Knowing how to advertise your Airbnb rental to different target markets and seasons is key to maximizing profits. Targeting seniors with your vacation rental is a great way to appeal to one of the most active traveler demographics in the travel industry. This can be an excellent business strategy to help you increase occupancy levels and make the most of your short-term rental property.
What are the benefits of attracting seniors for your vacation rentals?
Tapping into this age group offers numerous benefits, including:
- Seniors travelers are great potential guests as they are likely to be calmer and less risky. That means you won’t have to worry about wild parties or find your property damaged following a stay.
- Retired seniors have a greater amount of leisure time. Typically this demographic will book a longer average length of stay in your vacation rental properties.
- Seniors may have more disposable income since they likely have a fixed pension and fewer expenses than, for example, a family with children. Seniors will be more likely to book the more expensive properties in your inventory.
How to capitalize on the senior vacation rental traveler demographic
It’s time to look at catering to this highly profitable niche. There are several simple steps you can take to make your rentals for seniors as attractive as possible.
Increase the number of distribution channels
The first step to success in attracting senior travelers is to use a variety of vacation rental sites to advertise your properties. Listing your property on multiple platforms such as Airbnb, Vrbo, TripAdvisor, and Booking.com will increase its exposure and result in more bookings.
It would help if you also took advantage of a direct booking site (generated through your property management platform or custom-built). The current senior demographic takes into account word-of-mouth. If you deliver a high-quality experience to one set of seniors, you’re likely to attract some of their friends or acquaintances in the future. Also, don’t forget social media as part of your marketing strategy – advertise your space on Facebook and you may reach more tech savvy seniors looking for a getaway.
Highlight senior-friendly activities in your vacation rental listing
Seniors today are very active and look for a fun travel experience. They work out regularly and don’t want to lose that just because they’re going on vacation. And then there’s the fact that older travelers respond better to more detailed advertisements when making vacation bookings. So put two and two together. Dig up some recreational activities in the area and be sure to highlight them in your listing. For example, outdoor activities like well-marked hiking trails, golfing, fishing, or going to the beach can catch the eye of older travelers who are interested in spending time in nature. Don’t forget museums and art galleries. Some of these activities are complementary to do or are doable at a discounted price for seniors. Make sure they know that as this will make their travel plans much more exciting.
Another way to showcase that your properties are senior-friendly is to include a line in your listing that local activities offer senior discounts. Then to help senior guests take advantage of those discounts once they arrive, you can create a custom category for local recommendations in your digital guidebook. Make sure to also guide them through the public transportation options so they’ll know how to get around. Public transportation will get your senior audience closer to their favorite activities and attractions for less and will give them an authentic experience of living among the locals. It also helps in sparking up a conversation and meeting new people.
Adjust your space for potential mobility issues
Forty percent of seniors have at least one disability, and mobility is an issue among most of them. But that doesn’t keep them from wanting to take vacations. Knowing that mobility could possibly be an issue for your senior guests, as a homeowner, you can do what you can to ensure their visit at your vacation home is a comfortable and a memorable one … for all the right reasons.
Making the proper adjustments doesn’t have to break the bank. Adding small touches here and there, like a portable ramp and detachable grab rails in the bathrooms can turn what could be a disastrous vacation into a great vacation.
Whatever you do to adjust for mobility, make sure to highlight this in your listing description along with pictures and descriptions. Don’t only mention the accessibility of your property, but also talk about the local area and how senior friendly certain places are.
You should also consider answering the following questions in your property description:
- Is there an elevator if guests are staying on a higher floor?
- Is parking available in the immediate vicinity?
- Do guests have easy access to public transportation and other conveniences like grocery stores?
As for the properties, you’ll have to cover the basics which apply to any vacation rental guest demographic:
- Your space should be inviting and cozy.
- The mattresses should be comfortable.
- The properties need to be immaculately clean.
Finally, if you’re attracting more senior travelers, you’ll have to let your maintenance crew know what to look for when they inspect the properties. They should repair outdoor stairs and sidewalks as quickly as possible. Similarly, landscaping surfaces like interlocking stones can’t be uneven or have protruding edges. Taking care of these little details will also likely end up in less cancellations.
Highlight relaxing spaces
Seniors love to be active, but they also love to relax. After all, that’s what a vacation is all about. So, if you have some favorable relaxing spots that are worth bragging about, make it known. Reclining sofas, hammocks, and daybeds are all cozy spots worth winding down in. Brag about them in your listings. Have a fireplace? Add that in too. Make sure to have photos of these awesome spaces to make the home seem as inviting as possible.
Help with airport transfer
Another senior-friendly addition to your listing description is to include a line that explains your airport pickup offerings. Senior travelers may be less accustomed than younger guests to arriving in a new area and making their way to the rental via their smartphone’s GPS. However, giving guests a hand with matters like airport transfers or other transportation and helping them get settled into your property can go a long way.
Make it known that you’ll be reachable
Another important line to include in your listing description is that your staff will be reachable to answer questions throughout the stay. The odds are, that you already have a guest communication system in place. So really, you’re highlighting a feature of your business that’s already there. The bonus of listing that you’re available is that it differentiates you from local single-property hosts who charge lower nightly rates. From the senior guest’s perspective, it’ll reassure them at booking time that you can offer assistance with the logistical aspects of their trip should something come up. Communicating with guests about their plans and welcoming them on arrival also personalizes their renting experience and can promote a positive first impression of your property. Keeping the full guest experience positive gets you more brownie points.
Consider bundling your cleaning fees into your nightly rate
Although they might have more disposable money for travel, senior travelers are also financially prudent. If you charge a high cleaning fee that only appears at checkout, it might turn some of them off.
To bundle your cleaning fees into nightly rates, you’ll have to do a bit of spreadsheet work. First, start by pulling your properties’ performance analytics to find out your average length of stay (LoS). Then calculate the impact on your average daily rate (ADR) if you bundled fees into it. Since you’re looking at analytics, you might also want to look at your shorter stays and see if it makes sense to bundle fees for those stays, so you never run a loss.
Make it clear that your properties can host multiple families
Senior travelers are more likely to invite friends and family to stay with them for a portion of their stay. So if you operate a portfolio of homes that can accommodate more than one couple or family, put it in your description. Even if it’s obvious that a five-bedroom house can accommodate more than one couple, you want to make it clear that their friends and family are welcome. You can take it a step further by offering discounts for their next family visit.
Strike while the iron is hot
Now’s the time to start orienting your rental business model toward rentals for senior citizens. Older travelers not only have plans to travel, but they’ve also saved up a nice chunk of change to make the most of their trips. Start advertising to seniors now to strike while the iron is hot!