If there’s anything that irks vacation-rental owners more than anything, it’s long periods of vacancy. Your mortgage and utility bills will still arrive on time, even if you’re not earning any rental income. That means you lose money for every day that your rental property sits empty. And it’s not for lack of trying. Maybe you’ve pulled out all the stops and invested a great deal on designing the best rental. However, that still won’t guarantee that the guests will come. If you want to succeed in this business, you need to market your property properly.
Thankfully, we live in the age of information. Thanks to the internet, anyone with a computer and some skills can market their rental business online. Best of all, you don’t have to spend a lot of money. There are many marketing strategies you can consider, but I’ve narrowed down some of the best ways to attract paying guests to your properties.
Get it cleaned up
Before anything else, you need to make sure your rental property is picture-perfect and ready for guests. That means you need to get it cleaned up and accessorized for the photos you’re going to post online. If the property shows signs of age, you might have to do some work, including repainting the walls, replacing old fixtures, and buying new appliances. I also suggest hiring professional cleaners to make sure everything is spotless.
If the property has an outdoor feature such as a deck or a beachfront, you might have to fix that up as well. The exterior is just as important as the interior, so a few choice upgrades can boost the entire property. For instance, installing mood LED lights makes the outdoor area ready for social media. Just don’t forget to include an LED string driver for power regulation.
Check your comps
Once you’ve fixed up your rental and it’s ready for occupancy, your next step is to determine the price. If you’re not sure how to price your property, you only need to look at your competitors. Check the prices of similar listings in the area and calculate the average. Since you’re just starting and don’t have any reviews yet, price your property at least 10 percent below the average.
Rental rates aren’t a fixed figure, however. They can change depending on the season, days of the week, and conditions of the market. You can charge more on weekends, holidays, and peak seasons. Meanwhile, you can lower the rent during the off-season to keep occupancy rates high.
Create a website
If you don’t build a website, you’re missing out on a world of opportunities to market your property. Most tourists go online to book hotels, and you’ll have no way of tapping into the online market if you don’t have an online presence.
Most vacation-rental owners have two options. You can make your own website, which allows you to dictate your own rules and prices. But you also have to manage the guests and booking yourself. On the other hand, you can list your rental on VRBO and Airbnb, which gives you access to their platform and marketing. However, online platforms take a cut of your rent.
Respond quickly to messages
Most prospective guests expect a reply within a day, two at most. This can pose a problem if you have to juggle managing a rental property with a day job. You can’t be expected to monitor your inbox every hour of the day. To keep things manageable, set aside an hour or two each day for replying to messages. Don’t forget to mention this in your listing. If the volume of messages is too much for you, consider hiring a person to handle your online presence.
Another way to cut down on inquiries is to write an FAQ or frequently asked questions and post it on your website. That way, you only need to respond to prospective guests looking to book your property. It also helps to prepare a script so that you don’t have to spend too much time writing.
These four strategies will help you market your vacation rental to guests all over the world. Guests expect hotel-like service from rental properties, so you need to start thinking of yourself as the general manager of a tiny hotel. Treat your guests right, and you’ll be drowning in 5-star reviews in no time.