Are you keen on promoting vacation rental but would like to stay away from the likes of Airbnb? If yes, then you are in the right place. We believe that this article will be able to answer many questions that people might have with regard to other alternatives to Airbnb to promote your vacation rental.
Though the movement of people across the world from one country to another, one region to another and one state to another may have come to a grinding halt because of the Covid-19 pandemic, it will not be long before things start getting back to normal. It is just matter a matter of time because people do not like to be tied down and be locked in their homes.
Though the hotel business and vacation rental businesses may have taken a massive downturn, it will get back to normal steadily over the next few months and years.
Traditionally, if you ask any person or entity that has a rental place to offer for vacation and holiday makers, they would most probably depend on the likes of Airbnb listing for getting access to customers. They generally display their homes on sites like Airbnb. They make it as attractive and inviting as possible making using of stunning photographs and smart and captivating write-ups. While this has worked for many vacation rental companies and also for customers, the reach of entities like Airbnb platform is limited. If you are keen on moving ahead and spreading your reach to a wider audience, it makes sense for you to look beyond Airbnb platforms.
If you look at some of the massive success stories of various small, medium and big sized hotels, you will be able to come across various other proven, time-tested and successful ways to promote your vacation rental homes beyond Airbnb and other such service providers. We will share some of the best ways to promote your vacation rental without having to depend fully on service providers like Airbnb.
What Are The Downsides of Choosing Airbnb-Like Platforms
While there are some obvious advantages associated with Airbnb and other such platforms, they also come with their own share of problems and shortcomings. We are sharing a few of the common problems associated with Airbnb so that our readers are able to have a reasonably correct idea about the same.
Do You Know There Could Be A Difference Between What You See And What You Get
When you decide to avail the services of Airbnb and other such platforms, it is almost the same as booking a room with a major hotel chain. As a vacation rental home owner, you can be reasonably well assured that the property will be advertised. Some individual hosts do create their own listings while some others may be honest than others. However, some guests often have negative stories to tell about Airbnb platforms and the like. They complain that what they have been promised on the Airbnb sites and what they get on the ground has quite a bit difference in quite a few cases.
What About Damage To Properties?
As a service provider who rents out his/her/their properties, using Airbnb services, quite often then find that the properties are damaged by the guests. While Airbnb does have a guarantee program, it may not cover all damages. These include damage to rare artwork, pets, jewelry, cash and other such things. The hosts may also be put to some inconvenience and also may have to face complaints from neighbors because of bad behavior by the guests. Those who use their own sites and other resources to market their vacation rental homes, may be better equipped to deal with such situations.
How Added Fees & Taxes Could Shock All The Stakeholders
There have been many instances where Airbnb has some harsh surprises for the hosts. They suddenly find that Airbnb has imposed some additional fees. Guests are also on the wrong side as far as these added fees are concerned. They are made to pay even up to 20% as reservation fee. This is seemingly for covering the customer service support and other such services that they provide to the hosts. Further, the banks and credit card service providers also add some surprising fees and other such charges. Therefore all these add extra burden to the hosts and also the guests.
Both the guests and hosts from various countries of the EU and other countries across the world also have to pay VAT and other taxes. In some countries there are also elements of rental income taxes that could push the costs up as far as the guests are concerned. While superfluously, it may look that Airbnb is not charging anything these sudden taxes and other such levies could come as a nasty surprise.
Question of Legalities
There are some serious questions regarding the legality of services offered by Airbnb in some countries. Hence, the would be hosts would be better advised to have a closer look at the local zoning rules and regulations and find out if it is legal to rent our properties. Further, there may be an obligation as per the local rules to take special permit from the concerned authorities and only then should the hosts offer their properties for hire on platforms such as Airbnb.
We are sure that the above would have given our readers a reasonably good idea about the possible reasons as to why it makes sense to find out other ways and means to try and answer the question how to promote vacation rental.
We are listing down a few tips and suggestions that may help in getting the right answer to the above question:
Do You Have A Clear Cut Action Plan
If you want to promote your vacation rental bypassing the intermediaries like Airbnb, you should move ahead only when you have a right plan of action in mind. You may be using the services of these intermediaries right now and it may not be possible to move away from them immediately. In such situations, the best way forward would be to slowly migrate from the likes of Airbnb. You need to have a firm time table in mind.
Once this is in place you must come out with a clear cut action plan that ensures migration from a third party intermediary to having a website of your own. You must take professional help to have a good website in place and then put other things in place. Having a website is just one part of the story. You must know how to drive traffic and be sure that it has enough vacation rentals for customers to choose.
