With the rise of the vacation rental industry and the competition between properties, learning how to efficiently market your vacation rental can go a long way.
Many vacation rental owners, experienced or otherwise, are starting to take control over (and more importantly, take a real interest in) their marketing operations. But it can be difficult to know who or what sites to trust and where to look for help.
That’s why we’ve put together this list of some of the most influential names in the vacation rental marketing sphere right now. So whether you’re starting out from zero, or you’re a seasoned expert when it comes to vacation rental marketing, we’re sure you’ll love to follow their websites for tips, tricks, and hacks you may not have otherwise known about.
The industry is continuously growing, so this list is by no means exhaustive. If you feel we’ve missed someone that deserves to be included, leave a comment below and we’ll be more than happy to add them in.
The author of “Optimize Your Airbnb”, best-selling book for Airbnb hosts, Daniel specializes in teaching the proper mindset to be a successful Airbnb host. This mindset is taught through blog posts and YouTube videos on everything from the basics like how to optimize your Airbnb title and photos to more specific strategies surrounding the psychology of communication.
Daniel believes that “the best hosts are those who think of their Airbnb like a business. That means active problem solving and continual improvement to stay ahead of your competition. It’s a total mindset shift. Here’s an example, let’s assume the guest complains about the sleeping experience. Maybe it’s too loud, maybe too bright, etc. With a business mindset, you shift this complaint into an opportunity by getting blackout curtains or eye covers, earplugs, or updating your description to set the guest expectations.”
Amy Hinote is the founder and editor of VRM Intel. Hinote’s professional background lies in finance and marketing and as well as that, she boasts 10 years’ experience in the vacation rental industry. On VRM Intel, Hinote provides insider information and news about the growing vacation rental market.
Matt Landau is a vacation rental marketing specialist, and like many of his peers listed here, has the real-life industry experience to back up what he posts on his site, Vacation Rental Marketing Blog. Landau’s site provides free advice and articles which are bursting full of useful, practical information and insights for VR managers and owners alike.
Matt’s top vacation rental marketing tip: “I can confidently say that the following three items will make a big difference in your marketing portfolio: digital floor plans (so few vacation rental businesses have these even though they cost a few bucks on Fiverr.com), a beautiful new logo and style guide (again, very few vacation rental hosts have one and it can be secured for around $100 with unlimited revisions via TheNetMenCorp.com), and lastly, a consistent email marketing campaign that goes out to former guests post-departure. This last one, with a tool like Mailchimp, means segmenting your former guests and staying in touch with personalized versions of the same message. The more personal, the more conversions!”
Self-assess: Take this test to see where you fall on the vacation rental marketing curve.
Known today for the site, Vacation Rental Formula, Heather Bayer started her website after realizing that while her bestselling book (Renting For Profit) was still relevant, it didn’t cover all the methods and new ideas that were springing up around vacation rental marketing. Today, Bayer’s hugely successful blog is packed full of articles, downloads, and checklists.
Damian Sheridan is a search engine optimization consultant and trainer working almost exclusively with professional property management companies. Damian is also the director of the Book Direct Show and Book Direct Network, a platform dedicated to helping vacation rentals increase bookings.
Damian’s top vacation rental marketing tip: “Are you making sure your website visitors know why it is they should book directly with you rather than an instantly recognizable global brand? Direct booking incentives should be upfront, obvious, and succinct. For example, let them know that you offer the best rates guaranteed, that there are no booking fees, and that they will receive the best direct customer support. Furthermore, if you can offer more flexible cancellation policies, free early check-in, late check-out, etc, these are valuable incentives to give you the best chance of securing direct bookings and unrestricted guest data.”
With extensive marketing expertise across the travel and fashion sectors, Vanessa de Souza Lage co-founded Rentals United, a rapidly growing distribution platform for vacation rentals, and founded VRTech, a series of events for start-ups in the vacation rental industry. Her posts about vacation rental marketing are straightforward, to the point, and with realistic, down-to-earth tips and advice.
