8 Effective Marketing Strategies for Vacation Rentals to Increase Bookings and Get Repeat Guests

Updated on September 6th, 2023

Reading Time: 7 minutes

Whether you’re establishing your vacation rental business in a house in Rochester or an Oklahoma City apartment, implementing successful marketing strategies is pivotal for driving bookings and fostering repeat guests. These proven tactics, drawn from the expertise of industry leaders, encompass VR success stories, crucial insights, and the art of cultivating a welcoming environment within your short-term rental. From optimizing your website to curating a social media presence, focusing on memorable experiences rather than mere amenities, and tailoring your offerings to a diverse audience, these strategies offer a comprehensive roadmap to stand out in a competitive market. By incorporating these actionable approaches, you can forge a path towards increased bookings and a loyal base of returning visitors, positioning your vacation rental for long-term success.

short term renters entering a vr
SrdjanPav via Getty Images

1. Create and optimize a website for your vacation rental business

“Property managers should create websites for their vacation rental that maximizes booking and profit,” recommends David Nge from Making That Website.

  • “Identify your website booking strategy early on: The common trade offs for website and channel management platforms come down to customization vs scalability. If you prioritize customization, your website may become less scalable, especially if you have multiple properties.
  • Pro tip to get the most out of your property rental/management system: You can often request a concierge service to assist you in setting up the website and channel integration. While some may charge a one-time setup fee, it’s a worthwhile investment considering the time and effort required to establish a proper website.”

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2. Have a social media presence

“At Wise Getaways, operating in Florida and specializing in luxury vacation homes, we’ve found that leveraging social media is paramount. Engage your audience with stunning visuals while showcasing the unique selling points of each rental,” suggests Wise Getaways. “Additionally, our commitment to providing incredible hospitality shines through as we curate content highlighting local attractions, exclusive amenities, and heartwarming guest experiences, fostering a genuine connection with potential travelers.”

3. Don’t just focus on amenities in your marketing strategy 

“Digital marketing has its place, but you have to avoid fixating solely on amenities,” Chet Bohley advises. “While amenities are appreciated, vacations become fleeting moments in time. Our most powerful marketing tool lies in crafting a simple vision of ‘future memories’ that renters can place themselves into. Just one professional photo can convey that renting from you provides a cherished backdrop for unforgettable family moments.”

vacation rental property available for booking

Courtesy of Chet Bohley and 805-bnb.com

4. Know your guests and provide great customer service

“Here are a couple of tips that I have for effective marketing strategies to ensure your vacation rental runs smoothly,” shares Sierra Sky Property Management.

  • “Complete an inspection on your property after it has been cleaned to ensure nothing was missed. Routine inspections will also help you catch any maintenance issues before your guests do.
  • Opening and staging your property for guest arrival. Turn heat/AC on, as well as a couple lights to make the property feel welcoming for your guests. First impressions are everything.
  • Create a house manual for your property with home instructions and recommendations of things to do/places to eat. Travelers love to hear recommendations from locals.
  • Providing an incentive like a discount code for guests staying at your property will encourage them to want to stay again in the future.
  • Having a wide range of travelers is important for your rental’s performance year-round. Asking guests for the reason for their trip will help you understand why people are traveling and where your target audience should be during certain times of the year.”

5. Getting five-star reviews through branding and pricing 

“I am the owner of Sky High Cabins, and I am a small woman-owned business. I grew my property portfolio from my own cabin to 90 plus listings with numerous contracts still in progress. I achieved this by providing high-level attention to detail in pictures, including staging the perfect lifestyle branding for a home, rather than just throwing up a quick photo shoot with subpar lighting,” says Sky High Cabins. “Photos, along with staging a home to perfection using items exclusively found in your rental and paying attention to minor details and descriptions, are absolute musts for succeeding in the short-term rental business. Highlighting all the wonderful features of your home and location, as well as family-friendly amenities, will be key to your success.

Pricing strategies are also essential for understanding where the market is headed and why it’s already there. Factors like the economy, comps, and the number of listings for rent in your area determine where you stand in your market. You must always be ready to adjust your listing to remain competitive and continue to garner high-level five-star reviews through excellent hospitality and customer service. By doing so, you will propel your listing to the top in no time at all.

