The Four P’s of Marketing Vacation Rentals

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With over 14 years experience marketing vacation rentals, and countless success, the team at Rental Avenue has formulated some fool proof tips to help vacation rental owners and managers increase their market share and successfully reach out to their customers. One of the main concerns for any owner or manager is increasing occupancy and more importantly increasing profits from their properties. Using our tips and ideas, you can build your vacation rental business and increase profitability.

Preparing to Market Your Vacation Rental
To begin, as an owner or manager, it is your responsibility to know your property, your market and you competitors. You can not effectively market your property without understanding exactly what you are marketing. The marketplace is constantly changing, and as an owner or manager, you may be too close to keep an accurate perspective of your property, its message, and placement. I recommend creating a SWOT analysis, taking into mind all of the elements that effect your property. Once you know where you opportunities and threats lie, you can adjust your marketing message to best match your product and create a marketing path that will increase your revenue.
- A SWOT analysis is a method of auditing your property and its environment. Use the S.W.O.T. analysis to identify the key issues you will focus on while creating your marketing portfolio. “S” stands for strengths and “W” stands for weaknesses, list out each of your internal strengths and weaknesses also make sure to look at your property or company from the end user perspective. “O” stands for Opportunity and “T” stands for Threat, you will use these to list out external factors which can affect your business. You may need to do some more research into the market, location, economy, and trends.
Now that you know your property, you can now think correctly market your property. Your marketing message is very important, and will help to are correctly position yourself in the marketplace. Your next step in reaching your customer is to define your “Marketing Mix”. The Marketing Mix will help you successfully reach your target market and in turn increase your market share.
The Marketing Mix consists of 4 elements, known as the “4Ps of Marketing”, Product, Price, Promotion, and Place.
- Product: The product that you offer your customers is very important. Many vacationers who visit a property and enjoy their stay recommend it to friends and families. With the multiple traveler communities and forums, it is very easy guests to get the word out to many people, so you want to be sure that every guest is happy when they head home. The term “Product” generally includes Brand Name, Style, Quality and inclusions. With vacation rentals, I think it easy to say that “Product” can be defined as the entire rental process, from the moment they first get to your website, through the time they arrive back at home.
- Price: One of the most important factors in keeping your rental calendar full is price especially with advent of the Internet. Price becomes transparent as consumers have access to perfect information in the marketplace. It If you property is priced just a little too high, you are at risk of having an open calendar, if your property is priced too low, you could be missing out on revenue. If it’s filling way too fast, years in advance, then chances are your price is too low. If it’s sitting empty, and you have good traffic and advertising then it’s priced too high. Analyzing your pricing decisions include seasonal pricing, price flexibility, suggested rates, pricing strategy, and most importantly competitor price. Do a rent survey to see what comparable properties are renting for. Factor in not only price but also occupancy. Look for a property similar to yours with a full calendar. If the calendar is empty chances are the pricing is too high. If you are just starting out your prices should be below market average because you have a lot of space to fill. It’s easier to raise your prices a little each year. When you are just starting out your price should at market rate for high and holiday season, and below market rate for low season. After you have been renting your property for a while it’s easier to raise prices, and become a price leader especially in high season. With a full calendar and repeat customers and referral guests filling your property becomes easier. Plus when potential guests come to your website and see a full calendar that stimulates demand. In the consumers mind they think “this must be a great property at great price because everyone else thinks so.
- Promotion: When dealing with promotion, you are generally speaking of the marketing communication, and methods of reaching your customer base. Promotion includes your Sales promotions, Public Relations, Marketing budgets, advertising, promotional strategy, ect. Check out our 10 Ten Ways To Get More Bookings post which can help you with some ideas for Promotions.
- Place (distribution): Place can loosely be defined as your Calendar Management, Online Website, Marketing channels, market coverage, channel members, ect.