Four Tips for “Branding” Your Investment Property
When you choose to use an established cabin rental company to manage your property, you immediately share in the marketing, advertising, and reputation of that company. If they have been successful in their marketing, cabin renters will return to the company year after year for a vacation cabin. These “return renters” are golden customers for the rental company and are highly valued.
If you choose to manage your own cabin, however, your property will be in a competitive pool of vacation homes managed by individuals. To get the highest rental and return rate, your property needs to find a way to stand out. One of the first things you learn from AirBnB is that your property is not “an Airbnb” but it is “YOUR Airbnb”. Your special touches begin to build the brand that will be your vacation rental.
To build your brand, here are some things to think about:
1. First of all, decide what kind of experience you want to offer- is your property the “least expensive two-bedroom in Gatlinburg” with a rate designed to keep the place full every night? Is it “extreme luxury with every amenity possible” and a price point to match? Is it “super clean and easy to access”….think about the attributes of the property you own or are looking for and decide where it will fall on the luxury spectrum!
2. Match your “amenities” to your vision of the property. Guests who rent higher-end properties will have higher expectations—more “starter” items like dish soap, laundry soap, coffee, and filters, etc. are expected, as are extra towels, blankets, and toilet paper. If you have a more expensive property and do not have these things easily accessible, expect to get a call:). Some highly successful owners offer gift baskets, cookies, all kinds of extras to welcome their guests, but these are only cost-effective for properties that rent a price point to support it. More basic units do not need these extras, and guests will generally not expect them.
3. Don’t forget the other “half” of your property: Location is a huge part of how you will be reviewed. Is your property in a resort community? If it is, remember that clients will review the community as a huge part of their assessment of your property. So market the amenities of the resort- pools, spas, playgrounds, putt-putt golf, pavilions, BBQ areas— all of these things enhance your property. If your property is NOT in a resort community, what can you say about where it is that makes it special? Great view, easy access roads, privacy?
4. Check out the “Reviews” section of the channels you are renting on—for example, Airbnb or VRBO. Be familiar with the things that your place is rated on, and make sure you are doing a great job at those! In our experience, “CLEAN” is a very strong attraction, and “GOOD COMMUNICATION” is right up there!
5. When you first start out, it is important to get those 5-star reviews coming in. You might be tempted to drop the price really low to get some reservations, but don’t get too far out of your actual price range. Better to let some friends and relatives come and enjoy the property for a reduced price and get those reviews started!