Once you decide to offer your home as a vacation rental, you must take the initiative to market it to potential guests.
If you live in a popular vacation region, there may well be dozens of other home owners in your neighborhood — or scattered throughout your town or city — trying to do the same thing.
So how can you make your vacation home stand out from the crowd?
8 Ways to Make Your Vacation Home Stand Out to Potential Guests
Prepare the Property for Renters
Go through your property and make any repairs that need to be made. It may be small things like sealing tiny cracks in the driveway or spackling and painting any nail holes in the walls. It may be large things like fixing refrigerators that buzz annoyingly when they should hum quietly!
Beautify the exterior of the property by adding flower beds or an attractive wooden fence rather than one of chain links.
Use Your Website Listing Sites
There are many vacation rental marketplace websites that enable you to reach a worldwide audience of potential renters.
Ideally, you should list your property on every website that allows you to do so in order to reach the widest possible audience.
Research your potential competition. Go through each website for existing vacation rental homes in your area and see what is being offered, how successful they are, and how their headlines and property descriptions are listed.
Pay particular attention to the headline and what it emphasizes — the amenities of the property itself, the distance from certain landmarks and so on. If you’re in New York and have a property only five minutes from Times Square, put that in your headline. If you’re far away from popular venues, emphasize the quality of the property.
Take professional quality photos of the interior and exterior of your property. Your potential guests will compare the quality and attention to detail of these photos and extrapolate it to the professionalism of the home owner. Poor photographs will turn them off.
Create a YouTube Channel
Put together a few videos of the property and share them on your YouTube channel.
One of these videos can be a tour of the interior of the property. Another a tour of the exterior. Take a video of people having fun there — playing catch in the backyard, relaxing on the deck while hamburgers cook on a barbecue, and so on.
Walk around the neighborhood and take photos of restaurants or museums that are in close proximity, and compile a photo essay to whet the appetite of your potential renters.
It is always best to have people rent your home through a vacation rental marketplace website. These websites establish profiles both for renters and people renting their property. Best of all, they handle the payment details!
Having said that, be sure to advertise locally. If you live in a large city but near to a particular venue, there may very well be local people who would like to stay at your home for a day or a week to take advantage of this proximity.
Place flyers in all businesses and public locations (make sure you ask permission!) with photos of the home, a description, a few words about where the property is located, and your phone number. Never share the actual address of the property on these types of flyers. When someone calls you, give them the marketplace website URL, and if they are a registered member, get their screen name so you can see any reviews that they have as renters.
Communicate with Fundraiser Organizers
One way to get publicity for your property is to offer a one-week stay free as a prize for a fundraising auction. In return, the committee for the fundraiser will share information about your rental home through its marketing channels, which will reach a large audience.
Investigate the charitable organizations in your city — the Lions Club, the Rotarians and so on — and outline your proposal for their consideration.
Communicate With Businesses
Many businesses like to reward their employees for excellent work. If you can establish a relationship with the HR department of various businesses, you can arrange for management to pay for a day, week or even a month’s stay at your property.
You can communicate with these businesses by contacting your local Chamber of Commerce.
Create a website for your property in which you provide details of this plan, so that you can share the information with businesses easily.
Create a Newsletter
Once you’ve broken through and received your first guests, it’s important to keep in contact with them.
Ask each guest for their email address and tell them you’d like to send them a newsletter in which you’ll share what’s happening in all of the venues in the city.
People may well return to the city if they want to see a particular play, a touring exhibit at a museum, or a particular game.
It won’t take you very much time to assemble this information. Just go through the activities section of your local newspaper, type up anything interesting, turn the word processing document into a PDF, attach it to an email list, and send it out.
Go the Extra Mile
Positive reviews from your guests on the vacation home marketplace websites are extremely important. Just as important, if not more so, is positive word of mouth.
People share their experiences on Facebook and Twitter, and they talk to their friends. They will tell people about the positive or negative experience they had renting a home using a website.
And the people they talk to will want to try out the experience for themselves and may well contact you immediately — or at the least will bear you in mind for any future trips.
What will make your property stand out from all the rest of your competitors is you.
If you can be present to greet your renters when they arrive at your property, by all means do so. Share with them information about your favorite restaurants, the best museums, and things to see and do.
Don’t just tell them verbally — type up the information so that they can reference the information when needed.
Put a box of chocolates in the fridge for your guests or stock the home with a couple of vases full of fresh flowers.
It’s these little things that will encourage your guests to return and to suggest to their friends that they give you a try.
Vacation home owners: How do you market your properties to stand out from the crowd?
Let me know your tips with a comment!