It’s no secret that starting a vacation rental business can be a costly operation. From buying the property itself to carrying out renovations and kitting it out with all the amenities you need for hosting guests – you can end up spending a fortune before you’ve even thought about how to market your vacation rental.
But if you’re looking to cut corners and save on expenses by eliminating marketing altogether – think again. Marketing activities don’t have to break the bank, but they are essential for any small business trying to make a profit. Given you already have a professional website, here are six low-budget strategies for vacation rental marketing that will skyrocket your bookings at very little cost.
1. Start a vacation rental blog
Adding some additional content to your website by way of a vacation rental blog is a great way to get noticed by potential guests. Writing content that answers guests’ queries about your destination is not only a good tactic for increasing website visits, but it also helps position you (and therefore, your business) as a local destination expert. There are endless content ideas to help fill up your blog in no time. And, as a result, visitors who are simply looking for information about your area will find your website – perhaps even before they start thinking about accommodation options.
2. Send a newsletter
Email marketing is still one of the most successful strategies when looking at ROI. Sending a newsletter is your opportunity to reconnect with past guests or engage inquiring travelers with up-to-date information about your property. By using a free platform like Mailchimp, you can create dynamic, personalized newsletters and send them to your entire email list for free.
3. Get social media savvy
Social media has exploded in recent years, and now, vacation rental owners have the chance to connect with potential guests around the world through free tools such as Instagram and Facebook. Using hashtags, having your guests geotag your location and posting frequent, captivating updates are all ways in which you can get the most out of social media for your rental. Best of all, these channels are completely free and can help build up your vacation rental brand. Don’t forget to link from your website to your social media channels and vice versa!
4. Partner with local businesses
Local enterprises in your area are a force to be reckoned with. Unlike you, they already have an established, loyal client base which you can tap into as an emerging lodging provider. That’s why partnering with other local businesses is a very low-risk and low-cost way of marketing your vacation rental which helps get more eyes on your property. Besides helping to create meaningful relationships within your immediate community, these partnerships can also have a truly positive impact on your guests’ experience. Trusted restaurant recommendations and activity discounts will resonate with your guest and help them to speak fondly of their experience to their family, friends and in their rental review.
5. Attend relevant events
Networking is yet another strategy which can cost you next to nothing but has a huge impact on your business. But before you consider rocking up to a local homeowners’ association event, be sure to send your vacation rental business cards to print. It’s important to have these to hand to share with anyone who may be interested in staying at your property in the future, or to pass on the recommendation to other travelers.
As well as any local conferences, check out those that are farther afield, too. While this may require more of a budget, they can be a great opportunity to get your rental out in the world and learn in the process. There is an abundance of local, regional and international industry events each year which provide unbeatable knowledge-sharing sessions and the potential to connect with other like-minded professionals.
6. Learn simple SEO
Optimizing your website for search engines can be a lot simpler than it sounds. Start off with some straightforward keyword research, and discover which terms you should be targeting across your site. With this done, update your website page titles and meta descriptions to include these keywords where possible. Go into your website photo gallery and rename all your image captions with relevant descriptions (these are known as “alt tags” in the SEO world and help your pictures show up in Google). Linking between your website pages and to other, relevant websites (such as local tourism associations) can also boost SEO. In addition to this, if you can obtain links from these high authority sites back to your website, you’re onto a winner.
Of course, there are more expensive marketing strategies out there – such as creating paid campaigns – which you may want to consider further down the line when you have already started generating income for your vacation rental. These six ideas are a good place for even the most beginner marketer to start!