Vacation rental owners have proven that they can capitalize on popular events in their area that attract visitors from out-of-town. You may have heard about some lucky vacation rental owners in Washington D.C. who, back in 2009, were raking in as much as $10,000/ week hosting visitors for President Obama’s historic inauguration. Then there was last year’s Super Bowl in Arizona. Owners and managers in the greater Glendale area reportedly quintupled their nightly rates (wow!) to host raving football fans. Even with those inflated rates, not one vacancy could be found!
What’s inspiring about this news is that if your vacation rental is located in the right place, you can win big! You don’t even need a massive event like an inauguration or a top sporting event in your backyard in order to grow your vacation rental income.
Here are 6 simple steps for owners to generate more bookings around local events:
1. Research Local Events and Attractions
Search for a calendar of events in your area. Make note of the standout events- they could be sporting events, cultural events, natural phenomena (i.e. tuna season for fishing-fans)…etc. Pick out the ones that are the most popular or (in your opinion) the most fun. If you live near popular attractions, like a famous park or in a neighborhood with historical architecture or rich cultural history, it is also worthwhile to gain knowledge of them.
2. Establish Authority
Becoming an expert on your area could be the key to success for vacation rental owners or managers. Your title as an authority or expert is a tremendous “value add” to the traveler because in addition to booking a lovely rental, they’ll feel they're also getting their own insider guide to help them make the most of their visit. That said, owners should soak up as much information as possible about local events. If it's a food fair, learn about each of the vendors. If it's a parade, read stories about how it first came to be. Internalize the interesting and unusual information you've found about this event or attraction...or better, write it down on a notepad or type it up for your guests.
3. Share and Promote Expertise
Don’t be greedy with the wealth of knowledge you amass. Share it everywhere possible: Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, your blog, perhaps even the local newsletter at the kids playgroup. Weave it into your owner’s description in your listing. For example, you could write, “I am a regional expert of the local Strawberry Festival” or "I'm a history buff happy to share my extensive knowledge of the city with my guests". Exposing your expertise to the community can help you gain recognition and credibility.
4. Form Alliances
Because most owners and managers know the city/town of their vacation rental well, chances are, they have good contacts there too. Whether it’s a local artist who will be performing at the annual music festival or a local chef competing in the bbq competition, form relationships with the event participants and offer your guests something extra special as a bonus. Maybe it’s a pass to the VIP stage, an invitation to the after party, or a coupon to a favorite local restaurant. Such a bonus could be what persuades a traveler to book your property and leave a glowing review.
5. Write A Press Release
PR these days ain’t like it used to be. No longer are press releases expensive and reserved for the big leaguers. Using a site like PRWeb.com, any vacation rental owner can write up a newsworthy story, and then promote their vacation rental in cahoots with said event across a number of different news outlets. Your listing may consequently be visible to anyone searching for the said event.
6. Stay Connected With Guests
Don’t think that when the event is over that your job is done. The success of acquiring inquiries (whether they’re just individuals looking for information about the event, or seriously qualified guests) has actually just begun. Considering the same inquiring guests are likely to return next year (or even next month for the next event), every single contact you gain from this project is useful. Nurture those relationships with guests by sending them a newsletter or an automated follow-up email and you’ll be surprised at the long-term yield.
This article was written by Matt Landau, founder of vacationrentalmarketingblog.com and vrleap.com.