The vacation rental market is becoming saturated and more competitive than ever. As trends shift and vacationers continue to transition from hotels to short-term rental properties as their preferred method of housing during vacation, the need to stand out amongst the ever increasing number of new listings has never been important.
In this article we cover the most popular property management marketing ideas used by vacation rental businesses to boost bookings, improve the guest experience, and increase guest retention. Understanding how to leverage these property management marketing ideas and strategies will help you stay ahead of the curve and fully unlock the potential of your vacation rental business.
There 10 hottest property management marketing ideas of the year include:
- Developing a digital guidebook
- Creating a visually stunning Instagram page
- Including a welcome gift basket for your guests
- Requesting reviews from your guests
- Offering concierge services
- Facebook ads
- Listing your vacation rental property on multiple rental sites
- Email marketing
- Text messaging
- Presenting a 3D floor plan of your vacation rental property
Let’s get started!
Developing a digital guidebook
A digital guidebook is a key component of a five-star guest experience for your guests and an important resource to highlight special amenities and features of your property. Not to mention the best opportunity to promote your brand as a local expert with tailored local recommendations.
Digital guidebooks show your guests that you care by helping them make the most of their stay. Everyone loves a great recommendation from a local! Including a list of restaurants, family-friendly activities, nightlife hotspots, and local toursit attractions will help your guests create memorable experiences and ensures they’ll never be bored.
In addition to local attractions, a digital guidebook is a great place to store important house rules and information, such as the WiFi password, checkout instructions, and even where guests can find extra linens. By outlining important policies and details, you help resolve any guest confusion. The last thing you want is a poor review because your guest didn’t know how to turn on your TV!
You can also include a splash screen in your guidebook, which accomplishes two important tasks: All guests can accept terms and conditions before access to guidebook is granted, and you can collect the emails of all guests, not just the main one who booked the stay.
Creating a visually stunning Instagram page
Instagram is the perfect platform to share photos of your vacation rental property with travelers and entice them to want to stay in your vacation rental property. Furthemore, millennials, a target customer demographic in the vacation rental industry, spend more time on Instagram than they do on any other social network.
Instagram is better than other social networks because it focuses on visual sharing. In addition to posting photos of the interior and exterior of the vacation rental property, you can showcase guest testimonials, promote local activities, and highlight special amenities.
Remember to post consistently, include hashtags in your photos, and take high quality photos for maximum impact.
Including a welcome gift basket for your guests
It’s the little touches and small details that can leave the most lasting impressions. One of the most popular property management marketing ideas is including a welcome gift basket for your guests. A welcome gift basket shows that you are a thoughtful host and sets a positive tone from the beginning of your guest’s stay.
A gift basket might include a local treat, a postcard, a handwritten note, and a bottle of wine. You can also send your guests a friendly welcome message to make them feel at home via the Hostfully platform. Welcome packages are cost-effective, add personalization to the experience, and are an affordable way to connect with your guests. However extravagant or simple your gift basket is, your guests will be sure to appreciate your generosity and extra hospitality.
Requesting reviews from your guests
Reviews are a critical component to achieving high guest occupancy and boosting vacation rental bookings and an important research tool for guests to evaluate the desirability of your property. And, they are an often neglected component of vacation rental businesses.
When potential guests see prior visitors rave about their stay at your vacation rental property, they are more inclined to book your property, even if it’s slightly more expensive. In fact, a recent Phocuswright study for TripAdvisor found that 83% of respondents said reviews helped them pick the right hotel, and 53% won’t commit to a booking without having read reviews first.
Requesting and maintaining good reviews is hard work. By providing five-star guest service, you substantially increase the probability of receiving a good review. After a guest’s stay, send them an automated email to ask how their experience was. If you receive a positive response, it’s perfectly OK to request a review asking them to rate their stay and letting them know how you would appreciate one.
You should be responding to all reviews, both good and bad. When you see a negative review, address the issue at hand. This communicates your commitment to providing top service to potential guests who might otherwise be deterred after reading something less than stellar.
Offering concierge services
While not commonplace in non-luxury vacation rentals, concierge services are an effective way to differentiate your vacation rental from the rest of the pack. This property management marketing trend is slowly becoming more popular as the vacation rental industry continues to mature and the expectations of vacation rental guests begin to mirror those of hotel guests.
