Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Fine tune your advertising online for your Vacation Rental By Owner

Putting a few listings out on the Internet is one thing and then placing ads that bring in the business is another. We will go into a few strategies that have proven to be very effective for private owners of Vacation Rentals by Owner.

In the last blog, we talked about getting out on the Internet and making sure you are advertising on the right portals. Now once you have created your "Marketing Umbrella" you need to make sure those ads are written correctly and use some of the "tricks of the trade" to attract business your way.

Leaving up the same adds all year is not the best way to attract guests. That is what most owners do. So break away from the crowd and try a few of these concepts.

HIGHLIGHT A WEEK. Let's say you have one week open in June that has not booked. You are in April and want to try to book that one week that is left. What we have found to be very effective is to "feature" that week in your advertising. Go to each portal that you advertise on and change your title or description to reflect that week. Maybe something like this:

"JUNE 7-14 is now open! Save $150. Call today!"

What this does, is brings attention to your listing and qualifies the guest. Your listing are being seen by many prospects. You need something that stands out. So when your prospect that needs that week sees your listing, I assure you they will click on your unit. Now there may be hundreds or thousands of other listings that are available for them to book. But they clicked on yours because you "talked" to them through your description. You qualified them with this ad.

Now they are on your listing. I always let them know I have a photo album with many more pictures as that is the number one thing a guest wants to see. So they call or email me and I get them to my listing as fast as possible.

So now I have a guest that needs that week and now I have them on my online booking software listing. This is the best position to be in. I do use coupons and some discounts to make it attractive for the guest. I may offer anywhere from $100 to $250 off in the summer months on my higher bookings. It all depends on how hard I think that week will be to book and how close I am to the booking. Many prospects just like the idea of getting a discount, so I use that "hook" to bring them in. I do not discount every week. Just the ones I am promoting.

Now this will also bring in other business. Your ad will get noticed and you may get people asking if you will discount the week they want later in the year. You can do that if you want. The idea is you are getting the clicks. People are looking at your listing. And with the online booking you are giving them the path of least resistance. Meaning, you are making it EASY to book with you and EASY is good online. If you put them through emailing word documents back and forth, you will lose some of those people.

Now that you have booked that week you are promoting, just move on to the next week that needs help. Change the ads the next week. If you do this all year long, the majority of your time will be booked normally and at full rates, using this technique will fill in the weeks that need the extra attention and you can move towards being 100% booked all year.

Just remember, if you have great photos and a photo album, a clean unit and you are advertising correctly, offering a small discount and placing a "SALE" ad out there may be the only little help you need to bring in MORE business.

Try it. I can not tell you how satisfying it is to place an ad and in a few days have that week booked.

One last thing to try is many sites are offering a "Specials" or "Featured" section. Homeaway is doing this. It is money well spent to go in and create a 2 week special to try to get a few bookings that are lingering. Use the discounts. That is what they are designed for. You will get results.

Good luck and we hope these advertising techniques for your vacation rental by owner help you stay booked!

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