Marketing Strategies for A Vacation Rental Website

20 Effective Marketing Strategies for a Vacation Rental Website

Table of Contents

Vacation rental marketing for direct booking websites is one of the most important aspects of your online vacation rental marketing strategy. If you own a vacation rental website, you know how important it is to draw new site visitors and generate bookings.

At Boostly, we are all about giving away industry secrets that are most likely to help our clients and partners in the accommodation industry to succeed. The strategies and marketing ideas below could work with any direct booking accommodation site, including:

  • Vacation rentals
  • Holiday apartments
  • Boutique Hotels
  • Bed and breakfast cottages…

… and much, much more. Here are some of the things we will cover in this comprehensive guide to online marketing strategies for your vacation rental property, B&B, Boutique hotel or holiday apartment rental:

  • The importance of finding and attracting your ideal guest and customer
  • How to avoid common mistakes that many hosts make when marketing their direct bookings website
  • How to market your vacation rental online and break through guest booking roadblocks such as online travel agencies
  • How to market your holiday rental so that your guests become superfans who will generate user content that brings in new business

We have broken them up into off-site and on-site marketing strategies to help you, as a vacation rental owner or the one responsible for your direct booking website marketing, manage your property's marketing process. Here's a quick vocabulary to help you through this marketing guide.

Off-site Marketing Strategies for a Vacation Rental include link building, networking, social media marketing and paid media buys. Anything that happens on another platform will help you rank on the first page of Google and boost traffic and sales (direct bookings).

On-site Marketing Strategies for a Vacation Rental include the content you write, articles, promotions, the design and technical aspects of your vacation rental website, and anything else that will encourage a search engine to boost the visibility and traffic of your website in search results.

Glossary of terms

OTA: Online Travel Agency (the likes of Airbnb, Booking.com, etc.)

STR: Short-Term Rental (the UK term for ‘vacation rentals)

PMS: Property Management Software

GID: Get It Done

SEO: Search Engine Optimisation

CTA: Call To Action

DM: Direct Message / Private Message

FPG: Future Potential Guest

Ideal for beginners and seasoned pros in the accommodation industry, here's our guide to the top 20 vacation rental marketing tips, tricks, strategies and ideas to help you promote your vacation rental website and achieve your business goals.


10 Off-Site Marketing Strategies for Your Vacation Rental.


Β 

1. Leverage Social Media

Social media or third-party platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn, are powerful tools for promoting your vacation rental website.

Β Use Social Media in Vacation Rental Marketing to build trust Β 

The keys to marketing success on Social Media are:

  1. Put together a clear social media strategy aligning with your business goals and target audience.
  2. Create and share high-quality content that is relevant, engaging, and valuable to your audience.
  3. Use visual content such as images, videos, infographics, and other multimedia to enhance engagement and reach.
  4. Use hashtags and keywords to increase discoverability and reach on social media platforms.
  5. Engage with your audience by promptly responding to comments, messages, and mentions.
  6. Use social media analytics to measure the effectiveness of your social media efforts and make data-driven decisions.
  7. Collaborate with influencers or other businesses to expand your reach and tap into new audiences.
  8. Stay up-to-date with social media trends and best practices to optimize your strategy.
  9. Check in with your social media pages regularly. Monitor and adjust your marketing strategy to ensure you meet the marketing goals of your vacation rental and stay relevant to your prospective guests.
  10. Do your research and, if viable, see if running paid social media advertising campaigns might increase your reach and engagement.

Create engaging posts, run ads, and interact with your followers to build brand awareness and attract more visitors to your website.

2. Partner with Travel Bloggers

Partnering with travel bloggers is an excellent way to promote your vacation rental website to a broader audience. Reach out to popular travel bloggers in your niche and offer them a free stay at your vacation rental in exchange for a blog post or social media shout-out.

Ideas for reaching out to travel bloggers and other influencers in your niche.

  • Join in the conversation of online forums and discussion boards related to accommodation and travel industry topics. You can use these platforms to share valuable insights and experiences, ask questions, and connect with other industry professionals who may be interested in partnering with you.
  • Why not host a webinar or online events showcasing your travel industry expertise? Invite other industry bloggers and influencers to speak or co-host the event, and use social media to promote the event and attract potential partners.
  • You could write guest posts for industry blogs or publications in the accommodation and vacation rental sector. This has the twin benefit of allowing you to reach a wider audience and connect with other professionals who are interested in similar topics.
  • LinkedIn is your best friend when it comes to networking. Use LinkedIn to reach out to other travel industry professionals. Connect with them, share industry news and insights, and discuss potential partnership opportunities.
  • Take the time to attend virtual industry events or conferences. These events offer great opportunities to connect with other travel industry professionals and learn about new trends and technologies.
  • Why not offer to collaborate with other travel industry professionals on projects or initiatives where there is mutual benefit? Ideas include joint marketing campaigns, co-branded products or services, or partnerships that offer you and your partner some marketing or brand exposure benefits.
  • Join online travel industry groups or associations. These groups are a great way to network with other industry professionals and stay up-to-date on the latest news and trends.

3. Use Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing is about networking with social media influencers with a large following to promote your vacation rental website.

Find influencers whose values and interests align with your brand and target audience. Build relationships with others online who are willing to collaborate with you to create sponsored content. Where you find these influencers will depend on the demographic or guest persona – the people – you are trying to reach. TikTok may be okay for selling makeup but not suitable for connecting with high-end business people looking for a tropical getaway.

4. Use Vacation Rental Guest Reviews and Testimonials

Positive guest reviews and testimonials can be powerful marketing tools for your vacation rental website. Guest reviews provide essential social proof and have so many benefits.

