Guest post by: Sarah Brubaker of WebChalet.com
I recently received this email from a friend: "I found the perfect vacation rental for our Bahamas trip. Available September 10-18. The house is on FlipKey (#506635) called 'Sunset House' and sleeps 10. Check out the photos and your calendars. Who's in?"
When I received the email, the first thing that stood out to me is that the friend not only included the FlipKey listing number but also called the vacation rental by its name "Sunset House." I realized that the owner of "Sunset House" is actually a WebChalet client because I recognized the name of the vacation home.
Create a Brand for your Vacation Rental
A name is a way to establish an identity for your vacation rental, build a brand and help generate word of mouth marketing. A name is also a way for guests to remember your rental. I can guarantee you that when someone asks me where I stayed in the Bahamas a year from now, I am not going to remember a FlipKey number but there is a good chance that I will remember the name "Sunset House" (and associate it with cocktail house and the amazing view at sunset). With an easy-to-remember name, you can also increase your word of mouth referrals. Word of mouth - recommendations made by friends, co-workers, or neighbors you know and trust - is the most effective and cost-effective way to win new guests. You cannot create this word of mouth buzz when your past guests don't have a brand name to share.
Show Up in Search Results
A second reason to name your vacation rental is that it is highly likely that guests will type your vacation rental name into their search engine. In fact, a recent vacation rental marketing survey found 74% of people looking for vacation rentals would definitely "Google" the name of the property or the owner outside the listing environment. Today guests are doing their own research before booking. Let's say you gave your vacation rental a generic name like "Bahamas Vacation Rental." In addition to not being memorable, it is very difficult to optimize your listing or your personal vacation rental website for this search as you will be buried below many other websites. Now type the phrase "Sunset House in the Bahamas" into Google.com. What shows up? The Sunset House's FlipKey listing, VRBO listing, and the owner's personal website.
Importance of a Vacation Rental Website
Because users may type your vacation rental name directly into Google or Bing, you should not only include your vacation rental name on all your listings, but also optimize your personal website for the keywords as well. You can expect users to research your brand online and this is a way to take control of your brand image. Guests will look to see where else the house is listed. Are there other reviews on other listing websites? If you have a professional vacation rental website design, you can establish a brand and instantly impress your guests. A user doing her due diligence can now find more information about the vacation home and local area and is more likely to book.
How to Name your Vacation Home
The vacation rental name can be whimsical, but most importantly, it needs to be memorable so it is top of mind when a guest is choosing which vacation rental to book. If your vacation rental has a special feature or attribute, you could tie this into the name. A great name will help set you apart from your competition and help you create a brand that past and future guests can identify with. As for me, I am already daydreaming about sunset hour at the "Sunset House."
Sarah Brubaker is Co-Founder of WebChalet.com, a vacation rental software company making it easy for owners and managers to book travelers directly with their own professional website. Starting with a variety of vacation rental website templates, owners and professionals can create their own professionalwebsite with availability calendars, online payment processing, and a suite of marketing tools built into the software.