Like any type of marketing, vacation-rental marketing is more effective if you’re able to target a specific audience. Placing your listings in front of as many travelers as possible is a good start; placing your listings in front of the appropriate travelers, though, is the real secret to success.
As we slowly emerge into a post-COVID world, the question our industry needs to ask is: who will travel the most in 2021?
Fortunately, new data is shedding light on what to expect in the months ahead. It has identified two key demographics, meaning you’ll be able to adjust your marketing strategies accordingly and make your vacation rental stand out.
Every year, Expedia conducts a “Vacation Deprivation Study” that analyzes work-life balance trends around the globe. This year’s edition of the annual research revealed that in 10 of the 16 major markets surveyed, vacation deprivation is rising.
In the United States, 64% of respondents reported deprivation; that number was as low as 50% just three years ago. Similar trends appeared in Canada, the U.K., and throughout Europe.
But here’s some good news.
Expedia’s study also revealed that people all over the world plan to take at least an extra week of vacation this year, leaving more time for them to travel—and more time for them to cross off items on their bucket lists.
Indeed, bucket-list travelers are primed to run rampant in the months ahead. Expedia reports that 66% of people in their research have been inspired to create a bucket list, and the longer the pandemic has lasted, the longer the lists have grown.
A striking 61% of those survey participants also claim they are willing to spend more money on their bucket-list vacations than they originally planned.
Clearly, the pent-up demand is there and so is the cash.
Expedia’s data showed that American travelers are currently flocking to warm areas, which is understandable, considering the study was conducted during the winter months. So Orlando, Miami, Las Vegas, Oahu, and Maui have all reported a surge domestically, and destinations like Cancun and Los Cabos have enjoyed an uptick in international travel.
Once winter and the early parts of spring give way to summer, though, we can expect bucket-list trips to spike and destinations around the country to enjoy the influx of travel that warm-weather areas are currently experiencing.
Millennials travel more than any other generation, and after the past year, they’re more ready than ever to get out and go. Why is that important for you? Well, millennials don’t typically stay at hotels. They shop around for short-term rentals, instead.
Because of that, their vacation-booking process is much different than previous generations. Technology has essentially replaced booking agents: according to Lodgify, more than 90% of the millennial generation uses a smartphone on a daily basis. And you better believe they’re using those phones to find places to stay when they go on vacation.
As a vacation-rental host, you should not only factor millennial wanderlust into your marketing strategies, but also the techniques younger generations use to search for and choose places to stay. Here are a few ways to stay ahead of the curve:
Maximize visibility on travel sites: Millennials shop around. In fact, statistics show that travelers sift through an average of four different online travel sites before finally booking a stay. So it is imperative for you to maximize exposure, and the best way to do that is by utilizing a multi-channel approach to distributing your rental. That way, as millennials bounce from Airbnb to VRBO to Booking.com while comparing pricing and reading reviews, your listing remains front and center no matter the venue.
Also, be visible on social media: With such bountiful options available to them via online travel sites, millennials also utilize social media to complement their research. According to Skift, 72% of millennials can be influenced by accommodation-related advertising. When you consider that roughly 90% of the millennial generation is active on social media, it’s a no-brainer: as a short-term rental owner, you need to maintain a presence on these platforms.
Showcase the appropriate amenities: All that research empowers millennials to get maximum bang for their buck. They know exactly what they’re looking for, and when it comes to amenities and features, millennials generally gravitate toward up-to-date rentals with perks like high-speed WiFi, fully equipped kitchens, and streaming services such as Netflix.
But let’s take it a step further: if your rental has some really cool, unique features, you can pretty much bank on your millennial guests sharing those details on their own social media feeds. That’s free advertising for your business, not to mention, it plays right into your goal of being more visible online. A true win-win!
Prioritize your visual content: Lastly, you can use visual content to generate more bookings. It starts with your photos: millennials tend to be very visual consumers, and often, their purchases boil down to the perceived quality of whatever they’re looking at.
On a daily basis, we are all bombarded with content, and ultimately, some of that content stands above the rest. Your visual content is your first and perhaps only chance to make a lasting impression—it can either draw online shoppers into your listing, or it can turn them away and compel them to keep browsing. Put your best foot forward with a set of high-quality, thoughtfully planned photos of your property in order to attract travelers from any generation.