If you’re getting into the crowded vacation rental market, it’s likely for you to face some challenges.

While the short-term market as a whole is definitely booming, it can feel like you’re a small fish in a big pond with all the competition out there.

So, how do you make your rental property stand out? How do you get attention from people looking to rent a vacation property in your area?

Here are 10 things for you to consider.

List Your Properties (Nearly) Everywhere

With Airbnb, HomeAway, TripAdvisor, Booking.com, and all of the other booking platforms out there, how do you choose which site to list your rental property on?

The good news is, you don’t have to.

While each site has the ability for you to update your availability calendar and pricing, it does not take long to become overwhelming when managing properties across multiple platforms. Thankfully, there is a solution for managing properties across multiple distribution channels.

With channel management software, you can easily list your property on all the big booking sites as well as many niche ones you may not have heard of. Basically, channel management software allows you to display properties across multiple platforms. These services distribute your property across anywhere from 1-50 platforms.

Then, when you receive a booking, they automatically update your availability calendar across all of the platforms you’re listed on.

Take great pictures

Pictures are one of the most important parts of getting people to click on your listing.

Humans are visual in nature. In fact, half of our brain is indirectly or directly devoted to visual processing. So it makes sense that if something looks more appealing, we react to it in a more positive way.

For a rental listing, this means better-looking pictures can draw more clicks and bookings.

You don’t necessarily need to hire a photographer (although this would be a very good idea) – you just need to make sure your pictures do a good job at selling your property.

If you plan on going DIY, here are some quick guidelines for you to follow when compiling the photos of your property:

  • Make use of composite lighting techniques. This allows you to show off the interior beauty of the property and capture the great view outside the window.
  • Take photos in a way that shows off the flow of how your rooms connect. Consider also including a floor plan as a photo.
  • Take lots of photos. 20 or more.

Write an attractive title

When writing your title, you want to describe a bit about the property so people become interested and click to see more.

For example, instead of writing something generic like “Luxury Log Cabin”, try something more descriptive that includes some features of the property, such as “Luxury 5 Bedroom Log Cabin – Amazing View, Hot Tub, and Fire Pit.”

Suddenly, those reading your listing title can picture themselves in your property.

Write a detailed description

Equally important to the title is the property description.

In your description, it’s important to be straightforward and honest. If the property is run by a management company, say so. Construction? Be transparent about that.

Communicate these negative aspects as more informative than off-putting.

For example:

“As with many vacation destinations, the area is rapidly expanding. Because of this, you may experience nearby construction during your stay.”

Reach out to travel bloggers

A great way to build exposure for your property is to get travel bloggers talking about it to their readers.

In some cases, it may even be worth offering them a free stay just so they’ll write about it. Maybe even let them offer a discount to their readers and pay a commission to encourage this.

Before reaching out to these bloggers, try building relationships with them ahead of time. Comment on their articles, share their content and engage with them online before you ask them for anything.

If you want to find travel influencers, check out Buzzsumo. This tool can help you identify travel bloggers with the biggest number of social media followers.

Execute a list building campaign

Another way to gain exposure for your property is to get it listed in vacation rental lists for your city.

For example, if you have a vacation rental property in Austin, Texas, the goal would be to get listed on pages that list Austin, Texas vacation rental properties – like this one.

To find these pages, simply type “vacation rental properties in –your city and reach out to the site asking them to include your listing.

Not only will this increase exposure of your rental property to people actively seeking one out, but it will provide a good SEO boost to your website (if you have one).

Price strategically

You shouldn’t have the same price year round. For best results, you want to price differently depending on a number of factors:

  • If your property is new, price low to get reviews on booking sites.
  • Price according to demand and seasonality in your local marketing
  • Price to influence the perception of your target audience. When the price is higher, for example, people perceive it as a more luxury rental.

Know where you are in your business, and understand the audience you’re going after. This will determine your pricing strategy.

Start blogging

Blogging is a great way to increase the exposure of your property to travelers through search engines.

If you create web pages about travel topics in your area that rank well in Google, you’ll then have website traffic that consists of people looking to travel to your area.

With this, you can promote your rental property to these readers within your articles.

If you write about topics targeting people looking to travel to your location, this traffic can easily convert into bookings.

Respond immediately

If people reach out to multiple rental properties and you respond first, you’re much more likely to get the deal.

In fact, if you respond within an hour of them contacting you, your conversions will be 7x greater than if you don’t.

Since only 37% of companies respond to queries within an hour, this will give you a huge competitive advantage.

Encourage referrals

If you have a guest that really enjoyed their stay, you can increase your bookings by encouraging them to refer their friends and family to your property.

One way you can accomplish this is by giving them coupons to give to their friends for a discount off their first booking.

If you want to take it a step further, offer both parties – the referrer and referee – a discount if a referral is made. This way, there’s something in it for both of them.

This isn’t a new business practice. Dropbox grew its service entirely through referral marketing.

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