What does it mean to localize your vacation rental property? Why do we believe it’s a fundamental part of your vacation rental marketing strategy?
Take a look at these real reviews from guests who have experienced the simple things. No bells and whistles, no fireworks, just simple, easy experiences:
As Matt Landau mentioned in a blog post about vacation rentals becoming the next boutique hotels:
Conventional luxury is not what it used to be.
I agree. In fact, I would add:
Room service and valet parking both represent an old-fashioned view of what it means to have a special—even luxury—experience.
The modern view of a white-glove travel experience is authenticity. And in the context of vacation rentals, “authentic” often means experiencing something uniquely local.
And you can provide that.
Thanks to Yelp and TripAdvisor, every destination amasses hundreds of opinions on its best restaurants, its trendiest nightspots, and its newest live music venues.
But you can go deeper. You know the best restaurant for families with kids. You know that the trendiest bar is packed wall-to-wall on Saturday nights, but Tuesday nights are relaxed and intimate.
Now, how do you communicate to your potential guests that you offer an authentic, localized experience…before they even book?
Here are 4 ways.
Not just a blog, but a seriously interesting blog.
A blog with information that’s relevant to your guests, unique to your destination, and absent an obvious sale of your rental. The blog is not the space to convince people that your rental is amazing …at least not overtly. It’s a space to show guests that you truly care about their fantastic experience.
Start with your guests in mind, as if they were standing in front of you asking, “So where are the best spots to eat and watch the sunset?”
If you write to their perspective, you’ll deliver content that’s valuable.
Your blog should create excitement, anticipation and travel inspiration—promoting the idea of a complete “travel experience” when guests book with you.
And if you’ve got a good idea of your target market, you can tailor each blog post to their unique interests.
Stuck? Head over to the Smoky Mountains Blog for some inspiration!
Maybe you don’t know that New Trendy Nightclub is dead on Tuesdays, because you hate nightclubs. Now what?
Talk to locals.
Conduct a series of short interviews with full-time residents to get their unique perspective. And not just that—share the interviews with your potential guests on your blog.
It’s a sure-fire way to inject some extra credibility and authority to your content marketing.
Make each interview its own blog post, or conduct several brief interviews on one topic, combining everyone’s thoughts on the unique restaurants, lesser known attractions, or quirky local events.
Business owners and hospitality employees are a great place to start. Get inside tips from bartenders, waiters, theatre staff and shopkeepers. These are the people that your potential guests will probably talk to or overhear during their stay.
By getting personal insights from a range of people, you’ll add variety and impartiality to your recommendations. And you’ll also create a sense of community by connecting with other locals!
3. Create a Sensory Newsletter
Creating a newsletter is a tried and tested way of engaging year-round with your guests.
But, as with all things tried and tested, there’s a tendency for them to become stale (and be bound for the email trashcan).
Try something new: focus on the senses.
Your email list is likely populated by people who either know of your area or have been there. Transport them back.
The smell of the giant redwoods. The sound of the ocean from your deck. The warmth and crackle from the backyard fire pit.
We’re not advocating that you turn your newsletters into creative writing pieces, necessarily. Link the sensory to something happening in your area. For example, the smell of the giant redwoods may tie into a newsletter about an annual event at one of the National Parks nearby.
But use the senses as your hook. Open with a line that puts the guest right back on your deck, a low fog hanging over the mountains in the early morning, the rest of the family still warm in bed…
And of course, your newsletter is part of your on-going relationship with guests. By keeping your rental on their radar, former guests will feel part of the community and be reminded as to why they enjoyed staying at your place so much last time.
They may stay with you for one or two weeks, but they’ll likely value that time more than the other 50+ weeks of the year!
Build on that by continuing to remind them of how those days felt, tasted, smelled and sounded.
4. Inquiry Responses That are Local and Personal
Finally, inquiries and bookings present the perfect opportunity for you to inject authenticity.
Newsletters are your means to managing on-going relationships with guests. But your inquiry response is the first impression those guests will get of you.
Add a personalized, localized line or two in your inquiry response.
Don’t fear the time drain. If you use a template to respond—and for your own sake, you should!—simply have a middle section that changes depending on the dates of stay or type of guests.
Perhaps a New England owner suggests the best fall foliage drive, or a Napa Valley owner suggests the 10 best family-friendly wineries in Napa and Sonoma.
People may be able to find out this information themselves. But, by taking a relatively small amount of time to add a local and personal twist, your guest will remember you from the scores of other owners who don’t! You will have influenced their booking decision.
We all know about the importance of first impressions. Make yours count!