Vanessa’s top marketing tip to stay above competitors is to “use all the latest tools the large OTAs make available to you (like promotions, length of stay, pricing, amenities, etc.). OTAs change how they calculate their algorithm very frequently so regularly check their new tools either via your channel manager or directly in their extranet. Expand your marketing mix to niche listing sites, local sites, meta searches, and travel agents. Get your brand visible on as many websites as possible. Our most successful customers advertise on an average of 10 channels.”
Mark Simpson is the founder of Boostly, an online training platform that provides podcasts, videos, guides, and blog posts to help owners navigate the hospitality industry. The goal of his hard work is to guide vacation rental owners to increase direct bookings, boost profit margins, and reduce their commission costs. Not only does he cover a plethora of useful topics, but his enthusiastic approach to hospitality makes it a pleasure to read!
Simpson’s top tip for vacation rental owners is: “Make the OTAS work for you and not the other way round. Be listed on them, 100%, but do everything in your power to educate your guests about booking directly with you. I looked at 1000 websites in 2020, less than 5% of them had the benefits of booking directly on the home page!”
Maeva Cifuentes is the founder of Flying Cat Marketing, an SEO-driven content marketing agency. Her agency works on designing content marketing strategies to help short-term rental owners improve their business. The blog on her website is thorough, captivating, and shows just how knowledgeable she is.
Cifuentes’ top tip for vacation rental owners is: “Always look at marketing as a long-term investment. Just like you’ll upgrade your home with smart devices and build gradually to provide the best guest experience, aim to build solid foundations in your marketing: show up regularly across channels, highlight your guests, and encourage them to be a part of your content creation (Instagrammable setups at your listing with your handle visibly displayed, for example). When it comes to marketing, consistency and long-term vision will out-perform any other approach.”
Jasper Ribbers is the CEO and co-founder of Get Paid For Your Pad and co-founder of STR Legends. Get Paid For Your Pad is a leading platform and resource on Airbnb hosting. With a community of over 20,000 Airbnb hosts, this platform includes a book, blog, and podcast filled with information to maximize your vacation rental. STR Legends is a virtual Mastermind group for short-term rental operators with a minimum of 30 properties. The purpose of this group is for members to share information through the live sessions and the online platform itself.
Andy McNulty is the CEO and Co-founder of Touch Stay. He is truly passionate about the short-term rental industry and believes its biggest asset is the ability to combine technology and the human spirit to deliver a modern approach to old-fashioned hospitality. He’s witnessing thousands of owners and small managers leveraging their relatively small size into something that competes with larger, established operations.
McNulty’s marketing tip is: “Once the booking is confirmed, start the guest relationship right away. Especially in 2021, on the back of the pandemic, guests will have more questions. Head them off with a series of helpful automated emails. Not only will it be an opportunity for you to provide reassurance and recommendations leading up to their stay, but it will make it more natural for the guest to then receive post-stay communications from you. Guests will feel like it’s a complete relationship rather than you trying to remarket to them. So take the time to create an automated email workflow that triggers emails throughout their entire relationship with you.”
Read: Articles on guest communication and guest experience on theTouch Stay blog.
Using her background as an asset manager for a real estate company, Alanna Schroeder created her business to make life easier for vacation rental owners. The Distinguished Guest is so much more than just a place for Schroeder to share her insights on where to find high-quality linens on a budget, it is also a place to read her own stories and advice about managing and marketing a vacation rental home.
When does hospitality begin? Alanna believes that “it is not at the moment your guests arrive. It is not at the time of booking, either. Instead, it begins at the moment you decide to create a short-term rental business.”
If you’ve heard of Rented.com, you’ll probably know that Andrew McConnell is the man behind the site. With years of experience working with some of the largest companies in the world, McConnell is now using his expertise to ensure the sharing economy operates more smoothly and efficiently. Rented.com helps maximize income for VR owners by marketing their properties the right way.
