For your vacation rental to stand out, it must have a standout feature.
But many times when owners and property managers identify a unique selling point for a rental, it isn’t really so unique after all.
Many homeowners in the Disney area, for example, market their swimming pool, their proximity to Disney World, and their free WiFi.
This is totally relevant information for guests to have, of course. They want the pool; they want to be close to the parks; they want WiFi so kids can crash on the sofa with their iPads and their favorite Disney shows.
Don’t leave these key pieces of information out of your listing, by any means!
But are these features truly unique? Unfortunately not.
HomeAway lists 16,339 vacation rentals in the Disney area!
10,105 have a swimming pool, internet access, and are within 3 miles (5km) of Disney. That’s a whopping 62% of homes with those three features.
A pool, proximity, and WiFi simply aren’t enough to truly stand out.
Something else has to come into play.
Among the most highly rated properties on the first page of results for Disney rentals, many have a hook beyond the swimming pool. Whether it’s 5-star treatment for guests, budget-friendly rates, a decked-out game room, or a pet-friendly/disability-friendly set-up.
One highly rated property (41 five-star reviews), for example, uses as its feature image a photo of a happy dog on a deck.
Now that is a standout feature: Pet-friendly properties comprise just 3.7% of the 16,339 vacation rentals in Disney. On top of that, it’s a great marketing move – in a sea of photos of screened-in swimming pools, the dog photo immediately catches the eye. And that’s especially true of those guests looking to bring their four-legged friend.
This is not to say that you should become pet-friendly just to stand out! There are obviously many concerns with making the leap into allowing dogs at your rental. But this does show that looking into what other people are doing is an important marketing step.
Don’t make the mistake of going with the crowd.
Property Managers and Your Unique Selling Points
Some of the worst offenders of the “not-so-unique” unique selling points – I hate to admit – are property managers who list properties for their homeowners.
And it makes sense: many of them are listing and managing multiple properties at once. They simply don’t have the time or inclination to parse out the really unique features of a rental.
Obviously, property managers know their target market. They know that people care about WiFi, pools, and Disney. And deals.
So those go into every single listing. Here is a sampling of some real headlines from one property manager:
MAY/JUNE SPECIALS 4BR KING POOL WIFI NEW AC MINUTES TO DISNEY
CALL FOR 10% OFF 3BR POOL GAME ROOM WIFI MINUTES TO DISNEY
LUXURY KING MASTER POOL SPA GAME ROOM LCD TVS SIMPLY THE BEST AVAILABLE WI-FI
Leaving aside that HomeAway recently called for a moratorium on ALL CAPS in listing headlines (it reads like aggressive spam) these headlines are nearly identical. They’re not selling anyone!
Keep an eye on your listing and the way property managers frame your property. It can’t hurt to tell them you’d like your listing’s feature image and headline to focus on elements other than the pool and WiFi.
Good, forward thinking property managers will listen! Better ones will do something about it. We know because we’ve worked with many such forward thinking property managers!
If you need to play catch up on the first and second articles in this series: