While you may have invested quite some time and money into building an attractive property, it’s not enough to take some swanky shots in Portrait mode, keep the property clean, and keep your rates the same. You might be thinking, reviews! Reviews are important, yes but you’ll only have so many of them if you’re not securing a lot of bookings to begin with.
So what’s missing? We’re here to help you figure that out. No more hair-pulling or stress and you definitely shouldn’t even think about getting out of the game altogether. Our experience tells us there are about six important steps every vacation rental homeowner should make to have an advantage on the competition and score more full calendars.
If you’re ready, take a deep breath and leave your jealousy behind. Push those other rental out of your head and dive into these proven marketing techniques that are easy to implement and sure to boost your home to the top of every vacationer’s list.
Let’s go make some money!
1. SHOW OFF * MORE* STELLAR PICS
If you know anything about renting vacation homes, then you probably already know or at least guessed that pictures are important. Not only will travelers not book a location they can’t see, they’re more likely to book a location that feels welcoming, calming and a fun place to spend their stay. Consider this your first and more important commandment: you sell through your photo. It’s all you have.
If you currently have low-quality photos, invest in a better camera or a professional photographer (even if it’s a friend). If you’re pictures are nice, but you only have three, that’s not gonna cut it either. Messy photos, dark, blurry shots and two photos of the front door but none of the bedroom won’t make anyone feel comfortable and you won’t seem like a qualified, trustworthy host.
There are many sites online that will help you take gorgeous photos on your own. In addition to nicely lit, focused shots, quantity is a huge factor. Studies show that listings with more than 20 pictures gain the most inquiries. So taking shots from multiple angles and sides in every room and hallway will be helpful, even if it seems slightly repetitive to you. Someone browsing should feel like they know what each part of the property looks like and can imagine walking through
the layout (it also doubles as a great way to cut down on small questions, like Is there a microwave in the kitchen?)
2. MAINTAIN FAST COMMUNICATION
Planning is important when you’re traveling, and sometimes your planning runs on a tight deadline, as you may have to find accommodations a few days before, or book something in advance before everything is full. This means timeliness is key to having a great experience. Would you want to wait 4 days for someone to tell you if the rental has parking? No one likes to hear silence for multiple days.
Put yourself in the traveler’s shoes and think about what your response will mean for them ass guests should as issue arise. Be available. Many owners respond in a matter of hours, but when a traveler is online ready to click a booking button at any moment, 3 hours might seem like forever. Stand out by responding as quickly as possible. You’ll earn high marks with the travelers, build trust and gain an advantage by creating a connection and answering questions long before they hear back from other rentals they’re interested in.
Always aim to respond in under 24 hours and try to be immediate whenever your schedule allows. You might want to have a special app or alert on your phone so you can check messages whenever you have a free moment. Responses aren’t limited to inquiries: follow up with welcoming, professional messages after the booking process to ensure your renters have a great experience from start to finish.