Monday, January 23, 2012

19 Unusual Tips To More Vacation Rental Bookings

Looking forward to a successful year for renting your vacation home? With some planning and creativity, you can significantly increase your rental bookings.

Matt Landau (author of Vacation Rental Marketing Blog: free and inexpensive ways to increase your vacation rental occupancy), kindly provided the following very useful tips for increasing your Vacation Rental bookings.

Thinking about your vacation rental marketing more like a hotel can help even the simplest of property owners increase their bookings and make more money. These quick, innovative, and effective tips are also low-cost ways to boost your reservations in no time.

1. Create an annual award and promote it: Everyone loves winning or being nominated for an award, so saluting anyone you do business with can lead to backlinks, free press, and increased referrals. Some examples may include Most Supportive Travel Agent, Most Supportive Individual Promoting Rental Abroad, Best Tour Operator…etc. Create badges, trophies, or give away free room nights.

2. Join the local chamber of commerce: There’s no better way to get involved and connected in your community than joining the local chamber of commerce. Oftentimes the membership fee is small for small businesses and you can display the chamber’s seal on your website making your rental business appear more noteworthy.

3.Institute a monthly newsletter: With decent client management software, export all your past client data and start distributing interesting news, events, or blog posts via a monthly newsletter. Services to distribute start as low as $5/month.

4. Promote the internship of a lifetime: Internships are great for vacation rentals or property management companies because a) there’s tremendous supply of smart youngsters desperate for a resume boost nowadays and b) if creative enough, interesting internships can also bring in spectacular press. Everyone remembers the Best Job In The World ( campaign by the Austrailian Tourism Board. Have your intern help with anything from phone calls to grassroots marketing.

5. Trade a great artist: Whether it’s a photographer or painter or videographer, offering free nights at your vacation rental in exchange for a piece of their artwork can pay off huge.

6. Submit your vacation rental blog to Google Alerts and Google News: If you’re spending time writing unique content for your blog, why not syndicate it and have it distributed to the masses?
Submit your blog to these two free platforms (delivered daily to user’s email inboxes) and you’ll be amazed by the amount of referral traffic it generates.

7. Create a small brochure: Having a good, concise, attractive pitch brochure is worth its weight in gold. Beyond simply using it in meetings, try dropping it around town (inside magazines, books, in-flight magazines…etc).

8. Commission a local artist to do a beautiful mural on the sidewalk in front of your vacation rental

9. Contribute free nights to a local school or charity auction or fund raiser

10.Check in with your competition: To know where you stand, it’s important to know what your fellow vacation rental owners think about you. Try inquiring anonymously and gleaning their feedback about your establishment.

11.Write a book or e-book: Everyone loves a free giveaway, so try creating an informative, unique, entertaining piece of literature about your neighborhood (for example, “21 Experiences in Sonoma Only Insiders Can Deliver”) that you can give away for free on your website. It will allow you to build your newsletter subscribers and stimulate bookings in the same breadth.

12.Come up with a slogan or motto: Having a concise, accurate, and catchy phrase associated with your vacation rental can do wonders for your bookings. Set yourself apart from all the competition with a phrase that harnesses what makes your property unique. My slogan is "Stay Authentic. Stay Tulipanes" (with Tulipanes being the name of our rentals).

13. Include a local lottery ticket with your welcome packet: There’s no better way to improve the vacation rental experience than to involve them with the local neighborhood. This can be done in a number of ways, but try including a local lottery ticket in their arrival packet is fun, memorable, and inexpensive.

14. Add a “bookmark me now” link to your website: When guests search for vacation rentals, they look at an average of 5.1 options before making their decision (which, oftentimes, is not even done that same day). Prompting the guest to bookmark your website is an easy, obvious, no-frills way to retain users and set your rental apart from all the others.

15. Affiliate marketing: While not a new concept in the least, affiliate websites like allow for anyone to work with high-trafficked websites to secure more sales. The bigger your commission percentage, the more attractive your vacation rental bookings become to the vendors.

16. Photo wall: Take pictures of all your guest at a particularly iconic spot at your rental. Maybe this is a scenic balcony or at the entrance? Anything that visually represents your brand. Print out these photos or post them on your website or social media accounts. The repetition of the backdrop paired with the changing faces has a nice way of demonstrating reputation and popularity.

17. Capitalize on defunct businesses: Has a hotel or tour company in the region gone out of business? Act quick and work with the local telephone company to redirect the defunct phone number to yours and/or buy their URL when it becomes available. Forwarding these leads into your database can do nothing but increase bookings.

18. Get a toll free phone number: Registering for a toll-free number says you mean business and these days, with services like Skype, anyone can have an 800 number forwarded directly to their cell phone.

19. Third-party ticket stubs: Work with any restaurants, tour groups, or other complimentary businesses in your region to place a discount voucher on the bottom of their receipts. This way, when a traveler new to your town finishes, say, lunch, he or she will be encouraged to contact you using the referral coupon at the bottom of their bill

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