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As 2014 is quickly winding down, I thought a good article for the last installment of the year would be a marketing check list for vacation homeowners to make 2015 the best year of ever owning their vacation homes.
7 Marketing Tasks Vacation Homeowners Should Complete for a Profitable 2015
1. Review the Places You Market
You should review all the places where you are marketing your vacation home to would-be guests, and you should be doing a little research on your competition as well. Compare your house to all the other houses in the general area, and see how your house stacks up. Compare your prices to your competitor prices as well… how do they stack up? Are you in line with what they are offering?
2. Check Out Your Listings
Most paid sites, such as VRBO (to learn more about how to rent your place and list for free on VRBO, click here) and Homeaway (click here to list your place for free on HomeAway—only pay when you get a booking) , sell marketing packages. Check and see where your home is being shown to guests. If you home is being listed on the 2nd or 3rd page, you should really consider bumping up the next platform — very rarely do guest actually go to the 2nd or 3rd page. It is a good idea to call in and talk to one of the customer service agents at these companies; sometimes they can offer you a better deal if you agree to pay the upgrade today.
3. Have a Pricing Strategy
Here is a little pricing strategy that might make you more money on 2015: Each vacation home market has high season and low seasons. Write down all the dates you are almost 100% confident that you are going to rent your house out. During these dates you do not want to offer any discounts to customers, even if they are returning customers, and it is a good idea to have your house near the high end of the nightly rates.
During low season, drop your rates as low as you can go and still be somewhat profitable. During low season there are fewer guest in town, and the guest who are coming are looking for a deal — so give them a deal. After all if your house is not occupied, it is not bringing in any income. To make it simple, your strategy should be to be priced near the high end of the market during high season, and you should have one of the lowest rates out there during low season.
4. Employ the Power of Photos
Make sure you take some time and browse through the websites where you are offering your house. Make sure the photos are up to date, accurate, and are of professional quality. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and when you are marketing a vacation home, this is totally true.
If you are allowed to have 20 pictures uploaded of your property, make sure you upload all 20 pictures. The more pictures, the better; it gives potential guests peace of mind knowing they can see everything the property offers. Also, don’t forget to take pictures of the community amenities or of local attractions located near your property.
5. Employ Professional Copyrighting
Take your time when writing out the information about your property. Make sure you list everything that your property offers the guest. Remember, the copy is the last thing the guest will read before booking, so professionally written information can be a great deal closer. If writing is not your strong suit, then write down all the amenities in bullet point format and go to elance.com. Here, you can hire a professional writer for as little as $15 to write the copy for you.
6. Talk to your Property Manager
A good property manager should be your number one source to get bookings from. You should talk to your property manager at least twice a year regarding your vacation home and how many nights you have booked. Talk to them about your goals for your property, and have them tell you how many nights your vacation home should be rented out in the upcoming months. Many issues can be resolved if you have open communication with your property manager. They should know your expectations, and they should be doing everything to reach those expectations.
7. Market to Past Guests
Make sure you save the email addresses of everybody who has rented from you in the past. You can put these email addresses into an email marketing program, such as constantcontact.com. These programs will make sure the guests opt in to receive emails from you, and you can start emailing these past guest once a month or so. Remember, previous guest are a huge part of your marketing success. Even if they don’t come back to stay in your property, they can refer their friends and family to you.
If you follow these 6 marketing tips, you should find that your home is rented out more, and hopefully 2015 is the most profitable year for your vacation home.
Do you have any other suggestions to really ramp up your vacation home marketing program? What will you be trying in the coming year?
Leave me a comment below!