The travel industry is booming – in fact, a 2016 holiday shopping survey reveals travel as the most popular gift on Americans’ holiday wish lists this year. With affordable airfare options and the convenience of online booking, going on vacation is no longer just a once-a-year luxury.
But millennials aren’t staying at hotels. Rather, these travelers are opting for cozier choices – vacation rentals. Usually found through online travel agencies or personal accommodation websites, vacation rentals allow for more freedom to relax, explore, and even cook meals at home.
If you’re not yet marketing to this generation of travelers, it’s time to begin. Use these tips to attract millennials to your vacation rental.
Make booking easy
It is no secret that millennials prefer convenience in their everyday lives. With the shift to digital, consumers are now shopping for vacation rentals on their mobile devices, laptops and tablets.
Market Watch recently reported that 39 percent of all millennials interact more with their smartphones than they do with their partners, parents, friends or co-workers. Instead of calling a travel agent, millennials plan weekend getaways, compare vacation rental pricing, and read previous guests’ reviews all straight from their handheld devices.
If your rental isn’t easy to research or optimized for booking via mobile, you’ll likely miss out on rental opportunities.
Evaluate your property
Millennials don’t have a lot of money to spend and they expect to get what they pay for. So before doing any marketing to millennials, make sure your home is up-to-date. According to Empire Siding and Windows, even something as simple as a lick of paint can make or break your home:
“A fresh coat of paint on any portion of your property will instantly raise its appeal. Just like a professional realtor, use neutral colors for your palette. Avoid the temptation to get colorful and follow the latest trends.”
Don’t forget to make any repairs and clean up the landscaping as well. You want your photos to stand out against rentals in your area; peeling paint or old features just won’t cut it.
Amp up the amenities
In addition to cleaning up the property, consider adding deal-breaker amenities for millennials, such as free Wi-Fi. While you might consider upfront costs high, adding new state-of-the-art features will likely pay for themselves in one-to-two years.
For example, Tripping reports that millennials are the group most likely to rent a vacation home with friends (48%). If your rental only sleeps 4-6 people, why not invest in a sleeper-sofa or futon to provide extra room.
If you’re located in a warm climate, consider installing a private pool or hot tub, which many guests are willing to pay that bit extra for – quickly offsetting the investment.
Pay attention to reviews
Another consequence of the shift to digital is how quickly word of mouth spreads. Instead of hearing about a bad experience weeks or months later, anyone searching for your vacation rental can see your online reviews instantly.
It’s important that you’re aware of the impact negative reviews can have on your occupancy rate. Millennials especially love to compare different vacation spots; one negative experience could be the difference between choosing your home or a competing rental down the road.
According to Forbes’ millennial travel study, 80% of respondents feel travel reviews have a real influence on their decisions, but only 56% posted online reviews after a trip. While they may not be reporting good experiences as frequently, bad customer experiences are likely to be shared.
Use the right keywords
The vacation rental market is competitive, especially for popular tourist destinations. So be sure you’re using the correct keywords when targeting millennials in your paid and unpaid marketing efforts.
For instance, specific descriptions such as “beachfront”, “luxurious”, “slope-side” or “upgraded” can add heaps of extra value to your rental property listing. Don’t be afraid of long descriptions either – if your property has it, you should list it.
If millennials are searching for “beachfront rental house,” but your listing is just “beach house,” they may miss yours. This free eBook will help you better understand how to position your rental with SEO, even if you’re not the slightest bit sure where to start.
Millennials are traveling more and more, and as they get older and have steady incomes, they’re sure to find opportunities to see new and exciting places. Make sure your rental is on their radar when searching with these simple tips.
About the Author
Jessica Thiefels has been writing for more than 10 years and spent the last five years in marketing. After stepping down from a senior marketing position, she’s focusing on growing her own startup and consulting for small businesses. Follow her on Twitter @JThiefels.