  1. Guest reviews establish credibility and trust with potential guests
  2. They provide valuable feedback to improve guest experience and service
  3. They can be used as social proof to influence purchasing decisions
  4. They will increase visibility and exposure on review websites and search engines
  5. Guest reviews encourage guest loyalty and repeat bookings
  6. They Allow for the identification and addressing of common issues or complaints
  7. They provide insight into guests' preferences and interests
  8. Guest reviews can also be used as a source of inspiration for marketing content and messaging
  9. They help to differentiate your accommodation from competitors
  10. Guest reviews provide a platform for engaging with guests and building relationships

Great off-site websites where you can showcase your vacation rental reviews:

TripAdvisor: Among the most prominent online travel review websites, TripAdvisor is often the first place people go to read reviews on vacation rentals, B&B and hotels.

Google My Business: Google My Business lets you manage your online presence across Google and includes an area for people to leave reviews of your vacation rental properties.

Booking.com: This site is a popular online booking website. It can feature guest reviews of your vacation rental on its website.

Expedia: Expedia is another major online travel hub. Expedia features guest reviews and ratings.

Airbnb: Airbnb is a well-known place for vacation rentals. It allows users to leave reviews of the places they have stayed.

Hotels.com: This site is an online travel hub that features guest reviews prominently on its website.

Yelp: Yelp is a platform for local business reviews, including hotels and vacation rentals.

Agoda: Agoda specialises in guest accommodation in Asia. It also has a guest review section.

HomeAway: HomeAway is another home for vacation rentals and B&Bs and shows people guest reviews throughout the website.

Facebook: Facebook offers the ability for businesses to feature reviews on their page, which can be helpful for guests who are looking for a vacation rental. Encourage your guests to leave reviews on your website and social media channels (more on this below).

Highlight these reviews on your vacation rental website and social media pages to build trust and credibility with potential visitors.

5. Utilise Online Travel Agencies (OTAs)

Online travel agencies (OTAs) such as Booking.com, Expedia, and Airbnb can help you reach a wider audience and generate more bookings. And, while you should always focus on your own direct booking website first, you can use these external services as part of your vacation rental marketing plan. List your vacation rental on these platforms and optimise your listings to attract more visitors.

Start with high-quality photos. Photos are one of the most important aspects of an Airbnb listing, as they provide potential guests with a visual representation of your accommodation.

Take high-quality photos showcasing your space and its amenities, and consider hiring a professional photographer if you have the budget. Be sure to take pictures of each room and highlight any unique features that make your accommodation stand out.

In addition to photos, your listing should include a detailed description of your accommodation and its amenities. Be sure to highlight any features that make your accommodation unique or desirable, such as a pool or a great location.

Use descriptive language to paint a picture of what staying in your space is like, and be honest about any potential downsides or limitations.

Once your listing is live, it's important to be responsive and helpful to potential guests who have questions or are interested in booking. Respond to messages promptly, and provide helpful information about your space and the surrounding area.

Consider creating a guest guidebook that provides information about local attractions, restaurants, and other useful information. Being responsive and helpful can help build trust with potential guests and lead to more bookings in the long run.

Remember that creating an effective listing for your boutique hotel or B&B is an ongoing process in your overall vacation marketing strategy, and it's important to update and improve your listing based on guest feedback and changing market conditions.

6. Vacation Rental Email Marketing

Email marketing is a time-efficient, cost-effective marketing strategy for promoting your vacation rental website.

Email is usually non-intrusive and helps you to stay in touch with your past, present and potential accommodation guests. Build an email list of guests and send them occasional newsletters, promotions, and updates about your vacation rental.

Remember that email marketing should also incorporate your branding look, feel and ethos.

7. Pay-Per-Click Advertising

Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising allows you to bid on specific keywords and place ads on search engines such as Google and Bing. This can increase targeted traffic to your website and generate bookings.

But, before you dive into PPC advertising…

Everyone has a different (and passionately held) opinion on whether or not pay-per-click (PPC) advertising is the way to go when it comes to promoting a vacation rental. Some people swear by it, others can't stand it. Some studies have shown that PPC can be a pretty effective way to advertise your business.

Still, others argue that search optimisation and other marketing tactics might be more cost-effective in the long run.

One study by Wordstream1 found that the average click-through rate (CTR) for PPC ads in the travel and hospitality industry was 4.68%, which is higher than other industries. Plus, the average cost per click (CPC) for travel and hospitality ads was just $1.53, which is pretty compared to other industries.

However, other studies suggest search engine optimisation (SEO) and different types of marketing might be a better bang for your buck.

A study by Search Engine Journal2 found that organic search traffic had a higher conversion rate and lower bounce rate than PPC traffic. And, get this, the cost per acquisition (CPA) was lower for organic search traffic compared to PPC traffic. It comes down to your business goals, target audience, and budget. Try out a mix of PPC, SEO, and other marketing tactics to see what works best for your vacation rental property.

8. Content Marketing

Content marketing is about creating valuable and informative media such as blog posts, articles, tutorials, videos, and infographics to draw in and engage your ideal guests.

Effective Types of Off-site Content Marketing Include:

  • Guest blogging on industry-relevant websites
  • Contributing to online forums and communities
  • Creating and sharing infographics
  • Collaborating with influencers or other businesses in your industry
  • Hosting webinars or live events
  • Creating and sharing videos on social media and video-hosting platforms
  • Building backlinks through press releases and media outreach

Does Your Content Marketing add value to Your Vacation Rental Business

Share the content you create on your vacation rental or B&B website, social media pages, and other online platforms to drive more traffic to your vacation rental website.

9. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

Search engine optimisation (SEO) is about creating a website and its on-site media (think articles, product or service pages, videos, images, etc.) to rank higher in Bing and Google search result pages.

One of the ways that is achieved is by having your work linked back to you from other highly relevant and authoritative websites.

Think of a link as a vote. The more votes, the more important Google will think you are. The better your off-site links (the links pointing back to your site), the higher your placement in Google and Bing search results. This can increase the likelihood that you'll enjoy more organic traffic to your vacation rental or boutique hotel website and generate more direct bookings.

Not all backlinks are equal. A high-quality backlink is a link from a trustworthy, authoritative website relevant to your website's content. It should have a decent Domain Authority (DA) score. DA is a metric developed by Moz that predicts a website's ability to rank in search engine results pages (SERPs). A higher DA score indicates a website is more authoritative and trustworthy.

Is it relevant? The backlink should come from a website that is relevant to your website's content. For example, a backlink from a reputable travel website would be considered high quality if you run a travel blog.

The anchor text, or the hyperlinked text, should be relevant to the content on your website.

Over-optimisation of anchor text can be harmful, so ensuring the text is natural and fits contextually within the content is vital. A high-quality backlink is also one that is placed editorially within the content rather than being forced or paid for. This indicates that the website owner or creator considers your content valuable and relevant to their audience.

Remember, traffic matters. If no one visits the site, Google and users are less likely to value your link. A worthwhile backlink will typically come from a website with a high traffic level, indicating that the website is popular and trusted.

In short, a high-quality backlink is earned through producing valuable content and building relationships with other websites in your industry. Using the SEO tools available at websites like SEMrush, you can conduct keyword research to help you write the kind of content that will optimise your content as part of your overall off-site marketing strategy for your vacation rental. And Google and Bing will reward you with more visibility and perhaps even the first page in Google's organic search results.

10. Local Listings and Directories

List your vacation rental website on local listings and directories to attract more guests to your vacation rental. Here are ten places you can create good-looking, off-site vacation rental listings as part of your overall marketing strategy.

  1. Google My Business (a must!)
  2. Bing Places for Business (a must!)
  3. Yelp
  4. Yellow Pages
  5. Yahoo! Local
  6. Facebook (a must!)
  7. LinkedIn (a must!)
  8. TripAdvisor (a must!)
  9. Foursquare
  10. Apple Maps

Remember to optimise your listings with high-quality images and descriptions to make your vacation rental stand out.


10 Onsite-Site Marketing Ideas for Your Vacation Rental


Β On Site SEO as a marketing Strategy for a Vacation Rental PropertyΒ 

Let's move on to your on-site marketing strategies for a vacation rental property, apartment, cottage or home.

The good thing about these marketing tips is that you can do the work yourself – at your pace, and make full use of the Boostly Direct Booking Package to help guide you through the marketing process.

1. Optimise Your Website for Search Engines

In addition to link-building and off-site citations from reputable websites, optimising your vacation rental website for search engines is a great way to get more organic traffic.

By carefully optimising your on-site content and design, you can increase your visibility in Google and drive more qualified leads to your site. The list of opportunities to optimise your vacation rental website is long. Here are the most important things to address.

  1. Keyword research: Identify relevant and high-traffic keywords for your vacation rental website.
  2. Title tags and meta descriptions: Optimise title tags and meta descriptions on all pages to include relevant keywords and encourage click-throughs.
  3. Header tags: Use header tags (H1, H2, H3) to structure content and make it easier for search engines to understand.
  4. Content optimisation: Create high-quality, relevant, and engaging content with relevant keywords and information about your vacation rental property and the surrounding area.
  5. Image optimisation: Optimise images on your website by using descriptive file names and alt tags to help Google and Bing understand the content and purpose of the images.
  6. URL structure: Use descriptive and keyword-rich URLs that are easy for search engines and users to read and understand.
  7. Internal linking: Link to other pages on your website to help search engines understand the hierarchy and structure of your site.
  8. User experience: Ensure your website is user-friendly, easy to navigate, and provides a positive user experience.
  9. Mobile optimisation: Optimise your website for mobile devices, including responsive design, fast load times, and easy navigation.
  10. Schema markup: Implement schema markup to help search engines understand the content on your website and display it in search results in a more visually appealing way.

According to some sources, businesses that rank on the first page of Google receive 71% of clicks, so optimising your vacation rental website for search engines is a significant part of your marketing strategy.

2. Use High-Quality Photos and Videos

Using high-quality photos and videos of your vacation rental property effectively showcases your property to potential guests.

As a marketing tool, they are also shareable, allowing word-of-mouth marketing to reach a wider audience.

According to our own research here at Boostly and across the property market, promoting your vacation rental property with video can increase your leads by 400%, over and above those who don't use video.

Tourism TigerΒ also reports that including professional photos on your vacation rental website is a marketing strategy that can increase bookings by 225%. Make sure to include pictures of all your property's rooms, amenities, and unique features to give guests a clear idea of what they can expect.

The keys to good accommodation photos for your B&B, Boutique Hotel or holiday rental are:

Good Lighting

Good lighting is essential for taking quality accommodation photos. Try to take photos during daylight hours to ensure natural lighting, and avoid using flash whenever possible.

Photo Composition

Consider the composition of your photos, including the angle, framing, and perspective. Take photos from different angles and distances to showcase the property and highlight its best features.

Clutter-free

Ensure the rooms are clean, clutter-free, and well-staged before taking photos. Remove any unnecessary items or clutter that may detract from the overall look and feel of the space.

