Advertise Your Vacation Rental Home
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Other ways to Advertise your Vacation Rental property?
There are a lot of different ways that you can advertise your vacation rental by owner property. Here are all the approaches that we have used:
Posting business cards or postcards on noticeboards at work, church, clubs, etc.
Classifieds in local papers, Craigslist, etc.
Donating vacation time at your property to a charity auction
Free online vacation rental listing sites
Paid online vacation rental listing sites
Own web site
Business Cards and Postcards
Putting business cards or postcards up on noticeboards is relatively inexpensive. However, in 5 years we've booked a total of 1 time to someone that found us on a noticeboard. But having business cards and postcards can still be useful. We leave postcards in our property for guests to use. And we also mail postcards to previous guests. We find both to be useful ways to keep in touch with past guests that are more personal than just an email. As you'll see below, repeat guests are an important source of bookings for us. Read this post about Postcards for your Vacation Rental for more information.
When it comes to classifieds, we've used Craigslist and Kijiji and Backpage. We've never tried local print media. All of these services are free. What you're investing is your time to post and respond. We've had very mixed results. Without a doubt these services bring the highest noise to signal ratio. By which I mean we get a lot of spam or worthless inquiries.
Donating to Charity
Each year my colleagues organize an auction to support the Duke Children's Hospital. For the last 3 years we have donated a long weekend at one of our properties for this auction. We've been pleased at how much money this has raised. But there are tax issues and other risks to consider when agreeing to donate time at your vacation home. Read more about Donating a Stay in your Vacation Rental to Charity.
Free Listing Sites
A lot of new vacation rental listing sites offer free trials while they are trying to develop traffic. Our experience has generally been that keeping your property information current on these sites is more trouble than it's worth. In the combined 8 years that we've been advertising our two properties we have received a total of 1 booking from a free listing site. Your mileage may vary. If there is a free listing site targeted to your region or type of vacation property, then try it out.
Paid Listing Sites
For most owners of vacation rentals, this will be the largest source of inquiries and bookings. We are no exception, having received 75% of our bookings at both properties from this source. We use FlipKey. How many should you list with? The glib answer is - "as many listing sites as it takes to fill your high season". For almost everyone, a single booking in high season will pay for a year of advertising on a single paid listing site. I would recommend starting with these 3 listing sites.
Own Web Site
This is a source of advertising that a lot of owners seem to overlook. I think for many people it can seem either too expensive or too complicated. In practice it can be done very inexpensively. We spend $15/year for each of our property domain names, and $0/yr for the web sites. Read this other post on setting up a web site for your vacation rental. I think another reason that people don't setup their own web site for their vacation rental, is because they can't imagine anyone finding it. With paid listing sites like FlipKey spending so much on advertising, how would their own site ever be found?