Are You Aware of The Importance of Going Social?
Instagram and Facebook are the most preferred social media options when it comes to lifestyle space. In fact Airbnb makes extensive use of these two social media sites. Therefore, if you wish to be on your own and move away from the clutches of Airbnb and others, you must ensure that your listing is represented well on social media. You should know how to have a reasonably strong online presence on the above platforms. The listing must be done effectively, quickly and reliably. Also please keep a tab on comments and likes because these are important to ensure that your property moves into the spotlight within a short period of time.
You must understand the various benefits of having your listing available on powerful social media sites. When you have the right online presence on these platforms and when you use the right location tags and hashtags, you will be able to ensure that the listing is viewed by people who have travel plans. It makes lot of sense to give your potential customers a reasonably good idea and impression of the property based on which they can take a commercial decision. It may help viewers to try you out instead of going through the Airbnb route.
Pay attention to follow and like as far as your social media pages are concerned. This will ensure that you will be able to build a positive and beneficial connection with them. It is important to stay regularly in touch with guest on social media and also must understand the importance of sharing their queries efficiently using Instagram and Facebook pages. This will also increase the possibilities of repeat bookings quite significantly.
Do You Know The Importance of Content?
Content is King. This is an old saying and it continues to be as important as it was many decades ago. Content is what helps you to make your social media presence strong and also helps in getting your listing to the people who are planning to go on holiday or are looking for vacation rental out of Airbnb. The content should be relevant, to the point and of course interesting.
You must understand the important of interesting reading. Lifestyle space offers you the luxury, liberty and flexibility of coming out with many different types of content keeping in mind the profile of the prospective customers and viewers. You must have a judicious mix of text content and graphics, pictures and videos.
The youngsters in particular are happy going through graphics, videos and images whereas the older groups of viewers and readers may be more attuned to reading interesting and meaningful content. The content should keep changing regularly to avoid monotony and boredom.
Along with your listing, you must share impressive and attractive pictures of your vacation rental properties. Pay attention to details of each room and ensure that it covers the overall features. You also could talk a bit about the neighborhood and also share information about the important places to visit in the neighborhood. A combination of content and pictorial representation is a must and you must know how to strike a reasonably good balance between the two.
What About A Dedicated Property Website?
While being present on social media like Facebook and Instagram is a good idea, you must not undermine the importance of having a dedicated property website. This is critical if you wish to leverage and make use of the power of SEO or Search Engine Optimization.
You also must ensure that the website has localized content and this should cover neighborhood guides, recommendations for the right restaurants and other such things. You also must find out ways to market these contents on social media using an outbound link on Facebook or Instagram. It also would be a good idea to ensure that the site has a booking calendar to the site.
Importance of More Reviews – How Relevant Are They?
When customer reviews can do the job for you, why should you spend big money on marketing campaigns and other such activities? Positive and genuine reviews from satisfied customers are perhaps the biggest advertisement and endorsement of your vacation rental service offerings. You must find out ways and means by which you can make this possible. You must persuade the clients and hosts to submit their review and perhaps could also incentivize those who post reviews. Negative reviews should not be hidden but they should be used as a tool to ensure that you try and overcome the shortcomings and take care of the areas where you may be having a problem.
How To Make Use of Local Event & Happenings
There also is the need to make effective and intelligent use of local happening and events. This will make sure that you are in tune with the happenings going on in your market. You must be on the lookout for some special events and festivals in the neighborhood. Make a note of such events and make your presence felt strongly.
You could update your listing and offer special perks that are in tune with such events and occasions. This can be done even in cities and towns and even in countries where you are not physically present, but where you have vacation rental properties to offer on rent or lease.
Did You Know Past Renters Can Give You Repeated Business
Always remember the old adage that keeping an existing customer happy is always an easier task than finding ten new ones. Therefore, you must be in regular touch with past renters. Many of them will be on the lookout for the right rental accommodations for their vacations, business trips and other such requirements. If the renters are satisfied with their previous experience, it will not take much of an effort to ask them to go for your vacation rental homes.
The Final Word
Though there is no doubt that service providers like Airbnb add value both to hosts and customers, there are areas where they may not be able to give the right value for money. Hence, it does make sense to promote your vacation rental through your own efforts. There are many cost effective ways of moving out of the clutches of the likes of Airbnb. It does take some time but there is no doubt that it is worth the effort. There are many who have been able to build success stories out of platforms like Airbnb and it makes sense to follow the same.
Read more about why it is important to not rely on Online Travel Agencies too much