These are unpredictable days. Governments worldwide are banning foreign travel, pushing people to stay indoors, and closing down non-essential companies. These initiatives are intended to stop the spread of the global pandemic of COVID-19 and to keep citizens healthy.
Travelers are social distancing, restaurants, local shops, and cultural centers near to your property are likely struggling greatly from the travel downturn and health and safety regulations. For many, the effects of such initiatives may be catastrophic. Many have been forced to close their doors. Some may not reopen.
Get in touch with local communities around your area and see if they’d be interested in working with you. You could start cross-promoting each other’s businesses; you could buy from them (e.g. amenities, gift baskets, etc) or recommend their services and they could promote your rental on their website and/or social accounts.
What is cross-promotion?
In marketing, cross-promotion refers to the technique of targeting the customers of one product or service with a promotion of a related product. In general, this approach is a fairly inexpensive yet highly effective method of generating more sales and increasing marketing reach – that’s why it’s an ideal strategy for vacation rental owners to adopt.
New businesses can truly thrive when they tap into an already established, local community, as it will help build brand recognition and affinity.
Why it’s important to support and partner with local companies
There are plenty of other benefits of partnering with local companies and cross-promoting one another if you have a vacation rental business. Let’s find out what they are!
1. It’s a low-risk marketing strategy
Companies who partner with one another can grow rapidly with little risk through cross-promotion campaigns. Through reciprocal campaigns via email and social media, for example, both partners can reach a huge target audience that they may not otherwise have connected with. Above all, in order to maintain this as a low-risk strategy, it’s important to build relevant partnerships – i.e. with complementary service providers that will interest your guests. Partnering with anyone and everyone “just because” is not the aim of the game.
2. Increase your customer base
In the majority of cases, guests at vacation rentals are from out of town. Whether that’s the next city or a completely different country, it doesn’t matter. If local shops and other businesses can recommend your home as a place to stay (and in exchange, you recommend their services to guests) – there is a huge opportunity to obtain more qualified leads and consequently, more bookings.
3. Gain more brand exposure
Partner marketing is a great way to achieve visibility for your brand name in the local community. In particular, if there are companies offering online sessions, delivery or in-house experiences and so on. It’s easy to set up a partnership with these services and offer travelers mutual discounts – such as 10% off the activity or 10% off rental booking total. These kinds of promotions can help visitors to notice your brand. When partnering with any company, be sure to place the provider’s logo on your website, and ask they do the same for you with their website and flyers.
4. Boost your business’ bottom line
Unsurprisingly, increasing interest and generating more bookings for your business will bring you higher profits overall – even if you are offering special prices for your partners’ customers. Plus, as word of mouth recommendations are free – you aren’t having to actively invest in this type of marketing to see results!
5. Create meaningful relationships with other businesses
Partnerships are a two-way street – meaning both sides of the agreement get to enjoy the benefits they bring. By reaching out and initiating them with other small businesses in your area, not only will you both see an increase in sales, but you will also help to create and promote a strong, unified sense of community in your neighborhood.
6. Improve the guest experience
While most of the advantages of cross-promotion and partner marketing are related to increasing reach and getting your brand noticed, it’s also important to consider the positive impact it can have on the guest experience. Providing incoming travelers with an approved list of recommendations who you, the owner, have a professional relationship with will impress guests and help them feel confident in your abilities as a vacation rental business. Details like these can, in turn, also encourage them to leave glowing reviews upon departure.
Ways to support local businesses while social distancing
There are many ways in which you can support local businesses but here are few ideas to get you started:
1. Order amenities and supplies online
You’ll still need to stock up with your regular amenities and you can even consider offering a grocery shopping service to stock up during your guests’ quarantined stay. Although some grocery shops and pharmacies are still open, consider restocking from smaller suppliers or online businesses.
2. Online Courses
Check-in with the local yoga studios and nearby gyms — are they offering online classes? Would they be interested in offering discounted classes for your guests?
There are several studios and gyms that have had to close their doors but are still offering free Instagram, Facebook or Zoom live classes to their community.
3. Gift Cards
Once the lockdowns have been lifted, they’ll want to go back to the place that took care of them. Even more, if you gift them a special discount, as well as a gift card to one of your chosen local businesses. You’ll be helping these local businesses through the lockdown by paying for products and services in advance and your guests will have several reasons to go back.
4. Don’t be afraid to reach out
You might have gotten to know some of the small business owners where you normally shop. Get in touch with them and talk about ways to help each other. Stick together and support your fellow business owners. Think of the hospitality and services business community as one large, self-sustaining Main Street.
Partnering with local businesses and running cross-promotions is a very fruitful and economical way of driving more traffic to your website and securing more bookings. Provided you pick relevant partners, it is also a reliable method of making your brand known in your area and helping you to stand out from the competition.
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