By Steve Sherlock
Even if your property is the most beautiful vacation rental in the world, what good is it if you can’t attract any bookings?
In this ever-competitive industry (which is now predicted to be worth over $138 billion!), it can feel impossible to make your property pop and stand out from the rest. Luckily, there are plenty of steps owners can take to increase visibility and improve booking numbers.
Here are our top six tried and tested methods for increasing vacation rental bookings.
1. Invest in professional photography
It seems obvious, but so many vacation rental businesses are missing out on this one trick which is the only certain way to grab a guest’s eye.
Investing in professional photography is a gift that will keep on giving in the long term. Not only because you will use your photos for years to come, but also because the effect it will have on your reservation calendar will be impressive to say the least.
Your property photos are what entices a guest to find out more about your rental – and then follow through with a booking! Without professional, high quality photos, they may get the impression you don’t take your business seriously and look somewhere else.
2. Have your own optimized vacation rental website
While listing on online travel agencies (OTAs) is a great way to encourage bookings from different sources, vacation rental owners also need their own optimized, professional website.
More than ever, guests are wising up to the fees charged on OTAs, and are “window shopping” to find the best deal. Having your own vacation rental website can encourage these savvy guests to book directly for the best prices.
Additionally, your website is the perfect place to build your brand, showcase reviews from all external portals, and accept online bookings and credit card payments. With a good vacation rental software, all of these features should come as standard.
3. Be quick to respond
No matter where your inquiries are coming from – whether that’s your website, online travel agencies or even via email or social media – having a quick response time is essential for confirming reservations.
Answering in a swift and timely manner helps your business to gain trust from potential guests, smooth out any of their doubts and prevents you from driving business away. If you take too long to reply, guests will begin to look elsewhere.
We recommend getting back to every inquiring guest within a maximum of 24 hours for best results when it comes to securing bookings.
4. Price your property competitively
Pricing is one of the more complicated aspects of renting your vacation property. Go too low, and guests might think it’s a scam. But price too high, and they won’t even consider yours for their shortlist.
That’s why you should study properties with similar amenities and number of bedrooms in your area to get a good idea of where your benchmark lies. When starting out, it’s fine to price lower than your competitors to get the first bookings rolling in. Later down the line, you can subtly increase nightly rates to boost overall income.
Don’t forget to vary your rates depending on seasonality, and think about implementing lower prices for weekdays vs. weekends.
5. Utilize social proof
Whether it’s guest reviews and testimonials, media mentions, a celebrity endorsement or social media activity, social proof is a great tool that can improve conversion rate.
These days, guests really rely on the reviews of others to make their decision. So, make sure you ask each and every renter to leave their opinion on your website, on social media and so on.
Additionally, you can add credibility badges to your website which will help prove legitimacy and authority of your business and boost bookings. For example, you can add can security seals which show your website accepts online payments and handles sensitive guest data safely; badges of excellence awards that your company has received from local tourism boards or other associations; or listing website badges to increase online brand visibility.
6. Always focus on the guest experience
As a direct result of increasing competition from other vacation rentals, owners need to always bring their best game to stay ahead. Creating memorable guest experiences is one of the most effective ways you can do this.
Exceed expectations from the moment they land on your listing or website, right up until they check out of your home… and beyond! Use the tools you have available to you – like vacation rental software – to simplify repetitive, administrative processes and focus on what really matters: your guests.
Whether you do this by creating a personalized welcome hamper; a welcome guide with recommendations of all your favorite dinner spots; or you leave smaller, thoughtful items like spare phone chargers, adapters and ear plugs at your rental – guests will appreciate that you’ve taken the time to anticipate any potential inconveniences so they have a comfortable and unforgettable trip.
About The Author
Lodgify is an innovative, all-in-one vacation rental software that empowers owners and managers to create their own professional website and accept online bookings and credit card payments. Using Lodgify’s tools, owners can enjoy stress-free reservation management and synchronization of booking channels.