In our branding series, The Key 3: Building Your Brand From What You’ve Got, we’re taking a look at the three cornerstones of vacation rental brands—your approach to guests, your location, and your property’s signature vibe—and showing you how to leverage these to create a recognizable, relatable brand that calls to your ideal guests.
We’ve talked about you, the host. We’ve talked about location. Finally, let’s talk about what your guests are actually booking—the space.
The homes you choose, and the way you appoint them, say a lot about your values. It’s your mission to reflect those same values in your branding through content and design.
In this post, we’ll pick your brain to figure out the vibe of your rentals to help you start appealing to guests on an emotional level via your brand.
We’ll also check in with Layla and Mark, our fictitious cottage owners, to determine their properties’ personalities.
Let’s kick off by thinking about your guests.
How do you want guests to feel when they’re in your space?
No doubt you’ve spent a lot of time considering the design and appointments of your home, but have you stopped to think about how guests feel when they walk in the front door? Or when they sit down for meals, tuck in at night, or greet the morning?
All vacation rental owners and managers want their guests to feel at ease, but there’s a difference between the kick-off-your-boots comfort you’ll find in front of a cabin’s fireplace and the treat-yourself indulgence you’d expect of a penthouse.
How does your space—including its design, features, and amenities—instruct your guests to feel? If you’re having a hard time answering this question, it might be because you know your property too well. Ask some friends—or better yet, past guests—for their responses.
How do guests use your space?
The way you speak to, interact with, and present your properties to guests must take into account how they plan on using your space.
High-end homes that attract special events and discerning clientele need to prove that they take guest experiences very seriously. Likewise, family retreats should convey a sense of warm welcome. Branding can help properties across the spectrum convey the right message and attract the right guests.
Through your design, voice, and communications you can subtly show guests what your space is best equipped for—whether it’s a romantic and elegant web design that appeals to brides-to-be searching for their dream venue, or wanderlust-inspiring social media posts that steal the hearts of explorers seeking a home base for their adventures.
How does your rental fit in with its surroundings?
In our last post, we talked about leveraging your location into part of your branding. Here, we’re considering your immediate surroundings—like the community your properties are a part of, or the serene acreage they’re set on.
Surroundings are often just as diverse as rentals themselves, but here are some strategies we’ve found helpful for the most common situations we’ve seen among the owners and property managers we’ve worked with.
- If your homes are located in a resort community, consider its brand when building your own. What elements of the resort experience are reflected in your rentals?
- If there’s something truly unconventional about your surroundings—like if it’s set on a working farm or secluded desert—make that uniqueness work for you by incorporating it into your identity.
- If you have a collection of properties that share land, work on building a cohesive brand for the group, but also think about how each rental is different.
- If your surroundings are run-of-the-mill, don’t fret! Focus on your location instead.
Layla & Mark’s Property Vibe
Let’s take a look at Layla and Mark, our fictitious owners of cottages in Newport, Rhode Island.
Their cottages are older and have historic charm—including exposed brick walls, aged wood and classic chandeliers—with a touch of coastal décor. They also feature intimate and secluded outdoor spaces.
Past guests have appreciated the quiet of their homes, as well as their casual vibe. They don’t fret about bringing a little sand in off the beach. Layla and Mark’s properties don’t perform as well with those who are seeking sleek and modern, but they often have repeat guests who choose their homes based on their unique character.
Because of the size of the cottages, they’re often used as quiet getaways for one or two couples or very small families, who spend the day at the beach or sightseeing and are looking for relaxed comfort when they return.
The cottages are scattered throughout a five-mile radius, but many of them are tucked on a decent amount of land, and all of them have vibrant gardens in the warmer months.
Here’s how we’d define the third cornerstone of their brand.
Layla and Mark’s cottages invite guests to unplug and unwind just by virtue of their antique elements and design. The brand should reflect an appreciation of simpler times by using nostalgic language in its copy and content. Web design should incorporate a historic feel and place emphasis on property photos that highlight the gardens and old school touches.
In our next and final post in our branding series, we’ll reflect on the cornerstones we’ve laid for Layla and Mark and look at how they can use them to start building a brand.