Here are some tips and ideas for promoting your vacation rental property. Whether you have a property management company or not, you have to promote and advertise to get booked and generate the maximum income from your vacation rental.
These days you have to market your property on your own, above and beyond what any management company (if you have one) might be spending. your marketing money should bring many extra bookings, making it well worth the investment.
Hire a professional to produce excellent photos of your place – this is the most important thing you can do. If a good photo is worth a thousand words, then a quality set of pictures pictures is worth a thousand bookings. Poor pictures will cost you bookings! Rare is the owner (or owner’s son, uncle, or friend) who can make professional quality images of your rental. Get at least 24, and include neighborhood amenities (pool, golf, beach, parks, etc.).
Get yourself a VRBO number. Go to www.VRBO.com and make a listing for your property. There are lots of other vacation rental sites, but VRBO is the grandaddy and has lots of traffic. Use the maximum number of allowed photos, and seriously consider adding a video. Put your video on Youtube, because renters will also find you directly on that site. And Youtube is owned by Google so videos are indexed and come up on Google searches.
Write a great description, making it light, breezy, and personal – let your enthusiasm for your place shine through. Use words like “charm, family, us, we, ours, you, yours, home, light, fun, warm, cheerful, soft, fuzzy, grand, and sunny”. Do not use words like “boasts, spectacular, magnificent, unique, development, condo, house, unit, remarkable, or glorious”. Do not exaggerate how close you are to the beach. Never call a sofa bed comfortable (although kids love ‘em)!
Don’t stop there – get yourself a professional web site. Include photos, video, map, testimonials, contact info, description, area info and links, etc. It can be hard to find the web site name you want, like BestBeachRental.com, but it isn’t hard to find a good one either. Keep it short, sweet, and unique, like BlueBeachCottage.com. There are some pretty good web site template services available online but they still take a bit of time and skill to end up with a quality site.
Once you have your web site up and running, link to it from VRBO and any other sites you can. Promote to Google and other search engines. Consider social media like Facebook and Twitter, taking care not to spam and risk getting banned or shunned. If you participate and offer something of value to travel forums, they are often a good place to generate interest. Check out the vacation rental forum at http://www.SoWal.com/bb as an example.
Keep a good list of Email addresses of past renters, and prospects. After a few years of good management and promotion, you should have a lot of repeat renters. Consider offering discounts to repeat renters. Contact renters after they return home from your place and get feedback. Offer them a discount if they want to go ahead and book for the next year. Word of mouth is very important. Happy repeat renters will sell your rental to friends, family, and coworkers. Keep a guest book in your rental and make sure there is a column for people to write their Email address.
A printed brochure is still a good idea – whether a one-page flyer or a glossy tri-fold. Put them out at the office, the neighborhood grocery, your church or school, etc. Mail them to renters and prospects. Keep a supply in your rental itself so renters can take them home. if you have a management company, make sure to keep them well stocked in their office.
All of these items have become necessary as owners and agents have become web and marketing savvy. The bottom line is that to keep ahead of your competition you have to do your own marketing or hire a pro to do it for you.
Happy Renting! Don’t forget to take a vacation for yourself every now and then.
Yes – we can do most of this stuff for you, as we have since 1998. Check out our services.