Keep your place full with little effort.
Over the years I have tried many different ways market my own vacation rental and have experimented with all kinds’ ways to keep inquiries coming and make more revenue. Remember your rental is costing you money every day it is vacant. So the key is to generate as much activity as you possibly can from all around the world.
There are hundreds of ways and ideas you can use and I think I have tried them all. The few ideas I will highlight here are what has worked best after years of trial and effort and a lot of dollars spent.
1. Online Advertising – If I had only one choice to make for advertising a profitable vacation rental property it would be the internet. To start with there are several excellent web sites to promote your property. The costs are low for each and they are the go to source for most people looking for a short term stay.
The best 2 sites that worked for me are VRBO.com and Homeaway.com. They are both easy to use and easy to work with Add as many pictures you possibly can make sure they are well lit and include your “best” reasons people would want to take their vacation at your place. Don’t focus on a secondary bedroom or bath. Choose the tennis courts that are available to the guests or the mountain views, or the large patio etc. Spend the extra dollars to improve your position on these sites, it is well worth it.
2. Postcards and Postlets.com – There are a few websites that now offer services to mail to your target market. They are easy to design and relatively expensive to mail out. Just place the order online and you do not have to order a large quantity. One of the best out there right now is SendOutcards.com. You can add photos of your choice and write your own copy. Highlight some of the best features in like “Walk to The Beach” or “Golfers Paradise” be sure to keep it brief and interesting.
Postlets.com is a wonderful little secret that is for now anyway. You can create and design your own online flyer and they will even distribute it to several different web sites including Craigslist and the best part is that it is FREE! It is extremely easy to use and the free package includes almost everything you need. I encourage you to go on this site and you will see what I mean
Previous guests are your best prospects – Stay in touch with the folks who have rented from you in the past they make it easy to keep your rents coming in. Send a Thank You note (handwritten is best) also from time to stay in touch with a short informational email or newsletter. You can offer them loyalty discounts or special deals using whatever criteria you choose. Ask for referrals and offer specials or rewards for them if they send you renters as well.
These people are well worth establishing relationships and in addition to that most of them are really nice people. I have developed a pretty good friendship with many of the visitors over and some have become friends. It may take a while to develop a list but once you have enough past guests do not overlook the value of those who you already know. In my next article I will describe the “nuts and bolts” of managing your property along with which documents and agreements to use.