Advertising your vacation rental is an important activity that many owners don’t always consider. Just posting your listing to Airbnb and “hoping for the best” is many owner’s complete thought process in terms of advertising. For some, this may be enough. But regardless of your occupancy rate, it is a good idea to come up with an advertising strategy for your rentals that includes listing sites, and other means as well.
There are many ways to advertise one’s vacation rental property. These include posting ads on bulletin boards, websites, local papers and magazines, joining either free or online rental listing sites and even building your own website.
4 Effective Ways to Advertise your Vacation Rental
1) Your own website + email list
Of course the number one way to advertise should be building your own vacation rental website. A website gives your rental a unique voice, a potential alternative booking platform, and best of all, a way to capture guests who may be interested in staying by creating a email list. An email list is probably one of the best ways to advertise your property, and if you can capture the email of a guest that is not interested right now, but may be in the future, you can certainly fill more vacancies this way.
2) The old fashioned paper method: bulletin boards, flyers, etc
Just because we live in a digital age, doesn’t mean that using some old fashioned methods won’t work. The advantage of putting up ads on boards is that it is essentially very low in cost. However, this may not also be a very effective way of promoting, as VR property owner’s claim to gain relatively low number of bookings who knew about them through noticeboards. Posting business cards and postcards as form of ad can still, however, be useful as these appeals very much more personal than an e-mail. The first step is to find a good place to post your advertising. In the case of one of my rentals in Hawaii, I had good luck posting a simple flyer in the building itself. Many buildings offer a place for owners to post community notices, and as there were a lot of guests staying in the building, they learned about my unit while they were already staying there. The next time they wanted to stay in that area, this looked me up and I was able to convert a new guest to staying on my property.
3) Free marketplace websites like Craigslist
Not everyone knows this, but Airbnb actually got its start by cross-posting listings on Craigslist under the “Vacation Rentals” section. This can still be a useful and free spot to advertise, all it takes is a little time.
Kijiji and Backpage are other options, depending on your location. These services, as expected, bring about the highest noise to signal ratio. However, VR property owners admit that from these, they get spam and sometimes and worthless inquiries, however the price point is low and real bookings are often generated as well. It is also not the most effective in bringing in bookings for their properties but for the price, it is a very high ROI.
4) “Free” Vacation Rental Listing Sites
As for vacation rental sites that are for free, these are usually sites that are still in the stage of developing traffic. Mileage varies generally, but this may also be a bit risky, as VR property owners who have ventured on this agree that it, in essence, it actually requires a lot of work for the merit you’re getting. Most of the time, they say it’s simply not worth it. They do, suggest, however to perhaps try listing sites that are more specific to the property location or type of property.
We hope this post gives you ideas on how you can advertise your VR properties. The truth is, the most important step is to just measure regularly and to make it a habit of asking your guests how they heard about you. Review the performances of your difference approaches and ultimately decide which to stop, which to retain and which to experiment with.