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How hosts can ace the holiday let marketing game

Statista’s latest data shows that nearly 500 million people stayed in some form of short term rental accommodation this year. As the holiday letting market grows, so does the competition! Each year, more people seize the opportunity to accommodate travellers who want the unique, private experience of a holiday rental.

So, how do you convince people to book with you?

It all starts with your marketing: a polished direct booking website, professional photographs, and engaging copy will help to draw people to your holiday let.

Marketing a holiday let for the first time can feel like a daunting task, especially if you’re an individual host without a holiday let agency to support you. That’s why we’ve assembled some ideas to help you get started.

Why you need to invest in your holiday rental marketing

We know that the vast majority of short term rental bookings are online. Travellers are likely to book either through an online travel agency (OTA), such as Airbnb or, or directly through a holiday rental property’s website.

Online booking platforms bring a lot of benefits:

  • they put your holiday rental property in front of lots of prospective guests
  • their platform manages the booking process
  • they enforce standards which help to build trust in the holiday rental industry as a whole

They’re also, however, taking larger and larger chunks of holiday rental properties’ revenues.

The benefits of a direct booking website for a holiday rental host

You can’t regulate how much commission holiday lettings websites decide to charge. However, you can still remain in control of your revenues by increasing the proportion of guests who book directly with you. If you can encourage travellers to book their stay through your own website, then neither party encounters the added cost of the online booking site.

This tactic comes with its own challenges:

  • how do you make sure that potential guests find your website?
  • how do you convince them to book your holiday rental property?

Ensuring that travellers find your website starts with realising how competitive the marketplace is. If users aren’t searching on their preferred travel website or OTA they’ll turn to Google or another search engine. Any website you create then has to compete with those same travel brands.

So, creating a website is really just the first step and only one element of your holiday let marketing toolkit. Ensuring your website is found by holidaymakers searching for a place to stay is an ongoing effort.

Convincing users to then book your holiday rental accommodation comes down to a range of factors, including:

  • the ease with which users can navigate your website – is it intuitive, does it load quickly?
  • the quality of your photographs and videos – do they show off your holiday let in the best possible light? Check out Dani Stein’s case study to learn about the value of incredible visuals.
  • the quality of your website copy – is it engaging, does it get to the point?

Why the best holiday rental website is usually a professional one

Of course, you could develop a website yourself. Tools such as WordPress aim to make website-building accessible to those who haven’t done it before.

There is, however, a very definite skill to website development. Creating a holiday rental website that draws users in from search engines, functions intuitively, and shows off your holiday let in the best light, is quite a task. It demands multiple areas of expertise (web development, photography, and copywriting, to name a few), and it just takes time.

As a host, you probably don’t have this time. You’re too busy running your holiday let, and tackling the daily curveballs that life tends to throw at small business owners. But to compete in an increasingly crowded holiday rental market, your website needs to look slick and it needs to function well. This will be difficult to achieve if you don’t have the time to perfect the necessary skills.

That’s why it’s so handy that there’s a wealth of services available to help you craft a marketing website that works for you.

Why Touch Stay has partnered with ACT Studios

We’ve partnered with ACT Studios to help our users who would value some extra support in developing their holiday let marketing.

We talk a lot about the importance of guest communication, and this communication starts with your marketing. Your online presence needs to grab travellers’ attention and get them excited about staying with you. Whether you need a new website, some dreamy property photos, a social media strategy, or all of the above, ACT Studios can lend a helping hand.

ACT Studios – the holiday let website specialists

ACT Studios offers photography and website design services to holiday rental properties in the UK. They’ll start by having a chat with you to understand the kind of guest experience you offer, your target audience, and where you want your business to go.

From there, they’ll produce professional photos and 3D walk-through tours of your holiday let, and use these to craft an elegant direct booking website. They can also help you to develop a wider marketing plan, from setting up your social media, to crafting listings for online booking sites.

5 things to consider when planning your holiday rental marketing

To start you off on the right foot, we’ve had a brainstorm and arrived at five factors for you to consider when planning your next marketing move. For more tips, check out our 101 social media marketing ideas.

1. Which types of guests does your holiday rental property attract?

It’s the first rule of any marketing plan: know your audience. The kinds of guests who choose to stay at your holiday let will determine the shape of your marketing. Your website, photos, and copy should be crafted with the guest in mind.

Figuring out who your typical guest is allows you to figure out what they want, and once you know what they want, you can throw it in their face as soon as they find you!

To identify your typical guests, you can try to think of your guest avatar (we talk more about guest avatars in our podcast episode with Jasper Ribbers):

  • why would they be drawn to your holiday rental property?
  • what do they want to get out of their stay?
  • what do they enjoy doing?
  • why would they choose this area for their holiday?
  • why would they choose a short term rental over a hotel?

Answering these questions will help you to create a marketing plan tailored to guests who’ll be easily convinced to book your holiday let.

2. Identify the marketing channels you want to use to advertise your holiday let

This links to the point above. Different types of guests use different social media channels and different booking platforms. If you want to get your property in front of the right eyes, you need to carefully select the channels you use.

For example, nearly two-thirds of Instagram users are aged between 18 and 34, so if your holiday rental attracts groups of young people, Instagram will be a key social media target. Similarly, if your rental property attracts large family groups, or older travellers, you’ll want to make sure that you’re listed on Vrbo – this article explains why.

3. What are your short-term and long-term goals for your holiday rental business?

Where do you want to be in six months’ time? How about in a year’s time? Five years’ time?

If you juggle a holiday rental alongside a full-time job in another field, you probably want to maintain a steady flow of guests, but might not be planning on expanding your business at a rapid rate.

On the other hand, if you’re looking to build your holiday rental business into your sole income stream, and expand into multiple new properties, then you’ll want to establish brand awareness and attract large numbers of new guests.

These different goals call for different marketing strategies. This is something that a service such as ACT Studios will discuss with you when you first chat to them.

4. Do you have time or money to invest in your short term rental marketing?

It’s certainly possible to develop a polished marketing website on your own, but it will take time. If you want to learn a new skill, building your own website will teach you about photography, colours, coding, and much more. But, like with anything we do for the first time, it’ll be a work in progress.

A professional website designer, on the other hand, will take your brief and efficiently turn it into a refined, effective website. A photographer will get great shots of your property to entice prospective guests. A copywriter will provide compelling copy.

Plus, you’re likely to earn back your financial investment in these services through an increased number of bookings.

5. What makes your holiday rental property unique?

The thing that makes your property stand out from all the others is called your USP: unique selling point.

Your USP could relate to:

  • your property’s location
  • its amenities
  • its sustainable design
  • the experience that you provide (ahem, digital guidebook anyone?)
  • the size of your property

Views of a secluded beach? A solar-powered hot tub? Free parking in the centre of town? All of these set you apart from the crowd, and should be front and centre in your marketing materials.

Use the holiday rental marketing resources available to you

ACT Studios begin with a “DNA call”, in which they really dig down to get to know you and your business. They then produce a marketing strategy and materials which are entirely tailored to you and your goals. If you’re a short term rental owner looking to professionalise your digital marketing and photography, they’re a perfect fit.

Similarly, at Touch Stay, we’re here to help, not sell. We developed our digital guidebook to help you communicate more efficiently with your guests. We want you to save time, and your guests to have a wonderful experience.

With a digital guidebook, all the information that your guests could possibly need is in one place. If anything changes, you can edit your guidebook quickly and easily online, rather than reprinting an unwieldy house manual.

It costs nothing to try it out – sign up for a free trial today!