4 Steps to Max Out Bookings
Looking for ways to max out your bookings? Well, you’re in luck because Timber & Tide is a member of the Vacation Rental Management Association (VRMO) and we have access to excellent tools and exceptional expertise in the vacation rental industry. We recently attended the Fall 2019 Marketing seminar for vacation rentals. The competition is heating up, but here are the 4 steps to keep your home fully booked.
1. Know Your Audience
To be successful in any business, you need to understand your audience. The first question to ask is, why do travelers rent vacation homes? Here are 3 reasons why travelers are leaning more towards vacation rentals these days.
60% of travelers want more room. They want the largest accommodations that fit the needs of their group. Make sure you have photos showcasing the size and scale of your property. Want to take it a step further? Include the square footage and photo of your floor plan so that travelers can be sure your property fits their needs.
Millennials and Money
Millennials are a big part of the vacation rental market, and 60% say that they chose a vacation rental over a hotel due to cost. Does your property have amenities that would appeal to those on a budget or are wanting to save money? Highlight these features in your description. Include anything you can think of to make your property more marketable. This can include free parking, walking distance to local attractions, free coffee, and snacks, etc. Get creative with the ways you can make your property stand out to this group.
You wouldn’t book a vacation rental or hotel without at least seeing what the property and rooms looked like, and your guest is the same. You want to make sure that you have enough photos to showcase your property but not overwhelm a potential guest.
Travelers are 83% more likely to inquire about your property if you have 20 more photos, but if you have more than 30, it will overwhelm them. 20-30 photos is the sweet spot and we like to rotate seasonal views (perhaps the snow covered mountain view from your balcony in winter, or the refreshing pool view in summer) for the season we are marketing to fill.
2. Get to Know Your Guests.
What type of guests is your vacation rental attracting? Are families staying at your vacation rental, or is it more working travelers or couples. Speak to your key audience in your description. Families
Families will usually book 5-7 nights at your rental. They are looking for large open spaces, a dining room table that can seat at 4+, WiFi, games, and attractions for the whole family. Update/upgrade your classic board games, playing cards, highchairs, pack-n-plays and conversation areas in your vacation rental. Photograph those and note them in your description. Apply for the Family Collection on Airbnb so your property will stand out.
Noticing that your property is being rented by couples instead? These travelers usually book 1-2 nights. They are looking for clean, romantic places to sleep and great attractions (restaurants, concerts, museums, vineyards, hiking, biking, golf). Invest in high-quality linen and provide them with a weekend bucket list of attraction in your area to ensure their stay is perfect. Offer other amenities (fresh flowers, picnic lunches, trail maps)
These travelers are in the area for usually 1-3 days. To be included in the Work Collection on AirBnB (which will increase your ranking) you must have a desk & chair workspace and high speed internet in your rental. Include some items that you personally would want on a business trip including iron, ironing board, and spray starch, a coffee station with disposable travel cups, with breakfast bars or midnight snacks.
3. Know Your Competitors
You are not the only vacation rental in the area, so to ensure that your property is chosen over the rest, you need to see what you can do differently.
Research other vacation rental properties in the area including, local hotels and B&Bs. What are they offering? Offer the same things plus other amenities to grab potential renters' attention. Travelers are spending money for the experience of staying at a vacation rental. Their experience with you begins at the point when they are online and comparing your vacation rental to their other options.
Gaining a new guest costs 5 times more than cultivating a relationship with your current guest. After each guest leaves ask them to write a review about their stay at your property. Ask them to provide you with private feedback about ways you can improve a renter's experience. Make sure that you are responding to their review within a timely manner. If you are booking through VRBO, Booking.com, and TripAdvisor, you will be provided with the guest's email so that you can stay in touch. Establish an email database of past guests and reach out to them with news and events regarding your property. Creating lasting relationships with your guest will help you rise above your competition.