How are your vacation rental bookings doing? If the number of guests desperate to come and spend some well-needed chill out time at your vacation rental property has fallen, then it might be high time you do something about it.
Even if guest numbers are the same year-on-year – or even slightly better – there’s always room for improvement. And the best way to get those vacationers beating a path direct to your holiday rental door? Vacation rental storytelling.
Don’t get us wrong – we’re not talking about reading to your guests on the patio before they head for bed at night! Vacation rental storytelling is all about getting your guests’ attention in the first place, and then keeping hold of it. Whether it’s former guests whose imaginations you’re hoping to reignite, or new guests you want to draw in, doing so in an enticing, non-salesy way really does work. Here’s how:
1. Captivating property descriptions
Vacation rental storytelling in property descriptions is aimed at getting brand new guests interested in your property. It’s about making your home stand out from the rest on vacation rental listing sites, or simply adding an extra element of detail to bring your home alive on your own website.
To achieve this, you should craft property descriptions that make it super easy for the reader to actually imagine themselves there. Conjure up images of guests sipping delicious cocktails by the poolside, for instance, or splashing around with their kids in the nearby family water park.
Try and alter your scenario depending on who the vacation rental target audience is, whether that’s families, newlyweds or big groups of friends, and make your vacation rental an opportunity for memory making that they just can’t resist!
2. Compelling images
They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but these won’t count for anything if they don’t do your vacation rental justice! Go above and beyond the staged bedroom or dining room snapshots that you have to include, and try your hand at being creative with your property.
Take some intriguing “behind the scenes” photos which tell your home’s story and share insights into the effort you make as an owner. This could include pictures showing how the beds are made; how the welcome hamper is prepared ‘just so’; how the garden is trimmed and manicured, and, if you offer catering, how the delicious continental breakfast is served!
And you don’t have to stop there. What stories can you tell about your vacation rental’s surroundings? Share images of the best of what your area has to offer – a secluded, golden beach; the most breathtaking spot to watch the sunset; the liveliest local market; the historic, buzzing town center.
Images like these make it even easier for your potential guests to imagine what it would be like to stay at your home. They help visualize not just the sights, but also the sounds, smells and tastes of staying in your vacation rental!
3. Awesome user-generated content
User-generated content is big these days, and it’s one of the best ways you can tell stories about your vacation rental.
How many times have you wanted to go on vacation to a certain place after seeing your friends’ photos of a great holiday? More than a few, right?
Let’s face it, travel is the most talked about topic on social media sites like Facebook and Instagram, so there’s plenty of opportunity for you as a vacation rental owner to make the most of it.
After a guest has checked out, drop them an email asking if they have any photos or videos they could share. Additionally, ask them to connect with you on social media and tag your VR in their photos. You can then re-post their amazing vacation pictures and stories on social networks like Instagram or Facebook, boosting your vacation rental’s visibility and your guest’s ego in the process!
4. Great things to do in your location
Storytelling for your vacation rental doesn’t end at descriptions and photos – every part of your site is your chance to get noticed and attract guests to stay with you over any of your competitors.
Think about creating customized pages that will grab the imagination of even the most adventurous travelers. Why not give an example itinerary, “a week in the life” so to speak, outlining all your favorite activities, sights and, of course, restaurants in your area.
This could include anything from boat trips to art galleries, mountain trekking alongisde wildlife to scuba diving, horseback riding to wine tasting – just remember to appeal to your different audiences!
You could even upload a simple map where you’ve pinpointed some of your top destinations in the area. For example, if your vacation rental is in Amsterdam, create a cycle-friendly map that marks out all the nearby must-see attractions.
5. Interesting event-specific promotions
Getting guests interested in your vacation rental because of what your area has to offer, and what you can offer guests in return, can be a great way to secure more bookings.
Storytelling and promotions can go hand-in-hand, if only you know how.
How do other tourism brands market the biggest events of the year? With special offers!
If it’s Halloween, and you know your neighbors decorate the whole street with pumpkins and skeletons, upload photos of previous years and start a discussion on social media about fancy dress ideas – then offer a discounted stay for the best answer!
The same could apply for any local, national or international holidays, even something seemingly uneventful (like crabbing season!). Considering it’s so easy to add promotional banners and special rates to your Lodgify website, more VR owners should be taking advantage of promotions to help fill up their calendars.
We’re not saying you have to give away a free vacation every couple of months, but when you mix events and promotions, you’re able to generate a lot of interest and hype around your vacation rental brand.
6. Conversational, chatty emails
If you’re looking to entice former guests (whose email addresses you already have hold of!) into a return visit at your vacation rental, think about storytelling through email. It’s one of the most commonly used marketing strategies, and so easy to carry out.
All you need is one interesting piece of news that’s kind of relevant to your vacation rental. That’s all it takes!
Has a new mayor been elected? Did 100 cows escape from a local farm? Did the town baseball team win for the first time in a decade? Is a renowned musician playing a concert?
Whatever your location’s news, summarize it into a short, snappy email, and make sure you add a little introductory “Hello! Hope you’re all good. The [funniest/weirdest/coolest] thing happened in [town] this month. Let me tell you about it…”.
The key here is to keep your email super friendly and casual. And do not, WE REPEAT, do not, pitch your vacation rental atall.
The aim is to remind your past guests about the great experiences they had at your vacation rental, in your town! It will also prompt them that you still exist, and that you just might have availability for that weekend they were planning to go away but hadn’t got round to booking anything yet…
7. Engaging social media posts
Using social media for your vacation rental can bring you tons of benefits, especially when you make posts that are local, relevant and tell some kind of story about your brand.
Reaching out and posting about local events, places or news can position your vacation rental as a good source of knowledge in the area, as well as help build relationships with other entities nearby.
It’s true that people are usually proud of where they’re from, so if they see their hometown “trending” between their local Facebook connections, it can make them more likely to share and engage with your content.
Then when your content is shared, it’s immediately more reachable by hundreds more people in the sharer’s network. The power of social proof is strong. Plus, you’ve really got nothing to lose! After all, you never know who may be coincidentally searching for a vacation rental in your area…
What’s more, by posting images or articles related to your vacation rental on social media, you’ll be able to keep interested previous (and future) guests up-to-date with what’s happening at your home.
We’ve outlined some of the best ways you can subtly use storytelling in your vacation rental marketing strategies, so now it’s time to start implementing them!
Still don’t have your own vacation rental website? Try Lodgify free for 14 days: