As a vacation rental owner, your main marketing goal is simple: get your property booked with ample five-star reviews.
Your property needs to be seen before it is booked and that starts online. There are a number of options when it comes to vacation rental listing sites. The listing sites we use here at Haustay are AirBnB, VRBO, Booking.com, HomeToGo, Houfy and of course our site.
Read on for important tips for short term vacation rental marketing. From tips on creating a strong listing headline to establishing competitive pricing, we have you covered.
Create a Unique Listing Headline
Your headline is the most important content in your listing. This is what appears in search results and should entice travelers to click on your listing. Focus on highlighting what makes your home unique. For example, private beach access, a jacuzzi on the deck, location (name of city or area), property type (townhouse or beach cottage, etc.) and number of bedrooms.
Try not to make the headline too long as some of it may not show in search results. Below are two examples of a couple of the effective headlines Haustay currently uses:
- Oceanfront Villa w/ Private Beach Access, Remodeled Kitchen, Beach Gear, Garage
- Oceanfront Views, Two Car Parking, Beach Gear, Heated Pool, Hot Tubs
Build a Shining Property Description
Your property description is where travelers can learn more about your home. Paint a picture of what your guests will see and experience when they arrive at your home but keep it simple. Online readers prefer shorter sentences and paragraphs.
Here are some tips for writing a great property description:
- Include tips on the types of travelers for which your home suits best (families, business travelers, couples, etc.)
- Provide specific info on sleeping arrangements (how many beds and sizes)
- Describe what makes your property unique (bikes provided, direct beach access, etc.)
- Proofread and be sure to use correct spelling and punctuation
- Avoid including a lengthy list of rules and policies; save that for your rental agreement
Create An Eye-Catching Listing With Professional Photography
Cell phones have come a long way when it comes to taking amazing photos and while it may seem easy to just snap some photos on your phone, the impact of professional photos is quite surprising.
Here are some vacation rental photography tips we live by:
- Take at least 30 photos and upload a minimum of 24 (and max of 45) to meet the requirements of major listing sites like Airbnb and Booking.com.
- Show off your home’s best amenities without relying on any distorting lens or editing tactics that portray your home in a misleading light. (This could cause negative feedback when guests feel deceived.)
- Don’t forget to include photos of unique amenities like a wine cellar, pool table or whirlpool.
- Edit photos to eliminate any mirror reflections or shadows. (Professionals are especially helpful here.)
Set Competitive Rates
Your nightly rates have the potential to make or break your vacation rental.
While you might think you should price your home the same as your neighbor with a similar-sized property and equal number of bedrooms, the reality is what’s going on inside their home could be very different from yours (like king vs. full-size beds). This means your strategy should also look different.
If your rates are too high, fewer travelers will book your home, but if they are too low, you might attract disrespectful guests.
This is where Haustay plays an important role as we have the expertise to research the data on competing properties and align those with the time of the year. This takes time and is crucial to making you more money on your property.
Here are some dynamic pricing tips that can help you earn more:
- Keep a constant eye on the market in your area to make sure you’re not charging too much or too little.
- Be sure to know the area. Be aware of local events and more touristy times to understand travel demand. (You need access to historical data to understand these distinctions.)
Get Your Listing Out There
Once your listing has eye-catching photos, a search-friendly description, a glowing property description and a dynamic pricing strategy in place, it’s time to move onto creating a vacation rental channel marketing strategy.
Reach guests with these three promotional tactics that are designed to connect your home with the biggest and most qualified audience.
To get as much exposure for your property as possible, we suggest getting your vacation rental on all of the top sites (AirBnB, VRBO, etc.) Promoting your property on local websites such as the visitor’s bureau or chamber of commerce is another way to get your property out there.
It is a lot of work keeping up with all of these sites, responding to guest inquiries, reservation requests, and reviews especially across multiple platforms. This may be why over 80% of vacation rental owners only list on Airbnb.
But those who put in the work — or have a vacation rental management company like Haustay handle it for them — report earning two to four times more annual revenue.
Believe in the Power of Social Media
Social media is an amazing tool when it comes to connection. With billions of users (potential guests!) taking to Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest every day, it should come as no surprise that using it to help market your vacation rental is a wise way to keep up with the growing competition.
Using social media for your vacation rental gives you an important opportunity to interact with guests before and after their stay, and will lead to an enhanced, more personal experience for you and your visitors.
Guests can also use social media to post their own pictures and experiences of their stay, which can provide you with free advertising on multiple platforms and provides your home with a greater internet presence.
Here are some tips to use social media to your advantage:
- Create pages on all platforms to give viewers all the appropriate information they need (including photos, a link to book, and contact info).
- Post as often as you can to stay active for your followers and use relevant hashtags to help your vacation rental surface in in-app searches.
- Stay engaged with your community by actively responding to comments and private messages and don’t forget to like related content.
- Ask guests to tag you in their experiences at your home (so you can re-share on your page).
Build a Vacation Rental Email Marketing Strategy
Email marketing helps supplement online searches by growing a more dedicated audience base. Here at Haustay we use email campaigns to get properties in front of loyal guests more frequently.
Here are some tips for building an email marketing strategy:
- Compile a list of email addresses from travelers who have inquired about your booked your property in the past. Encourage sign-ups for a newsletter wherever you connect with travelers. Once you have subscribers, you can double your efforts by asking them to forward emails to friends.
- Send newsletters with insightful, useful information about your area with incentives for your subscribers. This encourages repeat visits and reminds travelers of all the great memories they created during their stay at your home.
Collect Those Five-Star Reviews
The single most important piece of marketing your vacation rental is collecting positive and consistent five-star reviews.
On all major listing sites, homes with five-star ratings get bumped up in search results, making them more visible to browsing travelers. On the other hand, a one- or two-star rating can bump your property down in search results or potentially pause the listing entirely.
Five-star reviews are also the best kind of vacation rental marketing because they give future bookers an unbiased idea of what it’s like to stay in your home.
Here are some quick tips for getting those five-star reviews:
- Make sure your home sticks to consistent cleaning standards and be sure the inventory is up-to-date for every stay.
- Respond professionally to any negative feedback on the property and promptly fix the problem.
- Ask recent guests for reviews and share a link that makes it easy for them to do so.
Ready to Market Your Vacation Rental?
On top of the marketing, Haustay addresses essential landlord obligations such as guest interaction, cleaning, property inspections, property maintenance, and has the experience and expertise to manage your property with five-star service and to increase cash flow. Contact us today!