Accurate representation

Ensure your photos accurately represent your accommodation and are not overly edited or misleading. This includes accurately portraying the property's size, layout, and features.

Attention to detail

Pay attention to the small details, such as decor, bedding, and lighting, as they can make a big difference in the property's overall appearance. Highlight unique features or amenities, such as a cosy fireplace or a luxurious soaking tub, to make your property stand out.

3. Offer Special Promotions

Offering a variety of one-off, or annual promotions, is a great way to entice guests to book your vacation rental property and should be part of your ongoing, on-site marketing arsenal.

You can offer discounts for extended stays or run seasonal promotions to increase bookings during slow periods. According to OptinMonster (cited above), businesses that use promotions can enjoy a 72% increase in conversion rates.

4. Provide Detailed Property Descriptions

Providing detailed property descriptions on your website is essential for giving guests a clear idea of what to expect. Make sure to include all your property's amenities, features, and unique selling points.

Booking.com has stated that, according to its research, a clear and detailed property description is important to 98% of travellers when deciding on a place to stay.

Good marketing copy paints a vivid picture of your property and its surroundings. Draw attention to critical features, such as location, views, amenities, and any unique characteristics that apply to your property.

Don't be vague. Be specific and include precise details about your property. Think about the number of bedrooms, bathrooms, and beds and information about parking, Wi-Fi, and other amenities.

good marketing means using Clear, Concise and Detailed Descriptions for your Vacation Rental Property

Good vacation rental marketing keeps it simple – but urgent.

Use persuasive language in your on-site marketing of your vacation rental property and create an atmosphere on your website that will encourage potential guests to book. But make sure to badger your prospect with enough noise on the page.

Be honest about your property's strengths and weaknesses. Refrain from overselling or exaggerating the quality of your vacation rental property, as this can lead to disappointment and negative reviews.

And always remember to use friendly and welcoming language on your vacation rental website generally – and in your property descriptions specifically – so that potential guests feel comfortable and excited about their stay.

Provide information about nearby attractions, restaurants, and activities to help guests plan their trip.

5. Call Your Guests to Action!

Good marketing means giving clear direction. What do you want your prospective vacation rental guests to do when they arrive at your website?

  • Book a room
  • Phone
  • Email
  • Subscribe

Each page of your website should have a clear Call to Action or CTA. Think about the purpose of each of your direct booking website pages. If it has no purpose or does not lead towards better relationships, higher conversion (bookings), increasing your guest network, etc: Consider either adding a clear call to action – or else getting rid of the page.

Google has what you might call a “crawl spend” for each website. If it is only going to crawl a limited number of pages, then you want it to be the pages that matter most.

Calls to Action for Vacation Rental Marketing

Likewise, your site visitors will also have limited time to spend on your site. Don't bog them down with unnecessary or redundant information.

Good marketing means not only guiding your vacation website visitors to a profitable outcome but doing it in a way that builds confidence, loyalty and trust in your vacation rental property.

Here are some keys to an effective call to action:

  1. Be clear and concise. Ensure your call to action is easy to understand and clearly communicates the desired action.
  2. Use action-oriented language. Use strong, action-oriented verbs like “book now” or “reserve your room” to encourage immediate action.
  3. Create a sense of urgency. Use language that creates a sense of urgency, such as “limited availability” or “book now before it's too late,” to encourage customers to act quickly.
  4. Highlight benefits. Emphasise the benefits of taking the desired action, such as “book now to secure our lowest rates” or “reserve your room to enjoy our exclusive amenities.”
  5. Make it visually appealing. Use contrasting colours, bold fonts, and attention-grabbing graphics to make your call to action stand out.
  6. Use strategic placement. Place your call to action in a prominent location on your website, such as at the top of the page or near your room descriptions.
  7. Test and refine. Continuously test and refine your call to action to optimize its effectiveness, using A/B testing to compare different variations and measure results.

6. Add Guest Reviews and Testimonials

Not only should these appear off-site, but they are also crucial social proof and can seal the deal when incorporated as part of your on-site marketing strategy.

Adding guest reviews and testimonials to your website is also an effective way to build trust with potential guests. Most people will report reading online reviews before making a booking decision. Encourage your guests to leave reviews and testimonials on your website and respond to them promptly.

Good communication at this point is also good marketing for your vacation rental and helps with word-of-mouth business.

7. Use Live Chat to Answer Guest Questions

Offering a live chat feature on your website effectively engages with potential guests and answers their questions in real-time.

Live chat can show a 45% increase in guest satisfaction rates when visiting your website. A Good Live Chat Experience Includes: What constitutes a good live chat experience on an accommodation website from the guest's point of view?

8. Offer Virtual Tours of Your Property

Offering virtual tours of your vacation rental property is an effective marketing tool and gives potential guests a realistic view of your property without having to visit in person.

Β The Importance of Video in Vacation Rental MarketingΒ 

That stat above should be reasons enough to include virtual video tours as part of your vacation rental on-site marketing content.

Here are a few pointers on how to get your video marketing strategy right.

Focus on the highlights.

Identify the most attractive features of your vacation rental property and showcase them prominently in your video.

Keep it short

Attention spans are short, so aim for a video that is between 60 to 90 seconds in length to keep viewers engaged.

Show, don't tell.

Instead of describing your B&B, boutique hotel or vacation property in detail, let the video do the talking by showing off the space, its amenities, and its surroundings.

Use high-quality equipment.

If you can, invest in high-quality equipment, such as a DSLR camera and a tripod, to ensure that your video looks polished and professional. if you can't hire someone.

Plan your shots.

