5 Ways to Effectively Advertise Your Vacation Rentals
By Properly / Nov 21, 2018
You know that when your guests stay in your properties, they have an exceptional experience. But how can you convince them that your vacation rentals are better managed, equipped, and furnished than any others on the market? It all comes down to how you advertise.
Your guests have no way of knowing in advance whether a property has more to offer than an attractive appearance in photos online. They’re either making an entirely blind choice, or going with the vacation rental with advertising that gives them a strong impression they can trust the person who hosts this property.
Earn their trust with these 5 simple improvements to your vacation rental advertising.
1. Catch Their Eye with a Strong Headline
If you’re using Google Ads or Facebook Ads, you’ll want to be sure your advertisement stands out among the others lined up next to you. If your property will appear in a list of results on HomeAway or Airbnb, you’re trying to make your listing more appealing than all the others.
Either way, your headline will be your biggest asset.
Strong headlines give guests a compelling reason to choose your property over any other. Every person browsing online would like to find what they’re looking for as quickly as possible, and travelers looking for accommodation are no exception. Make it easy for them to decide your advertisement is extremely likely to be what they’re looking for.
On a listing site like HomeAway or Airbnb, you can stand out by telling them standout amenities or features of the property. Most headlines look something like this:
Cozy Cottage in the Adirondacks Close to Everything!
Here’s the problem: this guest is already searching in the Adirondacks, so this description tells the guest something they already knew about the property. It can’t be “close to everything” and the guest doesn’t know which “everything” the description refers to – downtown? The ski resort?
A better headline might be: “2BD Cottage Just 10 Mins to McCauley & Old Forge.” If you think your guests will be more interested in a property’s amenities than its prime location, you can highlight those instead: “2BD Cottage w/ Wood-Burning Fireplace & Hot Tub.”
If you’re advertising online, give them a reason why checking out your website is far better than going directly to a listing site. “Why Browse 1,000s of Listings? Find Your Perfect Rental.” Or if you’re likely to be up against other vacation rentals in the area for a certain search type, highlight why your service and amenities are better than your competition’s.
2. Use Your Description Wisely
Your description should immediately tell your guests what kind of stay to expect in your property. That description should start with a succinct summary of all its best features. Features include not only the prime amenities, but the type of property, the feel of the space, and the service you’re able to provide.
“This cozy cottage offers all the charm of a rustic retreat without sacrificing convenience or ease. When you step in, you’ll find the fireplace laid out with a fire ready to light, and the beds piled high with blankets to keep you nice and warm on snowy nights. After a long day of skiing at nearby Mt. McCauley, you’ll love coming home to this property to whip up a hot meal in the fully-equipped kitchen, or sink into a bath in the huge clawfoot tub.”
You’re explaining to the guest that this property will provide the perfect complement to the enjoyable activities in this destination. The description above, for example, is designed to make a guest feel excited about renting this property for a ski retreat. All the words that evoke warmth and comfort are just what they’d want after spending a day out in the cold, so this property immediately sounds like just the ticket.
If you have a beach property, highlight coming home to a cool, relaxing property with the breeze blowing in. If you have a city property, highlight either a quiet retreat or being in the midst of the city’s high life.
Once you’ve established the overall feel of the property, use the bulk of your description to walk your guests through each room of the property and explain what they’ll find there.
For example, when you’re describing the kitchen, you can detail what “fully-equipped” really means – plenty of guests have been disappointed to find that the kitchen only has one pot, one pan, and a plastic stirring spoon, so telling them what tools they’ll actually have in your kitchen will help them make an immediate decision.
You should also make sure your guests know what size bed they can expect to find in each bedroom, and what amenities are included in each. This helps your guests start plotting immediately who will go in which room, which means they’re already imagining themselves in your property!
3. Explain Your Process and Services
Guests worry about staying in vacation rentals because the experience is often wildly different from one property to the next. What will they do if they can’t get into the property when they arrive? What if the host won’t answer their calls when the pipes burst?
