Having a strong online presence is one of the most important things you can do to grow your vacation rental management business. There are two main pillars to any vacation rental management business, the guest side, and the owner side.
This article will focus primarily on the owner side, as this is what will ultimately help you grow your business. Property management companies often place too much focus on increasing booking and not enough focus on increasing management inventory. Here are some ways you can work to improve your online presence and dominate your market.
You may have been able to get by in the early 2000s without a website, but in today’s day in age, it’s imperative to have a website. Your website needs to not only provide a place for guests to learn more about your company and book properties, but also provide a place for you wow owners and win management deals.
Functions of a great vacation rental manager website
A great vacation rental management website will be able to convert for both sides of your business, the owner, and the guest.
Have a page or section on your website that explains exactly what services you offer and your competitive advantage/differentiators. You want your potential clients to be able to easily understand what you do and why they should work with you. Another added benefit of a detailed services page is for the SEO, this page allows you to tell Google what you do, and gives you a chance to rank for important keywords.
Many property management systems actually offer an automatically generated booking website and owners portal. An owners portal allows your clients to log in and check their property’s data with key metrics like occupancy, ADR, yearly and monthly revenue, and even benchmarks. Owners portals also offer owners the ability to block off their calendar for personal stays without needing to contact you.
An About Us page gives your company a chance to show what sets your apart from the rest. Take this opportunity to show off, consider having headshots of your team done to add a personalized touch.
Make it easy for your potential clients to get in contact with you. You can do this in a variety of ways. A website chat function is a great way to increase engagement. Of course, be sure to include a contact phone, email, and a contact form.
Another great way to increase conversions is to use Calendly or another meeting automation tool. This allows visitors to book a time on your calendar without the need to send an email and coordinate a time first.
A great property management website will show your entire portfolio of properties you manage. This is great not only to allow guests to book directly with you but also allows prospective clients to see the type of properties you manage.
Think of this section like the “Guidebook” section on Airbnb. Here you can showcase your local knowledge and provide some useful tips to guests who are visiting your area. This section helps provide better service to guests, while also giving you another chance to be discovered on Google.
Having your cancelation policy listed on your website will help avoid issues down the road with direct bookings. With platforms like Airbnb and VRBO, you don’t have to worry as much as the platform enforces the cancelation policy, with direct bookings it’s up to you to enforce it so you need to make sure it is clear and written for guests to see.
GMB is short for Google My Business and is extremely important for being found in local search results. A GMB is a local business listing that’s free to create and shows up above organic search results.
GMB optimization can be a whole different topic, but for now, the important thing to know is that this may be what a potential client sees before they see the actual search results. If you haven’t set up a GMB listing, you’re just giving traffic to your competition. Another interesting thing to note, none of the three companies listed in the screenshot above show up in the top ten of organic search results. This can be your chance to be the first service that pops up when you search for your service in your city. Go ahead, and see what the search results look like for your city.
A blog is a great chance to showcase your knowledge, both to potential guests and potential management clients. To improve your vacation rental management company’s online presence, you should consider writing blogs that will bring value both to your guests and your management clients. Your goal should be to make sure both your audience and Google know you are the expert of your market.
A fun way to think of your blog is to compare it to fishing. Each blog post is a line cast out into Google, maybe you’ll get a bite and bring a visitor to your page. The more lines you have out, the more chance you have to catch a fish. Now think of the content that you are creating as the bait. If you use junk bait, you won’t catch anything. Make sure your content matches what your target audience consumes.
In a recent article by VRMB entitled The TLC Framework: Maybe the Simplest Yet Most Powerful Way to Think About SEO the author outlines some really powerful ways to create compelling content. Some key takeaways are as follows:
- Don’t “keyword stuff” simply write content that will be useful to your target audience
- Better to write one in-depth post once a month than 20 short posts in a month.
- Use Google suggested searches to come up with blog posts
Your company’s social media profiles offer visitors a glimpse into your company culture. This is your space to show off why you are the best with articles, images, and thoughtful posts. It can be really hard to keep up with multiple accounts, and if you don’t have a full-time marketing team or much spare time, you may want to focus your efforts on one or two platforms that you are most comfortable with or you think will have the most success.
Whether or not you decide to maintain multiple platforms, a good social media management tool like Buffer, HootSuite, or Zoho Social will help you stay organized and schedule posts, minimizing your weekly time investment.
Referencing the fishing analogy mentioned in the above section, social media profiles are just one more line cast out, and one more chance to catch a fish. Just make sure you’re using the right bait. An aesthetically pleasing Instagram featuring your management portfolio may be the answer, but it could also very well be a Twitter sharing timely, relevant, news articles about recent short-term rental regulations in your city. Just like fishing, you may have to try a few different baits to see what works.
Other ways to improve
Beyond the ways listed above, there are many other ways companies improve their online presence. We’ll list a few more below in hopes to trigger some ideas for you.
- Guest Blogging – build relationships with complementing businesses. Write a blog for their website and vice versa.
- Link Building – similar to guest blogging, you may be able to have a complementing website link back to your site and vice versa. (For example, a real estate agent linking to a preferred property management company) This will help with google rankings and may bring traffic from referring the company’s website.
- Gain Press Coverage – Get an article in the local newspaper. Form relationships with reporters and keep in touch. Did your business do something notable? Some ideas could be sponsoring a beach cleanup, or commenting on a recent short term rental regulation, or even just commenting on the state of short term rentals in your area.
While this article is not an exhaustive guide on improving your vacation rental management company’s online presence, we hope it’s offered some valuable takeaways on growing your business. Looking for more ways to grow your vacation rental inventory? Check out our guide here.
Have a question or suggestion? Let us know in the comments below!