Getting top dollar for your short-term rental will largely depend on you. Do you have a unique design that is chic and stands out in your location? Are your personal items reflective of a home that is not yet ready to be rented? Do you possess outdated furnishings or paint that needs touching up? Do you offer a fully stocked kitchen, complete with spices and gadgets? I never open a short-term rental without key amenities that every guest would expect from the finest hotels, right down to coffee, creamer, and even luxury teas or a small welcome box. These elements are all crucial in keeping your guests content and generating those sought-after five-star reviews. Such reviews directly impact revenue. Consistently maintaining your home and keeping it in top condition is essential for achieving a high return rate on your investment.”

Sky High Management property management

Courtesy Sky High Cabins

6. Create high quality listing strategies

“To ensure you have high quality listings, I recommend the following,” says Primior:

“Building a successful short-term rental listing requires careful thought about your target audience, the platform where you’re posting your rental, and the content of the listing itself.

Understanding what attracts people to your rental location is key. Whether it’s a spring break hot spot or a peaceful retreat for retirees, use language in your listing that directly speaks to these visitors and appeals to their desires. If your rental property is a five-minute walk from a major city attraction, be sure to mention that. Highlight features like a pool and mention nearby restaurants, shopping centers, and other attractions, as this will drive more bookings.

While Airbnb is often the go-to platform, don’t overlook others like Booking.com, Vrbo, and Tripadvisor Rentals. Using multiple platforms can increase exposure to potential renters.

An attractive listing includes engaging text, high-quality images, and videos. Consider hiring a professional photographer and an interior decorator to make your listing stand out. High-quality photos can significantly increase booking rates.

Gather Reviews: Having numerous positive reviews can improve your property’s visibility in search results on rental platforms. After a guest’s stay, ensure you ask them to leave a review and share their feedback. You can do this manually via email or use tools like Birdeye.

If you have multiple properties, consider hiring a property management company. They can assist in maintaining your pricing strategy, saving you time and potentially increasing your revenue.”

7. Stand out in a saturated market

“To create a successful vacation rental, start by understanding your target audience’s preferences, interests, and demographics. Utilize data-driven research to pinpoint their specific needs, enabling you to tailor experiences and marketing efforts,” suggests Cees Hofman from Carfree BNB. “Customize your vacation rental offerings and listing content to cater to this audience – ensure that the first five photos prominently display the amenities they value most. Craft a memorable brand identity that resonates with their preferences and values. 

Highlight your unique selling points, like exceptional customer service or eco-friendly practices, to set your vacation rental apart from competitors. Employ niche marketing strategies to attract specific traveler groups, whether it’s families, adventure seekers, or business travelers. Enhance your offering by providing tailored packages and unique experiences, effectively differentiating your vacation rental within the competitive market.

I also recommend you create partnerships with travel bloggers, influencers, or vloggers to feature your vacation rental in their content. Their audience can provide valuable exposure and credibility to your property. We have done this for multiple listings and have seen great results.”

8. Adapting to the market

“In the dynamic landscape of vacation rental marketing, adapting pricing strategies to match different seasons and events is paramount. By harnessing data-driven insights from various platforms to fine-tune rates based on demand fluctuations. For instance, during the winter peak season, capitalizing on higher demand ensures optimal revenue. Meanwhile, utilizing competitive pricing and special offers during the summer low season helps attract cost-conscious travelers. This strategic pricing flexibility, rooted in data, allows us to maximize bookings and revenue year-round,” recommends Ronival Real Estate.

“Additionally, diversifying marketing efforts can bolster success. Embracing the power of visual storytelling, crafting compelling listings with high-quality photos, and showcasing unique features of your properties can capture potential guests’ attention. Leverage social media platforms to highlight seasonal attractions, local events, and the experiences your properties offer during each season. Combined with revenue management insights, this multifaceted approach can help vacation rental owners achieve optimal occupancy and profitability.

Ultimately, the key lies in adaptability and staying attuned to market trends. Whether it’s implementing flexible cancellation policies, bundling value-added services, or crafting targeted marketing campaigns, being proactive in catering to distinct seasonal demands is pivotal. By embracing a data-backed, multifaceted strategy and incorporating insights from platforms like Beyond, vacation rental properties can not only weather seasonal fluctuations but thrive in every part of the year.”

Ronival real estate location

Courtesy of Ronival Real Estate

If you are represented by an agent, this is not a solicitation of your business. This article is for informational purposes only, and is not a substitute for professional advice from a medical provider, licensed attorney, financial advisor, or tax professional. Consumers should independently verify any agency or service mentioned will meet their needs. Learn more about our Editorial Guidelines here.

Holly Hooper

Holly is part of the content marketing team and enjoys writing about home improvement and lifestyle. Her dream home would incorporate both an industrial and biophilic design.

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