You can help them trust that their experience of your property will be great by including a description of your services in the property’s description itself on a listing site, or in a link on your website that leads directly to a page where you detail your approach to management.
Be sure to include:
- Your Entry Process. How will they gain access to the property? What will you do if the access method doesn’t work (i.e., the code doesn’t work or the key is missing)? What do you do to make sure the entry method is set up correctly before they arrive?
- Your Question-Answering Process. Guests often have simple questions that they’d like answered as soon as possible. What’s your method for fielding these questions? How quickly can they expect a response, and between what hours of the day?
- Your Emergency Process. If something goes seriously wrong, such as a power outage or pipes bursting, how will your guests get in touch with you in the middle of the night? What will you do to fix the problem, and how quickly will it be resolved?
- Your Inspection Process. It can be very reassuring for guests to know that you take precautions against emergencies. For example, letting them know that you perform a pre-winter maintenance check on the HVAC system lets them know they’re not likely to experience issues with the heat.
Remember that the biggest impediment for your guests is trust. When they know you’ve already thought through how to answer their questions and address any issues that arise, they’ll feel safe putting their trust in you. You’ll have shown them that their vacation matters to you, and that you’ve taken steps to ensure it goes smoothly.
4. Highlight Your Thoughtful Touches
You might have family-friendly amenities in your vacation rentals, or perhaps you’ve decided to stock all of your kitchens with staples like flour, sugar, oil, and spices. You might provide soap and shampoo in your vacation rentals, or have folding drying racks available to hang wet snow gear.
Whatever the special touches you provide for your guests, be sure to highlight them in your advertising. Don’t wait to delight your guests – excite them with the thoughtful touches ahead of time!
Include pictures of your thoughtful amenities in your vacation rental advertisements on listing sites and your own website. A wide shot of the whole bathroom lets them know what the bathroom looks like; including a close-up of the toiletries tells them this is a regular feature of the property.
Similarly, if you offer family-friendly amenities, take pictures of the room with those amenities in them and without, so that guests with and without children can see that they’re an optional add-on.
Don’t forget to call out these special touches in your description, too! Your guests will trust you to provide an exceptional stay when they see how much thought you’ve put into these extra touches. Be sure to tell them why you provide these extras, too – this will increase your trust factor.
For example, “This property includes drying racks” is accurate, but doesn’t increase trust. “We’ve provided drying racks to make it easier to dry out your snow gear overnight,” tells the guest that you’re providing this amenity to make their stay more enjoyable.
5. Tell Them Your Vacation Rental Philosophy
You may not know you have one, but you definitely do. You use the entry system you do for a reason; you provide the amenities you provide for a reason. You believe that the way you manage a property is a good one, and there are reasons you think that.
Tell your guests what those reasons are.
Ultimately, we make all of our decisions based on a gut feeling. You can help your guests have a good gut feeling about renting from you vs. anyone else because of your philosophy. Another property might seem nicer in photos – but they’re going to rent your property because they can see it’s managed by someone who clearly cares a lot about what they do.
Tie everything you can tell them about what makes your properties unique to this philosophy. Why do you provide family-friendly amenities and sleds for the kids to enjoy in the snow? Maybe it’s because you know your family always has more fun when the kids are happy. Why do you answer questions within 30 minutes no matter what? Maybe it’s because your philosophy is that hosts should be attentive to their guests’ needs.
If you work with a team in your vacation rental management business, you probably tell them about your philosophy all the time. You tell them why their work matters. You tell them what experience you want to provide for your guests. It’s time to share that philosophy beyond your team so your guests know how much you care.
Explaining why you do what you do lets your guest know that there’s a real person behind this property – and that this person sounds like someone they’d like to entrust their vacation to.
How do you make sure each of your vacation rentals lives up to what you’ve advertised – every time? Properly makes it possible to see each room is prepared to your exacting standards in real time, so you can feel confident promising your guests their stay will be perfect. Click here to talk to our team about how Properly could work for you.