In the above examples, it’s a deeper understanding of familial background and origin. Or self-discovery and a sense of peace.
Regardless of what travelers are setting out to achieve, the vacation rentalists that will succeed the most in the coming year are the ones who have the same drive towards accomplishment.
2018 will be the year of laser focus. The most impactful vacation rental marketing will come from a place of purpose—like strengthening a brand identity or attracting new guests.
More than ever, vacation rentalists are honing their identities and creating unique marketing that achieves a goal. We couldn’t be more excited. Read on for Guest Hook’s predictions on how laser focus will fuel vacation rental marketing in the year ahead.
Strong identities will help rental businesses stand out in a growing sea of options.
Booking a vacation isn’t the same as buying paper towels or ordering a quick lunch—it’s intensely personal. In an industry that’s expected to grow to $170 billion by 2019, property managers can no longer afford to blend into the crowd if they want to thrive.
When there’s dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of rentals in your destination, it’s not enough to be a comfortable, cared-for accommodation. Decide what sets you apart, and set your laser focus on it.
What’s more memorable, a Park City home rental, or a cornflower-blue cottage that pays homage to its silver mining history? A small house in Woodstock, or a rock-and-roll suite with as much attitude as the music legends that inspired it?
Spend time culling data, mining feedback, soliciting trusted opinions, and soul-searching to figure out your “thing.” Look into the history of your homes. Zero in on the common threads between your rave reviews. Determine what you, and your guests, love about your destination.
Then write it out, in one clear sentence—a mission statement of sorts. Once you’ve nailed it down, display it so that you’ll be constantly reminded of it.
It’s time to be choosy about the guests you target.
We’re not suggesting going overboard with booking rejections, and we’re certainly not talking about discrimination. So what do we mean by getting choosy?
Consider this: in one 2017 survey, 65% of people who said they felt a strong emotional connection to a brand felt that way because they believed the brand cared about people like them. Better yet, 45% cited their reason as feeling like the brand “got” them, and 42% felt the company was run by someone like them.
Guests want to see themselves reflected in the vacation rental businesses they choose to book with. If you try to target everyone, you end creating a vague brand that impresses nobody.
Resolve to build an identity that reflects your target guests: the ones you most enjoy hosting, and the ones that get the most joy out of your rental. Then keep your focus laser-targeted: create personas that reflect those guests’ values, pain points, and methods for gathering information and booking.
Vacation rental marketing efforts need to be guided by your brand identity.
If the see-what-sticks approach has brought you success in the past, consider yourself lucky.
As the vacation rental world grows and evolves, we hope it keeps its mom-and-pop charm. But as having a vacation rental business becomes ever more profitable, marketing will get more and more competitive.
Effective vacation rental marketing of the future will be goal-based. In fact, industry pros say that marketers who set goals are over four times more likely to report success than those who don’t.
So what does that mean for those in the vacation rental industry? To win the bookings of old guests and attract new ones this year, you’ll have to set your laser focus on actionable goals that are true to your brand identity and what your guests want.
Here are a few examples of what we mean by guided, actionable goals:
- A property manager of cabins in Washington State wants to attract more couples to his properties for idyllic weekends away. He sets a goal to create a blog that will target keywords like “romantic getaways pacific northwest” and “washington cabins for couples.”
- A small company in Punta Cana has recently renovated many of their beach properties to provide a more high-end experience and hopefully increase their nightly rate. They aim to attract more luxury travelers by redoing their website and adopting a voice that appeals to upscale guests, as well as creating pages that showcase their resort-style amenities.
- A boutique Norwegian property manager has acquired bungalows with breathtaking views of mountains and fjords. She resolves to create social media campaign across Instagram, including a brand hashtag, to make the can’t-miss views a part of her branding and appeal to millenials.
- And finally, a real-world example: a luxury villa property manager on Grand Cayman wanted to shift the company’s focus to target not just a luxury audience, but families—including families with young children—who appreciate luxury, too. A website redesign (and new copy from Guest Hook) helped to shape the brand story and show how Luxury Cayman Villa’s founder, Molly—a mom and global traveler—is well-positioned to offer a cut-above Cayman experience.
Ready to give your 2018 vacation rental marketing the laser focus it needs to succeed? Reach out to Guest Hook today for a solutions report—a full marketing analysis for your company that you can use to guide your own efforts or hire us to execute.