Maybe it should be easy, too. But, that’s the way the cookie crumbles folks. As Vacation Rentals take off, so does all the marketing that goes along with them and you’re likely stuck in a crowded market trying to stand out.
Standing out in Vacation Rentals is hard enough. But I frequently work with people who are also trying to stand out in fields like real estate, condo sales, tourism, hotels and in time share too. All at the same time.
Here are five big no-nos that all of them need to remember.
1) Don’t Present Yourself as A Real Estate Agent
Here and there some agents really do get hypnotized by the National Association of Realtors and believe that real estate agents are trusted, professional and knowledgeable. They’re not. They’re sales people doing sales. No matter what the NAR wants the public to believe, you are way better off distinguishing yourself as a property manager or even an investor. The last thing you need is customers being reminded that your living comes from sales commissions. Play it however you want, but those details matter a lot and your vacation rental business – even if it is a side-business of your real estate agency – is only going to lose by being tied to close. In fact, as you have the opportunity to start an entirely different brand, do it. You should be working to make your Vacation Rentals feed your Real Estate Sales – NOT the other way around.
2) Don’t Compete with Hotels
Sounds like a no-brainer, right? Your market is travelers looking for more and bigger space and more money for less. They are not impulse buyers and they are willing to take bigger risks. Reward them. Further, Vacation Rentals complement the hotels business a lot more than it directly drains from them. Know the right players in your market and develop a cooperative arrangement with a few of them. In the end, just like your customers, you’re doing your own thing independent of the hotels market. You’re also a lot more local experience of your city and market. Be the expert, not the local hotels and tourism expert, but the properties and vacation homes expert.
3) Don’t Market for an Impulse Purchase
Following up on the above, hotels often are impulse purchases. Vacation rentals can be also, but you’re far better off seeking the high-information consumer. They’re planning a lot, and you should help them. This is a big mistake real estate agents make too. Spell out every specific for your market on your blog, whether it is the steps to buying or investing in one of the apartments or the things that no one knows about traveling to, staying in or getting the most out of your market.
4) Don’t Over-Focus on Your Properties
Your listings should be lovingly, carefully created and it might take you a few weeks to get your photos just right. But basta. Hopefully you’ve got a good handful up so that you can balance out your offerings from budget on up to luxury. But now, concentrate on your market and why people visit, what the find when they get there, and why they stay longer and come back. Focus on your repeat customers, giving them more and providing the service they want while they’re here. Write that stuff up.
5) Don’t Worry About Sales
Worry about marketing. Worry about Brand, too. But most vacation rental marketing is done by individuals who can let their own personalities stand in for the “Brand” that is a lot more important for bigger companies. If you’re with a small property management company or a real estate firm, then you should let your own personality and “values” show up – in everything you do and especially in the marketing you’re working on. That’s why a totally off-the-wall blog post will work better than a sales pitch. And again, get the real estate out of there. “Property management” can say “service,” but Real Estate generally says “Run Away.”
There’s a lot of work to do, and maybe a lot of content to create. Don’t be afraid of it. Put your real personality out there and tell people why they should come, everything they get and especially why people come back again and again.