5 simple marketing hacks to help grow your direct bookings and increase your revenue
Direct bookings are the most lucrative way to generate income from a vacation rental, but they can be challenging to come by. In this blog post I’m going to show you five simple marketing hacks that will help grow your direct bookings. Ready? Let's dive right in!
1. Your ideal guest
A mistake people make… shouting into the void
What to do instead… talk to your ideal guest
One of the biggest mistakes I see owners and managers make is shouting into the void. Shouting in social media. Shouting in emails. Shouting on their websites.
Instead of shouting I suggest you create your ideal guest. This is who you would ideally like to host at your property. Someone to picture in your mind. Someone who you can talk to through your social media posts, in your emails and on your website.
If you are trying to talk to everyone then you won’t attract anyone. Having an ideal guest isn’t about turning down bookings. It is about attraction. It is attracting who you want to book with you. Who is right for your property. Having this perfect guest to talk to through your social media posts makes writing them a whole lot easier.
Have you ever had a bad review from someone who just wasn’t the right fit for your property? Perhaps it was a family with young children and your place is all glass and hard edges. The guest spent the whole time watching their kids in fear that they would get hurt and wasn’t able to relax and enjoy their holiday. Sounds like the ideal guest for this property isn’t a family with young children.
An easy way to create your ideal guest is use a real life guest you have had in the past. Someone who your property was perfect for! It isn’t about deciding what car they drive and getting into all the details. It is about what they want. How they feel. It is about having that perfect guest to talk to through your marketing.
2. Pick one thing
A mistake people make… trying to be everywhere all at once
What to do instead… choose one thing to perfect and be consistent
Do you ever feel like you have so much marketing that you could be doing? That you see others doing? It is just all too much? So you just don’t do anything?
We seem to be blessed in life with either lots of time or lots of money at one time. When we have lots of one, we don’t usually have much of the other!
If you had nothing but time, I’d tell you to be everywhere and do everything in order to be marketing your property. If you had nothing but money, you could hire your dream team and they would be everywhere and do everything. But chances are you don’t fit into either of these scenarios.
So instead of burning yourself out trying to do it all, pick one thing. Pick one social media channel, pick blogging, pick email marketing… Pick one thing. Learn how to do it right. Be consistent and really double down on that one thing.
Then, when you feel like you have it under control, you can start to add another social platform or another form of marketing to your list. You don’t have to do it all to attract more direct bookings. You need to do one thing well and consistent to effectively market your business.
3. Create valuable content
A mistake people make… selling all the time
What to do instead… create content that inspires, connects and entertains
The three most over used words in marketing are know, like and trust. These are what you are aiming for potential guests to feel about you. This is what your ideal guest needs to feel about you for them to book.
Will they feel these things if you are always selling to them?
Yes, we need to tell them about our availability we have. But we don’t have to always hitting them over the head to buy, buy, buy.
Instead use your content to do it. Your content is what you post on social media or what you write about in your latest blog. It is the words you write and the images and videos you take.
Please don’t be tempted to use prepared social posts or generic social holidays like happy hamburger day. Only use those that resonate with your property or you and your business. Don’t post just so you can say you’ve shared something that day. Poor or generic content will turn people off.
We only ever want to post content that attracts our ideal guest. We are bringing them into our world. We are showing them how amazing our area and our property is. We want to show them what a fabulous holiday they will have.
So let’s have a think. What else could we talk about in our marketing besides selling our availability?
- what to do in the local area
- what guests can do at your property
- the experience guests can enjoy while staying with you
- show what you do behind the scenes
- the history of your place
- your story – why you do what you do
- your favourite places to go to
- your favourite restaurant
- the best pub
- what makes your place unique
4. Call to Action to generate direct bookings
A mistake people make… not telling potential guest what to do next
What to do instead… tell everyone exactly what you want them to do everywhere
Have you ever heard the expression ‘you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make them drink’?
Well, what do you think if you led that horse to water and then told them to drink (and they understood English)? Do you think there might be a better chance of the water being drunk!!!
Guests can’t read your mind! They need to be told what you want them to do – every single time.
This is called using a call to action. So tell them what you want them to do.
Do you want them to read a blog post? Then say, click here to read the blog post.
Do you want them to book direct on your website? Then tell them to book direct on your website.
This is not being pushy. This is nudging your ideal guest towards what you want them to do.
5. Team up
A mistake people make… trying to do everything themselves
What to do instead… team up with someone who also brings people into your area
Here you are in your own world, working on your business, doing your marketing, trying to get out there online to attract your ideal guest.
What if I told you there were others out there in your area trying to attract the same sort of person you are marketing to? Now, I’m not talking about direct competitors.
I’m talking about someone who also brings people into your area. Maybe the local tourist office. Maybe a local tourist attraction. Maybe a well known restaurant or a tour company.
Someone who you could go to and team up with. Perhaps do a social post together and send it out to both your audiences. Or maybe doing a little giveaway together. Or maybe mention each other on your websites in your local area guide or blog.
Set up a meeting with them and ask them if they’d be interested. They may have ideas of their own. What about you mentioning their bike tour company to every guest and they do social posts tagging you in every month or so. The sky is the limit.
I hope these five simple and actionable marketing hacks will help you grow your direct bookings and increase your revenue.