Marketing Your Vacation Rental

Ideal Listing Part 4 – Use special offers to promote your home

Written by Elizabeth Weedon
Ideal Listing Part 4 – Use special offers to promote your home
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Given current economic conditions and the large inventory of vacation rental properties available on the Cape and Islands, it’s more important than ever to make your listing stand out in the crowd. One of the most effective ways of doing so is to offer something special as an incentive to book your home – and then leverage the offer to catch vacationers’ eyes on your listing. Kind of a one-two punch.

What can you offer?

It doesn’t have to be an arm and a leg! Sometimes a $25 gift certificate at your favorite local restaurant or ice cream shop can be as effective as a price reduction in your rent. We all love to get a little something for nothing.

As the season nears and you still have some vacancies, certainly consider lowering your price. But if you do, be sure to SHOUT out the good news on your listing!

How to best advertise your special offer

On listings, the most effective way to communicate your special offer and make your listing stand out is to set up an Owner Special. It’s a free feature intended to highlight a price reduction, special weekend rate, cancellation, or special offer. Log in to set up your Owner Special by clicking the Owner Special link under the Manage Listing section of your Homeowner Center .

Download the Ideal Listing eBook!Owner Special tips:

•    If you do reduce your price, be sure to revise your pricing on your calendar. Remember that vacationers can search by price caps, so if you don’t reduce the price on your calendar, you may miss folks looking for a price cap below your original price.

•    Be specific! Rather than, “Inquire about off season weekend packages,” give the details such as “Winter weekend getaway: $199 for two people.”

•    If your Owner Special is time sensitive or specific to a certain rental week, be sure you update or remove it as soon as it become inappropriate.

Have you posted Owner Specials before? What worked and what didn’t? Do you have any creative suggestions for fellow homeowners?

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. 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. Email Elizabeth


  • hiElizabeth i was wondering if i can add this special offer to my proprety for the remaining 3 weeks i have left in my rental for this summer what do you think ?
    my be offfering a 25.00 certificate to grays ice cream ?
    what is the charge
    thanks rose

    • Hi, Rose! Kudos on your beautiful listing, #19719! I’m so glad to see so many high-quality photos, a video, a very informative Property Description and picture captions – and all those fabulous guest reviews! Great job! (Where’s the Kalmus or Veterans Beach picture, though? 🙂
      I’m glad you asked about the Owner Special as the one you currently have posted is quite general and highlights one of your regular amenities, rather than offering a special of some kind. Your suggestion to offer “a 25.00 certificate to Grays Ice Cream” is a good one – just be sure to add “Book by March 1st and” in front of it. It’s only a “special” offer if what you offer is indeed special and not something always included. This won’t cost you much money, but it could be just the added incentive a vacationer needs to pull the trigger and book your home.
      Good luck!