As promised in my last post, here are my 35 Boomerang Marketing Tips that’ll make your guests come right back to you!
If you missed my previous post, check it out here- These travelers are 7x easier to rent to…
You can use some or all 35 tips below to cultivate repeat guests.
Ready? Let’s go!
1. Relational Rapport
Develop a relationship with your guests. You’re in the business of relationships, not rentals! Get to know your guests and stay connected with them. Maintain communication during, and after their stay. Make a genuine connection with your guests, and they won’t want to book elsewhere.
Start an email marketing plan and don’t overthink it. First, make an email address list of all those who have inquired or rented. Next, break your list into two groups. One of travelers who’ve inquired but did not book, and another list of travelers who have stayed with you. This will allow you to communicate different messages to each of these groups and create tailored emails for your existing customers.
3. Promotional Offers
Now that you have a segmented email list, you can send previous guests loyalty coupons, discounts and even promotional offers. These coupons should be offered exclusively for return guests, and they should offer a better deal than what you offer at normal price.
4. VIP Incentives
You should consider offering rewards or extra perks for repeat guests such as free late check-out or early check-in. When you send out your emails, list out the VIP benefits so they can see what they get and how much you appreciate them.
5. Social Connection
Connect on social networks with guests whenever possible. Invite them to like your Facebook page or become your friend. Once they do, you’re connected and you have a greater chance of not being forgotten.
6. Facebook Ads
Target past renters through Facebook ads. On Facebook, you can create ads targeted to the people who like your page. This will keep your advertisements and communications in front of your existing customers.
7. Physical Connection
Send them a physical greeting card a couple of times a year. Seriously, put this on your calendar now. It makes all the difference. You can try letter writing services like bond.co or maillift.com to write these notes for you.
8. Bank On Business
Target business travelers in your vacation rental marketing to attract people who visit the location most frequently. Business travelers are often obligated to visit the areas they travel to for conventions, product shows or other work-related reasons. LinkedIn is a great tool to help you reach and attract business travelers.
9. Embrace Events
Music events, art, beer and wine festivals keep people coming back for more. Take advantage of that by promoting these events within your website, email marketing and social marketing. You can offer insight on how to optimize their vacation time and share coupons to events wherever available. Creating content around these events will get your website found for people looking to attend.
10. Sport Enthusiasts
Golfers, surfers and those who attend tournaments have a reason to return to your area. Target them!
11. Will You Be Visiting Again?
Ask if they’ll be visiting again. During the guest’s stay, you should have already started developing a relationship. Before the guests leave (or shortly after), ask them if they’ll be returning. This can open up opportunities for them to book again.
12. Remind Guests of Scarcity
This starts in your advertisements. In your ads and initial communication mention how availability changes often and booking should be done well in advance to secure a reservation. This then can be reinforced at other points where guests may consider returning. It helps to create urgency.
13. Stay Competitive
Keep your rates competitive to ensure travelers don’t book another property. Know what your competitors offer in value and price. However staying competitive goes beyond rates. If you have tube TV’s in your rental and other outdated furnishings, guests may consider a property with updated offerings.
14. Make Them Feel Safe
People won’t come back if they don’t feel safe. Highlighting security features like an alarm system, emergency contact information, and installing features like a pool fence, baby gates, pool door alarms and lighting up dark entry areas are just a few things you can do to make guests feel safer in your vacation home. Guests want to also feel safe with the owner. Safety is a primal need for us all so always make guests feel safe in your home and in your hands.
15. Create environments and experiences
Creating environments in your home that provide guests with an emotional feeling will make your place memorable. You want them to remember and yearn to return to the environments they experienced at your place after they return to the stress and hustle of their home life.
Whether that feeling is of intimacy, fun or relaxation, you need to create those environments and make guests aware of them in your advertising. Create an intimate environment in the master bedrooms for couples by providing soft linens, plush bedding, comfy pillows and warm lighting. If you have an extra space or garage, you can foster feelings of fun and family bonding by including a game room where family and friends can have fun together while enjoying each other’s company. You can even create special places outside the vacation home by adding a relaxing hammock in the yard or rocking chairs on the patio. Think about what guests will engage with most and never skimp on customer touch-points like quality appliances and high-end linens. Think of how you can create experiences through your environments and your guests will be eager to come back!
You’ve heard the saying it’s the little things that make a big difference, right? You can make a big difference with small touches. Even if your vacation rental doesn’t offer extravagant amenities, you can offer in-home amenities like robes and slippers. Look towards hotels and how they use these small amenities within their rooms. You can often purchase these items in bulk to lower the cost in supplies. You can also go bigger by adding things like a pool table, dartboard, game systems and other things to do within your home.
17. Personal Touch
Adding a personal touch can go a long way, and it doesn’t have to cost a lot. With this one, it’s more of the thought that counts! Leaving a personalized, handwritten-note will give your guests those warm and fuzzies about you and the special place you’ve prepared for them.
You can provide guests more than just your vacation rental. There are many ways you can heighten your guests’ vacation experience. For instance, you could offer a personal chef, an in-house massage or a private yoga class. Give them something more than a rental through tailored services that they will want to remember and talk about with friends.
19. Excursion experiences worth experiencing more than once.
Just like services, you want to provide experiences that guests will talk about well after their trip. You can recommend the top attractions and experiences in your area, or you can even take it a step further and provide more of a concierge service for guests. Partner with a few tour operators and advertise them under your umbrella of services and things to do. You don’t have to take on the work or responsibility of actually providing these tours and excursions- you just need a few excellent partners. They can sometimes even arrange for pickups and dropoffs from your home, giving your guests a more exclusive VIP experience.
