8 Smart Ways to Promote Your Vacation Rental

Photo: Annie Schlechter
There are just about as many beach house rentals out there as there are fish in the sea. So how do you create a listing that swims against the stream? If you’re thinking of diving in, here are our expert tips for standing out in the crowd.

1. Pick a Punchy Title

You only have a matter of seconds to grab the attention of potential renters. So instead of titling your listing with something generic, such as “Luxury Beach House,” pick something more click-worthy: “Beachfront Paradise with Infinity Pool and free SUP boards, just 350 steps from the beach” has a nicer ring and the power of visuals. All of a sudden, renters can picture themselves relaxing in the pool and walking to the beach with a SUP board tucked under their arm.

2. Befriend a Blogger

In the digital age, advertising doesn’t always mean what it used to. There are bloggers everywhere who have thousands of eyes on their websites and are constantly looking for fresh content. Find one with a hefty social media following and a target audience similar to your own, and offer to partner with him or her by exchanging a complimentary stay for free promotion on their site. Most bloggers will offer up information on their monthly traffic and report back on the success of posts related to your rental.

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3. Know the Power of Pretty Pictures

As good as your filtered iPhone photos look, nothing beats the quality of professional photography. Consider hiring a pro to capture your rental in its best light (literally). Typically, bright and airy photos are better for vacation rentals than darker, saturated images. Also, create a shot list for your photographer – and don’t leave out unique details such as an outdoor shower or a collection of framed fan coral.

4. Create a Killer Site

Listing on Airbnb and VRBO is great, but having your own website for your rental adds an extra level of professionalism. Website-building tools like Squarespace and Wix make it easy (and affordable) to create one from a template, with little bonuses such as a contact form and guest book where past renters can share photos and stories from their stays.

5. Be More Social

Social media is the gift of self-promotion and a necessity if you want to grow awareness for your rental. Platforms like Instagram, YouTube, and Facebook are particularly useful; YouTube is perfect for sharing quick video tours of the home, while Instagram can entice prospective renters with beautiful photos of both the home and your town. Facebook is great for engagement and for targeting audiences in specific locations through their sponsored content tools (available for a small fee).

6. Tag It

Part of being socially savvy with your rental is knowing how to use hashtags. Create one that’s unique to your home (#BahamasJewelBox is better than just #BeachHouse). In addition, use hashtags that might be searchable for a particular topic or location (browse local bloggers or visitors bureaus to see what others are doing) to give your posts broader reach. GeoTagging, which allows your photos to be searchable by location, is another great resource.

7. Team Up

Whether you have multiple rentals in one location or know of neighbors who also rent out their beach homes nearby, advertising more than one location on your site is a great way to target larger groups. If you know the options in your area, you can make it clear that 25-person reunions are just as welcome as a family of four is in yours – and others’ – homes.

8. Ad It Up

If you’d rather not put as much time into promoting your rental, let Google do it for you. Google AdWords is an online advertising tool that helps your website reach prospective renters based on specific criteria. (For example, if you have a pet-friendly guest house, AdWords will help you target animal-owning couples within a two-hour radius from your rental.) The best part? You only pay when the ad pays off through clicks or phone calls.

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