There's good money to be had in vacation rentals. But the key to really optimizing those profits? That lies in reducing vacancies and keeping the place booked.
Of course, that's easier said than done -- especially as the competition grows in most cities across the country.
Fortunately, the right marketing strategies can help. Want to keep your rental booked and bringing in the bacon? Here are seven tactics to get you there:
1. List on several sites
If you want more visibility, then don't just stick to one platform. List on at least a few, with Airbnb and VRBO at the top of your list. Other good options include HomeAway and these Airbnb alternatives.
2. Advertise on social media
Facebook and Instagram can be great advertising platforms for your short-term rental. For one, they let you drill down deep when targeting your ads. You can market to people who recently booked vacations, users interested in travel, people from certain geographic areas, and more. Ads on these platforms are also pretty affordable, too -- at least compared to other advertising options.
3. Create a property website
A designated property website can be a smart marketing tool -- especially if you leverage the power of search engine optimization (SEO). Add localized content like neighborhood guides, restaurant recommendations, and more, and make sure you market that content on social media, too. You might also consider adding a booking calendar to the site.
4. Cultivate more reviews
Why spend money on marketing when you can let satisfied customers do the work for you? Make sure renters are taken care of and happy during their stays, and then follow up and ask for a review or rating. Higher-rated properties will get more views on listing platforms, and they might even qualify you for a program like Airbnb's Superhost.
5. Leverage local events and happenings
It's important that you're in tune with what's going on in your market. Are there festivals or events going on? Is a holiday coming up? Update your listing and find ways to offer perks that coincide with current happenings. The more relevant you're able to make your rental, the more bookings you'll see (and you can probably charge more, too).
6. Invest in quality photos
A picture's worth a thousand words, right? That's certainly true in real estate. After all, photos take up the bulk of any listing page. They're how consumers evaluate a property, and they play a big role in whether someone will go on to read your reviews or even your description. The moral here? Don't scrimp on photos. Consider them a necessary marketing cost, and invest in a pro photographer's services from the very start.
7. Tap your past renters
Your past renters are a great source of future business. Be sure to stay in touch with them and keep the lines of communication open. You can also run promos for second and third stays or offer referral rewards for those willing to send new renters your way. You'd be surprised at how much business this can lead to.
The bottom line
There's no "if you build it, they will come" scenario in vacation rentals. If you want solid profits, then a booked-solid calendar is critical. Make sure you're investing enough in your marketing and advertising efforts to ensure both.