Vacation rental newsletters: worth doing, but only if you do them right.
Send out a shoddy newsletter, and there might be consequences. Best case scenario, it goes ignored, or attracts a few readers (if you’re lucky). Worst case scenario, your readers view you as spammy or unhelpful, make a beeline for the “unsubscribe” button, and forget your business exists.
But done well, your newsletter offers a chance to drive bookings, build your brand, and establish yourself as an area expert. Learn from our example vacation rental newsletter below.
Punchy Subject Line
How many emails have you gotten with a subject that’s along the lines of “GREAT DEAL!!!”—and how many have you actually opened?
Your potential guests have dozens of companies vying for their attention in their inbox. Nailing the subject line is crucial to having them pay attention to yours. We recommend something that’s specific enough to hint at what your email will be about, but mysterious enough to pique interest.
Depending on your brand voice, you can choose to use light humor, employ vibrant imagery, or even make a promise or claim (as long as you can deliver on it).
The images you include in your newsletters should be stunners. And they should have a purpose—like introducing your newest addition or showing potential guests what they can expect at your rentals.
Choose photos that invoke an emotional response. When a reader opens your newsletters, you want them to be able to envision themselves staying with you. Set a scene that potential guests can dream themselves into.
You might have the impulse to jam pack as much information as possible into your newsletter. Don’t!
Every item you include competes with everything else in your newsletter for a reader’s attention. If you cram in a shout-out to every blog post you’ve written in the past six months, you’ll overwhelm your readers—who will head right to the delete button for some relief.
Keep it to 2-3 items of relevant information, and create a visual hierarchy that guides your readers’ eyes through the newsletter. They should know exactly where to look as soon as they open your email.
Whether it’s a logo, typeface, or color scheme, your newsletter should include elements that are uniquely yours.
Visual branding sparks potential guests’ memories every time they open your emails. Be consistent in the way you present your newsletters visually, and guests will begin remembering who you are with a quick glance.
If you don’t already have a brand in place, be sure to carefully consider what you want yours to convey before you commit.
Purpose for Sending
Your potential guests are busy people. If you’re going to ask them to open one more email, it better have a solid reason behind it.
We’re not saying it has to be something urgent. But it should be thoughtful: in our example, 3Tree Escapes is reaching out to invite guests to book a spring stay.
Your reason can also be seasonal—or it can be an announcement, a deal, or an invitation to a specific event or happening. But whatever your reason is, stick to it while creating your newsletter.
Above all, a newsletter is a letter. It’s a way for you to speak directly to the people who you’re inviting to come stay with you. And in that way, it’s deeply personal.
The voice you use in your newsletter should both feel true to you and resonate with potential guests. Ditch the corporate speak—but don’t dash off your copy as if it were a text to a friend. Find a happy balance between personality and professionalism.
And don’t forget: just like your subject line, your copy should be inspired by your brand voice. A property manager of luxury ski chalets shouldn’t use the same voice as the owner of breezy beach bungalows.
You’ve already determined your reason for sending your newsletter—now use it to craft a crystal clear call-to-action.
Your CTA should have a clear ask. Often it should invite readers to visit a page on your website and link to it, but it can also encourage them to call you or check out a social media page—depending on your goal.
Whatever it is, it should also be stated simply, and made to stand out visually.
Gone are the days where you can send out a generic newsletter and hope that it strikes a chord. With so much data available about internet users, there’s no excuse to not personalize your communications.
Consider asking your readers to answer a few brief questions about themselves wherever they sign up. (Just be careful not to go overboard: you don’t want them to be overwhelmed by the length of the form.) Or create a Facebook lead generation campaign and target it towards specific audiences.
Be sure to gear your newsletters to each demographic’s interest. It can mean creating a totally different newsletter for each type of potential guest, or it can mean tweaking a few parts to create different versions.
In our example, 3Tree Escapes left a space to plug in a quick blog post as a shout-out to the couples demographic.
As a vacation rentalist, you have the opportunity to be more than just a provider of accommodations. You can be your potential guests’ go-to expert.
Make your newsletter one that guests look forward to reading by including bonus information that they can’t get from a quick Google search. In our example, 3Tree Escapes links to a round-up of the latest restaurants and shops that have opened in the area—information that’s interesting to both new guests and return bookings.
Option to Connect
Your newsletter should work to keep your business on readers’ minds.
Without cluttering the design, give them plenty of options for connecting with your business. Include your phone number, website, and links to any relevant social media accounts.
Need help crafting a quality newsletter? Talk to Guest Hook about creating an email campaign that matches your goals and strengthens your vacation rental brand.