How the heck do people find your vacation rental website to book a stay?
By starting with a vacation rental website template, you’ve saved yourself a lot of time in getting a branded website up and running for guests to book. That’s step one.
But marketing your site takes creativity. You’ve probably seen our 32 Places to List Your Site for Free, but here’s our follow up of how we’ve seen people drive traffic to their website in the last year–and with incredible success.
We know SEO has worked for some people using OneRooftop’s vacation rental software (we make it very simple to do and keep up on best practices for the industry) but still, we’ve seen significantly more people flourish by other means.
So we’re going to give you ELEVEN new ways to book guests directly on your website… and then will give you the info you need to know about SEO.
1. They stayed with you before.
First time with a website? The best way to get traffic to your website when starting out is to send out an email blast to your past guests using a service like MailChimp urging them to book with you again. Email marketing is an incredibly powerful way to keep in touch with past guests. If email marketing is new to you, you should read OneRooftop’s guide that is specific to improving your vacation rental marketing.
2. Their friend or family member stayed at your property before.
Referrals carry more weight than any amount of money you can spend on marketing. Normal folks don’t recommend a VRBO listing to their friends. They would recommend a brand, like a villa they booked with guestspaces.com.
3. They read about you in a travel blog.
Travel writers write about brands, not just any listing. Having a website is the first step in developing a brand. Don’t think it’s possible? Curtis Hawes, manager of oldkyoto.com, has been featured in Lonely Planet and Cool Hunting. Our friend Carol at Whymms Villas had a travel writer stay at her homes in the Bahamas.
4. They saw your Tiny Houses on Portlandia.
Does your business do something unique? You may be inspiration to the sketch comedians Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein.
5. OneRooftop featured your property on its social media platforms.
OneRooftop loves to celebrate victories. Let OneRooftop know when you’ve gotten press, updated your photos, or have created some high quality content. We’d love to share with the world!
6. You created a vacation guide on Issu.
Ashley at atxcasas.com created a vacation guide to the best spots for visitors to Austin, TX by using the online zine builder, Issu. Check out her guide to Austin.
7. You’ve built out a following on Pinterest.
Pinterest makes sharing so easy. If you have a blog and produce great content, you need to be on Pinterest to give your work a longer shelf life. Check out Matt Landau’s research on Pinterest as a marketing goldmine.
8. Your video tutorials to the local golf course inspired someone to book your vacation rental.
Rick Oster’s Golf Houses are built right on destination golf courses in Prattville and Birmingham. He’s created these incredible videos using drones to give the best golf advice for each hole. Here’s one example. When it’s all said and done, there will be 52 tutorials!
9. You ran a paid advertising campaign
Paid advertising on channels like Facebook and Google are great ways to transition away from traditional listing sites to direct bookings on your website. Read OneRooftop’s interview with a former Google employee about what paid advertising can do for small to medium sized vacation rental businesses.
10. Pet Lovers go to Pet VR
Are you fine with groups that bring their cats and dogs on vacation too? You can put your website on PetVR.com for free!
11. You’re listed as a hospitality option for a local event
Most events will have a vendor’s guide page on their website or in their pamphlets. For instance, Lake Tahoe’s Shakespeare Festival lists a few different vacation rental options on their “Visit Lake Tahoe” page. Not many vacation rental managers take advantage of this advertising, so it could be a great way to stand out and build your reputation.
We saved this one for last because it’s always the FIRST thing any new marketer asks.
SEO is an amazing option — but it takes time. It takes time to prove to Google that your website is better than other websites. The exciting thing is that even as a small business you can do this. OneRooftop has built out an extensive list help guide for approaching SEO as a small vacation rental business.
What is your vacation rental website’s success story?
Did you book directly with a marketing technique we didn’t mention something great we didn’t mention? Leave us a comment below or send an email to email@example.com. OneRooftop would love to hear from you!