Vacation Rental Marketing: Know Your Strengths and Weaknesses

Erin Colbert —  November 15, 2012

Writing Property DescriptionsIn this do-it-yourself world of how-to articles and handy YouTube clips, when and why should you consider spending part of your limited budget to get hands-on help with your vacation rental marketing?

You have an Internet full of options when it comes to marketing solutions:

  • Do it all on your own,
  • Use guided DIY solutions like MyVR,
  • Hire someone to do everything for you, or
  • Hire pros to do some things while doing others on your own.

Whatever your budget and personal marketing talents, there are three main types of work you’ll need to consider as you get started: photography, writing and design.

Photography: Without great photos, your marketing will fall flat. Written descriptions may pique someone’s interest, but nothing will seal the deal like a photo of a vacation rental that fits exactly what your prospective visitor is looking for.

Writing: If you skip critical information in your marketing materials, potential renters will either lose interest and rent from someone else or you’ll have to commit a lot of time responding to questions about basic details. More than that, the writing in your marketing materials should complement your photography by conveying style, personality, and hooking a reader’s interest.

Design: Design isn’t just about making your website look good — although that’s definitely part of it. Design means creating materials (i.e. website, business card, brochures) that are functional, professional-looking, legible, and that organize important information in a way that makes sense to your potential guests.

Know Your Strengths And Weaknesses

Doing your own marketing is a lot like DIY renovations: Everybody has strengths and weaknesses, and being honest about both your talents and limits will help you sort tasks into “DIY” or “Hire A Pro” lists.

  • Who has the most experience? Unless you already have the needed skills, a professional will have the benefit of knowing what to do and how to do it.
  • What is the time-frame for getting the work done? Even if you lack the experience yourself, the Internet is a treasure-trove of information; MyVR, for example, has a growing collection of reference information. However, learning something from scratch takes time, so hiring a pro is likely your most efficient option.
  • What is the most reasonably-priced option? When it comes to cost, the answer seems pretty straightforward; after all, potential savings is one of the main draws of DIY projects. Don’t forget, however, that your time also has value; committing time to market your vacation rental distracts you from other work or priorities.
  • What are the consequences of mistakes? Just as your time has value, so do mistakes. For each task, evaluate the cost of missing your mark; some mistakes are harmless and easy to fix, while others could cause you to lose business or negate any savings from doing work yourself.
  • Can you be objective? Many marketing pros can attest that marketing yourself or your own business can be tricky. As with valuing your vacation rental and setting rates, it can be a challenge to find the right highlights for your ideal guests or recognize drawbacks.

Finding The Right Balance

While with home renovations you often either do it right or you don’t, marketing is admittedly much more subjective; many do-it-yourself marketers do fine on their own. The challenge is to find the most effective and efficient balance that fits both you and your budget.

photo credit: Jeffrey Pacres

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Erin Colbert

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Marketing at MyVR.com. I help vacation rental owners improve their online marketing efforts and get more inquiries & bookings as a result. You can find me on Twitter and .