Whether you’ve just decided to enter the vacation rental business, or you want to cut down on advertising fees, there are plenty of ways to attract new guests completely for free. Marketing is essential for any corporation to make a profit. After all, if guests don’t know your vacation rental exists how will they find and reserve it?
By being creative and using each resource to the full extent, you’ll be rather surprised at how far you can go. So how can you advertise your vacation rental without spending a single penny? We’ve come up with 7 ways to promote your business.
1. Get Social Media Savvy
Where is the first place people around the world go to post and share what is important to them with all their friends and followers? Social media. Social media has exploded in recent years, and now, homeowners have the chance to connect with potential guests around the world through free tools such as Facebook and Instagram.
With an estimated 2.7 billion active users, Facebook is the most powerful tool to reach a lot of people at once. It’s also a way to communicate with past, present and future guests, giving you credibility and the possibility to promote everything related to your business.
Start by creating a page for your vacation rental. Add options such as book now and show the exact location of your home on a map along with your contact information. Include photos, amenities, and descriptions. Join groups on Facebook where you can share your listing and reach your target audience. You’ll achieve higher visibility and exposure, therefore increase traffic to your vacation rental business. Then, encourage guests who have stayed in your rental to leave a review for future browsers to read. Get underway with the Vacation Rental Marketing Guide to Facebook created by Lodgify.
If you do have a budget allocated for advertising, tools such as Facebook Ads enable you to boost posts and therefore reach an even higher audience.
Instagram is one of the world’s most-loved social media applications. Compared to Facebook, Instagram is purely used for sharing photos and videos, and that’s exactly what vacation rental owners need to do.
Photos are by far the easiest way to promote your business. By having an Instagram account of your vacation rental, you can show off your property. You’ll be able to excite your guests and establish a closer relationship. It’s not just about uploading images of your rooms, you have to sell the experience.
Follow other users in the sectors, get a closer look at the competition out there and network. Remember to include hashtags of your vacation rental name on your posts. Utilize this platform by making videos and tours of your property. Post stories to show the essence of home and the surrounding area.
Be sure to include your personal contact information in your bio. Respond and like all the comments, and if you get the opportunity, ask your guests if they can post photos of your vacation rental and tag your property in it.
2. Become an SEO Expert
Vacation rental owners need local SEO in order to show up within the first few search results for their area. Having a good SEO means optimizing your description on your listing so that you are better positioned on Google or Yahoo. Google has to be able to analyze your website and deem its content relevant enough to present it to travelers on the lookout. Think of what travelers search for when they are looking to book your vacation rental. For instance, if a guest searches for “holiday home in Florida,” Google will scan the texts on your website pages to determine if you offer exactly what this person is looking for. By using the right keywords, guests will have a higher chance of finding your home.
There are many quick and simple tips and techniques to follow which can easily and quickly improve the SEO of your website. Again if you have a small budget, Google Ads is a pay per click marketing tool that allows business owners to create ads for their services. Guests then come across these ads when they’re searching for homes like yours on Google.
3. List on Other Sites
Many homeowners choose to list on other vacation rental sites to complement the activity they’re already doing on their own websites. This is also another way of marketing your property and getting higher exposure. Some travel sites do not charge to list your property, only when guests make a reservation they deduct a certain percentage per night per stay. Such sites include Booking.com, Expedia, Airbnb and Tripadvisor. Trying out different listing websites is a great way to build your brand, get more bookings and attract guests from all over the world.
4. Contact Your Local Tourist Information Center
Guests will always check out the city where they are traveling to beforehand by researching the city, area, and things to do online. They’ll most likely end up on a tourism page of their chosen destination. By registering with the tourism association in your area, you can benefit from having a free link on an external website. You’ll receive even further advertising for your business. Most local tourism associations provide all of these benefits free of charge to any registered owner but keep in mind that some may ask for a monthly or annual subscription fee.
5. Create Your Own Blog
Create a blog not only about your vacation rental home but also about things to do in the area. Mention the history behind your home and what made you decide to share it with other people. Perhaps it’s a family-run business? Let your guests get to know you, connect with them on a personal level and grab their attention. Visitors will have more confidence and know that if they reserve your vacation rental, they’ll be in good hands.
Using storytelling on your website will inspire the reader to book a vacation at your property. Remember, your goal is to share your unique and personal story, highlight your brand, and connect with visitors to your website. It doesn’t have to be all serious, you can write funny and entertaining blogs too! So, it’s about telling a story rather than simply emphasizing the positives of your vacation rental business.
Ensure that your blog is regularly updated. Guests who check out your blog and then notice that the last post was written years ago won’t be too impressed. Having an active blog, however, shows that your website is alive and well, working properly and is well-maintained.
Your blog should also be optimized for SEO (use keywords) and it’s always a good idea to share your blogs on social media, through Facebook and Instagram for example. Your readers and potential bookers may also want to share it online. Maintaining a blog is just another way of improving visibility and marketing your vacation rental for free.
6. Word of Mouth
You don’t just need to solely rely on the internet. Establishing relationships and meeting new people is another great way to promote your business. Start by focusing on your area and participating in as many local events as possible. Talk to people, network and find out what’s going on in your town, whether it’s changes in the Town Hall or a new business opening. Always carry business cards with your details: name, phone number, email and address. Add your property logo and a link to your website.
7. Partner with Local Businesses
New businesses can truly thrive when they collaborate with an already established local community, as it builds the brand name. By partnering with local businesses, you’ll build a professional relationship that can benefit both parties.
Most guests staying in vacation rentals are from out of town. Whether that’s the next city or a completely different country, it doesn’t matter. They want local recommendations. If local cafés, shops, and other businesses can recommend your home as a place to stay (and in exchange, you recommend their services to guests) – there is a huge opportunity to obtain more qualified leads and consequently, more bookings.
Try out all the different tools out there and find out which ones are most effective for your business. Remember that bookings won’t suddenly happen overnight. Stay patient and allow plenty of time for reservations to come in.