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.
In the past month, we’ve asked you questions about everything from your personality to your design choices in order to establish the three key cornerstones of your brand.
We’ve also taken you on a journey with Layla and Mark—fictitious owners of cottages in Newport, Rhode Island—as they answered the same questions to lay the groundwork for their brand.
Now that we’ve dug deep, let’s step back and see what your brand can do to improve the way you interact with potential guests and help you book more of the kinds of guests your rental best serves.
Layla and Mark’s Key Three
We’ll demonstrate by example. First, let’s revisit the three cornerstones we laid for Layla and Mark’s brand:
Layla and Mark’s brand should convey approachability, warmth and a genuine passion for the local area. Copy and communications should reflect Layla’s friendliness, and social media channels should document Mark’s rich knowledge of the local area and invite engagement and dialogue from past or potential guests. Design should be clean and accessible and nod to the historic spirit of the area (to be defined more specifically in the second cornerstone).
Historic Mansion Enthusiasts
Layla and Mark’s brand should incorporate their proximity to, and knowledge of, the Newport’s historic mansions. Social media posts and newsletter content should provide unique insight into the area’s history, and design—including the logo—should incorporate some elements of elegance as a nod to the mansions. Consider including references to the mansions when naming properties, and tie both the history of both the area and Mark’s interest in it into the brand story.
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.
Building A Brand From What They’ve Got
Now that we have this information finalized, let’s put it to work to build their brand.
We’ve broken down the brand efforts they’ll take into five categories—properties, design, guest communications, website and social media—and outlined the actionable steps that they can take to implement their brand.
- Refer to their offerings as “Gilded Age cottages” in all copy and communications.
- Create individual names for the cottages that allude to the historic mansions.
- Revamp their website with a design that incorporates the elegance of the mansions but remains casual, like their accommodations.
- Create a logo that’s on-theme with “Gilded Age cottages.”
- Develop templates for a newsletter and social media graphics that reflects the updated web design.
- Establish a brand voice using the three cornerstones for use through all copy and content.
- Create guest personas to establish an audience for all communications.
- Send out a regular newsletter that includes the latest updates about their homes and the area, plus a friendly note from them and a fun piece of information about the mansions.
- Create an online guide that introduces guests to them as hosts and provides them with insider information on attractions including the mansions.
- Create an “About Us” page that uses storytelling to inform guests about their unique connection to the local area.
- Revise listing descriptions to ensure they match the newly established brand voice.
- Set up a blog with a goal to create personal connections with readers and also highlight the unique charm of both the homes and the local area.
- Set up Facebook and Instagram accounts to connect personally with past and potential guests.
- Share photos on Instagram of their homes and their favorite historic attractions. Include photos of themselves in these places on occasion to reinforce the friendship-oriented nature of their hosting personality.
- Create weekly themed posts on Facebook, including throwbacks to moments at their rentals from years past and featured historic mansion photos.
- Create a sense of community by sharing photos from past guests (with permission).
By using their cornerstones, Layla and Mark have a guiding light for all of their efforts, from web copy to social media posts to design choices. Every marketing choice they make should reinforce at least their key three attributes: host-meets friend, historic mansion enthusiasts, and old-fashioned charm.
Using their brand will help them reach the guests who will best appreciate their properties and establish a long-lasting relationship with them.
Have you used the key three and taken action to build your vacation rental’s or property management company’s brand? We’d love to hear your stories in the comments!