Why Your Vacation Rental Needs a Name

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 professional website with availability calendars, online payment processing, and a suite of marketing tools built into the software.

 

Appealing to Different Types of Travelers

“A one size fits all” sort of attitude does not work when it comes to renting out vacation homes. Travelers are just as varied as the destinations from which they are choosing for their next adventure. In order to achieve the ultimate goal of having a fully booked rental for the entire season, it’s a good idea to take the different types of traveler personalities into consideration when advertising your home. We’ve selected several to focus on, but this collection is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to targeting travelers.

Bargain Hunters

Bargain hunters are travelers who are always on the lookout for deals and discounts. The best time to focus on this type is during your off-season. It’s certainly easier to secure full-priced bookings during peak season when the demand is at its highest, so when inquiries are just trickling in this is your opportunity to appeal to those seeking the best deal your area has to offer. The obvious way to attract this traveler is through discounted nightly rates and a reduction in the minimum amount of nights you require per stay, but you could also offer bargains in other forms. Gift certificates or coupons to local eateries, spa and wellness centers, or fun indoor activities like rock climbing may provide that extra “umpf” to edge out the competition.

Empty Nesters

Couples’ whose children are now adults, who have moved out of their house, have entered the land of “Empty Nesters.” This is another group that you can turn your attention to during the off-season. Not bound by school schedules, these travelers have more freedom when it comes to the time of year they can choose to plan their trip and may prefer to skip the crowds during your area’s busier season. You can appeal to this group by including in your property description the advantages of staying at your home during the non-tourist season. Highlight local attractions that are open in the off-season or you could frame your rental as their ticket to a pampered paradise. By creating a guide to your area’s best relaxation spots (think spa treatments) or ways to feel pampered in your home (personal chef, anyone?) will certainly help to appeal to these travelers.

Semi-Locals

This group of travelers is trading in long vacations in exotic locales for shorter, weekend stays in destinations a little closer to home. Prospective travelers that live within driving distance of your rental are good targets for when the weather starts getting colder and the last of the tourists have petered out. Families looking to escape for the weekend or during their child’s short breaks that are sprinkled throughout the school year fall into the semi-local category and hopefully fall into the blank dates on your rental calendar!

Corporate Retreats

Vacation rentals are ideal for corporate retreats whether a company is looking to improve office morale with a relaxing trip aimed at strengthening the bond between employees, or just looking for a change in scenery to help prevent creativity from becoming stagnant. When appealing to this segment emphasize space and the calm, peaceful nature of your home—perfect for getting a little work done! Also, be sure to highlight that your home is ideal for large groups and is close to activities suitable for team bonding, like cooking lessons at a local restaurant, which will help lure this traveler type.

By taking different traveler personalities into consideration and adjusting your property description, you’ll be able to attract even more guests to stay at your home. Editing your photo gallery so that you showcase some images highlighting features that are likely to persuade any one of these personality types is another easy way to grab their attention. So, take a little time and look over your property listing; tweaking a few things could end up earning you more each rental season.