Along with your LetStayAnywhere.com advert and internet marketing, you may find it pays to do more ‘traditional’ advertising. While it’s true that the internet has become a primary source of information for many people, not everyone finds a holiday online. Word of mouth and printed material can be useful marketing ploys to help raise the profile of your property and therefore increase the potential for bookings and rental income.
This section looks at tips for promoting your property in the local area and marketing literature such as business cards.
Most of your guests will probably travel some distance to stay in your property so it might come as a surprise to discover that your local area has plenty of scope for marketing your holiday home and gaining clients. Spending time on making you and your property known locally can pay big dividends in bookings, particularly if you’re in an area where competition for lets is high.
Join a network – consider joining a group or association of holiday let owners, or more broadly a tourism group, in your area. These are invaluable sources of advice, tips and information on the local letting market. Use the group to network and exchange ideas.
Get referrals – ask owners of similar holiday lets in your area to consider a reciprocal referral arrangement. If they agree make a point of recommending them to holidaymakers if your property isn’t available.
Friends and family – for people visiting friends or relatives in the area, a stay in a holiday home may be cheaper and less restricting than a hotel or bed and breakfast. Advertise your property locally (e.g. in the local newspaper, parish magazine, shop windows, etc.) so that residents are aware of your accommodation. Consider offering a discount to friends and family of local residents.
Weddings and celebrations – important events such as a wedding or landmark birthdays tend to attract a large number of visitors. Make yourself known to local businesses in the events industry such as wedding planners, caterers or celebration cake makers. These businesses may receive requests for recommended places to stay – make sure your holiday let is one of them.
Business trips – if your property is in or near an area with medium to large businesses let them know that your property is available to accommodate staff visiting the offices on business trips or conferences.
Educational trips – send your details to universities, language schools or colleges in the area as they may need temporary accommodation for visiting teachers or specialists.
Tourist office – don’t forget to make yourself known at the local tourist information centre. If possible, show staff around your property so they have a good idea of the accommodation you’re offering.
Think about printing simple postcards of your property with a photo on the front and contact details on the back. Leave them in the property for guests to post to friends.
Annual news – consider compiling an annual newsletter to send to previous guests. Include news on updates to the property, local events and information on your prices and discounts. The best times to send it are in the autumn or just after Christmas when many people start to think about their next holiday. A postal mail shot is more expensive and time-consuming, but ‘physical’ mail tends to stay around longer than an email that may be deleted by mistake or not even noticed. If you send a newsletter out by email include an ‘unsubscribe’ option.
Business cards – have a business card printed for your holiday let – if you can afford it include a photo of the property on one side – and hand them out at any networking occasion or whenever you meet people who may be interested in a holiday in your home. Leave some cards in your property for guests and take plenty to local businesses and shops too.