Anyone who’s thinking about investing in a vacation rental property is most likely familiar with Airbnb and VRBO; both have taken off like rockets since their inceptions, and there are many offshoots as well. And with all of this competition, a solid marketing strategy can make all the difference when it comes to getting bookings. So if there’s two similar properties available in the same location for the same price, what could leader a buyer to choose one over the other?
Can I Make Money on a Vacation Rental?
Vacation rentals aren’t get-rich quick schemes but can be profitable over time, according to Turnkey. For each $100,000 spent to purchase a vacation home, one can set a target to earn from $10,000 to $12,000 annually. This is only if the property is nothing but a cash-flow investment; if you also want to use it yourself, the range will be lower.
Airbnb reported that their hosts average approximately $11,000 a year, while a similar survey by Vrbo showed a median yearly earning of $33,000. Also remember that many people rent out small apartments, trailer homes and private rooms instead of entire houses; some are in highly desirable areas, while others are in other locations and don’t sell as well. Still, if you want to attract the most prospective customers you’ll want to make your property stand out from the rest in big ways.
How to Market a Vacation Rental Property
Now that you have your property ready to accept reservations, how do you get the word out? Build Up Bookings lists the distribution channels you can use, like Vrbo, Home Away, Google Vacation Rentals, Flipkey and of course, Airbnb. When comparing their offerings, you’ll need to know what their software requirements are, how they process reservations and payments, how owners communicate with renters and the overall look and feel of the platform.
The larger distribution channels are important, but don’t forget about the smaller, boutique networks. The latter has more focused audiences, which can be beneficial if your property falls into one of these niches. Look at what makes your property stand out − is it near the ocean, pet-friendly, on a quiet street, near a golf course or is it very family-friendly? These answers can direct you to some of the smaller sites.
Sharing a Vacation Rental Story
Nail down your pricing before posting, because it needs to be within the range of comparable listings in the area; do your research and price it appropriately. The property’s written description should include the basic information like number of bedrooms and bathrooms, but do what you can to keep it from being generic; let potential guests know what it would feel like to stay there. Go into detail about the basic amenities (extra-large capacity washer and dryer) and upgrades they’ll be drawn to (comfortable outdoor Jacuzzi with spectacular views of the mountain) and have the photos to back up your claims.
If you’re not a great picture-taker, hire a professional photographer or have someone else help you out. The goal is to forge an emotional connection between the property and guest. This creates a desire to rent the property and once that’s formed, they will be more likely to reach out to inquire about availability. It should be easy for them to find all of the pricing and location details too, and if they want to contact the owner it should only take them one click.
Inbound and Outbound Vacation Rental Marketing
Vacation rental platforms have programs like Vrbo’s Boost, which lets their “Premier Hosts” improve listing positions in search results: Each time a booking is received, owners are given “power-ups.” These can be effective marketing tools, but you have to get a lot of bookings to get the most benefits. Duve recommends using social media platforms to advertise, and mentions that Instagram is a good place to start.
Local tourism websites are also a great medium for vacation rental property marketing, because they target specific areas and have local experts that travelers and tourists rely on for advice. The same thing goes for vacation rental forums; these can be found on sites like Reddit or Quora, and you can join in on some of their travel threads. Stick with it, and you can build up a reputation that others will come to trust and then turn to for their vacation rental bookings.