What was traditionally a US-based promotional shopping day has now exploded into a worldwide discount phenomenon called Black Friday.
No longer just a one-day event, Black Friday extends to Cyber Monday, offering discounts and sales following the Thanksgiving weekend. During this time, companies across the globe battle it out to present the most unbeatable deals on everything from clothing to electronics, televisions and even travel.
According to DealNews, travelers can expect an abundance of great offers in November as more travel brands get on board with the Black Friday and Monday Cyber hype. Your vacation rental business can be part of this four-day occasion.
Black Friday Marketing strategies for vacation rentals
You can achieve a full calendar of reservations for off-season dates in your business by taking advantage of this seasonal promotion. Compete with top hotel brands and ensure guests find your irresistible offers when you take into account these five pieces of advice to help your bookings soar.
1. Prepare an email blast in advance
One of the best ways to build excitement in the run-up to Black Friday is with an effective email campaign. Whether you have thousands of newsletter subscribers or just a humble list of past guests, sending an email at the right time can do a lot to drive bookings.
Campaign Monitor found that over 400 million emails are sent between Thanksgiving and Giving Tuesday. It’s a great idea to plan, write and schedule your email campaigns ahead of the big day(s) for optimum results. Here are some of the different emails you can think about preparing and scheduling in advance: Black Friday and Cyber Monday special offer announcement; teaser email showing specific vacation dates and their discount prices; 24 hours until the sale ends reminder; sale extended announcement.
Don’t forget to personalize your emails and create different campaign sets depending on the audience in question. This will save you a lot of trouble in the long-run. In other words, you don’t want to send a huge discount offer to a guest who has recently booked in the last week – or they could just ask you for a refund!
Send reminder emails too, as during this time period guests receive tons of emails. Create a promotional content calendar to help you plan and keep track. It would also be a good idea to calculate at what time you should send the emails. Most emails are scheduled for around 9 am or 10 am.
2. Reuse last year’s campaign
If you’ve already taken part in Black Friday festivities before, it’s time to dig out your old landing page. Instead of creating a new one from scratch for this year’s promotional activities, utilize your previous year’s campaign page and simply change the content.
Most important of all, if you have the year written anywhere (such as “2018” in the page title), make sure you update this to bring it into the present day.
Reusing an existing Black Friday landing page will not only ensure you keep all the SEO juice you’ve built up over the past 365 days, but will also help you get the campaign off the ground more quickly and efficiently.
3. Implement an on-site countdown timer
When Black Friday comes around, there’s one trick that almost always convinces buyers to make that impulse purchase: a countdown timer.
This past year, in particular, has seen a considerable increase in the number of guests who are window shopping vacation rentals in order to get the best deal around.
So, naturally, when you add a countdown timer of how long guests have left to take advantage of the promotion, it will help persuade them into booking their stay more quickly.
You can use a free tool such as Counting Down To or Are We There Yet to create your own customizable countdown widget. When you’re done and ready to launch your campaign, simply embed the raw HTML code directly into your website.
4. Target guests on social media channels
Retargeting your past website visitors in this way will not only make your brand omnipresent on their social channels during the event weekend, but it will also drive more overall visits to your website and with any luck, more bookings! You will also attract new users, as with the high amount of active users on social media today, people can easily come across your page simply just be scrolling through their feed. They can also find you via the location, tags, and stories, thus allowing you to connect with people you otherwise would never have reached.
Social media will be buzzing with promotional posts from all kinds of different businesses, so don’t be afraid to use your brand’s personality or a touch of humor in order to stand out.
5. Activate online booking
Cyber Monday is a critical time for online travel bookings. If you still don’t have an online booking capability on your vacation rental website, you should absolutely think about getting it before Black Friday.
Instant bookings have revolutionized the industry in recent years and will be an essential component of your Black Friday marketing campaign. So get ahead of the game (and quite possibly, your competitors) by activating online booking.
If your website software doesn’t yet allow you to accept online bookings, you can easily add an embeddable booking widget to transform the guest experience on your site.
Remember: If your offers are only available for a certain time period (i.e. in your off-peak season), block off the high season portion of your calendar in advance. Just don’t forget to unblock it once Black Friday Cyber Monday is over!
Black Friday Cyber Monday campaigns can be an excellent way to drive traffic, boost reservations and create awareness about your vacation rental business. There are many more actions you can undertake to make your Black Friday marketing campaign a success – these are just the basics to help you get started! We’d love to hear your own best practice tips in the comments.