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Top Marketing Tips for Vacation Rental Homeowners

Written by Elizabeth Weedon
Top Marketing Tips for Vacation Rental Homeowners
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Your vacation rental home may well be a dream home, perfect and beyond comparison – as most of us believe ours to be! But if it’s not marketed properly, your bookings and your rental revenue will fall well short of your goals. Don’t worry, there’s no need to hire a marketing consultant. Just follow these simple tips:

1. Be sure that your pictures adequately showcase your home. Pictures are the most effective marketing strategy you have. Are your pictures fresh, focused, bright and inviting? Do you show a deck or patio with a table set for a meal? Do you include a picture of the nearest beach? Use at least 8 pictures, as a picture’s worth a thousand words. And be sure to use descriptive and informative picture captions. Learn more about adding pictures. Consider adding a video to make your listing stand out even more. Learn more about video.

2. Post Guest Reviews on your listing. Guest Reviews provide vacationers with credibility, confidence and trust in your property and its homeowner, and they have become critical to the success of booking your home! Learn more about how to solicit feedback from your tenants.

3. Be sure your home is appropriately priced. Check out your competition. Use our unique Power Search feature to search for comparable homes as if you were a vacationer, using such specific criteria as “Walk to beach” or “Internet access.” Also, do similar homes in your price range offer amenities that you don’t? Consider providing Internet access, a window air conditioner, and linens if you don’t already, as these are some of the most sought-after amenities. Read more about the most popular rental amenities.

4. Critique your listing’s title and property description. Be sure your title highlights your home’s greatest assets so that vacationers are intrigued enough to click through to see your full listing. A well-written property description should contain: 1) a general description of the interior of your home, including its layout, bed configurations and amenities; 2) the immediate setting of your home including its yard, neighborhood and any nice views; and 3) the general location of the property, with its proximity to beaches and other area attractions such as restaurants, shops, bike trails, etc. Learn more.

5. Use helpful features to promote any special offers. Our site offers an Owner Special feature whose bright-pink, eye-catching text attracts extra attention to your listing – and it’s free! An enticing offer can really make a difference to vacationers who are often looking to find a special deal. You might use an Owner Special to highlight a price drop or perhaps a gift certificate to a local fish store, market, or restaurant if they book by a certain date. We also offer a Last-Minute Availability Alert to “turbo boost” your Owner Special offering. This feature is fee-based and can only be used to highlight availability within the next 4 weeks. But it’s proved to be very effective in filling last-minute availability. Learn more about both features.

6. Use social media. Take advantage of the enormous benefits of “viral” marketing and social networking. It’s quick, easy and free. Have you seen the Facebook “Like” button and sharing feature on your listing? Clicking on the “Like” button will post a link to the news feed of your Facebook friends. The “Share” button allows you to share your listing via Twitter, email, and more. Learn more.

7. Reach out to previous renters or interested parties. In minutes, our homeowners can send multiple personalized emails that include a link to their listing, the first picture, and four months of their availability/pricing calendar. This email feature can be sent to either vacationers who actually stayed in your home, or to those who inquired but your home was booked or it didn’t work out for some other reason.

8. Keep the date stamp on your availability calendar current. Vacationers are more likely to inquire about a home when they see that the listing’s calendar has a recent date stamp. If they see an old date, they are likely to think that the availability on your calendar isn’t accurate. (Even if the status of your bookings hasn’t changed, simply hit the “Submit” button at the bottom of the calendar page, and your “last updated” date will automatically change to the current one.) Learn more.

9. Post a lawn sign on your property. Lawn signs are effective because they show prospective renters the exact location and setting of your home. If you are a lister, order a customized sign by logging into your Homeowner Center and clicking on the “Order a lawn sign” link. Learn more.

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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 have managed my family's rental home there since the mid-1980’s. I’m passionately devoted to the Vineyard – and to, which I credit with enabling me to hold onto the special property that has been in our family since the 1920’s. An enthusiastic member of the Homeowner Support Team, I am particularly involved with our new listers, providing assistance with the sign-up process and advice about how to create the most effective listing to ensure their booking success with us. I have recently taken over our press and public relations needs. And, with owner Joan Talmadge, I am also responsible for editing and writing much of the content on our website, our monthly newsletters, and the blog posts. My husband and I live in Wellesley where we have raised our 2 grown kids and our Black Lab, Maisie. Email Elizabeth