Marketing Your Vacation Rental

Personalizing Your Rental Business

Written by Elizabeth Weedon
5/5 - (9 votes)

personalHomeowners often ask us for advice about how to succeed in this increasingly competitive market.  Our Blog offers numerous posts with great tips about marketing  and managing  your home to maximize your bookings and rental income.

From a marketing perspective, it always starts with your pictures, of course, and the impact of guest reviews is also significant.

On the management side, we’ve learned that the competitive market and prevalence of guest reviews has created a marketplace where the vacationer sits squarely in the driver’s seat, forcing  us homeowners to become more customer-service oriented than ever. It’s no longer enough to just supply our tenants with a clean, well-maintained home – we now need to assure their happiness in every way we can, too, so that they write us a rave review, return the following season, and spread the word to their friends.

One ingredient that has become essential in both marketing and managing a vacation rental these days is to promote trust and personalize the rental experience.

How can you promote trust between you and your vacationers?

  • Pictures – post as many as possible. Vacationers are wary of the unknown. Taking Better Pix5 Tips to Capture the Big PictureTop 10 Marketing Tips,  Ideal Listing: Visual Appeal
  • Guest reviews – try to get at least 2-3 of your tenants to submit a review each season. Having objective feedback about your home from other vacationers is extremely effective in promoting trust. [Link to Soliciting Guest Reviews post, or the tutorial one, How to use the Request Form feature,  Ideal Listing: GR’s
  • Screening: Be forthright about any possible flaws, and manage your tenants’ expectations. Doing so will put them at ease when making the decision to commit to your property and then confirm that trust when they arrive and are pleasantly surprised.  Screening Tenants
  • Share your “story” with vacationers, without boring them, so that they see this as not just a business arrangement but your beloved home that you’re sharing with them.
  • Be responsive and communicative before their arrival, during their stay, and after they leave.  This not only engenders trust and goodwill, but it also prevents misunderstandings and avoids possible discontent.  10 Tips to get good GR’s

Tips to make the rental experience more personal:

  • Screening: Always speak to inquirers by phone, if possible. Engage them in conversation and convince them that you are a caring, responsible, personable, trustworthy owner, and that you are as concerned with their happiness in your home as they are.  Screening
  • Do some background research about your guests, and then, if they book your home, record any notes about names, ages, pets, special concerns, etc. This way, you can convince them how attentive and caring you are when they arrive months later and you remember their kids’ names, for example, or that they had requested something special.  Booking Management
  • Try to provide them with the “extra things” such as kids’ toys/games if they have kids. Going  Above and BeyondThose Special Touches
  • Meet them on arrival or at some point during their stay if possible. Being able to put a face with the homeowner’s name and voice creates an even deeper personal connection.

About the author

Elizabeth Weedon

Elizabeth Weedon - Although I’ve worked for since 2008, I’ve been a loyal homeowner on the site since early 1998, just a few months after the website was launched by the Talmadges. I grew up summering on the Vineyard and managed my family's rental home there since the mid-1980’s. I’m passionately devoted to the Vineyard – and to WeNeedaVacation, which I credit with enabling me to hold onto the special property that has been in our family for nearly a century. An enthusiastic member of the WNAV Homeowner Support Team, I endeavor to keep my finger on the pulse of the Cape and Islands vacation rental industry so that I can provide homeowners advice about how to ensure their booking success with us. With owner Joan Talmadge, I am also responsible for editing and writing much of the text on our website, our monthly newsletters, and Homeowner Blog posts.