Your vacation rental may be the biggest investment of your life. You need to run it like a business to see a return on your investment these days. There is more competition out there -- the number of vacation rentals is increasing steadily. How do you make your vacation rental stand out in a saturated market? Here are some tips to help you…
1. WHO IS YOUR MARKET?
First, define your market. You may think that appealing to everyone will get you more bookings, but the opposite may be true. When you appeal to everyone, you appeal to no one. This strategy may be enough to fill your high season, but it makes financial sense to target travelers who can fill up your off-season calendar. Bookings outside of peak season will add to your ROI.
Think about who visits your area and why, especially in the offseason. If you own a home in the mountains, are there great fishing rivers nearby? Figure out the best season and cater to fishermen. Is surfing popular near your beach house? Capitalize on that. Are families your bread and butter? Outfit your home for families with small children, who aren’t tied to the school holiday schedule. Market too broadly and you risk blending in with all the other vacation rentals.
Find a niche market and stand out from the crowd.
2. OFFER ABOVE AND BEYOND
Once you define your market, you need to figure out what those guests need and want. Do your research and ask questions. Ask your guests what would make their stay easier and more enjoyable and add those amenities to your home.
Cater not only to guests' needs but also to their desires.
Guests’ expectations are rising. High standards are becoming the norm. They want to rent a house that is nicer than their own. They are on vacation and want to live the dream. Give them that dream! Guests expect comfy beds and WiFi these days. Go above and beyond their expectations. Add amenities that guests want and that isn’t being offered by many homes in your area. This will differentiate your home and bring you more bookings.
3. HIGHLIGHT YOUR UNIQUE SELLING PROPOSITION (USP)
Once you know your market and are catering to their needs and wants, take a good look at what you are offering. What is special about your home? What does it have that might be difficult to find in your area? There should be something about your vacation rental now that differentiates it from the other 100s or even 1000s of rentals in your area. If you’ve narrowed down your niche enough, your USP will be instantly recognizable. Your Unique Selling Proposition will be what attracts your target niche. It could be gear and a fish cleaning station for fishermen or a secure fence around your swimming pool and lots of toys for families with small children. Whatever it is, make sure you know what makes your home unique and highlight it in your marketing.
4. HELP YOUR GUESTS
Be generous with information, even before you’ve made a booking. Include lots of tips in your listing, where to go and what to do. Have detailed email templates ready for frequently asked questions and offer as much help as you can when speaking to guests on the phone.
A genuine willingness to help will set you apart from the rest.
5. SPREAD OUT YOUR MARKETING
Marketing a vacation rental is hard work! You may be fine with listing your home on one of the big sites and just accepting what bookings you get from there. If your vacation rental is more of a family vacation home and you are OK with less than maximum returns, this may work well for you. If you need or want a strong return on your investment, however, you can’t become complacent about your marketing. Diversify and spread your risks.
Advertising in different places gives you more exposure and a chance to stand out.
You could have your own website and market directly to your niche by advertising in magazines or on specialty blogs. Ramp up your social media presence and use targeted ads to track down guests. Find niche vacation rental websites that fit your target market. There are some sites out there that are already targeting niche vacation rentals, such as bringfido.com (dog-friendly), purpleroofs.com (LGBTQ-friendly), boutique-homes.com (architectural/design) and clanventure.com (family-friendly). There is also rentlikeachampion.com if your home is perfect for sports fans.
Niche marketing is a growing trend. Find your niche and target your ideal guests directly.
To be competitive in this market, dare to be different. It will be that difference that makes you shine above all the others!
This article was first published here