Vacation Rental Marketing Plan: The What and Why of Digital Presence
Some of us rely on Airbnb to market our vacation rental. After all, Airbnb gets over 9.1 million Google searches a month (statistic from UberSuggest).
However, those of us who want to take it up a notch know that we need our own digital presence, independent from the major OTAs like Airbnb, VRBO, and booking.com
What is a digital presence for a vacation rental? Digital presence refers to how your vacation rental appears to people online. This includes several forms of digital marketing, website content, and social media content that increase the public’s awareness of your vacation rental.
Estimated reading time: 7 minutes
Table of contents
- Vacation Rental Marketing Plan: The What and Why of Digital Presence
- Bringing in the big guns with Pro Vacation Rental Marketing Companies
- Future of Vacation Rental Marketing
- Pay attention to home aesthetics and unique features
- Tips for new airbnb hosts to create a digital presence
- Host as Concierge Connection
- TikTok, Instagram Reels, and Short Form are Killing It.
- Don’t be limited by Airbnb character limits.
- Website is optional.
- How is marketing one property different from marketing a whole vacation rental property management company?
- Have a Vacation Rental Marketing Plan
- Want to connect with Lynzee?
Listen to the podcast episode
Bringing in the big guns with Pro Vacation Rental Marketing Companies
That is why enlisting the help of a professional vacation rental marketing company is a must. We interviewed Bart Sobies a couple of weeks back who focused specifically on web presence. Today, we were fortunate to have Lynzee Krohne on our show, a marketing maven who has cut her teeth in industries ranging from beauty, food, and lodging.
Think about it this way, when you need to get your teeth fixed do you try to do it yourself? Or do you call in a professional? Marketing is no different.
Future of Vacation Rental Marketing
The industry has evolved and become more saturated over time. Focusing on the brand funnel (at top brand awareness and consideration) will be the first impression. In a digital first world, guests do not get a lot of face to face for the first impression. In vacation rentals and the travel agency, having a digital presence is the first impression.
Your digital presence needs to:
- Be straightforward
- Make sense.
- Match in person what they see online.
Pay attention to home aesthetics and unique features
In your online listing, pay close attention to the aesthetics of your home and unique features. These are your biggest selling points.
Too much focus on attaining ‘superhost’ status just for the sake of being in the superhost club may be the wrong focus.
You have a limited time to make a first impression. If you are going to invest in a digital presence, photography has to sell your aesthetics and the unique features.
Tips for new airbnb hosts to create a digital presence
Think of a dating site. You want to be attracted to the other person. The bio and photos show off who you are.
Same with brands. In the skincare world, brands are proving themselves through education. Before and after photos. The body positive movement is showing off fantastic clothes on people of all sizes and ethnicities. Consumers and guests want to picture themselves with what you have to offer. Your short term rental is no different.
Host as Concierge Connection
A huge value-add for guests is when their host acts as their concierge connection. The vacation home is just one element of their travel.
Items to include on your vacation rental website:
- Local experiences
- Things to do
- Concerts in area
- Best places to go for coffee
- Best bars in town
Tell the story of your home, your town and what it offers, and you as an owner. It will help your future prospective guests move down the sales funnel.
TikTok, Instagram Reels, and Short Form are Killing It.
You can highlight what makes your home different with video. And if you are cohesive, they can see consistency throughout your reels, tiktok, web page, listing, and in person. Your whole digital presence will come together and make a super unique offering – an offering that is hard to say no to.
Your page and videos become a resource. High value-information the guests can actually use to plan their itinerary.
The below TikTok video gained over 6 million views and thousands of comments (she did not spend any money on this…but this TikToker knows how to do a TikTok). This is a real life example of the power of short form video.
Don’t be limited by Airbnb character limits.
With your own digital presence, you can say and sell so much more. With only 50 characters for your title, around 500 character descriptions…you run out of space!
Where will you find the space to really sell your unique offerings and photos?
- Instagram Reels
- Meta / Facebook
- …even LinkedIn
There are so many places you can share your vacation rental. Why be limited by airbnb’s character limits?
Website is optional.
You can focus on social media presence, short form video content, and photography will get the biggest bang for your buck. You want to be where your customers are. Your guests are on social media all day long.
Below (big thanks to DataReportal and Meltwater) you can see how much time users are spending each month on social media apps. 23 hours on YouTube and close to 20 hours on Facebook each month, with an added 12 hours on Instagram? Users spend more than 23 hours a month on TikTok, that is half a work week. If you want to drive more traffic to your vacation rental, fish in the right lake.
How is marketing one property different from marketing a whole vacation rental property management company?
Lynzee has experience with clients in both industries. Property managers can expect huge time saves by outsourcing their marketing. Many busy vacation rental managers are too busy operating and can’t focus their resources on marketing.
This goes double for homeowners, who have even less resources. Homeowners start to care about the individualism of their rental and want to share it with the world. We buy and invest in short term rentals because we love our spaces and want to share them with the world. Marketing efficiently and effectively takes expertise.
Have a Vacation Rental Marketing Plan
Those who fail to plan, plan to fail. Whatever your skill level or no matter how long you have been in the vacation rental game, you need to have a plan. Things that get measured, get done.
Having a digital presence is one of the most important pieces of your overall vacation rental marketing plan. I would also argue that the marketing plan is 80% of your business. Why? Because if no one knows you exist, it will be an uphill battle staying profitable when bookings are slow.
The best businesses are operating under a “grow or die” philosophy. As hardcore as that may sound, relying 100% on Airbnb for your business is way riskier than it was 4-5 years ago…
A strong vacation rental marketing strategy will include:
- A strong digital presence
- Engagement through social media accounts
- Optimized website for major keywords
- Strong backlink profile for the above website
- Easy to follow value-add blog (host as concierge)
- Short form video
- Email marketing
- Optimized listings on the OTAs (Airbnb, VRBO, Booking.com)
- Travel agent network
There are several other additions and optimizations for a strong marketing and distribution channel for vacation rentals, but above are the most important ones to think about.