As the spring and summer vacation season begin, many vacation property owners are left with the question, “How do I keep my property booked?”
When considering how your future guests search, and what resonates with them, keep these tips in mind.
1-Property Web Site: When your future renters start their selection process, what is the first thing they do? Search. While you may chose to list in directory sites, an individualized website specifically for your property is one of the smartest investments you can make. A website for your specific property allows you to employ search engine optimization to ensure your site is visible for those who are looking for vacations in your area. Whether you choose to create a site yourself or utilize a web designer, be sure the focus includes optimized content. When you create a site that highlights the features and benefits of the property, but also serves as an information source, not only are you recognized by search engines more effectively, but more importantly are providing your future renters with the information they need to make a decision away from competing listings.
2-Renter Centric Listings: Many vacation property owners utilize crowded directory listing sites. While these sites benefit homeowners with their advertising budgets, marketing initiatives and traffic, the homeowner is left competing with thousands of listings in the same location. To make a listing stand out, property owners must create listings with the future renter in mind. What are they searching for? What makes your property unique? What has been the deciding factor for previous guests? Does your listing clearly outline each of these? By focusing on what the future renter is looking for and addressing common questions renters may have, your listing becomes an information source for the guest.
3-Photographs: It goes without saying, but pictures are indeed worth a thousand words (or, in this case thousands of dollars for you!) In today’s digital world, your renters expect to have an insight into your property before making a decision. Use high quality photographs while keeping the renter in mind. By anticipating what triggers are key for your renters, you can focus on photographs that lead to conversions. For example, if your market research shows you that your property is attractive to families, photographs that create a sense of romance such as sunsets are not as effective as a family horseback riding down the beach or frolicking in the search. Keep your renters in mind and don’t allow yourself to be limited in the number of photographs used.
4-Do Your Homework: How well do you know your renters? How well do you understand their triggers? How well do you know what they search for? How well do you know what triggers their decision? Your vacation property is like any property taken to market, and you must approach it the same way you would approach marketing any product. If you do not understand marketing principles to help you identify these key factors, an investment in a marketing partner can be invaluable. If you choose to market independently make sure at a minimum you are surveying your guests (great opportunity to collect testimonials) have access to search terms through site or listing analytics, have access to exit page statistics, and competitor data.
5-Stay Connected: Your future guests are taking to the internet to search and that means more than just Google. Utilize social networks such as Twitter and Facebook to connect directly with your future guests. Tools like SocialMention.com allow you to search specific key words to identify people who are having conversations about your location, their needs and seeking referrals. Tapping in and listening opens the door for you to have direct conversations with your direct market.
Vacation property owners must understand in this competitive market everything that is done must be designed with the idea of differentiating their property in the marketplace. Just as any product in the marketplace must be marketed, so must your property.