Plan your accommodation shots in advance, thinking about camera angles and lighting to ensure that your video showcases your vacation rental property in the best possible way.

Use music and narration.

Consider adding background music and voiceover narration to your video to make it more engaging and informative. And make sure the mood and tone suit your brand and target audience,

Highlight the experience.

Don't just focus on the property; showcase guests' experiences while staying at your rentals, B&B or hotels, such as nearby attractions, activities, and events.

9. Use Email Marketing to Keep Guests Engaged

As mentioned above, email marketing effectively keeps guests engaged and informed about your vacation rental property.

You can use email newsletters to share updates and promotions and keep guests up-to-date with local events and attractions. According to Campaign Monitor, as far as your on-site marketing goes, email marketing is one of the most bankable and effective ways to reach and engage guests.

In fact, email marketing has an average ROI of 4200%. By using email marketing to keep guests engaged with your vacation rental property, you can share updates and promotions and keep guests up-to-date with local events and attractions at almost no cost.

10. Offer Discounts for Repeat Guests

Offer Discounts for Repeat Guests Offering discounts for repeat guests on your vacation rental website.

It is a great way to build loyalty and increase bookings, traffic and reviews. If done right, those positive experiences become larger marketing tactics for your vacation rental property. Research suggests that repeat guests spend 67% more than new guests.

Make sure to offer incentives for guests to book with you again, such as exclusive promotions or rewards programs.

Okay, so there are ten off-site and ten on-site marketing strategies for your vacation rental property to help you get started. You might do some of this while outsourcing other parts of your vacation rental marketing plan to Boostly.

Either way, we can provide the marketing guidance and expertise that a new or well-experienced holiday rental or B&B host needs to build their vacation rental brand online.

Got Questions: Contact Boostly to find out more about our marketing packages for vacation rental properties today.


Additional Sources:

1 Wordstream: https://www.wordstream.com/blog/ws/2016/02/29/ppc-statistics

2. Search Engine Journal: https://www.searchenginejournal.com/seo-vs-ppc/234681

Vacation rental marketing for direct booking websites is one of the most important aspects of your online vacation rental marketing strategy.

If you own a vacation rental website, you know how important it is to draw new site visitors and generate bookings. At Boostly, we are all about giving away industry secrets that are most likely to help our clients and partners in the accommodation industry to succeed.

The strategies and marketing ideas below could work with any direct booking accommodation site, including:

  • Vacation rentals
  • Holiday apartments
  • Boutique Hotels
  • Bed and breakfast cottages…

… and much, much more.

Here are some of the things we will cover in this comprehensive guide to online marketing strategies for your vacation rental property, B&B, Boutique hotel or holiday apartment rental:

  • The importance of finding and attracting your ideal guest and customer
  • How to avoid common mistakes that many hosts make when marketing their direct bookings website
  • How to market your vacation rental online and break through guest booking roadblocks such as online travel agencies
  • How to market your holiday rental so that your guests become superfans who will generate user content that brings in new business

We have broken them up into off-site and on-site marketing strategies to help you, as a vacation rental owner or the one responsible for your direct booking website marketing, manage your property's marketing process. Here's a quick vocabulary to help you through this marketing guide.

Off-site Marketing Strategies for a Vacation Rental includes link building, networking, social media marketing and paid media buys. Anything that happens on another platform will help you rank on the first page of Google and boost traffic and sales (direct bookings).

On-site Marketing Strategies for a Vacation Rental includes the content you write, articles, promotions, the design and technical aspects of your vacation rental website, and anything else that will encourage a search engine to boost the visibility and traffic of your website in search results.

Glossary of terms

OTA: Online Travel Agency (the likes of Airbnb, Booking.com, etc.)

STR: Short-Term Rental (the UK term for ‘vacation rentals)

PMS: Property Management Software

GID: Get It Done

SEO: Search Engine Optimisation

CTA: Call To Action

DM: Direct Message / Private Message

FPG: Future Potential Guest

Ideal for beginners and seasoned pros in the accommodation industry, here's our guide to the top 20 vacation rental marketing tips, tricks, strategies and ideas to help you promote your vacation rental website and achieve your business goals.


10 Off-Site Marketing Strategies for Your Vacation Rental.


1. Leverage Social Media

Social media or third-party platforms, including FacebookInstagramTwitter, and LinkedIn, are powerful tools for promoting your vacation rental website.

Create engaging posts, run ads, and interact with your followers to build brand awareness and attract more visitors to your website.

2. Partner with Travel Bloggers

Partnering with travel bloggers is an excellent way to promote your vacation rental website to a broader audience. Reach out to popular travel bloggers in your niche and offer them a free stay at your vacation rental in exchange for a blog post or social media shout out.

Ideas for reaching out to travel bloggers and other influencers in your niche.

  • Join in the conversation of online forums and discussion boards related to accommodation and travel industry topics. You can use these platforms to share valuable insights and experiences, ask questions, and connect with other industry professionals who may be interested in partnering with you.
  • Why not host a webinar or online events showcasing your travel industry expertise? Invite other industry bloggers and influencers to speak or co-host the event, and use social media to promote the event and attract potential partners.
  • You could write guest posts for industry blogs or publications in the accommodation and vacation rental sector. This has the twin benefit of allowing you to reach a wider audience and connect with other professionals who are interested in similar topics.
  • LinkedIn is your best friend when it comes to networking. Use LinkedIn to reach out to other travel industry professionals. Connect with them, share industry news and insights, and discuss potential partnership opportunities.
  • Take the time to attend virtual industry events or conferences. These events offer great opportunities to connect with other travel industry professionals and learn about new trends and technologies.
  • Why not offer to collaborate with other travel industry professionals on projects or initiatives where there is mutual benefit? Ideas include joint marketing campaigns, co-branded products or services, or partnerships that offer you and your partner some marketing or brand exposure benefits.
  • Join online travel industry groups or associations. These groups are a great way to network with other industry professionals and stay up-to-date on the latest news and trends.

