There is nothing worse than a vacant short-term rental (STR) property; this is time in which you are not profiting (and even losing money) off of the real estate investment. This guide serves as a useful resource to help you develop a short-term rental marketing strategy to ensure your property remains booked throughout the year without having to lower your rate or increase your advertising budget.
Short-Term Rental Marketing Explained
Short-term rentals, also called STRs or vacation rentals, are properties that are rented for short periods of time rather than annually. This means the property has new guests regularly throughout the year. Short-term rental marketing refers to actions made by the short-term rental property owner to attract and book guests. This could be in the form of promotions on online travel aggregators, activity on social media, paid advertisements, and much more.
A Step-by-Step Guide to Short-Term Rental Marketing
There are numerous methods for marketing and advertising your STR property. Rather than discussing dozens of strategies and leaving you more confused than when you arrived, we will instead focus on the ones that have proven the most reliable for our clients. Notably, this includes the use of online travel aggregators, the creation of a website, a modernized social media strategy, the implementation of influencer marketing, and improvements in online reputation.
Use Online Travel Aggregators (OTAs)
Online travel aggregators (OTAs) are a controversial topic within the STR community. On one hand, they provide an excellent opportunity to show your property to ideal guests, and they (most often) make the payment process much easier. On the other hand, they take fees and can significantly cut into your profits.
For example, Airbnb takes a flat rate 3% service fee from hosts, along with charging the guest more as well. Nevertheless, the simple fact is OTAs account for a large percentage of STR bookings. Subsequently, we strongly recommend having a presence on the most popular OTAs such as Airbnb, Booking, and Expedia.
Create a Website (and Website Blog)
The most optimal way to book guests is through your website; this ensures you are not cutting into your profits like you are with OTAs. Moreover, it costs very little to maintain your website long-term. If your start-up budget is limited, then you can even create your own website for very little as well.
However, a website is only good if it garners traffic. Along with a strong social media presence, a blog can be highly effective at attracting prospective guests to your site. A sound strategy should include highly-focused keyword research and well-developed content. An opt-in form for your blog also allows you to implement an email marketing campaign (for retargeting purposes) as well.
Modernize Your Social Media Strategy
More guests find where their short-term rental on social media than ever before. Subsequently, you should have a strong presence on social media sites. Most notably, we recommend TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook. A strong social media presence can also improve any paid ad programs you run in the future. The rise of TikTok has shown us what people want when searching on social media — instant satisfaction and information (within 10 seconds). You should post often. Videos are powerful for STRs as well, showcasing the beauty of your property.
Consider Hiring an Influencer
Times have changed and have given birth to the rise of influencer marketing (it took us a while to accept this). Hiring an Instagram blogger and/or TikToker to promote your short-term rental property most often proves much more effective than paid ads on Facebook, Instagram, and Google.
The reason for this — particularly as it pertains to short-term rental marketing — is because identifying your target audience on ad platforms can be incredibly challenging, given they are exclusively non-locals. Identifying travel plans is also equally impossible. A paid influencer already has a large audience within your ICP. They have massive outreach to travelers, and the influencer’s promotion comes with far more weight than a simple paid ad.
Keep a Strong Online Reputation
The way most prospective guests browse is by having numerous tabs open on their browsers and viewing all of the properties simultaneously. If your online reputation is not as strong as your competitors, then they most often hit the “X” and move on to other STR properties. Managing your online reputation should include responding to reviews (both good and bad) on Google and other review sites and encouraging guests to leave a review after their stay.
Tunl Agency Specializes in Online Marketing for Short-Term Rentals
Tunl Agency offers online marketing services for short-term rental property owners. If you would like to learn more about how an effective online marketing strategy can help you book more guests for an optimal rate, then contact us today and schedule a consultation.