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Vacation Rental Marketing Guide: 10 Tips Guaranteed to Increase Bookings Overnight

Want to become a vacation rental marketing pro in ten minutes? Read on!

11 October 2021 - 9 mins

vacation rental marketing guide

Our top 10 vacation rental marketing tips

1. List on multiple sites

Okay, this may sound really obvious, but you’d be amazed by the number of vacation rental owners who only list on Airbnb. While Airbnb is massive, it only accounts for around 20% of the vacation rentals market.

There are plenty of other platforms with millions of potential customers for your property, often with more favourable commission rates than Airbnb. Clickstay, for example, only charges 3% fees and allows you to communicate directly with the renters.

2. Take professional photos

I can’t overstate the importance of this. 90% of online buyers say that photo quality is the most important factor in an online sale.

Humans are highly visual creatures.  which means images have a disproportionate impact on our decision to buy stuff.

We recommend hiring a professional photographer for a few hours to ensure your images are as show stopping as possible. Of course you’re going to have to splash some cash for this, but it will pay for itself a hundred times over in the long term. It also means you don’t have to buy a fancy camera.

When uploading your images, make sure to use the best one as your primary image so it appears in the listings. Also, uploading an image of the floor plan is really helpful to renters too if you have one.

3. Give your listing a compelling name (and description)

Great copy sells! A unique name that captures the essence of your property is vital to stand out on listing sites. It’s also the cornerstone to build your vacation rental brand around.

Your property description is equally as important. It’s your elevator pitch to your potential customer, so it needs to resonate with them!

Our top tips when writing your description:

  • Think about your target audience and write for them
  • Anticipate common questions about your property and answer them
  • Use adjectives to tell your property’s story:  Is it relaxing, warm and comfortable? Fresh, modern and trendy? Sumptuous and luxurious?
  • Highlight amenities and and unique selling points

4. Build your own website

Of all our vacation rental marketing tips, this might be the most important.


While OTA's like Air BnB are fantastic for reaching new guests, you pay heavily in commission and have infuriatingly little control over your bookings.

Building your own website gives you a digital hub to generate direct bookings from, helping you to build both your own brand and a repeat booking audience. Ultimately this leads to a more profitable and sustainable business.

The choice of website builders can be completely overwhelming. The most popular platforms are:

  • Wordpress.org
  • Wix, and
  • Squarespace.

Quick secret: they’re all good! The main thing they struggle with however is automatically generating prices based on calendar inputs, as this is particularly fiddly.

So if you want to take bookings and payment online without manually answering requests, you might want to use a specialist vacation rental website builder. Or, you can embed a free Rentalsystems calendar to your website. It looks a bit like this: https://www.abruzzo-villas.com/reservation/

Not only does this save you time, but being able to take bookings online also dramatically increases your conversion rate (i.e. the % of web visitors who make a booking).

In terms of building your website, we'd recommend paying a website developer. You can always have a go yourself, but given it’s quite a steep learning curve, you can end up sinking a lot of time into what often ends up being a sub par result. But it’s up to you!

bluepeacockbeachhouse.com is built using Wordpress and uses a Rentalsystems calendar to take bookings


5. Build mailing list of guests

While email might not be the shiniest new toy in the digital world, it’s still an incredibly powerful marketing channel.

First, you need to build your list. The two main ways to do this are:

  • Asking your guests if they’re happy to be added to your email list, and
  • Adding an email capture to your website.

Example of an email capture on www.ardmairbayhouse.com


Once you've built your list, what exactly do you send them? Here are some ideas:

  • Deals & offers
  • Information about upcoming events in your local area
  • Nice seasonal photographs of the property
  • Links to blog posts you’ve published on your website

For more ideas, check out our full vacation rental email marketing guide.

6. Develop your social media presence

Social media is a great free way to reach more guests and build your brand. There are loads of platforms you can try. I’d personally recommend focusing on Facebook and Instagram due to their reach and image-led feeds.

Types of content to post:

  • Gorgeous images of the property
  • Nice shots of local areas
  • News about local events

You don't have to post all the time, just once every few days should be enough to keep your property in people's minds.

And make sure to include a link to your website in your bio (or if you don’t have your own website, your Rentalsystems property page link), so people can find more information and make a booking.

7. Remarketing campaigns

Ever looked at a pair of trainers and then found those trainers following you around the internet? That’s remarketing.


Yes, it might be a little bit creepy, but it’s incredibly effective. And a great way to get started with Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising.

Facebook remarketing is the most effective and also the easiest to set up. Here’s how it works:

  • Create an ads manager account via your Facebook page
  • Copy and paste facebook pixel code to your website
  • Potential guests visits your site
  • Facebook pixel matches the visitor to their facebook profile ID
  • Your ad then shows in their facebook feed.

The good news is it’s actually really low cost to get started with Pay Per Click (PPC). You only need a budget of £20 per month to be effective.

8. Targeted Facebook ads

We just talked about the power of Facebook ads for remarketing, but you can also use them to target people who've never heard of you before.

Facebook ads can be quite tricky to get right. But if you’re willing to invest your time, they can be a brilliant way to generate direct bookings.

Facebook’s reach is massive, and their granular targeting options are unparalleled by any other platform.

Examples of targeting options:

  • Interest-based
  • Location
  • Lookalike audiences (based on facebook pixel data)
  • Demographics

Facebook ads are a big topic! If you want to really get to grips, check out our Facebook Ads ultimate guide.

9. SEO

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is a huge topic that is constantly evolving.

The good news is that getting the basics right can make all the difference to getting your website discovered in Google and other search engines.

Some our top tips include:

  • Choosing a unique name to make your website more easily discoverable
  • Installing Google Search Console to track which queries are resulting in traffic
  • Blogging about your local area

If you're interested in boosting your SEO, we'd recommend implementing our top ten SEO tips.

10. Cultivate reviews

Reviews are so, so important when renters are making a decision. According to TrustPilot, Nearly nine out of ten (89 per cent) consumers worldwide make the effort to read reviews before buying products.

But sitting around waiting for reviews doesn’t always work. Even if the renter had the time of their lives, they often won’t bother leaving a review.

For this reason, it can help to proactively cultivate these reviews. You can do so by contacting the renter after their stay, or even incentivising them with a discount on their next booking.

If you have your own website, make sure to include these reviews there too. If you are using google reviews, you can embed the widget to automate this process.


Conclusion

So, there we have it! There’s obviously a lot of information in this article, but don’t feel you have to do it all at once! Start by optimising your listings, then build your website and go from there!

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