Top 6 Marketing Strategies for Vacation Rentals Explained

What’s the best marketing strategy for vacation rentals?

The question is straightforward, but the answer is… well, not.

So much depends on individual factors—like the size of your business, your goals, and your ideal guest. We’d do you a disservice if we pretend there’s a one-size-fits-all answer.

But we will give you the lay of the land.

Below, we’ve broken down the six most popular marketing strategies for vacation rentals. For each, you’ll find a brief overview followed by its pros and cons. Use this background info to help you make an educated decision on which approach is best for you.

dog friendly niche vacation rental listing sites

Niche Sites

Niche sites specialize in everything from young families to pet owners. Think of these sites as matchmakers—guests choose to focus on the one aspect of a vacation rental that matters most to them, and niche sites present them with a list of options to fulfill that need.

If you can find your niche, it’s a great way to gain exposure with an audience that will appreciate you. But it comes at a price—most niche sites charge commission, taking a hefty chunk from your nightly rate. Plus, in some cases, your guests will be booking through the site and not directly through you.


  • Gain exposure to a qualified audience
  • Compete in a narrower market than on big listing sites


  • Virtually every niche site takes a commission
  • You may lose ownership of the guest

Content Marketing

The beauty of content marketing is you’re no longer limited to reaching guests solely when they’re looking for accommodations. You can pique their interests when they’re planning or daydreaming, too.

Plus, with savvy keyword research, you can use content to boost your rankings on Google and bring in brand new organic traffic.

But content marketing is not for the faint of heart: it’s a long-haul approach that requires hours of writing, research, and strategy. (Stuck? Guest Hook can do the hard work for you.)


  • Effectively drives organic traffic and referrals to your site (when done right)
  • Gives you an opportunity to reach guests in all stage of the booking journey


  • Requires a lengthy time commitment
  • Done half-heartedly, it won’t yield results

vacation rental marketing jumpstart

Email Marketing

Once you’ve won over the interest (or bookings) of a guest, don’t let them slip away. Newsletters are a great way to remind past or potential guests that you exist and you’re ready for their bookings.

Effective email campaigns give guests a reason to visit you. Whether it’s advertising your off-season discounts or sharing news about the latest happenings in town, be sure that every email you send to guests has a reason behind it. And even more importantly: make it a reason they’ll care about.


  • Re-engages guests who are already interested in your rentals
  • Programs like MailChimp make it easy


  • It takes time to build up a list
  • Fine line between helpful and spammy

Social Media

No longer is social media the way of the future—it’s becoming a present-day necessity for any business worth its salt. But with Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, and Snapchat (plus some others we’re likely forgetting) all vying for your potential guests’ attention, where do you start?

The first step: get to know your ideal guests, and think about where they spend their time on the internet. Then check out our series on winning over bookings on social media.


  • Reach your audience where they spend their time on the internet
  • Options for paid advertising, community building, and more


  • Daily time commitment
  • Multiple channels to manage

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Pay Per Click

Paying Google to promote your website seems like a silver bullet. And in some ways, it is: as long as a PPC ad is relevant, searchers are just as likely to click on it as they are other results. Plus, the more relevant your ad, the less Google charges you for placement.

But in another way, that limits you to search terms that apply specifically to what you’re offering (i.e. “accommodations in [your destination]”). You won’t be as able to reach guests in other stages of the booking process, and you’ll also have to put a lot of sweat into managing your campaigns. Without a strict budget, you run the risk of running up big costs.


  • Potentially low-cost way to reach new guests
  • Can be as effective as organic ranking


  • Requires lots of clicks, dedicated maintenance, and strict budget
  • Limited number of terms you can target without being irrelevant


Outreach can be a lot of things. It can mean creating relationship with local businesses and your tourism bureau—both can increase your exposure and build goodwill between you and your community. Think about ways that you can mutually benefit each other, and start creating partnerships.

It can also mean establishing a public relations campaign. Securing publication in magazines or shout-outs from influencers isn’t easy work, but it’s a great way to put yourself in front of the demographic your rentals are best suited for.


  • Establish yourself as a citizen of your community
  • Expand your reach to new audiences


  • Low success rates can be frustrating
  • Dependent on the whims of other publications, businesses, etc.

vacation rental marketing

Marketing Strategies for Vacation Rentals Made Simple

Still not sure which marketing strategies for vacation rentals to pursue? Don’t fret! Partner with Guest Hook and let us help you map out a plan that suits your needs, goals, and budget. Get started by checking out our marketing jumpstarter packages for vacation rentals.