Content Marketing for Vacation Rentals: Beginners Guide
For hosts and property managers looking for new and creative ways to promote their listings and increase bookings, it’s time to consider content marketing. First, it’s important to be clear of one thing: content marketing is not a strategy for overnight success. It’s very unlikely one blog post elevates your status from amateur to superhost. That being said, a thorough, well-designed content marketing strategy can do wonders for your vacation rental brand in a very reasonable amount of time. In this post, we dive into the basics of vacation rental content marketing. Use this beginner’s guide to take your listings to the next level.
Content Marketing Basics
Simply put, content marketing is a strategy in which valuable, useful information is made available to potential customers entirely free of charge. It takes the old-fashioned style of marketing (focusing on the sale of the product) and flips it on its head.
In today’s marketplace, consumers have become extremely savvy and are often unwilling to be lured in by direct sales-focused marketing. They’re looking for information that is free and informative, and they’re looking to establish a relationship of trust before making any purchases.
Enter: content marketing. In the world of vacation rentals, content marketing can be an extremely useful tool. Instead of harping on an old adage “stay at my property!” hosts and property managers write articles, film videos, make infographics, conduct interviews, and get extremely creative with how they promote their property. Without further adieu, here are some tips on how to go about content marketing for vacation rentals.
Become a Local Expert
The top priority in regards to content marketing for vacation rentals is to essentially become a local tour guide. Guests are likely choosing short-term rentals over hotels because it’s more of a local, personalized experience, and so hosts should do their best to adopt an according tour guide role.
On your personal vacation rental website, get comfortable writing articles about things to do in the city. If you’re an expert on the local hiking trails, blog about it. If you can give a thorough rundown on each museum, blog about it.
Turn Questions into Articles
If you’re having trouble coming up with ideas for blog posts, consider turning repeat questions into articles. Are you always getting asked about the best things to do near your property? What about things to do while it’s raining? Hosts can easily turn those answers into well-written blog posts and refer guests to their site.
Film a Vacation Rental Video
Last week we wrote a piece on Making a Video for Your Vacation Rental: The Do’s and Don’ts. Hosts who invest the time in not only creating a vacation rental video but marketing and distributing it often see generous returns. If you’re not the DIY type, consider partnering with a local videographer to help put together a short (under two-minute) vacation rental promotional video. In addition to posting the video on your site, chop up sections to use as content on social media.
Get Comfortable Using Infographics
Infographics are another type of content that falls under the content marketing category. Instead of long-form articles, some readers prefer to digest bite-sized pieces of information that are instantly shareable. Here is an example of a snippet from a great infographic from Kauai Cottages below.
Talk up Local Businesses (and Ask for Something in Return)
Once you’ve finished writing articles on the 8 best restaurants, 6 best cafes, and 9 best outdoor attractions, you may be at a loss for content ideas. Another tip is to do a deep-dive piece on one particular place. Interview the owner of a successful shop and turn that interview into a compelling story. Guests will find it to be a great rundown on a local spot, and perhaps you can work out a partnership with the restaurant owner to refer guests to their eatery in exchange for a discount.
Implement an Interactive Map
Many hosts provide a written rundown on things to do nearby and either print it out or send it to their guests’ inbox. This is a great first step, but another good idea is to create your own interactive map. Use Google My Maps to help your guests easily locate the top things to do and see in the vicinity.
Conduct Basic SEO Research
If the whole point of a vacation rental blog is to increase traffic and ultimately increase bookings, it’s important to make sure articles are as search-friendly as possible. Once you’ve decided which topics to write about, go the extra step by optimizing the article’s ability to rank on online search engines.
Even if you’re unsure what SEO stands for (search engine optimization), it’s not too difficult to wrap your head around the basics. Start out by using a free keyword search tool (like one of these) and implement as many relevant keywords into your posts as possible. Make sure to optimize your titles, meta descriptions (the short blurb that pops up below the title on the search results page), and the subheaders throughout your article.
Email Marketing for Repeat Visitors
Email marketing is one of the most important sub-categories of content marketing. Delivering short, concise, informative emails to previous guests will immensely help when they’re deciding whether or not to return to your property. Deliver a monthly newsletter with a selection of your best pieces of content and make sure to include links to your personal website. It may also be beneficial to implement a loyalty rewards scheme in which returning guests receive a special discount or added perks at your place.
Use CTAs to Generate Leads
You may be thinking, “sure, a newsletter sounds great, but who do I send it to?”. When first starting out, content marketing can feel a bit lonely — you’re putting in lots of work, but you’re unsure if it’s really going to gain traction.
For this reason, you’ll want to integrate plenty of CTAs (call to actions) throughout your personal website. Prompting visitors to fill out their email is a great way to generate leads. However, make sure to do some research before designing and integrating. Spend some time reading articles like the Best Call to Action Color Button, and this article on examples of CTAs that really work.
Replicate What Works
Studies have shown that for many content marketing campaigns, fewer than 10% of the content drives an overwhelming majority of overall traffic. In other words, it’s very rare that all your content gains traction. As a result, try to maintain a “rinse, wash, and repeat” mindset with your content that performs well. Whatever proves successful, keep doing.