9 Vacation Rental Marketing Tips to Get Your Home Seen — and Booked

The Evolve Team
The Evolve Team
November 2, 2021

As a vacation rental owner, one of your primary goals is pretty simple: get your property booked and highly reviewed.

Providing in-home amenities and five-star guest experiences are crucial pieces of that puzzle, but your road to success begins long before travelers set foot in your home. In fact, it starts online.

Think about it: your property needs to be seen before it can be booked. And without the right strategies in place, even the most amazing homes can sit empty.

Which is why you need vacation rental marketing.

Below, you’ll find important tips for how to market your vacation rental property. From listing must-haves and distribution best practices to what we at Evolve consider your secret marketing weapon, this is your starting point for getting your vacation home booked and earning more.

In This Article:

Create an Eye-Catching Listing

Get Your Listing in Front of Guests

Champion Hospitality

There’s more where these vacation rental marketing tips came from. Get in-depth expert insights when you download our free guide: The 6 Biggest Secrets to Making Thousands More with Your Vacation Rental

Create an Eye-Catching Listing

Vacation home with porch lights and kayaks near a shoreline

Getting your home listed online is How to Market Your Vacation Rental Property 101. But the content of said listing is just as critical as its very existence. These online marketing tips can help craft how things look and sound so your listing draws in eager travelers.

1. Include Professional Photography

While it might seem easy to snap a few pictures on your phone, the impact of professional photos is pretty astounding: Evolve data shows owners who bring in experts see, on average, a 309% increase in listing views and two extra bookings a month. (Over the course of a year, that adds up!)

Here are some vacation rental photography tips the professionals live by:

  • Take at least 30 high-quality, seasonally-appropriate photos and upload a minimum of 24 (and max of 45) to meet the requirements of major listing sites like Airbnb and Booking.com.

  • Show off your home’s best amenities without relying on any distorting lens or editing tactics that portray your home in a misleading light. (This could cause negative feedback when guests actually step through the door.)

  • Edit photos to eliminate any mirror reflections or shadows. (Professionals are especially helpful here.)

2. Make Sure Google (and Guests) Can Find Your Home

Search engine optimization (SEO) is a marketer’s best friend, and it can be a vacation rental owner’s, too. 

Simply put, SEO refers to the tactics used to make sure a piece of content (in this case, your listing) appears in search results for the right people at the right time. It requires an understanding of how search engines determine what the best answers are to questions people type in their search bars — and it can tell you a lot about what people are looking for in your area.

Without this expert knowledge, a vacation home might be a perfect fit for a guest, but they’ll never know because search engines won’t know to surface it.

Here are some basic vacation rental SEO tips owners should keep in mind:

  • Conduct location-specific research to identify how people are searching for amenities and property details. (Many want to know if homes are pet-friendly, for example.)

  • Weave applicable research into your listing headline to catch the attention of scrollers.

  • Feature popular amenities and more property details in your listing description (as they apply to your home) to help attract more guests — and convince them to book.

3. Price Your Home Competitively

Chances are your home isn’t the only one in the area with an ideal number of bedrooms and popular amenities. So when travelers have to choose between similar options, of course price comes into play. 

In fact, our recent 2022 Travel Trends Forecast found 41% of guests always take price into consideration when booking a property. 

To make sure your home is priced right, you need to apply a dynamic revenue management strategy — something airlines and hotels have been using for years. Think about it: have you ever seen flight prices change in the middle of your search? That’s dynamic revenue management at work. 

Put simply, competition and traveler demand can shift on a dime — people might book a bunch of homes in the area, for example, giving you the chance to up the price of your home to match demand. If you don’t make that change, you’re likely to lose out on a lot of money.

Same goes the other way, too: if your home is priced too high compared to the rest of your competition, travelers will book someone else’s home.

Here are some dynamic pricing tips that can help you earn more:

  • Keep a constant eye on the market in your area to make sure you’re not over- or underpriced.

  • Go beyond seasonality and look at more specific travel trends, like increased bookings around local events and subtle dips at slower tourist times. (You need access to historical data to understand these nuances.)

  • Invest in a tech solution that takes the hard work of analysis off your plate and sets you up for sustainable success.

More on that last point: it’s near impossible to access historical insights or keep up with constantly-changing travel patterns without professional tech help. But when you have it, the difference in income is major: at Evolve, our exclusive SmartRates algorithm and expert revenue analysts help owners earn, on average, 24% more than traditional methods.

These vacation rental online marketing tips only scratch the surface. Download our free Guide to Making Thousands More to get even more expert insights around how to create a listing that stands out in a crowd.

Get Your Listing in Front of Guests

Woman sitting on a bench outside a house working on a laptop.

Once your listing has swoon-worthy photos, a Google-friendly description, and a dynamic pricing strategy in place, it’s time to create a vacation rental channel marketing strategy — aka getting your listing out into the wild. Reach guests with these three promotional tactics that are designed to connect your home with the biggest and most qualified audience.

4. List on Multiple Marketplaces

Getting your vacation rental on all the top sites maximizes your online presence and puts you in the best position for bookings. 

That said, it’s a lot of work to keep up with guest inquiries, reservation requests, and reviews across multiple platforms. It might even be why surveys show over 80% of vacation rental owners only list on Airbnb. 

But those who put in the work — or have a vacation rental management company like Evolve do it for them — report earning two to four times more annual revenue.

Here are some key tips for listing across multiple marketplaces: 

  • Clearly understand how the different listing sites operate, from their website functionality to the criteria that impacts your home’s performance.

  • Create a game plan for how to consolidate your day-to-day operations and distribute any updates to your listing automatically.

  • Minimize expenses as you scale. When you work with Evolve, for example, your home is placed on all the top listing sites at no extra cost to you (making it a lot cheaper than it would be to do it yourself).

5. Build a Vacation Rental Email Marketing Strategy

Email marketing helps supplement online searches by growing a more dedicated audience base. Listing sites and management companies use email campaigns to get properties in front of loyal guests more frequently, and vacation rental owners can do so, too.

Here are some get-started tips for building an email marketing strategy:

  • Encourage sign-ups for a newsletter wherever you connect with travelers. Once you have subscribers, you can double your efforts by asking them to forward emails to friends. 

  • Use an email marketing tool to help automate communications, capture your subscribers’ information and preferences, and measure how well your emails perform.

  • Test different email variables (like when you send and what your subject lines are) to drive more engagement from your audience.

6. Use Social Media to Your Advantage

With billions of users taking to Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest every day, there’s so much potential for your vacation rental to capture someone’s attention. 

Much like email marketing, social media expands your reach by tapping into new audiences. Plus, it can capture the attention of people who may not be ready to book a vacation right now, but who still want to be inspired and bookmark your home for future reference. 

Here are some best practices for using social media to your advantage:

  • Create business pages on all platforms to give viewers all the relevant information they need (including photos, a link to book, and contact info).

  • Post as often as you can to stay top of mind for your followers, and use relevant hashtags to help your vacation rental surface in in-app searches. 

  • Stay engaged with your community by responding to comments and (non-spammy) private messages, liking related content, and asking guests to tag you in their experiences at your home (so you can reshare on your page).

Download our complete Guide to Making Thousands More and get even more vacation rental channel marketing insights for free.

Champion Hospitality

LED welcome sign on wood table with coffee and cookies

We know, we know: hospitality isn’t a marketing strategy in the technical sense of the term. But if you ask us about how to market your vacation rental property, this really is one of the most powerful tactics.

By creating five-star moments at every stage of a traveler’s experience with your home, you can build a reputation that instills trust and improves how often potential bookers see your listing. Consider these hospitality tips your secret weapon for vacation rental marketing.

7. Respond Promptly and Effectively

Whether it’s a pre-booking question or a text from a guest pre-stay, how quickly you reply to a visitor is often the first impression of your customer service. And our data reveals that a 15-minute response time (or less) is the magic number to hit. 

That’s a high bar for a busy owner, but it could be the difference between getting that booking (or five-star review), or losing out to your competition. 

Here are some quick communication tips to make sure you never leave a guest hanging:

  • Draft answers to commonly-asked questions so you can quickly copy and paste as a response. (Our Guide to Making Thousands More includes the most popular FAQs.)

  • Streamline online communications so all of your guest inquiries and notifications can be found and responded to in one place.

  • Assign a guest contact, aka someone who is available for guests 24/7 via phone and text (and can get to the property if needed).

8. Establish Policies That Suit Traveler Expectations

Hospitality should extend into the policies set for your vacation rental. They’re part of how browsing travelers are introduced to your property on listing sites, and can directly impact the size of your audience.

From cancellation policies to minimum stay requirements (and a whole lot more), your flexibility can speak volumes about your customer service and give you an edge over less-accommodating competitors. 

Here are a few tips to help you set successful vacation rental policies:

  • Make your policies dynamic to best suit the changing needs of guests. Test these policies long-term to gauge continual success and adjust as needed.

  • Evaluate market trends and competitive listings’ policies to learn what’s popular and help validate your policy choices.
     
  • Be willing to adapt when a situation arises that’s entirely out of a guest’s control.

9. Collect Five-Star Reviews

Collecting positive reviews is arguably the single most important piece of how to market your vacation rental property. 

On all major listing sites, homes with five-star ratings get priority in search results, making them more visible to browsing travelers. On the other hand, a one- or two-star rating can bump your property down in search results (or worse, potentially pause it entirely). 

Five-star reviews are also the best kind of vacation rental marketing because they give future bookers an unbiased, yet glowing look at what it’s like to stay in your home. This helps build trust and a positive reputation, as our recent 2022 Travel Trends Forecast revealed that positive reviews are the top thing guests look for when deciding whether or not to book a property. 

Here are some quick tips for getting those five-star reviews:

  • Make sure your home sticks to consistent, hotel-like cleaning standards and has an up-to-date inventory for every stay.

  • Respond professionally to any negative feedback you get and make a plan for fixing the problem.

  • Ask recent guests for reviews and share a link that makes it easy for them to do so.

Evolve believes getting your home seen, booked, and highly-reviewed is the 1, 2, 3 of booking and earning more. But figuring out how to market your vacation home properly requires a ton of time, energy, and expert insight.

That’s why we created our free downloadable guide that’s full of all the secrets you need to truly make your home a success.

Inside you’ll find:

  • Exclusive vacation rental marketing secrets we use to hit revenue goals
  • A deeper look at how to create the perfect listing and set smart policies
  • Impressive data insights that prove just how much of a game-changer the right strategies can be

We’re here to help you earn more while stressing less, and are confident our professional insights and guidance can help your home shine.

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