A lot of people get into the vacation rental industry thinking that all they need is a nice home in a good location and the money will start rolling in. Nothing could be further from the truth. As in any crowded marketplace, it requires a lot of hard work, some creative marketing, and a little bit of luck to distinguish yourself in the world of vacation rentals. The hard work part is entirely on you, and there’s nothing we can do about the luck, but we’re glad to share a few tips with you that will hopefully demystify the marketing process.
We’re going to assume that you’ve already listed your property on the major listing sites like Homeaway, VRBO, Flipkey, and Airbnb. If you haven’t, you should (unless you have way of getting millions of visitors to your own website, it which case we’d love to hear it). Large parts of this industry are pay-to-play and you will see more success if you just bite the bullet and fork over the cash.
Once you have a listing for your property, you’ll need a good title. After your photos, your title is probably the second-most important aspect of your listing. You need something that will entice potential guests while at the sometime highlighting what makes your property unique. Does your property have a pool? Free wifi? Spectacular views? Make sure your guests can tell right away what you’re offering. It’s always a good idea to include the number of bedrooms as well.
You also need to provide of description of your property that will paint a picture in the minds of your guests of what to expect. A good description should erase any uncertainty about your property. Include specific information about sleeping arrangements like the number and size of the beds, as well as the amenities that are included. Think about the types of guests you want to attract (couples, families, business travelers, etc.) and try to target them with your description. Remember that online readers prefer short sentences and paragraphs, and be sure to proofread for any errors.
With a catchy title and a good description, it’s time to start thinking about the most important part of your listing: the photos. The old adage that a picture is worth a thousand words has never been more true. The best way to ensure quality pictures is to hire a professional photographer that specializes in real estate. Of course, that’s not always an option for everyone so if you’re going to take the photos yourself, there a few key things to remember:
- Get pictures of every room and amenity, paying special attention to the kitchen. Having a kitchen is one of the main reasons travelers choose a vacation rental over a hotel, and as one guest recently told us, “I know that if the owner makes sure the kitchen looks great, they’ll pay just as much attention to the rest of their home.”
- Make sure there’s plenty of light. Open the blinds and turn on all the light fixtures. Turn on your camera flash. Lots of light will give the feeling of warmth and make your property more inviting. If the pictures are dark, it will feel cold and unwelcoming.
- The ideal shooting height is approximately five feet above the ground with the camera pointing straight ahead. Be careful not to tilt the camera up or down because this will distort the image and make it harder for the guest to get a feel for the space. Try to fit the entire room into the frame.
By following these simple tips, you should have enough of a foundation to get your vacation rental up and running. Keep in mind, there is always more to learn. In future posts, we will talk about promoting your listing and how to turn your guests into your best advertisers.
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