Top 6 Tips to Launch Your Online Vacation Rental Company
Managing more than one vacation rental home takes a lot of time and energy to do properly. Your competition is not just other cabin owners, but hotels, resorts, bed and breakfasts, and even campgrounds in some locations. People traveling for a visit have specific expectations of the type of comfort and convenience they will get as your guest. If you want to fulfill all their holiday dreams, consider listening to what other rental owners have to share about their successes.
The most important focus of an online vacation rental company has to do with attracting bookings and convincing them to come back time and again. Combine this with a desire not to pay huge amounts of money for your marketing campaigns, and you have a lot to learn in order to launch successfully.
In the end, the type of property you want to rent does not matter. You may have a cozy cabin near Lake Tahoe, a condo in the Caribbean, or a townhouse in San Diego. The following six tips will help you create a functional and affordable marketing plan that propels your vacation rental business toward success.
1 – Diversify Your Marketing Reach
New renter acquisition requires a continuous marketing strategy, but focusing on just one type or platform is not enough. So many different platforms and opportunities exist. Do not limit your efforts to a single stream. Instead, diversify your approach to get your ads in front of more people that look for the perfect place to stay on their vacation. The more you reach, the more likely you are to fill up your booking calendar.
Start With Rental Booking Sites
The most popular online vacation rental platforms give you the best opportunity to get the word out there about your offers. People visit these first when they begin to think about their holiday plans. You cannot ignore the internet if you want to attract attention, of course, and popularity matters when it comes to placement. Design an excellent listing with plenty of professional-quality photos, local attractions, and all necessary information to help interested people make up their mind in your favor.
Some of the most commonly searched include: AirBnB, Booking.com, and HomeAway. Do not simply choose one and figure that is good enough. Put your house, cabin, condo, or apartment on all the main sites for more exposure. However, consider how much it costs to list before you take the plunge. If you have a smaller amount of advertising capital to work with, you might have to make some hard decisions about expected return on your investment.
Social Media for Vacation Rentals
One highly affordable and convenient way to get the word out about your online vacation rental business is to use social media. The vast majority of people in your target market use one social platform or another. This makes them highly effective when it comes to both getting attention and building loyalty. When it comes to something like renting a vacation home, the individual or family who wants to travel needs to know they can trust where they stay. A more personal yet professional connection through social media platforms helps this grow.
Facebook remains the most popular social site in the world for all ages and demographics. Therefore, it makes sense to start your marketing efforts here. However, if you specifically target the younger generations, consider looking into the platforms they use more often such as Instagram. Ultimately, the more popular a site is, and the more it targets your renter age group, the more time and energy you should dedicate to it. Remember to use a lot of photos and even video to attract attention.
Create a Rental Business Website
No matter what other types of marketing you do, having a professional website still matters in this day and age. This provides a platform where you can share every rental property you offer in the best way possible. Also, you can change, update, add, and take away content or listings whenever you need to. Other than the costs associated with running a website, such as your monthly hosting bill, no additional charges exist. An interactive website with a secure booking calendar and payment processing provides even more power.
No matter what other advertisements, listings, or social interactions you do, always link back to your website pages. It creates an excellent platform to give the most information possible.
2 – Optimize Booking Site Listings
As important as the recommendation to use multiple listing sites is, the quality of those listings is what really matters for marketing. When people come to these platforms, they are faced with a multitude of options in their target city or vacation location. How will your property stand out?
Do not simply copy and paste one listing on to every site if the features available to you differ slightly. You can create unique details not only to attract more attention but also to split test your marketing efforts and see which one is more effective.
Consider including or changing the following things:
· Listing title · Overall description of the property · Specific focus on the type of visitor that will benefit · Photos or videos · Reviews and renter impressions – even photos
Booking rates improve when you optimize your listings effectively. Always include some words or photos from people who have rented the property in the past. These types of opinions can go a long way toward convincing the next traveler just rent from you.
3 – Build a Strong Company Brand
Your company is more than just a bunch of properties. If you want to succeed at building a brand that people come to know and trust, you must treat its development as one of your top priorities. After all, if people love a particular location and rent it year after year but then decide to go somewhere else for vacation, they will not think about your company unless you have established that trademark style. Create a brand and use it in all your marketing content: website, email messages, contract and payment paperwork, advertisements, and even things like the coffee cups in the cabin or the complementary tote bags at the beach condo.
