There are few businesses as rock-steady, or as enjoyable to run, as renting out a holiday home. People love to travel, now more than ever, and that means that you should have a steady stream of interested parties, providing your vacation home is located somewhere people want to visit. If it is, then there should be no gaps with regard to your availability. It should be a full house, all the year round! But it’s important to remember that people won’t just turn up. You have to market your business well, and inspire people to book your place rather than another home in the same area. Below, we take a look at a few ways to make your marketing more sophisticated.
It’s your property, and of course you want to protect your investment, but your desire to make sure everything is as it was left at the end of your guests’ stay shouldn’t outweigh the inspiration you bring to your property description. Sometimes, you’ll read information about a vacation home, and the bulk of the description will be all about what’s not permitted on site. People want to have a relaxed time, not feel like their every move is scrutinised. While you will want to put information about your rules somewhere in there, the majority of the text should be positive. Sell all that your home offers, not what they’ll be forbidden to do while there. No-one likes too many rules.
Have you noticed that one time of the year you seem to have a lot of bookings, and during the other, you have none? Now, most places do lend themselves better to visitors at certain times of the year rather than others. But that doesn’t mean you should get to thinking that the “quieter” times of year are lost causes. Even if your place is best-known as a summer destination, there will be something charming about visiting the space during the winter. When the seasons change, switch out the description and the photographs so that they’re applicable to the new season. No-one would take a winter trip to a place that has all of its marketing materials geared towards summer.
You should be aware of who you’re trying to market your vacation home to. The place where it’s located will draw a particular type of person; if everyone goes there, then go more specific. The neighborhood where the home is located must suit one type of person more than another, and you can take the same approach with the style of the home. If it’s aimed at younger people, then use their language in the description. If it’s more family based, then talk about the home’s family credentials. It’s all about the “spin” that you put on the property so that it falls in line with the type of thing your target demographic is looking for.
Everyone’s been in the position where they see a holiday home that looks like it might be perfect, but there’s simply not enough information to know for sure. The more details that there are, the more likely it is that a guest is going to make a request to book. That means having as many photographs as possible, lengthy descriptions about all the good things (and the bad, if there are any), and floor-plans, if possible. This last feature is often underused by holiday home owners; they help to give potential guests a deeper understanding of what to expect.
The more websites you’re on, the more you’ll get seen by people looking for vacation homes. It’s as simple as that. Take a look at the most popular vacation rental websites, and make sure you’ve listed your home on all the suitable sites. Everyone’s familiar with the big-hitting websites, but there’s more to the online booking world than just Booking and Airbnb. In any case, different demographics use different websites. As such, it’s worthwhile to, first, identify who you’re trying to market your property at, and then make sure you’ve got a watertight listing on the sites that they use.
You absolutely, positively need to have social media channels for your holiday home or homes. For starters, this will be a great way to cement your relationship with the people who have already stayed as a guest. They’ll be able to interact with your pages, share their experiences, and it’ll also keep your home in the forefront of their mind, which will be important the next time they’re thinking about taking a trip. More than being just about your hotel, you’ll want to create posts about the destination in general. You might just inspire someone to take a trip, and who knows, when they do they might just stay at your place — the more people that visit your destination, the more business that you’ll have.
Showcasing all that’s great about where your home is located can also extend to your content, too. The description about your home should just be the beginning. From there, you’ll want to talk about all the fun things there is to do in the area. To not do so would misunderstand an element of why people like booking holiday homes rather than hotels. Part of the appeal is the insider local knowledge, and the ability to talk with someone who verifiably knows what they’re talking about. Make sure you’re emphasising this aspect of your holiday home.
Like it or not, reviews are a big deal in a world that can sometimes be low on trust. Interested parties might take what you say about your holiday with a pinch of salt, but they’ll definitely take on board what past guests have to say. You should be asking for feedback as a standard part of your marketing, but of course, people are liable to forget, or simply not bother. If you give them an excellent all-around experience, then mention the importance of online reviews to your business when you’re saying goodbye. They’ll be more likely to take some time to help you out if they know how much it means to you.
Oh, the power of photography. It can make even a less-than-great place look pretty spectacular. Conversely, a bad photograph can make a stunning place look decidedly average. While there is some power to reviews that proclaim “the photos don’t do it justice,” you’ll need a lot of reviews to overcome the low-quality images. You don’t need a professional to take snaps; just learn a few basic tricks to make your space look better
Better yet, why not look at hosting videos? For starters, shooting and hosting a video will help boost your SEO – people love video these days; it accounts for around 80% of web traffic – and it’ll also give your potential visitors a better sense of the type of place they’re visiting. It’s best to keep things simple, however – overly cheesy or promotional videos can do more harm than good.
The description of your place shouldn’t read like a technical manual; it should inspire! If you’re serious about boosting your marketing, then you might want to consider working with a professional writer to write your description. They’ll be able to give it enough touches of poetry to conjure an image in the mind of the reader.
As we mentioned earlier, you’re going to have periods when there are fewer guests. This will probably coincide with a season, and will thus be known as “low-season.” You should still be able to find people willing to book your place during this period, but they’re unlikely to pay full place. And, to be fair, why should they? They’re not getting the full experience of your holiday home, which is at its best during another time of year. To sweeten the deal of this small compromise, take a look a reducing your rates during these low times of the year. You might have to knock a third off the price, but you’ll find that you’re getting more guests, so you’ll end up with more money than if you’d just kept the same price.
It’s much easier to bring your previous guests back for another stay at your holiday home rather than continually seek out new guests. And if they’ve had a memorable time, they’ll likely be more than willing to return, especially since they know what they’re getting. People, however, are forgetful, and before they even think about your place, they might have booked somewhere else. A seasonal reminder to consider your place – perhaps with a discount code included – might just be the nudge they need.
Finally, what’s your unique selling point? There has to be something about your place that makes it stand out from the crowd. Figure out what it is, and make sure people know about it. There’s only one place like yours!