Starting out in the world of vacation rentals is always exciting. From updating the property’s old-fashioned decor to installing the latest home automation gadgets, owners get a buzz from adding extra touches that will bring them more bookings and more happy guests.
There’s one thing that often gets left until last, even though it’s one of the funniest parts of starting a vacation rental business! That is: choosing a vacation rental brand name.
Your brand is the basis for your marketing and will help your rental make a name for itself – so you need to make it count.
Finding the right words to describe your property or your vacation holiday could take time, but when you finally find the right one, all efforts will be rewarded.
Your brand, together with your welcome book, are key elements which ensure you make a great first impression!
1. Start with a strategy
Deciding on a vacation rental brand name takes more effort than just picking at random. You need to:
- Think about what connotations you want your brand to have
- Research local and national competitors to generate ideas (and avoid copying their names)
- Make a decision regarding the type of name you want (i.e. a completely made-up word like Zillow, a descriptive name like Rented, one that uses the company founder’s surname such as Sotheby’s Realty, or a geographical one like Smoky Mountains)
- Create some guidelines to assess and shortlist the names you come up with. For example number of words (limiting to two/three words maximum is our recommendation) and number of syllables (less than three is good and memorable).
2. Get creative and write down all potential names that come to mind
Finding the “perfect” brand name can often be a case of trial and error until you finally settle on the one that’s right for your business. For this reason, it’s better to have too many ideas than not enough!
To start brainstorming ideas, you can think about:
- Using a dictionary and thesaurus to find synonyms and less commonly used words
- Googlestorming – typing search terms that are linked to your vacation rental into Google, and seeing what results it comes up with
- Analyzing your vacation rental photos and pick out any outstanding features. This might be plants, colors, amenities, views and so on.
Bonus: If you find it tricky to brainstorm alone, have some friends and family come over for an idea generation session!
3. Carry out keyword research
SEO is becoming increasingly more important for vacation rental owners who are looking to make their mark. That’s why it can really help to perform some keyword research to find relevant terms that travelers are already looking for in Google. This is especially useful if you’re planning on using something about your location in your brand name.
Start by Googling some of the names you’ve identified – could your website potentially make it to the top of the first results page?
If you choose a really generic name, chances are you won’t be able to rank very well. Also, it’s important to check Facebook, Instagram and any other social media sites you’ll want to use to see if the handle will be available.
Then, try to imagine how the name might display on the website of your vacation home. Think about how it could appear inside a logo or simply during online research.
If you still don’t have a website, what are you waiting for?
4. Refer back to your guidelines and the image you want to convey
For many vacation rental owners in competitive, over-saturated markets, you might not always get first pick on the name you want.
To make your decision easier, compare your long list of ideas with the criteria you set out in the first step. Which ones are most closely aligned with your guidelines?
Always remember that your property is a vacation destination, so its name has to be eye-catching and attractive for potential guests.
You don’t want to scare them away from your website or listings with a name that sounds like a house of horrors!
5. Avoid acronyms, abbreviations and overly complex names
Your vacation home name must be simple and straightforward. Why? Because it’s crucial that it remains printed in the guest’s mind.
Try to avoid acronyms, because not only will you have to constantly explain its meaning, it will also be difficult for your guests to remember it over time.
The same is true for weird or excessively peculiars names, which could sound interesting, but sometimes might mislead your guest or even deliver the wrong message.
Long names aren’t a good choice either – especially when it comes to your website domain name. Find the right length for a catchy name that describes your property and that can be easily remembered by anyone who reads or hears it for the first time.
6. Define your property type
Immediately identify which type of property your vacation home is in the brand name.
Being consistent in the choice of the name is vital for the image of your rental as it needs to be truly credible in the eyes of the potential guest.
A quiet villa or a tranquil apartment by the sea with a name that recalls chaotic city life could be misleading and create confusion in your guests’ minds.
In the same way, the name of a house in the countryside must be consistent with your offer – related to the environment, nature and the rural landscape that surrounds it.
Your guests have to be able to identify the main features of your vacation rental just by reading the brand name.
7. Experiment using your vacation rental brand name
There’s no point coming up with a brand name that you don’t like saying, or worse – that you can’t pronounce!
So before you set your vacation rental name in stone, you should ensure:
- It’s easy to read
- It’s simple to pronounce and spell (especially over the phone)
- It won’t confuse your guests
- It isn’t too similar to a nearby competitor’s name
- There is a relevant domain name available (although according to Buffer CEO Joel Gascoigne, this doesn’t have to be exactly the same as your brand)
- It conveys the right message and image.
Bonus tip: Check that Siri, Alexa and any other voice-activated app can understand it!
Above all, when naming your business brand, it’s important to keep it short and sweet – and relevant to your rental! How did you come up with your vacation rental home name? We’d love to hear your stories in the comments.
If you’re really stuck for ideas, there are plenty of online business name generators that can help!