Tailor your brand identity to your target audience who is most likely to rent from you. Your logo and other advertising types would look quite different if you focus on young romantic couples, large families, or retirees. Learn what each group needs and develop a cohesive style that they will appreciate.
Building a brand for your company helps to create a professional and personal connection with you as the person that provided them with an excellent to place stay on vacation. Not only does it help you get attention and keep it, but it fosters an ongoing sense of familiarity that convinces people to book with you again and again.
4 – Repeat Rentals Mean Success
It costs more to get new renters all the time than it does to convince a one-time renter to become a repeat visitor. As long as you establish a strong sense of value with the first trip, people are likely to seek out your property again the next time they visit. Sometimes, simply reminding past visitors that you are available for vacation rentals in the future and inviting them to stay again makes all the difference.
Branding matters. Marketing helps. Ultimately, it is the memorability of their stay that really makes a difference. You need to provide more than just a pleasant visit with no problems. Make it exceptional. Then, stay in contact with guests throughout the off-season to help them keep your property in mind.
Keep Renter Attention With an Email List
How do you stay in contact with past renters? The last thing you are going to do is call them up every week and remind them to book the following summer. You need to create an opt-in email list to maintain the professional relationship, level of interest, and make special offers just when they need them most.
Do not send excessive emails. Do not send them anything without value. Anything that resembles spam will convince them not to rent from you in the future. A monthly newsletter with interesting content and a smattering of booking ads can work well.
Offer Incentives for Returning Renters
Besides information about the vacation destination and your properties, give your email subscribers or past renters something to get excited about. Mostly, people like special offers or discounts as incentives to choose your house, apartment, or cabin once again. Remind the people how much they enjoyed staying there, and invite them back with a financial incentive. Along with the sale price, also create a sense of urgency by limiting the time it is valid for.
Boost Loyalty With a Social Media Group
Another way to stay in contact with repeat renters is through the power of social media. Instead of purchasing ads to attract first-time interest, simply make a company page or group and create a bond with the people who enjoy your properties. They may have comments or questions you should answer as soon as possible. It is all about forging those important relationships so the vacation goers feel more comfortable renting from you. It gives them a sense of belonging and trust. Also, if you ask questions or for feedback, you get important information about how you can make your offers better. Who could resist a property with an owner who does everything in their power to please repeat visitors?
5 – Choose Competitive Prices
Ultimately, the goal is to make money with your vacation rental properties. In order to do that, you cannot simply rely on effective marketing and brand building. Maximizing profits depends on appropriate and competitive price levels for each night an individual or family stays. One of the best ways to figure out how you should price them includes looking at other listings in the same area and larger hotels and resorts.
Your beachfront condo may have little similarity to a hotel room a block away. However, people who wish to visit the area can look at both before determining where to rent. Prices must align with the property and associated amenities, nearby attractions, season, and even the day of the week. You can research nearby prices to get a better idea of these fluctuations.
Also, learn about local events, special holidays, and what lures people to the area during the off-season to maximize your profits all year round.
If you have just purchased your first rental property and do not have historical data to fall back on, you must focus primarily on your competitors. Because you do not have reviews yet, and you have not established trust in your brand, it makes sense to offer a lower price at the start. Under charge and over deliver to fuel company expansion and more success in the future.
6 – Get Organized With the Best Tools
All of these moving parts of a vacation home rental company may sound overwhelming if you operate a small business at present. It takes a lot of time to do all of this, and stress is a constant companion. It only gets more complicated when you spread out to different booking sites, social media platforms, and start up your newsletter. How do you keep track of all of this and the booking and payments coming in? You cannot risk making a mistake and double booking or missing an important message.
Even one mistake like this can get you a negative review, which can snowball into a considerable problem when it comes to booking your properties in the next year. Luckily, systems exist to help you manage all of these things at once. Not only does it organize the marketing and business practices, it can even automate some of them so you have more time for customer satisfaction.
The Importance of a Channel Manager
You need a channel manager. These comprehensive solutions give you the opportunity to integrate all the different parts of your brand-building and marketing process. Every different listing site, reservation processing system, and marketing channel gets handled from one convenient platform. This keeps things flowing smoothly, ensures continuous up-to-date information for people interested in renting your property, and saves you a lot of headaches and concern.
An online vacation rental business requires so much attention to detail and precision. As your competitors turn to more innovative approaches to business management, you need to keep up with the increased technological side of things by choosing the absolute best channel manager possible. In order to succeed with short-term vacation rentals, follow the six tips outlined above. But, most importantly, get on track and organized with the best possible property management program available.