Vacation rental owners are always looking for a leg up on the competition, so we put together the following list of marketing tips that are sure to boost your bookings!
1. Provide Great Photos
A study by FlipKey found that travelers are 83% more likely to inquire about property listings that contain over 20 photos.
Providing plenty of pictures helps travelers gain a better understanding of what your home offers, and you’ll spend less time answering the same questions about your rental. Better yet, properties with more photos almost always rank higher in the search results on vacation rental listing sites.
Quantity isn’t the only factor. The quality of your photos allows travelers determine if you’re committed to your role as a vacation rental host, and nothing scares potential guests away faster than blurry images of messy living spaces. For the best results we suggest hiring a professional, but here are some tips on how to take high-quality photos similar to the image shown above.
2. Respond Immediately
According to InstaManager, travelers are 22 times more likely to book a reservation when owners respond to an inquiry within 5 minutes.
Most owners take hours, if not days to respond, but travelers are often ready to confirm a reservation immediately. Responding quickly gives you the advantage of selling guests on your property before they hear back from other owners.
It’s also very important to continue providing prompt responses after a traveler books your home. Your guests will appreciate receiving fast and professional responses throughout the reservation process, and your efforts will be rewarded with repeat bookings.
3. Request Reviews
A recent TripAdvisor study found that travelers are 80% more likely to book a vacation rental listing that includes reviews from past guests. Most travelers have anxiety about booking a vacation property that ends up looking nothing like the online listing, and reviews help to ease these concerns.
We’ve discussed the importance of reviews in the past, but here are some best practices that are sure to improve your results:
- Request feedback and reviews from guests within a few days of their departure
- Try mailing hand-written thank you notes and include a review request
- Personalize your requests and stress how important reviews are to the success of your vacation rental
- Always provide a link to the reviews page on your listing
Whatever you do, do something! The more reviews you collect, the more appealing your listing will look to prospective travelers.
4. Maintain Rates & Calendars
Nothing frustrates travelers more than finding a great looking listing only to discover that the rates and calendar haven’t been maintained. If your listing hasn’t been updated in months, travelers will be less likely to inquire and vacation rental sites will penalize you in their search results.
Make sure your listing provides at least one year of valid rates, and always update your calendar the moment you receive a booking. Travelers will recognize that you’re serious about renting out your property and you’re sure to see an immediate bump in bookings.
5. Improve Your Property Description
Did you know that the quality and length of your property description can have a huge impact on your booking performance? A recent experiment by vacation rental expert Matt Landau, found that professionally written descriptions perform twice as well.
Most experts suggest providing a property description that’s at least 300 words long, but writing a great description can be difficult and time consuming. Consider hiring a professional copywriter, or better yet, add your home to the Evolve Network and our Marketing Team will write your property description for free!
6. Accept Online Bookings
Now more than ever, consumers expect to be able to transact online. In fact, a 2013 study by HomeAway found that 92% of travelers want the option to book online.
Allowing renters to book instantly and securely with a credit card payment has become the norm for vacation rentals. Travelers want the convenience of confirming a booking instantly and the protection offered by a credit card transaction.
The days of mailing rental agreements and checks are coming to an end, so put yourself in a position to succeed by accepting online bookings and credit card payments.
Marketing a vacation rental requires a lot of time and energy, but following the tips above is sure put more rental income in your pocket. If you’d rather leave the task of marketing your property to Evolve’s team of experts, click here to learn more about our services.
Do you have any other vacation rental marketing best practices to share? If so, we’d love to hear from you in the comments!