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The vacation rental market is rapidly gaining traction and is a prominent player within the sharing-economy. This rise is garnered through the growth and support of both supply and demand channels. As more and more people are finding it financially possible to pay a significant portion of their mortgage with short term rental income, the supply of vacation rentals is increasing. Statistics show a 75% increase of vacation home sales from 2013 to 2014.
The appeal and practical benefits of using vacation rentals has created an increase on the demand side. Last year, 17% of sharing-economy users found a place to stay through sharing economy lodging options, which is up 10% from the year before. In addition, a recent Nasdaq article states, 30-40% of Airbnb travelers reported they would not have taken their trip if it were not for vacation rentals.
Analysts expect sharing economy market revenues to grow from $15 billion in 2015 to $335 billion by 2025. That’s a 22x increase in just 10 years. In order to obtain a share of this growth, a successful vacation rental requires finessed execution from a multitude of angles. In our blog post, “How to Make Money on Airbnb,” we talked about the importance of correctly marketing your home to the right audience. Highlighting specific features like living near great restaurants and nightlife, being located downtown in the financial district, or next to a large park with a huge playground is a way of targeting your listing to guests who would appreciate what your home has to offer.
Knowing what your home has to offer is half the battle. The other half – understanding what guests are looking for and the motivations behind their travels. Different travelers have different goals. Just as in real estate, selection of a home is largely dependent on the needs of the buyer or in this case, the traveler. Any successful marketer knows the first step to success is knowing your audience. Know what your home has to offer and flaunt it, correctly.
Vacation rentals guests are majoritively Millennials and Gen-Xers, but that doesn’t mean baby boomers aren’t a rapidly growing share. But let’s be honest, your generation doesn’t limit, nor does it determine, your vacation style. The stereotypes of a generational vacationer don’t uphold anymore, and part of that is because of the variation offered by vacation rentals. Your guests are dynamic people and the beauty behind vacation rentals is the availability of finding lodging that suits their specific needs. But they’ll only find it if you advertise it.
That’s where, as a vacation rental owner, your marketing skills must come into play. Advertising your home for what it has to offer is of utmost importance.
Historically, the greatest allure of the vacation rental industry is the capability to submerse yourself in the community and culture, living like a local. This claim stands strong as vacation rentals “rupture the division between urban tourist and suburban local.” But vacation rental travelers have other, just as important, reasons for using vacation rentals that are being recognized.
In 2014, Airbnb launched its business travel plan, a program that’s seen 700% growth over the past year and has signed up more than 250 companies. Additionally, companies like Google and Salesforce are actively encouraging their employees to stay with Airbnb hosts. Using a vacation rental means business travelers can stay comfortably in a home environment and save money on food, parking, and wifi expenses. Overall, vacation rentals yield more space for a lesser price.
It is also shown that business travelers who stay in vacation rentals tend to extend their trip and stay longer than they would have in a hotel. Also meaning, the chances of turning a business trip into a fun vacation becomes a practical possibility. If you’re home is located in an urban area, you better be targeting and prepared for business travelers.
Highlight these key features: Do you have great wifi? An office space or work desk? Are you located in a business hub? Are you nearby public transportation? And let’s face it, after a hard day’s work, restaurants or take-out might be the ideal solution for meals or meeting with colleagues.
Travelers often plan to bring their pets with them on vacation as vacation rentals offer a level of comfort and security for you and your pet that hotels can’t offer, ultimately making for greater ease and less headache when traveling with (what I hope is) the furriest member of your family.
Highlight these key features: Is your home pet friendly? Do you live nearby a park, a dog friendly beach, or a great walk? Do you provide a dog-bed? Is there a fenced yard?
Not that this is a new concept, but vacation rentals offer a different style for group vacations. Whether you’re doing a girls/guys trip, a family reunion, or a group adventure with your friends and all the kids, vacation rentals often offer communal areas to hang out in and a place to have meals that don’t involve a reservation, a specific window of time, or getting everyone dressed and out the door for. Personally, continental breakfast does me no good when it ends at 9am – I’m on vacation, I want to sleep.
Highlight these key features: Do you have a kitchen stocked with all the essentials, or more? Is your living area great for hanging-out? Or even better, do you have an outdoor space with a patio, grill, hot tub, or pool? Pillow properties also provide kitchen and bath packs that go a long way with group travelers.
Lastly, pay attention to your location. Pillow guests travel to your area for a reason! San Diego and L.A. hosts, are you by the beach? Do you have an ocean view and a telescope? San Francisco – do have a view of the Golden Gate Bridge, or are you one of the Painted Ladies? Seattle, how about that Space Needle? Don’t forget to point out the obvious. Pillow hosts have some unique properties in some awesome locations! These things may be everyday to you, but to tourists these are main attractions and sights to be seen.
All in all, your guests have a variety of needs and every trip taken can have different goals. It’s your job to make sure they can easily find the place that best suits their needs. Whether guests want to splurge and stay in a luxury beach house, try living in a penthouse in the sky, or feel out the tiny house trend, your home has a unique offering and when advertised appropriately, your guests will love staying in your home and give rave reviews. Your targeting will result in more happy guests and you’ll have laid the groundwork for a potential repeat customer.
Written by: Michelle Giuliano at Pillow
About Pillow: Pillow is creating a new way for people to become excited about renting their property. We are a technology enabled short-term rental platform that connects homeowners, guests, and vendors to provide a standardized rental experience. For homeowners, the ‘Pillow Promise’ means we maximize your income and care for your rental. For guests it means we deliver an authentic and reliable hospitality experience.Follow Us