1. USE PROFESSIONAL PHOTOGRAPHS OF YOUR HOME (AND PLENTY OF THEM)
When you list your home, you need to put on your marketing hat. After all, there is a lot of competition. You need to stand out.
The most important selling mechanism you have are the photos you upload in your home’s profile. People do judge a home by the photos. I know I do (I use vacation rental sites several times per year.
The following is a simple set of tips on how to get the most from your vacation home listing’s photographs.
a. Get professional photos: Hire a professional photographer or if the vacation rental website offers photographers, take them up on it. Poor lighting and low quality photos diminish your home and will hurt overall revenue. On the flip side, if your photos are well above average, you enjoy a benefit.
The potential revenue of your listing is tens of thousands of dollars. Therefore, it’s worth investing a few hundred dollars on high quality photos.
b. Tidy your home for the photo shoot: I don’t suggest staging your home with furniture that won’t be there when guests arrive. However, you certainly want to tidy up your home and make it look as nice as possible without being misleading.
c. Weather: If at all possible, get photos taken on a sunny day. Rain doesn’t sell. If you’re renting a vacation ski rental, get photos when there’s snow on the ground.
d. Use plenty of photos: Get photos of the exterior and interior of your home. If there are nearby attractions, get photos of those attractions.
e. Group your photos: When you upload your photos, do so in an organized manner. Avoid scattering the rooms. Instead, group the kitchen photos together, living room photos together, etc.
f. Use captions: If the vacation rental website you use offers the option to include captions with your photos, add captions to describe the photo.
e. Test different feature images: Your property listing will present in the listings with one feature thumbnail image. You will want to test different images to see which one attracts the most number of people to view your listing profile.
f. Your personal profile photo: Add a personal photo to your profile as well. This makes your listing more personal. With respect to your personal profile write-up, offer some personal information (interests, etc.), but of course don’t divulge too much.
2. WRITE CAPTIVATING PROPERTY DESCRIPTIONS THAT ATTRACT YOUR IDEAL GUESTS
After the photos, the property description is your best sales tool. Be detailed. Spend time writing it so that you attract your ideal guests.
Remember, you’re selling something so you need to write sales copy.
Frame the write-up so that your property appeals to your preferred guests.
For example: If you wish to attract families, make your property description appeal to people with kids. Make it clear you have a high chair, crib, fenced in backyard and that there are nearby attractions that kids will love.
If, however, you prefer attracting couples for a romantic get-away, promote your home in such a way such as views, private balcony, soaking tub, gourmet kitchen, hot tub, local gourmet restaurants… all the things guests will enjoy for a romantic get-away.
3. HOW MUCH SHOULD YOU CHARGE FOR YOUR VACATION RENTAL?
Consider the following pricing strategy. This is brilliant and was developed by my friend mentioned above.
a. When you first list your property, price it lower than all other comparable listings in your area. This way you’ll get your property rented quickly.
b. Once you have 6 to 10 positive reviews, increase the price a little. Continue increasing the price for every 6 to 10 positive reviews until it’s priced too high. It’s priced too high when you can no longer rent it. At that point drop the price to where there’s demand for it. Look for the sweet spot.
Below I explain the importance of vacation property reviews (they’re very important to get… and in order to get them, you need to rent your property out fast).
c. Find the perfect pricing that maximize revenue. Revenue is based on occupancy rate and price per night. While you want to fetch the highest amount per night, you don’t want to charge so much that your property isn’t rented out.
4. IMPORTANCE OF REVIEWS AND HOW TO GET THEM
Reviews are important for 2 reasons:
a. They help you rent out your property: Prospective guests read reviews carefully. Therefore, all else being equal, properties with positive reviews will enjoy higher demand.
b. Reviews can get you more exposure on the vacation rental websites: Because reviews result in higher demand, vacation rental websites will give higher priority to properties that have more positive reviews. Therefore, more positive reviews means more exposure on the site. More exposure means more people will see your listing.
How do you get reviews for your vacation rental?
a. Just ask. When guests leave, email them with a thank you and ask them to leave a review.
b. Stand out: Stand out as a vacation rental host. Have a fruit basket available (for free) for guests upon arrival. Or send them a thank you card/gift basket after their stay.
The point is little touches can make a big impression.
Also, be kind and polite and professional throughout the entire process. Don’t be a jerk. Respond in a timely manner to inquiries. Make the entire booking process and stay as enjoyable for your guests as possible. When you do this, they will want to leave a positive review.
5. TURNING INQUIRIES INTO SALES
People who inquire about your property are called leads in the marketing world. Inquiries are critical to vacation rental revenue success.
Here are some tips for turning the highest number of inquiries into paying guests:
a. Respond to inquiries quickly. This is self-evident. If you take one week to respond, people will have likely found another property. Besides, they won’t be impressed with your customer service.
b. Respond with a personal touch: Don’t rely entirely on canned responses. Customize and personalize it. Review the profiles of inquirers. If a traveler’s profile mentions they love skiing, consider mentioning in your response that the local skiing is very good this year (don’t lie… the point is to resonate in a positive way with people who are interested in your home). You want to connect in a genuine and sincere way.
c. Be polite and professional: While responding with a personal touch helps, avoid being too long-winded. You need to give off a hint of professionalism and ALWAYS be polite.
6. AVOID NIGHTMARE GUESTS
You are not obligated to rent your home to everyone who asks. You can decline an offer.
If someone’s inquiry is rude or you get a hunch they aren’t a good fit, politely decline the offer.
You can also respond to inquiries with some questions if you want a bit more information about the prospective guests.
That said, just because someone doesn’t contact you in the same manner that you would contact someone, doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll be a nightmare guest.
Filtering out guests is more of an art than a science.
If you choose to rent your home, you do take the risk of hosting your home to nightmare guests. That’s part of the deal.
Get started with earning extra revenue from your home today…