All good marketing has a plan behind it. But you know that already—that’s why you’re here!
So how can you create a vacation rental marketing plan that builds your business and lands you guests?
We’ve created a list of five questions that will help you get started. Set aside some time to answer them. Then set aside more time to look at your answers again.
Creating a vacation rental marketing plan takes some deep thinking and soul searching. Take your time with these questions and you’ll build yourself a strong foundation on which to base months (or more) of marketing efforts.
Without further ado, let’s start thinking.
What is my goal?
You may be saying, “that’s simple—I want my vacation rental business to be better” or “make me more money” or “attract more guests.”
And that’s a good jumping off point. But it’s not a true goal. There are many paths to a better vacation rental business and more bookings—and that can be paralyzing. It’s easy to get stuck at the starting line if you don’t have a more specific goal to shape your way forward.
Before you invest time and/or money into a vacation rental marketing plan, develop a more specific goal.
Do you want to increase your nightly rate? Appeal to a new demographic? Fill your booking calendar during off-season?
You don’t have to flesh this goal out completely—but be specific enough that it can help guide you as you work through the next four questions.
Who are my target guests?
The guests you want to reach may just be the most important part of the vacation rental marketing equation. Take a moment to see things from their point of view.
If you haven’t yet created a guest persona, now’s the time. It might feel like a silly exercise, but give yourself permission to get creative. The more real these imaginary guests seem, the easier it’ll be to step into their shoes when you’re making marketing decisions. (Tip: you can also share these personas with other folks on your team to keep everyone on the same page.)
When should I market?
There’s the obvious question of when in your calendar year to market. For example: if your winter holiday guests tend to book in September, you know that early fall is the time to rev up marketing if your goal is to fill that December bookings calendar.
But there’s also the more often overlooked question: which stage of the vacation planning process should I target?
Do you want to reach guests when they’ve already heard about your destination, or do you want to be the one to reveal it as a vacation-worthy spot? Is your time best spent targeting travelers who are daydreaming about vacation, or who have their credit card in hand to book?
There’s no right answer, just an answer that’s right for you right now. Plus, you might want to double-down on the effectiveness of your vacation rental marketing plan by targeting multiple stages of the guest journey—or making a second chance appeal to guests who passed you by the first time.
Where should I invest my time and money?
When you’re fresh on the vacation rental marketing scene, it can be tempting to try a little bit of everything. And in the beginning it’s not such a bad idea—especially if you’re keeping a close eye on what works and what doesn’t (more on that below).
But spend a few months with the see-what-sticks approach, and you’ll find yourself burnt out and frustrated.
There’s an old marketing adage with many iterations, but the idea’s the same: market to everybody, reach nobody.
Once you’ve considered your goal, your target guests, and your timeline, determine how you can best reach them, and hyper-focus your time and money on that outlet. Or if you don’t have adequate time to do your goal justice, hire someone who can.
How will I measure success?
No vacation rental marketing initiative can be fool-proof for one simple reason: not every aspect of it will be in your control. Algorithms change. A hotel with a big marketing budget pops up in your destination. New competition appears for your keywords.
While we recommend being hyper-focused in your strategy, we also encourage you to be adaptable. So how will you know when it’s time to tweak your strategy or shift focus altogether?
Every good vacation rental marketing plan should include a method for measuring its success that correlates with its goal—whether it’s upping your organic traffic by a certain percentage, building your social media following by a number per month, or increasing your number of booked nights.
If you keep your eye on how you’re measuring up against that goal, you’ll have an easier time deciding on when and how to adapt.
An example vacation rental marketing plan
Want to see a well-focused vacation rental marketing plan in action? Check out this example:
Need help creating your vacation rental marketing plan?
Struggling to get started—or not sure how to wrangle your bright ideas into a vacation rental marketing plan that works? Guest Hook is here to help. Get in touch with us today and we’ll work with you to create, implement, measure, and adapt a plan for your vacation rental marketing.
Want a low-commitment way to dip your toes into marketing for your vacation rental? Check out our jumpstarter package!