You have a wonderful retreat that serves as your special vacation residence a few times out of the year. It’s in beautiful, sunny Sarasota, and is in a great location. That means it could easily be generating a steady income stream, and, serve as your dedicated place to stay when you are taking some time off. What’s more, you’ll be able to take advantage of some tax benefits that will reduce incurred costs, which makes it even sweeter.
To get things rolling, you begin brainstorm on how you’ll get the word out. After all, you can’t rent your vacation rental if people don’t know that it’s an option. Of course, you can just post ads online and hold out hope that those will bring people to you to rent your property. While this is definitely part of a marketing strategy, it’s only a piece of the overall plan.
HOW TO PRICE YOUR VACATION RENTAL
Before you begin getting the word out to vacationers, you’ll need to set your rental rates. While this isn’t necessarily exciting, it can’t be avoided, and, it’s got to be set right. If you set your rental rates too low, you won’t be able to cover costs. Conversely, if you set your rental rates too high, you won’t be able to rent it as often and have to endure long periods of vacancy.
“While renting out your vacation home in the summer may be a no-brainer, you may be missing out on a lucrative stream of income letting it sit vacant during the offseason. Vacation rental properties are a $24 billion business in the U.S., the equivalent of more than 20 percent of all hotel room revenue, according to a study this year by PhoCusWright, a Sherman, Conn.-based market research firm.” —Bankrate.com
The first step in setting your rental rates are to look at all of your costs–not just your mortgage, property taxes, and insurance, but, all of your expenses. Once calculated, estimate how many weeks you’ll be able to rent it out, and, be conservative with your estimate. Next, you ought to check out the competition to see what their rates are and to have an idea of what you need to gain an advantage. Lastly, set your rental rates based on seasons and holidays. Here again, your competition will be quite helpful to determining what you can charge during seasonal peaks, holidays, and off season periods.
BEST WAYS TO ADVERTISE A VACATION RENTAL HOME
Once you have worked-out your rental rates, you’ll need to advertise your vacation rental property. This should be done in a professional, thoughtful way so you reach as many people as possible and pique their interest. Going outside of conventional advertising methods will be quite helpful. Here are some tips for advertising your vacation rental:
- Don’t refer to yourself in advertising. Flyers and online ads are no-brainers, but they can actually do more harm than good. Some vacation rental homeowners make the mistake of using personal pronouns, such as “my,” “mine,” “I,” and “we.” Such pronouns can subliminally turn-off readers. When you use such verbiage, you’re conveying a message that isn’t going to get people excited about your property.
- Include a lot of photos when it’s immaculate. For the paper and online advertising, you’ll need to get people interested in your vacation rental. In addition to interior and exterior photos of the home and property, include photos of nearby amenities and scenery.
- Give it out to charity now-and-again. Aside from the paper and online advertising, you’ll need to do more to get it and keep it rented often. So, give it away for free from time to time. You’ll get a lot of exposure, plus, you’re donating to a good cause. When vacationers return from their free stay, they most definitely spread the word.
- Submit it to popular listing sites. Look into the most popular vacation home listing sites, like HomeAway, VRBO, AirBnB, and FlipKey. Utilize these to your advantage and make sure to fill out your listing completely. These sites typically have instructions and examples to help you create compelling ads.
- Team-up with local businesses. This can create a win-win scenario in which they post adverts of your vacation rental while your guests will get a small discount at their locations. Go to local businesses and ask to put out flyers in return for giving your vacation renters a discount. Small businesses will be the most helpful and will like the fact that you’re sending paying customers to them in return for a small favor.
In addition to online listing sites and advertising, you’ll set your property apart by creating a Facebook page and putting up a website. Social media is free, and, the cost of a hosting a website, through which vacationers can book stays, is about $7 to $10 per month. Vacationers can post their own photos to your Facebook page, which excites and entices others to booking a stay.