Turnovers, tricky guests, unexpected crises…we know there’s plenty of chaos to keep you busy during peak season. Even the most put-together hosts and managers can feel like they barely have time to breathe, let alone take on marketing projects. What are you, a magician?!
Though it’s stressful to watch your revenue trend downwards during slow season, it’s also the perfect time to take a breath and take on some overlooked marketing tasks. Use it to your advantage!
Once peak season’s behind you… inhale. Exhale. And then choose a marketing goal (or two) to accomplish. Here are some of our recommendations for using your time well.
Start a blog—and give it SEO power.
If you have a website, it’s time to make sure people see it.
Perhaps you’ve already targeted keywords like “vacation rentals in (your destination)” or (your destination) accommodations” on your site’s pages.
Excellent! But this is only one part of the SEO (search-engine optimization) equation. In fact, you may have noticed that industry behemoths (Homeaway, Airbnb, TripAdvisor) have a lock on these common search terms—they dominate the results page on Google. Not so helpful.
But there’s an under-explored opportunity in other search terms that potential guests might be using. Terms like “family restaurants in (destination)” or “(destination) dog-friendly beaches.”
These search phrases are called long-tail keywords. Similar to tried-and-true phases like “vacation rentals in ____,” long-tail keywords are also designed to pull in guests who are in the planning phase and turning to Google for answers.
The big difference? Less competition.
Your slow season is the time to create content that answers guests’ common queries. Learn a bit about keyword research and data (Moz.com is our favorite resource—or email us at Guest Hook for help). Then get to work on creating content around these terms.
Not only will you increase your ranking, you’ll also establish yourself as a knowledgeable host.
Need inspiration? Check out this blog from Beside the Sea Holidays—it’s useful and it packs a serious SEO punch, targeting commonly Googled terms like “Camber Sands weather” and “unusual accommodations UK”.
Buddy up with your local tourism bureau.
In 2018, with new vacation rental regulations getting introduced at a rapid clip, vacation rentalists need to clearly establish themselves as community advocates, not adversaries.
Use this time to get in touch with your town or city’s tourism bureau. Check out their website—or search on LinkedIn—and figure out who to reach out to about partnerships and what those partnerships may entail.
Better yet: propose a partnership idea yourself. And we’re not talking about just getting your link on their website (though that’s great, too). Ask if you can contribute blog posts to their site or columns to their publications. See if they’re open to social media takeovers.
And, of course, if they agree, be sure to deliver nothing less than stellar content that engages and impresses (you may need to prove ahead of time that you can do so).
Build your social media following.
In the heat of peak season, social media can easily fall by the wayside. Posting on Facebook once a month can feel like a success!
But your off-season is a great time to engage and build your following. After all, posting for a non-existent audience—or one that’s not paying attention—is like talking to an empty room.
Use this time to prepare thoughtful posts that really aim to expand your reach. That might mean tagging other local businesses (thoughtfully and with intention!), researching and using destination-based hashtags, building up your photo gallery, or experimenting with different types of posts.
And it must be said: with Facebook’s ever-changing algorithms and wealth of audience data for paid targeting, investing a bit of money in ads should be part of your social media strategy.
Still feeling overwhelmed/unsure? Use your off-season to find a social media expert to help out.
Make the most of your mailing list.
Hopefully, you’ve encouraged all of your peak-season guests to sign up for your mailing list. And if not, there’s always re-targeting campaigns.
Now that you’ve added some emails to your list, put it to good use. It could be as simple as seasonal digests that clue your past guests in on what’s going on throughout the year.
Or maybe it’s something a little more creative. As an example: we recently created a “Kiawah Island Moments” series for Kiawah Island Getaways. These newsletters showed potential guests and reminded past vacationers of the magic of Kiawah Island with short, narrative snippets and stunning images.
Ask yourself: how can you deliver a little bit of wanderlust right to your guests’ inboxes?
We’ve already mentioned buddying up to the local tourism bureau, but are there other ways you can get your name out there?
Have you looked at placement opportunities in magazines? Are you following top influencers in your destination or with your demographic? Are there niche listing sites that you’re missing out on?
Getting featured on other sites not only boosts your referral traffic, it helps you build your brand and increase recognition.
Now…. where to start?
We know—it’s a lot to tackle, even in your slowest season! If you need some assistance finding your footing—or executing all of your marketing—Guest Hook is here to help. Check out our marketing and branding services.