tucked bed and fluffy pillows, folded towels, branded plush bathrobes, and lively and decorative fresh flowers to name some which will just shine in photographs and catch the guest's eye.
Spending lavishly on interior design to suit exclusivity does not mean only furnishing your vacation rental. It also implies that you have to select who and what brands may fit together with your luxury rental.
In addition, the two elements that visually leave room for brand-name products are comfort and beauty. That being said, think about what brands are high-quality and worth the investment. For instance, investing more in luxury soaps and toiletries to call are great additions and the best investment return to your luxury rental.
Furthermore, consider partnering with local luxury brands as it is more desirable and screams a ‘rarity’ for high-end travelers. Over that, partnering with local brands is also a great opportunity to mutually benefit from the publicity. That being said, incorporate local brands with the finest cheese, jams, and fresh deli cuts laid on a charcuterie board that simply impress luxury guests.
What distinguishes a luxury vacation rental is the services provided to the guests. Ideally, most vacation rentals are a self-serve industry- where the guests book a property, arrive, and are left to their own devices.
However, with high-end guests, the approach is anticipated for services to be beyond outstanding. This suggests offering daily housekeeping and laundry, 24-hour maintenance, 24/7 room service, and a concierge. Additionally, other services that can be included as an additional add-on are personal chefs, yoga gurus, personal butler/maid service, and surf instructors.
Guest demands are increasingly changing and basic will not cut their expectations, especially for high-end travelers. That being said, ensure that your vacation rental offers the right amenities that are of top quality and more importantly, functioning.
When a guest checks out, ensure to check on any important appliances such as washing machines, air conditioning, ceiling fans, and so forth. In addition, provide guests with access to secure storage.
Although it seems intimidating, creating your own optimized and professional vacation rental website is crucial for attracting high-end travelers. It easy said than done. However, using a vacation rental website builder such as Hostaway’s allows you to stay up-to-date with all the connected sales channels and customize your website to your wish.
Apart from that, creating your own professional website highlights how a stay at your luxurious rental would be. So, make sure to go into details on the extra services provided, a 3D photo gallery highlighting the property and its surroundings, and pricing and rates information.
Every vacation rental needs to provide guests with a welcome book. Though, what percentage are you able to say take the time and bear every detail of your welcome book?
So, why not take a step further and invest in a tablet or an iPad? Offer high-end travelers a tech-savvy and visual welcome book that feels more exclusive and expensive. Other than that, it provides luxury guests the convenience to search for what they need.