The most common complaint in the hospitality business is cleanliness. Complaints about cleanliness are like kryptonite for your vacation rental business. Not all guests will complain, but they just won’t return.
21. Smooth check-in process
You want to make a great first impression. That starts with the ease of use. Travelers are tired after a long drive or flight. You want them to slide right into your vacation home when they arrive. If the check-in process isn’t easy, they’ll see this as a real negative. They should not have to drive 15 minutes away from the property to find an office, collect keys and fill out paperwork.
22. Take notes on your customers
When engaging with guests, jot down important pieces of key information about your guests, their family and their travel preferences. Pay attention to the details. When you speak and interact with your guests, reference your notes. Ask about their family by name; show them you were listening! When you read back these details to guests, they will feel remembered. This will allow you to personalize their vacation, and help you in your retargeting marketing and email communications.
23. Use a CRM to help you manage and service customers. A CRM is a customer relationship manager. Using a CRM can help to simplify your life, and the work involved in maintaining relationships with existing customers. There are many CRMs available, depending on what’s most important to you and what tools you may have, like a website for instance. Many booking softwares include CRMs. HubSpot offers a free CRM.
24. Birthday Wishes
People like to feel special and remembered. By connecting with people on social media, you’ll be reminded about your guests special occasions – like their birthdays. Send them your best wishes!
25. Referral Program
Offer a referral program. Create loyalty programs, as I mentioned with discounts, but take it a step further by offering past guests a discount for new guests they refer. You can increase new customers to your property by creating a reward system to encourage guests to come back. You can reward guests with a discount off their next stay when they refer a friend to book. This will help travelers become invested in your business.
Always provide extraordinary customer service and they’ll want to come back to you. If you operate your vacation rental business like a boutique hotel rather than someone who rents out their home, you’ll raise your service standards as well as the frequency of repeat guests.
27. Warm Welcomes
Give them a warm welcome. When a guest enters your property, it is important that they feel welcomed. When they arrive you should consider including a welcome basket with extras and freebies to help them feel welcomed. This could be a bottle of champagne, a box of chocolates or fresh fruit. Yes, it’s a bit more work and it’ll cost a few bucks but remember, you’re investing in future bookings. Make a lasting first impression!
28. Benefits Of Booking Direct
Inform guests of all the benefits of booking directly with you. If you haven’t yet written your guests who’ve booked through third party listing sites like VRBO, you should email them and notify them of the fees they pay using those websites. Be clear and tell them how they can book with you directly. Own your customers! If you need a place to send travelers to book direct, send them to your Break Away listing!
29. Promote Property Updates
Tell past guests about important property updates and improvements. Keep them interested!
30. Attraction Announcement
When you discover a new or interesting attraction in your area, you should share that news with past guests. This is how Disney keeps guests coming back to their parks. They create something new for travelers to experience, and then they tell the world about it to get them to come back and experience something new.
31. Advertise Different Seasons
Make guests want to come back and experience something different. Be sure to include photos in your listings of the fall foliage, the winter snow and beaches during the Summer.
32. Attract Couples and Honeymooners
If your property is suitable, and your rental is in a desirable destination you may want to consider marketing to couples in love. Couples will often want to relive that romantic experience and rekindle that spark.
33. Target locals
People who can drive to your vacation rental may become some of your best repeat guests. I found it eye-opening to learn that over 50% of travelers to Orlando are actually from Florida. There’s a very good reason why companies offer state resident discounts. Consider offering a similar incentive to attract locals with a resident discount. Also, following the tip of promoting local events can work toward attracting travelers who live near your vacation rental.
Snowbirds like to get away from the cold and migrate to warmer states during the winter. This group of travelers can help you book your shoulder season – year after year with the same reliable guests. Think about offering up a monthly rate for Snowbirds during your slower Winter months.
35. Give a Gift to Remember
Giving a free gift will help create loyalty and activate the law of reciprocity. There is one type of gift that will keep you and your vacation rental at the top of their mind. Can you guess what that gift is? A souvenir.
Below is an example of a vacation rental company who gets it, and is smashing it! Yonder Vacation Rentals has done a great job by demonstrating a random act of kindness in giving guests local foods and authentic souvenirs.
They’ve incorporated many of the things we mentioned in this article. That earned them a loyal customer and social media exposure. Now I’m sharing it, here, with you.
Focusing on relationship sales and marketing can go a very long way for your vacation rental business!
Each time they taste that honey, eat those pretzels or use that pen, they will remember #YonderNC.
Some great tips & advice Jay! Thanks for sharing 🙂
One of our top prioroties is to help our BreakAway members like you Dawn achieve more success with their rentals. I’m happy to hear you’re able to get value from it! Thank you for taking a moment to comment. You Rock!
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These are great tips and I am going to try to use some of your tips as soon as the marketing campaign starts.
Cannot wait to see results with the work you are helping me with.
I have really enjoyed the process of helping you get started Myrtle. Being that you’re just starting your VR business, you have the opportunity to use these marketing tips from the very begining and get more of those guests to come back. Why wouldn’t they, your place is amazing!
Thank you Jay for your valuable tips, I will use many of them.
Can I make a question, I have a small resort and it’s a not profitable resort, all benefits go to the poor people in the surrounding villages here in Bali, I have no salary and pay my own food.
How can I market that we are like a foundation to get more people coming?
Hi Bernard, glad you enjoyed the 35 tips. First is to somehow make it official. You’ll have to show some proof to potential travelers of your properties outreach efforts and legitimacy. Then you can market it.