A very lucrative strategy to improve your vacation rental bookings is to attract your immediate competitors’ guests to book your property instead of theirs. For new businesses on the scene, this tactic works especially well. Even the most loyal repeat travelers will consider reserving a different or new vacation rental if it offers them real value for money, unbeatable amenities and an upgrade on their regular stay.
During the writing of your vacation rental business plan, you’ll have already carried out a thorough analysis of your competitors to get a better idea of the market as it stands. But something you probably haven’t considered yet is how you can directly target your competitors’ current guests to transform them into future visitors for your rental.
These are our top six strategies to secure guest bookings – straight from your competition!
1. Offer better value for money
Pricing lower than the competition is an age-old strategy for any emerging business. When it comes to vacation rentals, good value is one of the key factors that can influence travelers’ decisions. Offering an array of additional amenities (or simply more beds!) for a lower price than your nearest competitor can sway travelers into choosing your accommodation.
2. One-up their guest experience
You can learn a lot about a host by reading their past reviews from guests. As a newcomer to hosting, your job is to offer an even better guest experience than that of your competitors. To be even sneakier and get the inside scoop on your competition, you could book a stay with them, or have a friend do so! This will allow you to analyze their hosting style and identify pointers for improvement that you can apply to your own business.
3. Raise your profile on social media
Given that a third of US travelers rely on social media for travel inspiration, it’s imperative your vacation rental has up-to-date, active profiles across channels such as Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. Sharing posts related to your location, the activities in your area and even your rental itself can set you apart from your less social media savvy competitors. After all, one of the key takeaways from the recent Netflix series Stay Here was to ensure you create eye-catching “social media opportunities” for your guests at your home.
4. Throw a launch party and invite the whole neighborhood
Whether your high season falls in the summer or over the festive end-of-year period, a great way to attract your competitors’ guests is by throwing a party for your neighborhood. It may sound extreme, but it’s a highly effective way to give visibility to your property and your new business.
Stefanie Steinbach, Customer Success Manager at Lodgify, tells us, “there’s this adorable place in Bergen aan Zee, Netherlands, where each year the owners hold a New Year’s Eve party for all of their guests. But not only that – they also invite all the visiting guests in the entire town. And people do come, and drink, and book for the next year because of the experience.”
Is there a better way to catch your competitors’ guests eye than by allowing them to experience your property and hosting skills first-hand? It’s almost like giving them a “free trial” of their stay for next year!
5. Borrow their content ideas and improve them
Writing useful content on your website is one of the principal methods for boosting traffic and getting more visitors to land on your page. So, an optimal place to start is by checking out your competitors’ website and blog posts and using these ideas for your own site.
In particular, you can rank easily for SEO for your destination by creating blog posts around the local area and “best of” lists for restaurants, free activities and so on. This will help capture more traffic and subsequently drive visitors away from your competitors’ sites.
6. Make every guest feel like they’re the first
The thirst for unique and special guest experiences is what tends to differentiate vacation rentals and non-traditional accommodations from hotels. As the owner of a short-term rental property, you can connect with your guests on a more personal level to customize the experience and make each visitor feel like the first. Additionally, research from Google shows that if a travel brand tailored its information based on personal preferences, 36% of travelers would be likely to pay more for their services.
Don’t be afraid to ask your potential guests the reason for their trip – maybe they’re celebrating a birthday or anniversary, a family reunion or another group get-together. Leaving something specific to their vacation in the welcome pack can win over these guests and result in stunning reviews and repeat stays.
There are many techniques you can implement in order to win guests from competing properties. Enticing them with excellent customer service and attention to even the finest details can ensure you get bookings from the outset. Just be sure you don’t overstep the line and end up in hot water with your competitors!