For those of you who have made an investment in a rental property or are attempting to generate revenue from an existing residence; the good news is that more and more people are opting for vacation home rentals as an alternative to hotels and B & Bs. If you follow a few key principles, you should make money from rentals year after year.
Here you will find a few advertising tips to become a successful vacation home owner.
Advertising vacation homes online is the accepted norm for most owners; it's relatively inexpensive, easy to set up, and produces good returns. Most owners will advertise on several websites. You should budget your advertising expenditures based on the ROI you desire from your property. Advertising should be a key line item in your budget. I personally advertise on several online vacation rental sites, Google Adwords, and my own personal website.
Some rental websites include statistical tools telling you how many people are looking at your advertisement. A well constructed, attractive ad should see at least 2-3% of visitors turning into inquiries. Conduct your own online search to determine the sites that appear the most for the criteria matching your rental property. Those sites are the ones you should consider advertising on.
Create a Visual WOW Factor:
Good pictures of your property (inside & out) are the most important for attracting renters. It's also something many owners get wrong!
One good photo can say a 1000 words; one bad photo will turn clients away at the click of a mouse. Don't forget you only get on average 5 seconds before prospective clients will click onto the next property. I would strongly recommend investing in PROFESSIONAL PHOTOS! I cannot say enough about how important great photos are to attracting inquiries.
If you insist on taking pictures yourself then spend time to ensure everything looks its best. Make sure the areas you are taking the photos in are clean and tidy. The curtains are open and all lights are on. Dress it up, maybe put some fresh flowers in a vase in the picture.
Never take pictures of the toilet (regardless of how nice the bathroom is) and never include people in your pictures. Renters want a blank canvas to work from so they can visualize themselves on vacation. The only exception is maybe if the property comes with staff.
Prepare an Enticing Write-up:
If visitors like your pictures, then they'll take the time to read about your listing. A good description is ideally 3-4 paragraphs, totaling no more than 300 words. This should be enough to be interesting (without being boring) and the right length to read quickly. Make sure you have a good interesting opening title, with keyword rich text. Mention the bedroom and the number of people the property can sleep right up front, then speak about the property's features, and lastly describe the area. Remember in advertising less is best and always keep in mind the 5 second rule.
Always Set Inclusive Pricing:
Renters hate supplement packed pricing, in the same way we all hate surcharges on flights! Always try to set a price that includes all the things most renters will want (linens, cleaning, trash pick-up, etc.) It's easier to follow and it won't look like you are penny pinching.
Post Rental Rates:
Completely fill out the rental rates section of the ads. Be specific, break your rental rates down my day, week, month, and by season, holiday weeks, etc.
Check Your Contact Details:
If you add your telephone number, e-mail or website address to an ad always check it carefully. A surprising number of ads have incorrect contact details - check everything twice.
Answer Inquiries By Phone:
Most online services will let you know you've had an inquiry via e-mail. This doesn't mean you should reply via email! Try to phone inquirers as soon as possible: it gives you and them a chance to get to know each other and sort out the finer details. A speedy telephone response will boost your conversion rates more than anything else.
Don't Hide Your Availability:
When people search for vacations online, they get used to searching by date for flights, rental car and hotels. Therefore they expect to see your availability on their chosen dates. It can be tempting to hide this but you will lose inquiries to owners who show availability calendars and you'll receive more wasted requests for dates you already have booked. Most vacation rental websites allow you to add an availability calendar - always use it.
Avoid Adding Any Restrictions:
Every owner should have restrictions and booking conditions to protect their properties but an ad isn't the place to explain them - remember this is a sales opportunity! Explaining your restrictions too heavily on an advert makes it look like you don't really want renters. State No Smoking or No Pets, but do not elaborate.
Solicit Reviews from Past Guests:
Reviews from past guests give your property listing more credibility and give potential renters peace of mind when renting your home via the Internet. Keep a guestbook in your home asking for comments, provide a questionnaire at the conclusion of the stay for feedback, send a quick e-mail to past renters asking for a review.
Add Specific Location Details:
Describe your home's location in relation to area landmarks, attractions, and airports as well as driving distances to major cities. Specifics can give prospective renters insight into advantages about your location.
Smile At All Times:
Always be friendly and personal in all dealings with renters, both via e-mail and telephone. You are the sales person for your property and every new inquiry is potential revenue so be cheerful and informative at all times. Good customer service generates more bookings.