During this difficult time with the coronavirus outbreak, it’s important to still keep your vacation business going. In addition to staying up-to-date on the latest news and safety precautions, you can shift your focus and fill in any empty gaps caused by cancellations.
DISCLAIMER: We’re not encouraging owners or property managers to recklessly invite or entice guests to travel where there are risks. These tips are simply recommendations and should not be regarded as official guidelines. We recommend to listen to local announcements and visit the World Health Organization’s website to stay updated on the necessary precautions you should take to protect your business.
At Lodgify, we’ve created a checklist with guidelines and safety measures to place in your vacation rental so your guests can protect themselves during their stay. Reassure your guests and download it in PDF below:
A growing number of nations are closing their doors and events across the globe are being canceled. But travelers may still be on the lookout of booking trips either for social distancing or to enjoy after everything has calmed down. After all, domestic tourism has represented about 71% of all tourism spending in recent years.
Not sure how to target national travelers? Get full occupancy with domestic renters when you follow these top nine tips!
What Are Domestic Travelers?
Domestic travelers are guests who travel between different cities within the same country. For example, if your vacation rental is located in Miami, your guests from New York would be considered domestic travelers. These individuals are those who don’t go abroad or cross any borders, rather, they visit other cities, regions, and states within their country and where your rental is located.
How Can I Target Domestic Travelers?
In order to target national guests, you need to adapt and alter your marketing strategy across all your online tools, which includes your vacation rental website, all your listings on OTAs, and on social media too.
We’ve created some tips on how you can achieve this, follow our advice below:
1. Adjust Your Prices
The global economy has been majorly affected by the outbreak of the coronavirus, as many businesses are temporarily closed, and airline companies have seen a decline in flights.
Due to the decline in travel, some guests can still opt to go to a different city or region. However, domestic guests aren’t the ones looking for a luxury vacation abroad, but rather, something affordable nearby. Local travelers can also decide to look for a place last-minute or see a good deal and decide to book.
At this time, it’s a good idea to adjust your rates to attract domestic guests and fill in some gaps caused by cancelations and lack of travel. Consider using dynamic pricing tools like Pricelabs to automate pricing and stay restrictions.
2. Reconsider your minimum stay policy
Domestic travelers may opt-in for a shorter trip than other travelers, as they may just want to get away for a weekend or a few days. If your vacation rental has a minimum stay policy of 7 days, consider adjusting it for now. Remember that this will be temporary, and will give you an opportunity to fill in those gaps.
Local tourists will be more likely to book your rental, knowing they are not obligated to pay for a whole week.
3. Connect with Your Local Visitor Center
When planning a trip, many travelers often research online for local tourism boards and travel agencies to get some ideas on what to do around the areas they want to visit. If you contact your tourism board and let them know that you’d like to work with them, these potential customers might stumble across your accommodation and can book it straight away.
What’s more, is that these travelers will feel more confident and more at ease booking a rental through an official tourism board. As they trust the official visitor center, they know that they’ll be in good hands with their recommendations.
4. Cross-Promote with Local Businesses
Similar to travelers searching online for the local tourism board, they will also search for local restaurants, bars, and shops in the area of their chosen destination.
Partnering with local businesses is another way of targeting domestic travelers. Local shops, cafes, and other businesses can recommend your vacation rental by distributing your business cards or flyers. Depending on the business, they could even promote your accommodation on their website or on their social media platforms.
In exchange, you’d recommend these places to your guests and offer them discounts. For example, “Get 50% off at Alpine Meadow when you stay at Livingstone in March”, “Book at Capucine and get free cupcakes and pastries at Tall Oaks Café” or “Staycation in San Diego with a $50 coupon at Wild Thyme restaurant.” These promotions will appeal to guests looking for a staycation, as they’re not only going on an adventure at your rental, but they’re also getting discounts with it.
Start now by contacting the local places in your area and see if they are interested in cross-promoting. It never hurts to ask, and it can result in extra bookings!
5. Optimize Your Website and Listing Content
Travelers searching for accommodation will go on Google and type in exactly what they’re looking for. So make sure your website contains all the keywords that are more specific for your area. For example “things to do in (city name)” or “vacation rentals near me.”
You can include all of these keywords by creating blog posts about your location. In fact, a very successful blog and one that has generated a lot of leads are “things to do in the area”. Write a whole list of points of interest, activities, restaurants, shops and write content describing each one: opening times, price ranges, experience, etc. As travelers will be reading your content on your website, guests can actually end up booking it, as they are at the researching stage and may not have booked accommodation yet.
In addition to optimizing your website, make sure you remember to share all your content on social media; anyone who views it will be redirected back to your website, again giving you an opportunity for more bookings.
6. Showcase Your Services and Amenities
Your rental may have amenities that guests don’t have in their own homes, so now is the time to list every single thing that could be interesting to your guests and what will make them want to stay there.
Whether it be watching a movie on your home cinema system, playing some fun board games, making popcorn or candy floss, or chilling in the hot tub or swimming pool, let them experience an incredible staycation!
What’s more, having a Netflix subscription actually increases your chances of receiving more bookings, as guests are more drawn to listings that include Netflix. Let your guests know that they can’t miss out on their favorite TV show by staying at your rental.
7. Promote a Staycation or Getaway
Staycations are becoming more popular nowadays, with more than 53% Americans having taken one. Advertise your vacation rental for a staycation by including relaxing amenities, such as bubble baths, chocolates, and even a bottle of wine! Just don’t forget to let your guests know that your property and amenities have been disinfected and sanitized thoroughly.
Let your guests unwind and enjoy everything your rental has to offer. Don’t forget to mention all the other essential amenities too.
You can also promote a quiet and peaceful getaway for those travelers wanting to escape the noise or city. If your vacation rental is in a quieter location, use it to your advantage! For example, if your rental is a cabin in the woods, a tiny house, or in the glamping industry, advertise a tranquil and relaxing experience.
Words have a powerful impact, so you need to let your guests visualize a staycation or getaway. Get creative and optimize your content across your listings on OTAs and website.
8. Consider Accepting Pets
With over 85 million pet owners in the US, millions of these people take their pets with them when they travel. Pets provide security and comfort for people and more often than not, travelers feel guilty for leaving their furry friends behind in boarding kennels.
The majority of domestic travelers will be taking a road trip, meaning their beloved pets can easily travel with them in their car. Appeal to domestic guests and encourage them to stay at your rental with their pets! As a host, you’ll be able to reach a much wider audience. What’s more, you’ll maximize your profits, not only with more bookings but also by charging a pet fee.
Here’s a more detailed guide on how to make your vacation rental pet-friendly.
9. Promote through Online Marketing and Paid Advertising
Advertising your vacation rental online through paid online marketing tools will allow you to get your business at the forefront and increase your exposure. There are two easy ways to start:
If you have a Facebook page, you can choose which fans you’d like to target with your Facebook posts. You can filter people from a specific region, city, and community, which is a great way of targeting domestic guests!
But if you really want your business to reach a larger audience, you’ll have to boost your posts and create Facebook and Instagram ads. Marketing on Facebook Ads is of course paid advertising, however, you can decide exactly how much you want to spend, for how long and also set an exact budget. Facebook will never exceed your budget, so you have full control over your spending.
Google Ads is the original pay-per-click (PPC) marketing tool which allows business owners to create ads for their services. Users, such as guests looking for accommodation, will come across your ads when they’re searching for homes like yours on Google.
According to Google’s economic impact study, businesses double their income from paid advertising. When you use the correct and relevant keywords to target guests, travelers searching for vacation rentals will see your ads. You’ll only be charged when the guests click on your ads, but remember that you’ll easily cover the investment with the increase in bookings.
In the long run, it’s an inexpensive method to attract new guests. For a more detailed guide on how to set this up, find out more from our Google Ads tutorial.
We understand that the coronavirus has had a significant impact on the travel and vacation rental industry. That’s why at Lodgify we’re doing everything we can to support our hosts and property managers.