3. Use Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing is about networking with social media influencers with a large following to promote your vacation rental website.

Find influencers whose values and interests align with your brand and target audience. Build relationships with others online who are willing to collaborate with you to create sponsored content. Where you find these influencers will depend on the demographic or guest persona – the people – you are trying to reach.

TikTok may be okay for selling makeup but not suitable for connecting with high-end business people looking for a tropical getaway.

4. Use Vacation Rental Guest Reviews and Testimonials

Positive guest reviews and testimonials can be powerful marketing tools for your vacation rental website. Guest reviews provide essential social proof and have so many benefits.

  1. Guest reviews establish credibility and trust with potential guests
  2. They provide valuable feedback to improve guest experience and service
  3. They can be used as social proof to influence purchasing decisions
  4. They will increase visibility and exposure on review websites and search engines
  5. Guest reviews encourage guest loyalty and repeat bookings
  6. They Allow for the identification and addressing of common issues or complaints
  7. They provide insight into guests' preferences and interests
  8. Guest reviews can also be used as a source of inspiration for marketing content and messaging
  9. They help to differentiate your accommodation from competitors
  10. Guest reviews provide a platform for engaging with guests and building relationships

 

Great off-site websites where you can showcase your vacation rental reviews: 

TripAdvisor

Among the most prominent online travel review websites, TripAdvisor is often the first place people go to read reviews on vacation rentals, B&B and hotels.

Google My Business

Google My Business lets you manage your online presence across Google and includes an area for people to leave reviews of your vacation rental properties.

Booking.com

This site is a popular online booking website. It can feature guest reviews of your vacation rental on its website.

Expedia

Expedia is another major online travel hub. Expedia features guest reviews and ratings.

Airbnb Airbnb is a well-known place for vacation rentals. It allows users to leave reviews of the places they have stayed. Hotels.com This site is an online travel hub that features guest reviews prominently on its website.

Yelp Yelp is a platform for local business reviews, including hotels and vacation rentals.

Agoda Agoda specialises in guest accommodation in Asia. It also has a guest review section.

HomeAway HomeAway is another home for vacation rentals and B&Bs and shows people guest reviews throughout the website.

Facebook Facebook offers the ability for businesses to feature reviews on their page, which can be helpful for guests who are looking for a vacation rental. Encourage your guests to leave reviews on your website and social media channels (more on this below).

Highlight these reviews on your vacation rental website and social media pages to build trust and credibility with potential visitors.

5. Utilise Online Travel Agencies (OTAs)

Online travel agencies (OTAs) such as Booking.comExpedia, and Airbnb can help you reach a wider audience and generate more bookings. And, while you should always focus on your own direct booking website first, you can use these external services as part of your vacation rental marketing plan.

List your vacation rental on these platforms and optimise your listings to attract more visitors.

Start with high-quality photos. Photos are one of the most important aspects of an Airbnb listing, as they provide potential guests with a visual representation of your accommodation.

Take high-quality photos showcasing your space and its amenities, and consider hiring a professional photographer if you have the budget. Be sure to take pictures of each room and highlight any unique features that make your accommodation stand out. In addition to photos, your listing should include a detailed description of your accommodation and its amenities.

Be sure to highlight any features that make your accommodation unique or desirable, such as a pool or a great location. Use descriptive language to paint a picture of what staying in your space is like, and be honest about any potential downsides or limitations.

Once your listing is live, it's important to be responsive and helpful to potential guests who have questions or are interested in booking. Respond to messages promptly, and provide helpful information about your space and the surrounding area.

Consider creating a guest guidebook that provides information about local attractions, restaurants, and other useful information. Being responsive and helpful can help build trust with potential guests and lead to more bookings in the long run.

Remember that creating an effective listing for your boutique hotel or B&B is an ongoing process in your overall vacation marketing strategy, and it's important to update and improve your listing based on guest feedback and changing market conditions.

6. Vacation Rental Email Marketing

Email marketing is a time-efficient, cost-effective marketing strategy for promoting your vacation rental website.

Email is usually non-intrusive and helps you to stay in touch with your past, present and potential accommodation guests. Build an email list of guests and send them occasional newsletters, promotions, and updates about your vacation rental.

Remember that email marketing should also incorporate your branding look, feel and ethos.

7. Pay-Per-Click Advertising

Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising allows you to bid on specific keywords and place ads on search engines such as Google and Bing. This can increase targeted traffic to your website and generate bookings.

But, before you dive into PPC advertising… Everyone has a different (and passionately held) opinion on whether or not pay-per-click (PPC) advertising is the way to go when it comes to promoting a vacation rental.

Some people swear by it, others can't stand it. Some studies have shown that PPC can be a pretty effective way to advertise your business.

Still, others argue that search optimisation and other marketing tactics might be more cost-effective in the long run.

One study by Wordstream found that the average click-through rate (CTR) for PPC ads in the travel and hospitality industry was 4.68%, which is higher than other industries. Plus, the average cost per click (CPC) for travel and hospitality ads was just $1.53, which is pretty compared to other industries.

However, other studies suggest search engine optimisation (SEO) and different types of marketing might be a better bang for your buck. A study by Search Engine Journal found that organic search traffic had a higher conversion rate and lower bounce rate than PPC traffic. And, get this, the cost per acquisition (CPA) was lower for organic search traffic compared to PPC traffic.

