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The global short-term rental market is projected to hit $170 billion in 2019, and making sure you get a piece of that can be tough when you’re a private vacation rental owner. So we’ve put together some of our top tips to help maximise bookings for your rental property.
First things first lets make sure you’ve got the basics covered, is your property listed online? If not it should be, it's your window to the world, and even if you’re not technically savvy, you can have your very own website set up in no time with Travito where you can include the all-important property details, along with as many web pages, photos and information you like!
Here's our 13 tips to maximise your private vacation rental bookings:
Did you know 72% of guests wouldn’t book a rental without reviews? So it goes without saying that reviews can make or break your vacation rental. It will be no problem if you put your focus on the guest experience, you’ll generate positive feedback.
But what if you’re starting out? Well, you’ll need to put in a bit of work, messaging your first guest after their stay for feedback and a review; you also need to regularly check and respond to reviews good or bad. If you're using social media, it's good to interact with your guests there and encourage them to leave reviews there.
This is another make or break, if your property is not putting its best foot forward in photos you won't get any bookings (or as many as you should).
This is the online equivalent of first impressions and your property should make any potential guest eager to book and stay not run away. And professional photographs do that creating a polished, view of your property, you should highlight its best feature as hero image too e.g. views, pools or BBQs.
There should also be a flow to the photos so guest can understand how the rooms in the property connect and there's no harm including a floor plan photo if you can. Don’t skimp on photos add plenty of them, why? Because studies show that people are 80% more likely to make a booking enquiry when property websites have 20 or more photos.
Did you know “30% of rentals for the year come from repeat bookings”? So to make sure guest keep coming back you should think about some added extras.
What extras you choose depends on your budget and target audience but it can be as simple as free (and fast) WiFi, welcome baskets that include hand soap, location information, a small packet of tea or coffee and maybe some cookies, so you don’t have to go overboard but little touches go a long way.
It can also help to have items like hangers, hair dryers, alarm clocks, extra soaps, and shampoos in the property so guests don't have to bring them and with airlines charging baggage fees, a washer and dryer has become an very popular amenity.
You could also consider being pet-friendly and if you’re worried about pets damaging your property, charge a non-refundable pet fee, most pet owners expect some sort of fee.
If you’re aiming for a premium look and feel some key luxury items could be worth the upfront investment.
All real estate agent knows the benefits of seamlessly integrating indoor and outdoor spaces.
A TripAdvisor study from 2015/16 found that the most important feature guests look for was amazing views. Some of the other popular benefits people said they expected were:
If you do upgrade your outdoor space make sure you maintain them too, i.e. a clean BBQ, pool or hot tub. No one wants to use a dirty BBQ or get into a grimy pool or tub.
If you can make them and their stay feel special they will come back, again and again, think personalised recommendations, any extra crockery or cooking utensils or even local restaurant recommendations.
Making sure that you never mislead your renter is important. Not only could it leave them with a bad experience, but they'll make sure others know about it.
Make sure you accurately portray your property and write a compelling property description of at least 300 words.
A good way is to use your listing title to maximum effect, appeal to your target audience e.g. include words like ‘Perfect For…’, Family-sized…’, ‘Romantic’, etc.
The faster you respond to inquiries the more bookings you will have, if you take 2-3 days to get back to someone who was ready to book, you could lose that booking to a competitor. The recommended is a 24-hour response but the sooner you can respond the better. If you allow people to contact you over social networks, remember to have the apps on your phone so you're notified when they contact you.
Make sure your booking calendar is up to date (which is easy with Travito's vacation rental booking manager), so they know if their desired date is available. You don't want them to be disappointed if their date turns out to be unavailable!
Is your property an investment vehicle or your vacation home?
If it's purely an investment property, aim to make in a revenue of 10% of the property value per year e.g. if it's $500,000 you’re aiming for $50,000 in revenue.
If you’re only renting it out to cover your ownership costs then your revenue can be lower without it being too much of a problem. As you will use the property yourself you'll be reaping the reward by having cheaper vacations, but still covering the running costs.
There are many factors which can have an effect on your properties demand. You may find other propertys in the area offer rentails for a fixed price regadless of the time of year, where others will opt for a more season-based pricing structure.
Thankfully with Travito you can do either, but its always worth researching your area and then setting prices accordingly. Some thing to think about include:
If your property has a unique feature it should be front and centre to show why your property is worth the asking price.
Once you got your house in order with an accurate and appealing description, beautiful photography and stellar reviews you can think about expanding your reach.
By using social media to promote your vacation rental it allows you to build awareness, extend your reach and connect with prospective guests.
Many travellers document their vacation on Instagram and Facebook and over 52% of people say that a friend’s photo inspired their trip, according to Sprout Social Research.
Instagram is perfect if you have a very special vacation rental property, with majestic views making it perfect for sharing photos and tagging locations. You should also be on Facebook as its the most popular (and as of the second quarter of 2018, Facebook had 2.23 billion monthly active users); use it to share links, reviews, videos, photos and other updates.
When someone sends you an enquiry add them to your email list and send out a monthly newsletter. But be sure to focus on value, not just selling – use the 80/20 rule. 80% of the newsletter should provide value (local news and upcoming events) and the other 20% geared towards promotion (property update and discounts).
These tips are a great place to start optimising your vacation rental property to maximise bookings. So what are you waiting for? Go ahead and implement them to see the difference.
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