Vacation Rental Marketing: How to Stand Out on Crowded OTAs and Beat the Algorithms

Vacation Rental Marketing - How to Stand Out on Crowded OTAs and Beat the Algorithms

As a busy property manager, marketing your rentals is more than likely one of the last things on your mind. You have too much to do every day and too little time to do it! Besides, being listed on online travel agencies (OTAs) like Airbnb, VRBO, or Expedia’s site is enough marketing, right? Yes and no. Listing your rental on a booking site like Airbnb is certainly marketing. But how do you make the most of the platforms you’re already listing on? How can you beat the algorithm? Well, according to Airbnb, there are a few ways to get your property the well deserved prime listing spot it needs! Here is your vacation rental marketing guide on how to make your listing stand out.

Download Your Vacation Rental Marketing Checklist

Listing Quality

What does listing quality even mean? Your listing quality is measured by how many people click on your photos and how well your listing matches users’ searches! That’s it. To get clicks you have to have a property that is designed well that people actually want to stay in. You need a catchy headline that grabs people’s attention and good quality photos. So, how do you get all that?

Staging is Key for Vacation Rental Marketing

If you want your property to sell itself on OTAs, designing and staging it appropriately is the first step to success. When thinking about the design of your space, every piece of furniture and its place should have a purpose. Nothing says ‘book me now’ like an open floorplan that flows and carries your guests through the property. Even if you have a small property, give your living area the feeling of openness, bedrooms a spacious feeling and make sure everything is conveniently set up. Make other common areas you have say ‘make yourself at home’. Simple and high-quality furniture that makes your guest feel they are in a better version of their own home are also great selling points for your property.

Lots of Pictures Please

Now that you’ve staged your property to perfection, it’s time to get photos of your hard work! In our world of online shopping, online vacation planning, online comparison, and online everything else, pictures are probably the most important factor to the OTA channel results in your vacation rental marketing. If your pictures aren’t appealing, your chances at booking full are not great. When taking pictures of your rental, the more the better. Take photos of every room from multiple angles to really give your guests a virtual experience in your home (learn more on how to take photos like a pro in this blog post). When you have professional-looking photos that grab today’s mindless internet scrollers’ attention, you’re that much more likely to get bookings!

Photos, while very important, are not the only aspect of a great vacation rental listing that is going to beat the OTA algorithms. You also need to put in work on the listing itself!

The Name of the Game

With great staging and even more amazing photos, there’s still more you can do to leverage your OTA channel marketing. The headline of your listing. Usually, when potential guests are scrolling through listing sites, they do just that, scroll. And they don’t stop unless something catches their eye. The photos you take are a big part in this, but so does your listing title! You can call your property something clever or cute, put one of its selling features like a great location in the name, or you can name it something literal that people are searching for. Having a listing that is 100% filled out and descriptive are more likely to show up in search results and get booked. If someone wants a spacious, modern, apartment in the city center, tell them you have it. With a unique, attractive and descriptive listing and title, you are more likely to gain new guests, book a full calendar, and beat the OTA algorithm!

Offering Free Amenities

The more amenities a property has, the more likely it will be at the top of big OTA search results, and with little surprise, WiFi is one of the most popular. By offering free amenities like WiFi, which OTAs like Airbnb keep a note of, you are more likely to be listed higher and get the booking over another property. If there are two similar properties at similar prices with similar amenities but only one offers free WiFi, which do you think guests are more likely to choose? Your guests want to know that they’re getting the most for their dollar. Bringing to their attention that they are getting things for free helps satisfy that desire.

Ease of Booking

You might be thinking, isn’t ease of booking the OTA’s responsibility? While yes, your guests are booking through an OTA, you still have some say on how easy it is to book a stay at your property! Your response rate/time are huge factors in the OTA algorithm. So, when you respond to inquiries and respond quickly, this boosts your listing in search results! Airbnb specifically considers the number of inquiries and requests you reject or ignore as part of their algorithm. Too many rejects or ignores will hurt your visibility. If inquiry management is a daunting task you don’t have enough time for, you might want to consider applying for our Inquiry Management service!

Let Bookfull Help

Above all, giving your guests the best experience they’ve ever had is always the goal, and of course, will boost your search results in OTA searches. Focusing on this can be a lot for one person to handle! We know, your plate is pretty full, how can you even think about adding marketing to it? Don’t worry about it! Let us help take some weight off of your shoulders and sign up for Bookfull today. Once you do, check out the marketing services we offer!

Download Your Vacation Rental Marketing Checklist

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