Basically, it comes down to your own specific business goals, your target audience, and your budget. Try out a mix of PPC, SEO, and other marketing tactics to see what works best for your vacation rental property.

8. Content Marketing

Content marketing is about creating valuable and informative media such as blog posts, articles, tutorials, videos, and infographics to draw in and engage your ideal guests.

Effective Types of Off-site Content Marketing Include:

  • Guest blogging on industry-relevant websites
  • Contributing to online forums and communities
  • Creating and sharing infographics
  • Collaborating with influencers or other businesses in your industry
  • Hosting webinars or live events
  • Creating and sharing videos on social media and video-hosting platforms
  • Building backlinks through press releases and media outreach

Share the content you create on your vacation rental or B&B website, social media pages, and other online platforms to drive more traffic to your vacation rental website.

9. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

Search engine optimisation (SEO) is about creating a website and its on-site media (think articles, product or service pages, videos, images, etc.) to rank higher in Bing and Google search results pages

One of the ways that is achieved is by having your work linked back to you from other highly relevant and authoritative websites.

Think of a link as a vote. The more votes, the more important Google will think you are. The better your off-site links (the links pointing back to your site), the higher your placement in Google and Bing search results. This can increase the likelihood that you'll enjoy more organic traffic to your vacation rental or boutique hotel website and generate more direct bookings.

Not all backlinks are equal. A high-quality backlink is a link from a trustworthy, authoritative website relevant to your website's content. It should have a decent Domain Authority (DA) score. DA is a metric developed by Moz that predicts a website's ability to rank in search engine results pages (SERPs). A higher DA score indicates a website is more authoritative and trustworthy.

Is it relevant? The backlink should come from a website that is relevant to your website's content. For example, a backlink from a reputable travel website would be considered high quality if you run a travel blog.

The anchor text, or the hyperlinked text, should be relevant to the content on your website. Over-optimisation of anchor text can be harmful, so ensuring the text is natural and fits contextually within the content is vital.

A high-quality backlink is also one that is placed editorially within the content rather than being forced or paid for. This indicates that the website owner or creator considers your content valuable and relevant to their audience.

Remember, traffic matters. If no one visits the site, Google and users are less likely to value your link. A worthwhile backlink will typically come from a website with a high traffic level, indicating that the website is popular and trusted.

In short, a high-quality backlink is earned through producing valuable content and building relationships with other websites in your industry. Using the SEO tools available at websites like SEMrush, you can conduct keyword research to help you write the kind of content that will optimise your content as part of your overall off-site marketing strategy for your vacation rental.

And Google and Bing will reward you with more visibility and perhaps even the first page in organic search engine results.

10. Local Listings and Directories

List your vacation rental website on local listings and directories to attract more guests to your vacation rental. Here are ten places you can create good-looking, off-site vacation rental listings as part of your overall marketing strategy.

  1. Google My Business (a must!)
  2. Bing Places for Business (a must!)
  3. Yelp
  4. Yellow Pages
  5. Yahoo! Local
  6. Facebook (a must!)
  7. LinkedIn (a must!)
  8. TripAdvisor (a must!)
  9. Foursquare
  10. Apple Maps

Remember to optimise your listings with high-quality images and descriptions to make your vacation rental stand out.


10 Onsite-Site Marketing Ideas for Your Vacation Rental


Let's move on to your on-site marketing strategies for a vacation rental property, apartment, cottage or home.

The good thing about these marketing tips is that you can do the work yourself – at your pace, and make full use of the Boostly Direct Booking Package to help guide you through the marketing process.

1. Optimise Your Website for Search Engines

In addition to link-building and off-site citations from reputable websites, optimising your vacation rental website for search engines is a great way to get more organic traffic.

By carefully optimising your on-site content and design, you can increase your visibility in Google and drive more qualified leads to your site. The list of opportunities to optimise your vacation rental website is long. Here are the most important things to address.

  1. Keyword research: Identify relevant and high-traffic keywords for your vacation rental website.
  2. Title tags and meta descriptions: Optimise title tags and meta descriptions on all pages to include relevant keywords and encourage click-throughs.
  3. Header tags: Use header tags (H1, H2, H3) to structure content and make it easier for search engines to understand.
  4. Content optimisation: Create high-quality, relevant, and engaging content with relevant keywords and information about your vacation rental property and the surrounding area.
  5. Image optimisation: Optimise images on your website by using descriptive file names and alt tags to help Google and Bing understand the content and purpose of the images.
  6. URL structure: Use descriptive and keyword-rich URLs that are easy for search engines and users to read and understand.
  7. Internal linking: Link to other pages on your website to help search engines understand the hierarchy and structure of your site.
  8. User experience: Ensure your website is user-friendly, easy to navigate, and provides a positive user experience.
  9. Mobile optimisation: Optimise your website for mobile devices, including responsive design, fast load times, and easy navigation.
  10. Schema markup: Implement schema markup to help search engines understand the content on your website and display it in search results in a more visually appealing way.

According to some sources, businesses that rank on the first page of Google receive 71% of clicks, so optimising your vacation rental website for search engines is a significant part of your marketing strategy.

2. Use High-Quality Photos and Videos

Using high-quality photos and videos of your vacation rental property effectively showcases your property to potential guests. As a marketing tool, they are also shareable, allowing word-of-mouth marketing to reach a wider audience.

According to Tourism Tiger, including professional photos on your vacation rental website is a marketing strategy that can increase bookings by 225%. Make sure to include pictures of all your property's rooms, amenities, and unique features to give guests a clear idea of what they can expect.

