After starting a new vacation rental business, many property managers struggle with taking their business to the next level. Once the initial success begins to level off, you may wonder how to stay in growth mode.
Seeing your bookings slow and not knowing how to grow at scale can cause frustration. If you grow too fast, you risk compromising your quality standard and exhausting your resources. If you don’t grow at all, you fall behind your competitors.
We’ve found the following tips to be the most beneficial when growing your vacation rental business.
Focus on direct bookings
Too often, up-and-coming property managers make the mistake of over-relying on online travel agencies (OTAs), such as Airbnb and Vrbo. Between the sheer volume of competition on these channels and their booking fees, it can slow down your growth.
For vacation rental owners with only a handful of properties, solely using these OTAs makes sense. However, for those who want to grow their vacation rental business into a career, these distribution channels should only supplement your direct booking strategy.
For this reason, your direct booking strategy will be your key to outgrowing OTAs. Encourage new guests to book directly with you by offering incentives and rewards that are only available on your direct booking website. Create special promotions, discounts, or added amenities when guests book on your website and highlight these in your marketing communications.
By providing an extra layer of value for direct bookings, you incentivize guests to bypass OTAs and establish a direct relationship with your vacation rental business.
Nurture guest relationships with targeted marketing
To support your direct booking strategy, you should consider building on the relationships you already have with existing guests. Building strong relationships with your past guests is a powerful strategy for driving repeat bookings and generating referrals.
Implement a guest relationship management system to collect guest contact information and preferences. It’s best practice to include an opt-in for email newsletter option on your pop-ups and landing pages. Another tactic includes sending personalized follow-up emails or newsletters to express your appreciation, share upcoming promotions, and offer exclusive discounts for returning guests.
Increase your brand visibility
Another important step for increasing your vacation rental bookings is accumulating more user-generated content. Make it as easy as possible for your guests to share their experiences with your vacation rentals online. This can speed up your growth and brand visibility exponentially!
Simply put, those who utilize user-generated content will outperform those who cannot. Getting these first-hand reviews, guest pictures, and general word-of-mouth recommendations creates a guest ‘fanbase’.
Beyond that, social media strategies can effectively boost your vacation rental brand’s recognition and company name. Having an active social media presence gets your brand name out to potential guests in a cost-effective way.
In addition, it creates a space for potential guests to engage with your content and learn more about your vacation rental business organically.
Instagram suits vacation rental businesses looking to grow the best. When it comes to vacations, images of your rentals and the destinations surrounding them will drive bookings more than text on a tweet or a LinkedIn post would.
Centralize your operations
Finally, centralizing your operations is a must to grow your vacation rental business.
The first best step to take here: invest or switch to a robust vacation rental software. Look for vacation rental software that can streamline your operations, enhance guest experience, and drive direct bookings.
This empowers you, the property manager, to fully own your business. It eliminates the reliance on OTAs and as a result, increases your direct booking revenue.
Choose a software solution that integrates multiple tools, such as online reservations, automated guest communications, channel management, and performance analytics.
Elite vacation rental software enables you to manage multiple properties from a centralized dashboard, saving you time and effort. You should (and need to, if you want to grow) be able to automate repetitive tasks like availability updates, pricing adjustments, and guest communications.
Utilize the data and analytics provided by the software to make informed decisions. Monitor occupancy rates, booking patterns, and guest reviews to identify trends and areas for improvement. Leverage these insights to optimize pricing strategies, tailor marketing campaigns, and enhance guest experiences.
While OTAs provide valuable exposure and convenience, growing your vacation rental business beyond them is crucial for long-term success.
Embrace these strategies and watch your vacation rental business flourish as you establish yourself as an authority in the property management space.
Streamline can help you reach your full potential as a vacation rental business. Learn how we can support your business needs below: