It is important to create an effective marketing strategy for your vacation rental business or hotel, regardless of whether you are just about to start the business or you’ve been at it for years. For new businesses, there will be the need to adopt innovative strategies to attract guests and gain their trust. For existing owners, it is still important to have a good marketing plan as it plays an important role in achieving long term success. Without a good marketing plan, any business is bound to fail. The good news is, there are lots of marketing options for hotels and vacation rentals and you can employ as many as you like to reach the masses and attract customers. In this article, we’ll look at seven effective ways to market a vacation rental or hotel.
Build a Website
Even though listing channels work and you can get bookings through them, it is highly important to have your own website. You can save more money when guests make reservations through your website instead of listing channels. With listing channels, you’d have to pay commissions to distribution partners and you will not be able to set all the terms of the transaction. A personal website helps you distinguish your business as an independent one.
There are website creators such as Squarespace, Wix, and of course Uplisting, which can be used to display your vacation rental or hotel. You could hire a competent web designer or web design company to help you build a professional website, or buy a premium theme if using a website creator such as Squarespace. Your business website will add to the first impression potential guests will have about your hotel or vacation rental. To provide a better guest experience, you can integrate a hotel or rental management software which will perform a lot of functions.
These softwares for hotels help to speed up the process of managing reservations, connecting to listing channels, managing payment options, creating automated check-ins, and serve as a tool for booking from your website. The website should contain high quality images and videos of your property. After creating a professional website, the next step is to look for means to drive traffic to your website. Some listing channels will let you link your website while some will not. The major ways to drive traffic to your website are: email marketing, social media marketing, third-party ads, and search engine marketing.
Listing Channels and Travel Agencies
Listing channels and travel agencies are another great alternative for you to put your property out there. There are lots of listing sites, each with its own standard, pricing, and size. Some popular listing sites include: Booking.com, Airbnb.com, Wimdu.com, FlipKey.com, and HomeAway. To make it more effective, you can choose multiple listing channels to increase your coverage.
Some listing channels are suitable to specific kinds of vacation rentals or hotels, so it’s important to check the specifics before using a listing channel. Also, you should consider other details such as their software requirements, their payment processing options, site traffic, location of your rental, size of your rental, and transaction terms. If you have a large vacation rental or hotel, then it’s best to partner with larger listing channels as they have more coverage and spend more on advertising.
Larger listing channels and travel agencies spend more resources on promoting their clients and generating clicks, though they’ll cost more. If you have a smaller property, then you can consider niche distribution channels that operate on a smaller scale. These often have a focused audience but you will need to consider the details to make sure they fit your business plan. Through a simple search, you can get the details of a listing site and the amount of traffic they generate.
Social media remains one of the most effective marketing tools for most businesses in this digital age. It is important to have an active social media presence in order to connect with guests and keep in touch with your customers. You can share videos and images of your vacation rental or hotel on your business’ social media page. Social media can also be used as a tool to drive traffic to your website. Together with great and consistent content, you’ll have more chances of getting new guests and retaining old ones.
Through social media, you can create and post targeted ads that’ll attract a specific audience. Many social media websites offer advertisement options at reasonable prices. Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram are part of the most popular social media platforms for advertising as they have lots of active users. Apart from ads, content creation is another great way to market your hotel or vacation rental on social media. However, you should take great care with this as it can affect the public perception of your business. It is important to post just the right content that will keep readers interested in your property. One way to make the most of this is by hiring a social media manager or content writer. They will make posts on a variety of topics which are relevant to your business on different social media platforms.
Maintain Contact with Previous Guests
Apart from attracting potential guests, keeping in touch with repeat guests is highly important. Once a guest books your vacation rental or hotel, you should maintain contact with the guest so that they’ll book again. Apart from that, previous guests can also recommend your rental property to other potential guests and so on. You should identify the most valuable customers and target those specific customers.
Once a guest completes a booking, there should be an automated email that would be sent to thank the guest for their patronage and provide any necessary information the guest will need. This is the best time to ask them to sign up for your newsletter or check out your social media pages. However, you shouldn’t spam your customers with multiple or pointless mails. It is best to send relevant emails periodically that contain information about promotions, new deals, or any other relevant information. The goal is to keep the guest informed and to keep communication lines open.
Create a Unique Experience
What sets your business apart from your competitors can attract new guests and help you retain old customers. Instead of just marketing the typical features of a vacation rental or hotel, you should advertise an entire experience that will be so unique it will make people decide to book your property. You can check out your competitors in order to get an idea of how to improve your services and offer more value to your customers. Rather than compete with price, you should compete with value.
Instead of just marketing your hotel or vacation rental as a low-cost option, try to make potential customers see the value they’ll get for their money. Many people are willing to pay as long as they get a better value than that of your competitors. Providing a unique guest experience will help you get good reviews online which will lead to less money spent on advertising and marketing. It is also a way to build your brand and create a personal identity for your business.
Photography and Video Marketing
Potential guests will want to see what your hotel or vacation rental looks like before they place a reservation. There’d be nothing more disappointing for your guests than for them to arrive at your property and meet something different. So, you should be honest while making descriptions of your property. This is why photographs and videos can help you market your rental effectively.
Rather than just taking low quality pictures or videos with a mobile device, you can hire a professional photographer to take high resolution photos and videos with proper lighting and angles while capturing the important details. The photos and videos should highlight the unique features of your property and can be posted on your website, social media pages, or as targeted ads. This is a good way to give potential guests a good look at your property, making it easier and faster for them to decide to place a reservation.
You can partner with local businesses close to your property such as restaurants, shops, studios, or parks. Building a relationship with local business owners can serve as an opportunity for you to market your rental. It could become a situation where you both promote each other’s business. For example, you can create joint promotions and discounts for your customers. This is a simple but effective way to market your brand.
Marketing plays a huge role in determining whether you gain and keep customers or not. The tips listed above are tested and trusted and can be combined to get better results. Though the ideas are great, they’ll only benefit your business when they are put into action. At first, the marketing costs may look too high, but when you adopt the right methods, the returns will be worth the marketing costs.