It’s up to you on how basic or sophisticated the concierge services you provide are. They can include everything from dry cleaning and transportation to elaborate chef-made meals and luxurious spa services. This property management marketing idea is not only a good brand building tactic, but also a potentially lucrative revenue generator.
In terms of paid marketing, there is no better marketing medium than Facebook for affordable, effective advertising at scale. In 2017, Facebook launched a product called Travel ads, which helps you automatically show ads to people who are likely to take a trip. Specifically made for hospitality professionals like vacation rental owners, Facebook travel ads can help you offer special promotions and highlight special attributes about your vacation rental property.
Although less visual than Instagram, Facebook ads allow you to reach customers that have expressed the most interest in your property. By understanding the basic mechanics of Facebook advertising for vacation rentals, you can implement highly-targeted Facebook campaigns that market to past visitors and potential guests who have visited your website.
Listing your vacation rental property on multiple rental sites
There are a variety of vacation rental listing sites you can list your property on, including Airbnb, FlipKey, and VRBO. While each site comes with its own pros and cons, generally the more sites you list your vacation rental property on, the better.
That being said, maintaining listings on multiple sites is hard work and can be resource intensive. You must understand how to manage a calendar so you are not double-booking your property and adjust your prices according to each booking site’s booking and commission fees. Similarly, you must respond to every incoming request from a potential guest in a timely manner otherwise your listing can get penalized in the search result rankings.
If you find that it’s hard to keep on top of all tasks involved with listing a vacation rental property on multiple sites, using a technology solution like an online property management system can help address many of those challenges by automating many of those responsibilities.
Email marketing will always be an important property management marketing idea simply because emails are free and do not cost anything to send. Sending promotions and a newsletter to previous and potential customers will help build your brand, increase bookings, and establish yourself as an industry expert.
The success of your email marketing strategy will be highly dependant on the quality of your email list. Just as importantly, your approach to email marketing should not be too salesy. Provide value and avoid making an overt sale at the risk of spamming your customers. Done correctly, email marketing should be about creating and cultivating relationships with your customers. This is why Hostfully enables splash screens on all Guidebooks for paid users, so you can collect those precious email addresses of ALL guests, not just the one who booked.
Examples of email campaigns include “stay anniversary” emails, where you send a previous customer a personalized email mentioning their stay from a year ago, and “post-call follow up emails”, where you send an automated email 24 hours after a reservation call and give them details about their stay and route them to special offers or events happening during their stay.
Text messaging your guests has become one of the biggest property management marketing trends in 2019. It offers an effective way to offer a high touch, personalized service to your guests and gives them the assurance they are seeking. Sending a text to your guests when your property is ready for check-in or a mid-stay survey text asking them how their experience improves the quality of your service and helps fix any guest issues should they arise.
You can also enable text messaging to go out if the property is empty the day following original check out, to offer guests a discounted extra day stay. “Hey, why does it have to end? Stay an extra day at 50% off and let the fun continue!”
Like email, it’s important to watch for tone when texting so you are not giving off the wrong impression. Similarly, do not be overly colloquial and spell out words instead of abbreviating them – remember these are your guests and not your close friends.
Timing is also an important aspect of an effective texting messaging marketing strategy. Sending a text at the wrong time can confuse and annoy your guests. Using an online property management system, you can automate your texting based on certain event triggers so your guests receive the right message at the right time.
Presenting a 3D floor plan of your vacation rental property
Including a 3D floor plan in your vacation rental listing is a property management marketing trend used by vacation rental owners looking to stand out amongst the traditional photo-heavy listings and go the extra mile. 3D floor plans are immersive, interactive, and are better able to accurately express the interiors of your vacation rental property.
While getting a 3d floor plan made of your property can be an expensive proposition, it can pay dividends in the form of increased bookings since your guests can feel more confident knowing what they are getting when booking your property.
Marketing and delivering a five-star guest experience
As you might have realized, marketing your vacation rental property goes hand-in-hand with delivering a five-star guest experience. As a property manager, you need to employ property management marketing ideas like Facebook ads to attract guests and incentive them to book your listing, but you also need to use marketing tactics like gift baskets and digital guidebooks during their stay to keep them happy and have them come back as repeat customers.
Marketing your vacation rental property can be a time-consuming, expensive process, but it doesn’t have to be. You can start implementing many of the property management marketing ideas listed here through an online property management platform—an affordable, easy solution to boost bookings and increase guest satisfaction.