Thibault Masson originally started a site called RentalPreneurs to keep track of his own market research and vacation rental experiments. In early 2020, Thibault re-branded the site into Rental Scale-Up to publish actionable insights, hold online conferences, review the new features of OTAs and deliver vacation rental market reports. His goal is to share the right information and best practices to help the owners and managers of short-term rental businesses grow their revenues, become more profitable, and save time in their business.
Here are some of Thibault’s marketing tips:
“Marketing is not only about promotion. To create a marketing plan for your vacation rental, you have to think about the 4 Ps: product, price, place, and promotion. What is my property like? What are my costs and what is the minimum price at which I must sell to make a profit? Where do I list my property to get bookings? Which listing sites am I using? Are my listing descriptions appealing to my ideal guests?”
A real estate investor, landlord of 16 vacation rental properties, and author of two books on vacation rentals, it’s no surprise that VRFusion’s Elizabeth knows about marketing these homes. She’s also extremely passionate about providing excellent customer service and helping other vacation rental owners make their homes as profitable as possible.
A digital marketing consultant working in the accommodations and hospitality sector, Conrad O’Connell (alias 91Digital) specializes in helping vacation rental and B&B owners to grow their businesses online. O’Connell’s blog covers everything digital/online marketing and is a must-read for vacation rental owners looking to up their strategies.
His top tip for marketing your vacation rental is: “Google search is often some of the most valuable traffic that you can earn for vacation rental searches. Focus on the core elements of researching the right keywords, building high-value content/information, and building links to your website to grow organically on Google.”
Ben Edwards is the current president of the Vacation Rental Managers Association, a professional trade association of the vacation rental property management and hospitality industries. Edwards’ experience and strong industry relationships, as well as a deep understanding of the complex nature of the vacation rental marketplace, mean he’s a key player in the VR marketing world.
Matt Bare is the Founder of Q4Launch, a design and internet marketing firm based in the United States. His team helps hospitality owners design websites and successfully market their vacation rentals. Bare specializes in SEO, SEM, social media marketing, inbound marketing, and hospitality marketing.
Louise Brace has been on the Rental Tonic team since 2015. Former editor of the Spain-Holiday homeowner’s blog, RentalBuzz, Brace knows a lot about that market specifically. As a vacation rental and destination marketing expert, Louise Brace provides Rental Tonic’s clients with advice on successful VR marketing tactics. Her view is that vacations should be about the whole experience, not just the rental.
Louise says, “My advice for hosts who want to win the confidence of guests and enjoy more bookings is to start thinking of their hospitality business as a content marketing business. This includes great content on your direct booking website, social media, email, and even within your listing description. Your goal should always be to give the most valuable and helpful information about your destination and the holiday experience so that guests can make an informed decision and feel confident in the knowledge that they are booking with a host who loves where they are and what they do. And of course, with all of that amazing content published on your website, it will make it easier for guests to find you first!”
Jordan Locke is the Founder of RevPARTY, a boutique consulting firm that specializes in revenue management strategy in the vacation rental, short-term rental, and traditional hospitality industries. RevPARTY combines unique experience with analytical expertise to drive growth in revenue, direct bookings, brand loyalty, marketing, and listing optimization.
Locke says, “I think the first thing any vacation rental manager should do is make a plan to be proactive. It’s hard to know what works when pricing levers are being pulled at random. It’s hard to know what marketing tactic is broken if they’re all used at once. In order to identify opportunities and perform their best, a vacation rental manager has to have a plan for proactive action, make adjustments to that plan, and track both changes and performance to inform the strategy moving forward.”
Richard Fertig is a hospitality expert and Founder of the Short Term Rental University. His platform provides endless resources for vacation rental owners in which Fertig shares his tips and tricks through videos and blog posts. He has also created a Facebook and Youtube community of hospitality owners that continues to grow rapidly.
So there you have it, our list of the top vacation rental marketing experts of the moment! Marketing your vacation rental can seem intimidating at first, but with the help of these experts, you’ll get the hang of it in no time. It’s a learning process but the results can transform your business.
To nominate your favorite vacation rental marketing experts, vote below!