The growth of the vacation rental industry is a direct result of the internet phenomenon. It has never been easier to reach out to potential renters and advertise vacancies. The trick is knowing where to spend your time and money for maximum effect. The following is a primer on internet marketing.
If you do not have an individual website for your vacation rental you're missing the boat. Even if you're listed with a property manager or on a directory it's critical to have a web presence for your property. You can design your own basic website or pay someone else to put one together for you. Be sure to use the best possible pictures for your website. Paying a professional is money well spent
I really like the blog format websites. You can use the blog to write about your property, local events, and lodging specials or packages. Search engines looks to like blogs better than static websites. You'll need to register a domain name using relevant keywords and get your site hosted by someone who will submit your new site to the search engines. A quick online search will reveal lots of tech savvy people willing to assist you.
The next step in internet marketing is social media. Post your website and blog entries to your Facebook profile or better yet, put together a "page" for your property and invite all your friends to "like" it. Build your fan base by searching for the profiles of your past guests and invite them to follow you. Use the Facebook tutorials to help you navigate the process.
Grab your video camera and create a tour of your property. It does not matter if the quality is a little rough at first. A collage of still photos with some background music and / or voice over is all you need. Add it to your YouTube account and think of other related video subjects (local events, activities, places of interest, etc). The more videos you create the better. Feature a few videos on your website and update them with each season or when you add new amenities.
Now you have original content relevant to your vacation rental that you can use for internet and social media marketing. Use your blog posts as content for Facebook or Twitter and add video and pictures to everything (search engines love pictures and video).
This is a brief overview of a very important subject. I'll dive deer into internet / social media marketing in future posts. Happy Renting!