With the increased popularity of vacation property rentals, the market has become very competitive. As a solo investor, the competition can seem scary. Huge global websites like Airbnb, HomeAway, Expedia, and TripAdvisor have vacation rental listings by the bucketload. If you choose not to list on one of these websites or others, you need to have a very solid marketing plan by which you can get your property noticed and ultimately, rented to paying customers. And, even if you are on a listing site, making money on a rental property still involves input on your part to secure rentals and attract repeat customers.
THE IMPORTANCE OF MARKETING FOR RENTAL PROPERTY MANAGEMENT
Marketing to bring in new customers is a key factor in rental property management, but there is also lucrative business to be found in repeat customers. It could be assumed that people who have already stayed in your vacation rental will not be swayed by marketing. They have been, they have experienced it, and therefore, they are able to make up their mind whether they book another stay or not.
Ignore this assumption. There are many choices in vacation rentals, but there are ways to get previous customers to choose your property again. First, there’s familiarity; they had a fantastic vacation and know what to expect. And then there’s ease of booking; this removes the need for all those hours browsing looking for their next vacation destination. Here’s a few ideas for how to bring those customers back for their next vacation.
1. SEND A THANK YOU CARD
A small token of appreciation still goes a long way. Everyone is so incredibly busy and rushed these days that taking the effort to send a thank you card rather than just a text message or email is very well received.
2. SEND THEM A GIFT AS A REMINDER OF THEIR VACATION
Your customers will have their photographs of their vacation, but they are not an everyday thing. Sending a physical gift that reminds them of the great time they had and what a lovely place your rental is can be a constant prod at their emotions when it comes to thinking about their next vacation. Making money on rental property means keeping your place in your customers’ minds. Gifts like fridge magnets, keyrings, mugs, calendars, or similar promotional items are ideal.
3. EMAIL A NEWSLETTER
Keeping in touch by email can be powerful in driving return customers to your rental property, but with inboxes filling up with all sorts of rubbish, you need to be sure your message is opened. A newsletter has good potential to be clicked on. Choose to send an informative and fun newsletter two, three, or even four times a year if there is enough news to impart. News items can be improvements and changes you’ve made or plan to make to your rental property along with news items local to the area. Including some pictures as a reminder will also pull on those emotional strings. If you live in a particularly busy area, you could most likely get away with sending newsletters that conveniently compile lists of things to do in your area.
4. SEND A REMINDER
Humans are creatures of habit, and many go on vacation around the same time every year. Send a timely reminder about your property and the lovely time they had there around the time you think they might be considering booking their vacation. Making it personal by addressing your potential renters directly rather than it looking like a generic marketing email will have more meaning and be more impactful. Even if you send a newsletter, let them know of changes you have made to the property or what’s new in the area.
5. COLLABORATIVE OFFERS
People love deals and discounts; as is evident by the explosion of daily deal sites like Groupon and Wowcher. Talk to local businesses offering tourist services and work out some collaborative deals. For example, you might offer return bookers 50% off a meal at a local restaurant, half-price entry to an attraction, discount on a tour of your area, or reduced prices for car rentals. Such deals will not only help with making money on rental property but will also aid the local businesses you make the deals with. These deals can be included in a newsletter or an email communication.
6. USE THE POWER OF SOCIAL MEDIA
Your marketing strategy for your vacation rental should include an active presence on social media – a Facebook page, a Pinterest board, Twitter account, or an Instagram account. Or better yet, all four! As well as making regular posts yourself, encourage interaction among your guests. Always respond to comments in a professional but friendly manner, even if it is just an acknowledgement that the comment was made. Invite your guests to share their photos on your social media pages. You can do this on the pages directly but also by email shortly after their vacation is over. Always send a follow up note or message when guests add photos to any of your feeds. Keeping it human on social media is an important factor in getting return guests to your vacation rental, as well as attracting new ones.
7. OFFER A FAMILY AND FRIENDS DISCOUNT
Much like a loyalty scheme, offer previous guests the opportunity to join your rental’s family and friends club. Offer a discount for a repeat booking. You might also consider staggered discounts, say for example, first repeat booking offer a 5% discount, second repeat 10%, and 15% for third repeat booking. This can also lead you to think about other special offers for repeat customers such as discounted rates in the low season. If you want to think about extending the family and friends idea, it can be used as a vehicle for bringing in new customers, in a referral-type scheme, whereby you offer a discount both to the new guests and the previous guests.
SECURE RETURN RENTERS FOR YOUR VACATION PROPERTY
Securing repeat renters for your vacation property takes a lot of time and effort. If you’re looking for a partner to help lighten your load, Minnestay is here. With comprehensive vacation rental property management services, we can help with everything from selecting the most competitive listing price to helping you secure return visitors. See how Minnestay can make a difference in your vacation rental’s performance today.