Travelers have a lot of options when it comes to accommodation – vacation rentals are just one of them. Getting your property to jump off a page of search results is no small feat.
What if you could position your rental in a way that maximized your efforts and did a better job of attracting your ideal renter, while possibly increasing your income? Experienced marketers advocate an approach that does just that: Niche marketing.
A niche market is a distinct group of people within a larger group of potential customers. Many consumers aren’t even aware of the rental home market yet, which makes vacation home renters a distinct group of travelers already.
However, people are always on the lookout for accommodations and destinations that meet their particular needs. That’s your opportunity.
An easy place to start
The easiest way to make sure your renters have a great experience and leave your place happy is to attract people who are most likely to enjoy staying there. How?
Start with the basics:
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- Is your property smoking or non-smoking?
- Do you welcome pets?
- Is your property kid friendly?
- Is it accessible for people with mobility issues?
- How many people can comfortably stay there?
- What length of visit are you comfortable with?
- What additional services do you provide?
Once you’ve set these ground rules, consider the location of your property. Is it
- a beach property, or in an otherwise sunny location?
- close to golf courses?
- near skiing or other winter sports?
- a great spot for outdoor activities and adventure?
- in an urban location?
By defining what your property is — and what it isn’t – you set parameters that will help you narrow in on the right niche.
Choosing a theme
You may already know that a particular type of traveler gravitates to your property, in which case your promotional plan may be to continue on with – or enhance – more of the same.
But if your strategy isn’t quite so clear, or you find marketplace too crowded, tapping into emerging travel trends can give you a competitive boost.
The past few years have given rise to a number of distinct travel themes including:
- Adventure and outdoor excursions
- Luxury vacations
- For women only
- For men only
- Gay and lesbian travel
- Grandparents travelling with grandkids
- Traveling with disabilities
- Traveling with pets
Other trends are also drawing people to new locations, including geocaching – a GPS-based treasure hunt that attracts visitors to more than 1.8 million sites around the world – and localized events that offer very targeted opportunities.
Once you’ve found a theme that you think fits both you and your rental business, dig deeper by brainstorming specific needs your renter might have, and considering what you might do to accommodate them.
- What are their reasons for traveling?
- What kind of services or support might they need during their stay?
- What are the local attractions?
- How are they likely traveling?
Check reviews renters have left in the past, or reconnect with past guests to solicit their feedback. Alternatively, poll future renters so you can start to create a more detailed customer profile.
What to do with all this information
The more clearly you can envision the individuals you’re trying to connect with, the more easy it will be to show how perfectly your property meets their needs.
Use these details to:
- Choose photos for your website and promotional materials that reflect the people you want to attract.
- Write and share content that’s relevant to their lifestyle.
- Decide what additional services to include (or skip).
- Target your advertising and promotional efforts to the right groups.
- Evaluate which local businesses might form valuable partnerships with you.
Choosing a niche helps position your vacation rental property as a destination, not just another listing. It also provides a valuable filter that can help shape your decisions around everything from future renovations to the type of content you share via your website. It may take testing and adjustments before you find the perfect fit, but over the long term it’s worth the effort.