The keys to good accommodation photos for your B&B, Boutique Hotel or holiday rental are:

Good Lighting

Good lighting is essential for taking quality accommodation photos. Try to take photos during daylight hours to ensure natural lighting, and avoid using flash whenever possible.

Photo Composition

Consider the composition of your photos, including the angle, framing, and perspective. Take photos from different angles and distances to showcase the property and highlight its best features.

Clutter-free

Ensure the rooms are clean, clutter-free, and well-staged before taking photos. Remove any unnecessary items or clutter that may detract from the overall look and feel of the space.

Accurate representation

Ensure your photos accurately represent your accommodation and are not overly edited or misleading. This includes accurately portraying the property's size, layout, and features.

Attention to detail Pay attention to the small details, such as decor, bedding, and lighting, as they can make a big difference in the property's overall appearance.

Highlight unique features or amenities, such as a cosy fireplace or a luxurious soaking tub, to make your property stand out.

3. Offer Special Promotions

Offering a variety of one-off, or annual promotions, is a great way to entice guests to book your vacation rental property and should be part of your ongoing, on-site marketing arsenal.

You can offer discounts for extended stays or run seasonal promotions to increase bookings during slow periods. According to OptinMonster (cited above), businesses that use promotions can enjoy a 72% increase in conversion rates.

4. Provide Detailed Property Descriptions

Providing detailed property descriptions on your website is essential for giving guests a clear idea of what to expect. Make sure to include all your property's amenities, features, and unique selling points.

Booking.com has stated that, according to its research, a clear and detailed property description is important to 98% of travellers when deciding on a place to stay.

Good marketing copy paints a vivid picture of your property and its surroundings. Draw attention to critical features, such as location, views, amenities, and any unique characteristics that apply to your property. Don't be vague. Be specific and include precise details about your property.

Think about the number of bedrooms, bathrooms, and beds and information about parking, Wi-Fi, and other amenities.

Good vacation rental marketing keeps it simple – but urgent. Use persuasive language in your on-site marketing of your vacation rental property and create an atmosphere on your website that will encourage potential guests to book. But make sure to badger your prospect with enough noise on the page.

Be honest about your property's strengths and weaknesses. Refrain from overselling or exaggerating the quality of your vacation rental property, as this can lead to disappointment and negative reviews.

And always remember to use friendly and welcoming language on your vacation rental website generally – and in your property descriptions specifically – so that potential guests feel comfortable and excited about their stay. Provide information about nearby attractions, restaurants, and activities to help guests plan their trip.

5. Use High-Quality Photos and Videos

Using high-quality photos and videos of your vacation rental property off-site and on-site is a great way to effectively showcase your property to potential guests.

Again, according to Tourism Tiger (above), including professional photos on your website can increase bookings by 225%. Make sure to include photos of all your property's rooms, amenities, and unique features to give guests a clear idea of what they can expect.

6. Add Guest Reviews and Testimonials

Not only should these appear off-site, but they are also crucial social proof and can seal the deal when incorporated as part of your on-site marketing strategy.

Adding guest reviews and testimonials to your website is also an effective way to build trust with potential guests. Most people will report reading online reviews before making a booking decision.

Encourage your guests to leave reviews and testimonials on your website and respond to them promptly. Good communication at this point is also good marketing for your vacation rental and helps with word-of-mouth business.

7. Use Live Chat to Answer Guest Questions

Offering a live chat feature on your website effectively engages with potential guests and answers their questions in real-time.

Using live chat can see a 45% increase in guest satisfaction rates when visiting your website. A Good Live Chat experience Includes: What constitutes a good live chat experience on an accommodation website from the guest's point of view?

8. Offer Virtual Tours of Your Property

Offering virtual tours of your vacation rental property is an effective way to give potential guests a realistic view of your property without having to visit in person.

Did you know? 67% of travellers say they would be more likely to book a property if it included a virtual tour. That's a very good reason to include virtual video tours as part of your vacation rental on-site marketing content.

9. Use Email Marketing to Keep Guests Engaged

As mentioned above, email marketing effectively keeps guests engaged and informed about your vacation rental property. You can use email newsletters to share updates and promotions and keep guests up-to-date with local events and attractions.

According to Campaign Monitor, as far as your on-site marketing goes, email marketing is one of the most bankable and effective ways to reach and engage with guests.

In fact, email marketing has an average ROI of 4200%. By using email marketing to keep guests engaged with your vacation rental property, you can share updates and promotions and keep guests up-to-date with local events and attractions at almost no cost.

10. Offer Discounts for Repeat Guests

Offer Discounts for Repeat Guests Offering discounts for repeat guests on your vacation rental website. It is a great way to build loyalty and increase bookings, traffic and reviews. If done right, those positive experiences become larger marketing tactics for your vacation rental property.

Research from Cloudbeds suggests that repeat guests spend 67% more than new guests. Make sure to offer incentives for guests to book with you again, such as exclusive promotions or rewards programs.

Okay, so there are ten off-site and ten on-site marketing strategies for your vacation rental property to help you get started. You might do some of this while outsourcing other parts of your vacation rental marketing plan to Boostly.

Either way, we can provide the marketing guidance and expertise that a new or well-experienced holiday rental or B&B host needs to build their vacation rental brand online.

Got Questions: Contact Boostly to find out more about our marketing packages for vacation rental properties today.


Additional Sources:

1 Wordstream: https://www.wordstream.com/blog/ws/2016/02/29/ppc-statistics

2. Search Engine Journal: https://www.searchenginejournal.com/seo-vs-ppc/234681

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