Visitors to Florida are far more likely to rent a vacation home or condo than stay in a hotel. Short-term rentals offer travelers more space, more privacy, and a generally more relaxed vacation experience. If you’re renting out a short-term Lakewood Ranch home, you can expect a steady stream of guests interested in renting your place for a few days, a few weeks, or even a month.
There’s a lot of competition, however, and the way you market your property is important in keeping it occupied. Your best marketing strategy, of course, is customer service. When you provide a great stay for your guests and you’re responsive as a host, you’ll have an easier time attracting people to your short-term rental property. You’ll have great reviews and repeat customers.
A good reputation is a terrific marketing tool. You’ll need more than that in the crowded rental market on Florida’s Gulf Coast, however. Today, we’re sharing some of the proven strategies we’ve used as local property managers to market short-term rental homes in Lakewood Ranch and the surrounding areas.
These strategies will accomplish a number of things for you:
- Attract more renters.
- Keep your short-term rental property occupied.
- Help you stand out in a crowded rental market.
When you’re easily attracting guests and keeping your property occupied, you’re earning more money.
Try these marketing strategies.
Get to Know the Lakewood Ranch Rental Market
You need to understand the unique nature of the Lakewood Ranch rental market, specifically the short-term market before you begin any advertising plan. Not only do you need to understand the market as a whole, you also need to understand where your property fits into the market.
Do a little of your own research. Talk to experts who understand the demographics of visitors to the area. What types of visitors are most likely to rent your home?
It’s also important to get an idea of what homes like yours are renting for on a nightly basis. How long do guests typically stay? Where are they coming from? All of this information will help you craft a meaningful and effective marketing plan. Read industry websites and check into online forums and social media sites to see what people are talking about.
It’s also important to understand the seasonal strengths and challenges that your short-term property is likely to face. In Lakewood Ranch, you’ll want to market to baseball fans as spring training gears up. You may find yourself targeting “snowbirds” or northerners who come to Florida for the winter months. In the summer, you’ll find yourself marketing to families with children who are enjoying vacation weeks.
Don’t launch a marketing plan without getting to know the market first.
Provide an Attractive Lakewood Ranch Rental Property
Short-term renters will be looking for comfortable furniture and amenities like strong Wi-Fi, cable television with access to platforms like Netflix and Hulu and Apple TV, and a kitchen that’s well-equipped with appliances, dishes, pots, pans, a coffee maker, and other necessities.
You can have the best marketing plan in the world. If people don’t find your property appealing, it’s not going to matter what you do to attract those guests. They won’t book your home.
Pay attention to curb appeal as well. Keep the outdoor space clean and comfortable. Trim the bushes, mow the lawn, make sure the flower beds are weeded and fresh. If you have a pool, that’s going to be a great selling point. Make sure it’s always clean, sparkling, and compliant with all fencing and safety requirements.
Price Your Rental Competitively
How much will you charge?
Pricing is part of your marketing strategy. Visitors to Lakewood Ranch are looking for value. They’re willing to pay for extra comfort and amenities, but they won’t overpay for a short-term rental when they can find a similar home for less. Make sure you’re paying attention to what your competition is charging. Give guests a reason to choose your property over the others.
Pricing will depend on the location of your rental and the benefits you provide. It will also depend on the season, the demand, and the competition in the market. These factors will change, so it’s important that you stay on top of market trends and pricing fluctuations. You can’t set a single price and then leave it there. Prepare to be flexible, and offer discounts on longer stays.
Invest in Professional Photographs
When you’re ready to create your listing, your focus needs to be on your photos. Marketing photos are critical because those pictures are the first things that potential guests will look at when they come across your listing online. They’ll want an idea of your location and they’ll confirm that your price is in their budget. Then, they’ll scroll through your photos.
If you haven’t considered investing in professional photos, there’s a good reason to do it.
A study commissioned by Airbnb showed that listings with professional photos earned 40 percent more than listings that did not have professional photos.
Improving photos on your listing is perhaps the most important thing you can do when marketing your short-term rental home. Not a lot of owners are willing to make this investment, but when you do, you see a big difference.
With professional photography, you get:
- Good lighting
- Appropriate angles
- Detailed editing
- Artistic images
- A story about your property
This extra effort that comes from professional photography gets in touch with the emotions of your potential guests, giving them an idea of what it feels like to stay in your property. This is more likely to win them over than a few snapshots you capture with your iPhone.
You’ll need a lot of photos. Show the front of the property, any outdoor space, the kitchen, living room, bathrooms, and bedrooms. Highlight any special features like spas, garden tubs, renovations, or special amenities like games, cribs, or pet features.
Utilize Online Rental Platforms
There are plenty of places to advertise your short-term Lakewood Ranch rental. You can create a unique website of your own that features your property. With the right technology, you can even include a booking widget.
Plenty of rental platforms are also available to you, like Airbnb, HomeAway, VRBO, and others.
The benefit of marketing on these sites include:
- You have constant traffic; people looking for short-term rentals are looking specifically in your area.
- Booking and payment collection activities are handled for you.
- Potential guests can use filters that deliver results specific to what they’re looking for.
Don’t forget the power of social media. Share your listing on sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and others. Social media is a way to help draw attention to your listings online. You can also invite people in your network to share your listing with their networks.
Establish Your Reputation and Ask for Reviews
Short-term rentals and vacation homes depend on customer reviews.
When former guests have positive things to say about you and your property, you have a much easier time attracting new bookings. You’ll want to be set up to ask for reviews and then publish them as they’re posted.
You can’t collect great reviews if you’re not providing a great rental experience. It’s important that your guests have everything they need. You need to be responsive and attentive. Be communicative and open. Take care of any minor complaint or problem right away.
A list of five-star, glowing reviews will perhaps be the best marketing tool you’re able to use. You’ll have the same guests returning to your property when they’re in Lakewood Ranch, and you’ll have an easy way to show potential guests that they’re making a good decision by booking your property.
Work with a Lakewood Ranch Property Manager
The best way to leverage your marketing strategy is to work with a property management company in Lakewood Ranch that specializes in short-term rental properties. Property managers have strategic marketing plans in place for the properties they’re renting out on behalf of owners. They have strong networks of industry professionals who can help with advertising and word of mouth.
Property managers already have the technology you need. They have websites that can host your listing. They will take care of everything from photographs to pricing to the bookings and payments.
You can also count on your property manager to measure the success of their marketing plans and make adjustments as needed.
At Anchor Down Real Estate & Rentals, we have been helping rental property owners market their short-term Lakewood Ranch properties for years. We understand this market, we know what’s needed to attract the best guests, and we do a great job of managing every aspect of your short-term rental property, from the marketing to the booking to the customer experience. You can expect great reviews, high occupancy rates, and high rents.
Managing your own short-term rental can be time-consuming and challenging. The marketing process is only the start of what you’ll need to keep up with. Instead of going it alone, talk to experts. We’d be happy to help. Contact our team at Anchor Down Real Estate & Rentals.