MARKETING VACATION RENTALS
Marketing Vacation Rentals simply means getting the information about a vacation rental to a potential customer. Several methods exist to deliver the information: word of mouth, search engine displays, print media, video media, dedicated vacation rental websites. The most effective method will utilize the manner by which potential customers search for vacation rentals. Presently the majority of potential vacation renters use combinations of word of mouth, internet, and traditional media such as magazines and journals to find rentals. The current trend is moving exlusively to internet delivered information via the laptop and portable wireless device such as IPAD and Cell Phone. The focus on the successful marketing plan will focus on current conditions and future trends.
Current trends dictate the use of dedicated subscription websites since these are established venues for reaching customers (Flipkey, VRBO, VacationRentals, Homeaway). These sites require annual fees to display property. This is necessary to garner immediate visibility for a vacation rental. An equally important approach is personal referral or word of mouth which is primarily focused on repeat customers and positive customer experience. This strategy has some immediate results but primarily is an investment in the business and referred to as good will. A declining trend is use of traditional media such as publications and TV. These options generally cost more and yield less paid reservations. This is still a viable option for groups of vacation rentals.
Future trends involve use of search engines and hand held devices (ie Cell Phone) to find vacation rentals. The younger generations have learned to navigate electronically exceptionally well to find the best prices and best values. This is why future trends are moving toward free vacation rental websites for both owner and vacationer. All of the free websites are relatively small still because there is a search engine formula bias that gives preference to the more established and larger subscription websites. But this is evolving as the user of search engines wants current information as well as relevant information. The younger internet user knows how to search using photos, video, news, maps, and the relevant time features which help identify the latest news or promotions. What this means for the owner of vacation rentals is plant one foot in the current trend and one foot into the future trend.
How to plant one foot into the future trend starts with creating a vacation rental website or listing on a free website that gives you a static URL address. The best way to understand this concept is the option to receive mail. If you set up a mailbox on your property with your property address you will receive mail addressed to this address. The other option is to purchase a PO Box with the US postal service or a secondary PO Box service. One is paid for while the first is free. When your subscription for the PO Box expires the address stops being under your control and processing your mail.
Bobzio.com provides each vacation rental listing with a static URL that remains under the owner's control. There is no cost on the first 20,000 listings. The benefit here is all the marketing investment made by the owner will be maintained. If the same strategy is used with an annual subscription website the owner will be obligated to pay each year a fee or else risk losing all marketing investment and good will created. The first marketing investment is to get the vacation rental web address or URL registered by search engines.
Get into Google and other Searches within 24-48 hours. Here's the step-by-step:
- Write a 300 word article about something related to your property listing.
- Submit that article to EzineArticles.com (PageRank 6), GoArticles.com (also a PageRank 6) or PRlog.org.
- Make sure when you fill out the about the author box you link back to your listing.
- For maximum effectiveness, submit one article to EzineArticles.com, and another entirely different article to GoArticles.com and PRlog.org.
- Go to ebayclassifieds.com OLX.com and craigslist.org , copy your listing information into a new ad. Then create a link to your bobzio listing so people can see your photos and videos on demand.
- Always name your photos and videos with "your area" "vacation rentals on bobzio.com" "name of property". When the photos display in search displays people can read how to find your home.
If you go through that simple process, Google, Bing, and Yahoo will follow your links from those sites to your listing and will 'index' it, which means they will then include it in the Search Displays using the title of your listing as the search word terms. This means the Title of your property and the article title are very important to marketing success, much like using the correct physical address to receive mail. Here is the simple rule for listing title and article titles:
- Area of vacation rental first (i.e. mine is Cape San Blas Florida )
- Define the item ( i.e. Vacation Rentals for most, others include Cabin Rentals, Holiday Rentals, Holiday Lets for Australian users.)
- The 3rd piece of information is "bobzio.com" so people can find your listing
- The name or personal label you want to give to your vacation rental should be the 4th piece of information. The helps with returning customers and word of mouth referrals.
- The last piece of information is for articles and this should be "Specials" or an attention grabbing word.
Here is an example: Cape San Blas Fl Vacation Rentals Bobzio.com - Bayrocks for the listing name plus Specials of for a press release or article. Photos and Videos should also be named exactly the same. Using this method your listing, photos, and video will be indexed under the terms most used by vacationers searching for a vacation rental in your area. If you are proactive in your marketing which means you write Press Releases or a new article every 2 weeks, then your photos, videos, and listing will begin moving up the search engine chart much like a song moves up the song chart. In weeks and months you will see results of your efforts in the searches. As the future trend becomes the current trend you will have your vacation rental well positioned for those searching for vacation rentals in your area to find you. Remember you do not have to limit your thinking to physical locatiion. Some rentals service a certain niche of clients such as Bear Hunting, Tarpin Fishing, Spiritual Retreat, Working Ranch or Farm Experience. A good analogy of this process is planting a tree. Invest some effort and in time the tree grows to provide shelter and security.
For immediate display in the searches visit DirectPlacement.co or call them at 503-841-5061 or 800-339-0544. They will help you organize an SEP (or Search Engine Placement) campaign for Google, Bing and/or Yahoo. Normally you can get something going on Google Adwords for about $75 a month with no long term commitments and you will have the potential to reach hundreds or thousands of people searching for rentals in your local.
Other internet sites useful in managing your listing include Dwolla. Dwolla is a site that permits transfer of monies using an Phone or Computer. The cost for electronic transfers is 25 cents. Recently a electronic transfer was sent to me using Paypal. To send $2000 cost nearly $60. Using Dwolla would cost 25 cents. Dwolla does everything just as Paypal but without the steep price tag. Dwolla is gaining users. Set up an account and then encourage those doing business with you to set up accounts. Both parties will be richer for it.
This article will be revised regularly as strategy and new information evolves. A series of videos will be added as they are produced on Marketing Strategies for Vacation Rentals