The vacation home rentals market is a competitive environment that is growing more popular every year.
Any real estate investor who owns a vacation rental knows that many factors play a role in a successful investment such as location, property management, and marketing. Marketing vacation home rentals, in fact, is something that could make or break your investment. Think about it this way: you and your neighbor are both renting out your vacation homes – they are in the same neighborhood, they look similar, and you both manage the investment property on your own. However, it seems that your neighbor’s rental property has double the amount of bookings that you’re getting. What gives? The answer might rely on how you’re marketing vacation home rentals.
Marketing is a success factor that way too many owners of vacation home rentals tend to overlook. For these property investors, increasing the number of bookings can be a year-round struggle. So you’ve listed your investment property on Airbnb. You can’t just sit and expect bookings to come flying your way! Marketing vacation home rentals is more than just listing the rental property on a website. So, what can you, as a real estate investor, do to drive guests to your short-term rental and start filling up your calendar?
Advertise on Multiple Channels
Most property investors, when they think of short-term rental properties, their minds go straight to Airbnb. Sure, Airbnb has helped a lot of property investors owning vacation home rentals climb their way to success in real estate investing. However, if you want to increase your bookings, then the best thing to do is spread the word out by listing your investment property on multiple other short-term listing sites.
Some travelers always count on Airbnb when searching for a vacation rental, while others will just Google “vacation home rentals in…” and get results from a bunch of other websites such as HomeAway, Trip Advisor, Booking.com, etc. Therefore, if your investment property is listed on these short-term listing sites, then you can guarantee that potential guests will find your vacation rental in their search result!
Go Beyond Listing Sites
As mentioned, marketing vacation home rentals requires a whole lot more than just listing your investment property. Other ways a real estate investor can market a short-term rental property online is through social media! Social media is a powerful tool these days used as a marketing machine in a lot of industries. In the real estate investing industry, social media can benefit a real estate investor in:
- Facilitating promotion and creating more visibility by giving visitors the ability to easily share your business and rental properties with their friends.
- Strengthening your brand by creating social media accounts that you’ll actively use for their individual intended purposes.
Both of which help increase bookings for vacation home rentals.
However, if you don’t know what you’re doing, using social media for marketing vacation home rentals can quickly become a waste of your time. Thus, property investors need to put together a detailed strategy guide with step-by-step plans to help them get the most out of social media with little effort. For example, Google+, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter are the big four in the real estate investing industry. Anything else is most likely going to be a huge waste of the real estate investor’s time.
With the right investment property marketing strategy, property investors will strengthen their brand and solidify their credibility for potential guests that find their vacation home rentals through their social media accounts.
Take High-End Photos
The first thing that catches the eyes of potential guests when browsing for vacation home rentals online is your pictures! After filtering out everything to find listings in their desired location, with the right number of rooms, and with the right price range, most people start clicking on listings with the nicest looking short-term rental properties. Needless to say, a real estate investor needs to use pictures that make a great first impression to increase bookings. Thus, your main picture is one of the most important factors that drive potential guests to click through and view your listing.
Use high-quality pictures (preferably taken by a professional). Professional photographers know how to showcase rental properties with the use of lights, colors, and the right angles for a more attractive and realistic view. However, when marketing vacation home rentals with pictures, it’s important for property investors not to misrepresent! This is the #1 concern for potential guests and, more often than not, will result in a bad review which will only make bookings harder in the future.
Another thing to keep in mind here is the number of pictures you have. Basically, as a real estate investor, you need a lot of them. More pictures allow potential guests to get a better understanding of what vacation home rentals have to offer. Better understanding = fewer questions, less unqualified applicants, and ultimately more bookings for your investment property. A study by FlipKey found that people are 83% more likely to inquire about rental property listings that contain over 20 photos.
Improve Your Property Description
This is one factor in successful vacation home rentals marketing that many property investors tend to underestimate. However, believe it or not, headlines and descriptions of a listing can make a world of difference in the number of bookings a real estate investor can convert.
The title of your short-term rental property should be strong enough to build interest and emotion – which can convince potential guests to click through and view your investment property. Property investors should ensure the title is specific, clear, focuses on something that guests will find desirable, and well-written. Don’t include things like the number of rooms or the price as these are already filtered out in their search.
The description of rental properties is the long sales pitch. A great description to increase bookings will maximize your rental property’s true value, grab potential guests’ attention throughout, and have one specific, and very strong call to action. Try to find what makes your short-term rental property stand out from the rest, and emphasize it! Soon enough, you’ll get bookings from guests who are looking for exactly what your vacation home rentals have to offer.
Remember, successful real estate investing starts with buying the best investment property. Click here to start looking for and analyzing the best rental properties in your city and neighborhood of choice.
Build Value for Your Guests
Marketing vacation home rentals doesn’t end once someone books your short-term rental property – but also during their stay AND after they leave. The more value vacation home rentals offer, the easier it becomes for property investors to get referrals, repeat clients, and positive reviews which will ultimately increase your bookings!
There are 3 ways to build the value of rental properties:
Upgrading your Interior Design
If your decor is outdated, you’re going to have a hard time attracting bookings. Your guests should stay at your rental property because they WANT to, not because every other vacation home rentals in the area is already booked. Make sure everything in the property is in proper working condition. Plus, new furniture doesn’t have to be expensive – you can find attractive pieces in IKEA or Craigslist. Make sure you offer a beautiful and comfortable environment that allows guests to enjoy their stay.
Great Customer Service
One of the biggest differences between staying in vacation home rentals and hotels – for guests – is the personal nature of this business. As a real estate investor, your guests don’t know you, so you need to earn their trust. The best way to do so is through customer service. Show your guests that they can easily reach out to you whenever they need to, that you’re open to communication, and be available for quick responses and returns to phone calls.
Memorable Guest Experience
Successful short-term rental property investors charm their guests with great experiences that encourage them to book again in the future. Start with the basics – vacation home rentals should have quality toiletry, fresh towels, clean rooms, etc. Simple things like a fancy espresso machine or a welcome gift basket will also go a long way. In addition, inform them about local activates or restaurants that they’ll find interesting and enjoyable.
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Encourage Guests to Leave Reviews
According to Tripadvisor, people are 80% more likely to book vacation home rentals with reviews from past guests. Reviews help ease away their concern that short-term rental properties aren’t as advertised. Thus, it wouldn’t hurt to request feedback and reviews from guests a few days after their departure. The more reviews you have, the more familiar and appealing your listing will look to potential guests.
Many property investors worry about getting a negative review for their vacation home rentals. However, if you followed through our guide to marketing vacation home rentals, this shouldn’t be a concern for you. Not to mention, you can even use negative reviews to your advantage by being attentive and taking care of whatever issue they had during their stay.
Marketing vacation home rentals requires a lot of time and energy, especially if you’re planning on increasing your bookings. Nonetheless, the above-mentioned tips will certainly push potential guests to click that “Book” button and help a real estate investor stand out from the competition. Soon enough, you’ll start making more rental income and see how profitable and fun owning vacation home rentals can be.
Continue reading our blog to learn more about the different aspects of real estate investing (including finding, buying, and managing vacation home rentals) and sign up for Mashvisor to find the best investment property to invest in as a vacation rental in any city and neighborhood across the US real estate market.