With hundreds of thousands of vacation homes available, owners can get overwhelmed trying to stand out from competitors. Niche branding is one of the most important, and intangible, assets any vacation rental home or boutique travel experience can have to stand out and maximize profits.
It's important to keep in mind that while branding is about you, it really is NOT about you. It's about the people in your niche.
No business can be all things to all people. The more you can define your niche (who your guests are and what they want), the more you can exceed their expectations and gain repeat visits. Follow these steps to position your vacation home for success:
1. Make a wish list: Whom do you want to stay at your vacation property? Tap into the reasons you purchased your home (location, nearby attractions and so on) to help identify your ideal guest.
2. Research: First, find out everything there is to know about your local market. Then, to help narrow your niche, define what your property is and what it isn't. Is it a secluded ski-in/ski-out mountain chalet or a cottage in town, near mountain access?
3. Develop a position: You may already have an idea of who will desire your property. But if your market isn't clear, or is saturated, try to find a unique solution to needs that aren't being addressed. For example, if most vacation rentals prohibit dogs in an otherwise dog-friendly area, allow dogs (with additional deposit) and create something special for them.
Okay, this dog Zen-zone is extreme (thanks live.pant.play for the idea!). But something this creative would be memorable for a guest, that's for sure! Other positions to consider are: accommodation size, handicap accessible, honeymooners, and so on.
4. Brand definition: Once you've found a niche that fits both you and your business, understand what your guests need. Writing a brand definition will help you articulate what you offer, why you offer it, how it's different, better and unique. If you already own a vacation rental business, read your past reviews to understand what guests desire.
5. Develop your name, logo and tagline: Together they represent your property and what makes it unique. The name creates a brand image, logo is the actual symbol of your brand and a tagline, or slogan, is the memorable phrase that provides insight into the experience.
6. Manage and leverage your brands: Continuous management is the step that leads to a strong, healthy, resilient hospitality business. “Just like good parenting, good branding management can be summed up in a single word — consistency."
7. Rebranding: You can (and should) change how your brand is presented occasionally to keep it relevant to your market.
With the vacation rental industry at a record high, in terms of traveler interest and inventory, success is contingent upon your ability to capture travelers attention and set clear expectations of your experience with a well conceptualized brand. By doing so, your home will appeal to those best suited for it, they will return and you will have fewer negative reviews!