Marketing Your Vacation Rental

Using special offers to promote your home

Written by Elizabeth Weedon
4.7/5 - (14 votes)

Updated December 2023

If you’re really keen on getting your home booked for a specific time period, one of the most effective ways of doing so is to provide vacationers a special offer, preferably a discount. But the next step is just as important: to promote that special offer in a way that catches vacationers’ eyes and persuades them to inquire about and book it.  Kind of a one-two punch.

What to 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 WeNeedaVacation 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.

But if you don’t follow these simple guidelines, you will reduce the odds of the Offer succeeding:

Owner Special tips

  • Be specific! Rather than, “Inquire about off season weekend packages,” give the details such as “Winter weekend getaway: $199 for two people.” And instead of “Prices reduced!” which is so general, offer details including the exact dates and prices.
  • Our recommendation is to use this template: “Week of [X Date] just reduced $XXX/wk! Now only $XXXX/wk!”
  • If you do reduce your price, be sure to revise your pricing on your calendar as well. 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.
  • Refrain from simply pointing out a nice feature about your home. This should be done elsewhere on your listing. The point of an Owner Special is to promote a special OFFER, something fairly unique and time-specific.
  • 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 becomes inappropriate. It makes you and your listing look dated and confusing, for example, if you are still posting a Fourth of July Owner Special in August!

Turbo-boost your Owner Special with a Last-minute Availability Alert

If the dates you are trying to fill begin within the next month, consider purchasing a Last-minute Availability Alert, too. For a nominal charge, Alerts promote your listing with its special offer in our Specials and Last-minute Deals Directory. (Note: posting an Owner Special is mandatory to include with an Alert.)

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 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.


  • 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!