Marketing is what gets your vacation rental seen by the right people so they can make a reservation. Your end game is to have your rental noticed by as many guests possible, and then turn these window shoppers into direct bookings. Therefore, it’s crucial to have a strong marketing strategy to advertise to potential guests.
Some owners have an amazing vacation rental, have a brilliant location, and even include luxury services, but yet they don’t receive as many bookings as they would like to. Why? It’s because their marketing strategy has some flaws.
In order to avoid any mistakes that can be contributing to your lack of bookings, here are the 7 most common mistakes made when marketing your vacation rental:
1. Not Knowing Your Target Audience
For your marketing strategy to have a strong plan of action, it’s essential to know who exactly you’re marketing to.
Who typically stays at your vacation rental? Senior travelers may not have the same needs as guests who travel in groups, business travelers or those that vacation with their pets. By knowing who your ideal guest is, you can target them specifically and even create special offers that appeal to them. For example, if your target audience is families with children, consider providing discounts for a theme park located near your property or other family activities.
Once you’ve got your target audience in place, think about how you want to reach out to them: your vacation rental website, or social media channels such as Instagram or Facebook. From there, consider adjusting your tone of voice catered to your target audience. Ultimately, provide them with what they want and why your vacation rental is best suited for them.
2. Not Knowing What Your Unique Selling Point Is
With the rise of vacation rentals, competition is growing too. For a guest to choose your rental over a hotel or another property, you’ll need to showcase what makes your rental special and stand out from the crowd: your unique selling point.
A unique selling point is that which gives value to your vacation rental, making it different from your competition. If your rental is a cabin in the woods, promote it as a quiet getaway or an escape from the bustling city. Do you have an outdoor hot tub? Is there a playroom for the kids? You need to point out what you have that makes your vacation rental great and outstanding.
If you’re unaware of your selling point, it’s worth making a list on a piece of paper of all the strongest assets in your vacation rental. From there, you’ll see all the great things about your property, and you’ll be able to highlight the strongest ones. You can even ask past guests what they loved most about staying in your rental.
Once you’ve got your unique selling point, you need to emphasize it and market it, to ultimately sell and get those bookings!
3. Not Having Enough Photos or Having Low-Quality Photos
When you’re promoting your vacation rental online, the photos are the only visual aid your potential guests have to decide if your property is right for them. Photos are one of the most powerful factors that will help you increase your bookings. Remember that most guests aren’t going to visit your home before deciding to book, so the images you display on your website must speak volumes.
Many owners make the mistake of not marketing their rental through their photos. In order to avoid this huge marketing error, consider the following before placing your photos online:
- Deep clean your rental before taking any photos
- Take high-quality and high-resolution pictures
- Photograph everything you want your guests to know you have (bathroom amenities, coffee capsules, etc.)
- Take lighting into account and use natural light whenever possible
- Wait for the perfect weather and avoid shooting when it’s raining
- Have the maximum number of images allowed on the platform you’re advertising your rental.
With the huge demand in this industry, many vacation rental owners even go above and beyond and use drones, 360 panoramic photos, and video tours to market their property. For a more detailed guide, check out our article on how to take professional photos in your vacation rental.
4. Not Describing the Experience You’re Selling
We’ve already mentioned your unique selling point, now it’s time to sell the experience. Don’t forget what travelers are looking for when they first come across your description. Every potential guest wants to live the vacation of their dreams, get out of the routine and relax. Guests want to have the perfect vacation, so you need to prove to them why they should pick your rental.
For example, a terrace isn’t just a terrace, it’s a place where you can enjoy the sea views, the sound of nature and the warmth of the sun. Where you can have a cold drink and have a summer barbecue.
Sell the location itself to attract guests. Take into account how close your property is to the city center. Do you have points of interest nearby? Any shopping centers, places to dine, amusement parks? Make the area where your property is located unique, desirable and worth visiting. Include a map of where your rental is located and photographs of the points of interest nearby.
Look at all this from the guest’s perspective and put yourself in their shoes. What do you look for when you go on holiday? What are the essentials you expect in your rental? What amenities would make you happy? What would be a nice extra?
5. Not Taking Showcasing Your Reviews
According to TripAdvisor, 83% of travelers consider reviews before making a reservation, whilst 53% say they wouldn’t rent a property without reading reviews first. In other words, positive reviews can be the best opportunity to promote your business.
Having someone other than yourself speak well of your business not only gives you credibility but also gives value to your business. Ask your guests for a review after their stay and share them across all your channels and social media profiles.
What if you have a negative review? Don’t panic! You can actually use this to turn the tables and use them to your advantage. Always respond to a negative review and fix the issue. They actually provide you with an opportunity to showcase your excellent customer service. When other guests see that you were interested in compensating a dissatisfied guest, they will know that you prioritize the well-being of travelers.
6. Not Promoting Your Vacation Rental on More Than One Channel
Promoting your vacation rental on more than one channel will increase your exposure and give you more ways to advertise your business. It will be seen by more potential guests. Whereas only marketing on one listing site may not give you the exposure you need, and that’s where you could be missing out on all the potential bookings.
The more channels and platforms you cover, the better. For example, Airbnb, Booking.com, HomeAway, VRBO, etc. If you wish to attract international travelers, remember that people from different countries use different platforms. VRBO tends to be used more in the US, Mexico, and Canada, whilst HomeAway has more active users in Europe, India, and Australia
When you are present on several channels, you need to make sure that everything is in sync. Lodgify’s channel manager synchronizes all your external listings to ensure that your calendars are always up-to-date and consistent. Any booking or change made on one channel will automatically be updated across all channels. Having one centralized calendar will mean you’ll save time manually updating each calendar individually and avoid double bookings!
7. Not Having Your Own Website
Having your own website will not only allow you to accept direct bookings and save on commissions from external listing sites, but it will also help you to improve your brand identity and reputation online. Guests that type your vacation rental name into Google will find a professional website that gives you credibility as a host, and your guests will also be interested in saving on fees charged by the big advertising sites.
Think of your website as the backbone of your online vacation rental business. Every effort you carry out in terms of your marketing strategy will lead back to your site. That means every email you send, every blog article you publish and every social media post you share, all these marketing actions will actively drive visitors to your website.
Lodgify’s vacation rental website builder is easy and simple to use. The vacation rental website templates have all the tools you need to launch your business and increase bookings. As soon as you’ve selected your template, chosen your color scheme, font and uploaded all your content, you can publish your website straight away! You can start taking direct bookings the same day you create your vacation rental website. The best part? No technical skills are required.
Now you have an idea of what mistakes to avoid when marketing your vacation rental, you can make the necessary changes and watch your bookings roll in! By following the advice above, you’ll soon reap the rewards as you gain more exposure for your property.