For any business to attract a higher rate of customers and gain market share, they need to offer something different from their competitors. One of the surest ways to make a healthy profit as a VR property owner or manager is to find the right target audience for your property and to understand what it is that they want from a vacation rental. Then, based on their needs and interests, you can set up your property and market it to them on the appropriate channels, i.e. the ones they are most likely to be found on, and communicate the information in a way that they are most likely to engage with, including content type, aesthetic style and tone of voice, in order to catch their attention and start bringing in the bookings.
Note: In order to market your property and connect with your audience in the ways this article explores, your property business will need to have a website that includes a booking application, enabling you to receive reservations.
Finding your niche
Audience segmentation in the VR industry has become very important. The most successful vacation rentals companies today are those who can identify their ideal guest and then cater to that person’s needs. To do this effectively, you must first know exactly who that guest is.
Questions to ask yourself:
- “What type of traveller am I looking for?”
- “How will my guests benefit from staying at my property?”
- “Why would a guest choose my property over other businesses?”
The power of niche marketing
Social channels are having an increasingly significant impact on consumer awareness of vacation rentals. More and more key players in the market are utilising advertising and marketing campaigns – including social media, vlogs,articles and Google Ads – to increase their reach among consumers.
It might seem intimidating with so many competitors and so many options available for vacationers, but the key lies in understanding that your property is not the perfect choice for everyone, and so you must find a way – your way – to stand out from the crowd, and attract the right customers for your VR business.
Niche marketing is based on market segmentation and is one of the best ways to attract the right people for your business. It allows you to cater to specific groups of people who share similar interests or needs. For example, if your VR is a wholesome cabin that’s close to a beautiful mountain, then you can start forming an idea of your niche audience by focusing your efforts on clients with an interest in nature, hiking, city escapes, etc.
With the same market segmentation rationale in mind, a small/medium-sized apartment in a hip or urban neighbourhood might be more suitable for young couples or small groups of friends, whereas an apartment in the museum district might appeal more to families. A villa with a pool on the other hand, would probably be of interest to affluent families or big groups of friends.
“Niche-ifying” your property
Once you’ve identified your audience, the following move is to set up your property based on what they’re looking for. There are many ways you can do this:
Your furniture and fittings for example might be hip and modern, functional and child friendly, or stylish and luxurious.
This can include the colours and design themes you employ in your property, and can also be tailored to your audience. If your niche is hip, young friends for example, make sure you create an “Instagramable” spot, which can also be useful in repurposing user-generated content for your social media platforms.
- House manual
Write a house manual for guests, complete with aesthetic design, tone of voice and recommendations that are tailored to your audience. Don’t worry, we’ve got a guide to help you with that!
You want to select the most appropriate channels for your audience and write your listing in the tone of voice they are most likely to respond well to. Including the right information is also key – such as mentioning that your property is equipped with cots and high chairs, if your audience is families. You can also let your place ‘speak for itself by hiring a photographer to get some top-notch photos in your brand aesthetic.
- Create a guest experience
Depending on your audience, you can help create a much more positive overall experience, all the while upselling services and gaining a healthy commission at the same time. There are many options for expanding your offerings in order to attract new clientele, including: recommending a reliable transfer from the airport, such as Welcome Pickups, to families, procuring a welcome basket with local produce for foodies, or offering your lux guests the option of in-house catering, courtesy of a talented local chef.
Connecting with your audience
Now that you’ve identified your ideal customer and have a better understanding about what they’re looking for and how you can create that experience for them, you need to actually communicate all that to them. You can easily target your audience online, through a variety of channels, and begin to build a relationship with them through digital and content marketing.
Content creation is a critical component of any digital marketing strategy as it helps you establish credibility and authority in your field by sharing useful information that people want to consume. Your content should answer common questions and address problems that your visitors might encounter while searching for a vacation rental. It can also provide them with an incentive to choose your business over a competitor’s by showing them that you offer what they’re looking for.
There are many channels you can use to communicate with your audience, and chances are you’ll try many until you find the mix that works for you, as each one offers its own unique advantages. These can range from online and social media ads, to email newsletters and campaigns, and even influencer promotions.
Once you have created your content and chosen your communication mix, you need to think about how you will get the word out about your property. There are two main ways you can do this: paid search ads, and organic SEO.
You should also plan to include links to your website and social media accounts in all of your communications. Links allow users to navigate directly to your social accounts where a lot of your content lives, and to your site, making it easier for them to learn more about your property and booking process. You could even create your own unique hashtag making your property more searchable and enabling you to easily filter through content that is relevant to your property. Make sure your guests know what the hashtag is by adding it to your manual, social media accounts and website.
Identifying your target audience and setting up your property in a way that satisfies their needs, is a win-win as it results in a better experience for your guests and more income for you. Word of mouth is golden – especially in the digital age when ratings can make or break a business, with good reviews skyrocketing your property’s visibility on the platforms and getting you even more bookings. By optimising your business for a niche audience, you can sit back and watch your ratings go up, as you tick every one box on your guests’ lists!