Is This How We Break Away From HomeAway?

By February 4, 2016 Marketing

When it comes to attracting renters online, wouldn’t it better to find your niche rather than trying to reach a very broad market?

Advertising your vacation rental to a niche market can be far more effective and much less expensive.

Harness the power of niche listing websites.

Does your resort have a website for renting properties?

If it does, look into getting your vacation rental listed there.

We’ve helped many owners find targeted websites that are not so well known, but deliver a lot of qualified leads.

Some of these types of listing websites can deliver surprisingly good results with lower listing fees than other vacation rental websites like HomeAway, VRBO and Flipkey for example.

Small niche vacation rental websites work well because when travelers search online specifically for rentals in a certain resort they use niche keywords, which help them find these smaller vacation rental listing sites on the web.

For example, there is a very popular resort in the Orlando area called Lake Berkley.

If someone searches on Google for “Lake Berkley Resort Rentals,” a listing website like www.lake-berkley-resort.co.uk can certainly deliver more qualified inquiries for renters wanting to stay in the Lake Berkley Resort than a VRBO, HomeAway or Flipkey listing.

In the above site, the owners have gotten together and created a website for their vacation rental resort, which is amazing because it works and travelers looking for rentals in this resort end up finding this little pocket of VR owners.

Another reason I think this approach will be effective is because now all of the major listing sites are going to charge fees to travelers. This is going to range from 3 to 6% on average.

This is why I believe 2016 will be the year of direct bookings. (There’s my 2016 prediction!)

While I was researching this site, I found that travelers are searching for the keyword term “lake berkley resort by owner” and “lake berkley resort owner direct”. With the fees HomeAway will be charging you, and now the fees they will charge travelers I believe that more travelers will try to circumvent the system and avoid booking fees and inflated prices and that should be the angle we are all leveraging.

Niche Is The New Big!

One big reason these niche vacation rental website directories work is because the niche listing site hyper focuses its content and marketing on their community, resort, town and amenities.

Sites like these can possibly have more information and resources on the resort then other popular vacation rental websites, and since these niche websites specialize in a single vacation rental resort they can rank well on the 1st page of Google.

As the example shows above, owners can buy a domain name with keywords that travelers search for when looking to rent a vacation rental in their community. Read about the power of a vacation rental domain name here.

Using this marketing technique and leveraging your domain name gives you a boost in search engines providing you with a window of opportunity to compete with the best vacation rental listing websites.

To do this effectively you’ve got to get the domain name right because you’ll want to get as much free / organic traffic from Google, Yahoo, Bing and other search engines.

The best practice will be for you to select a domain name that has a high search volume while focusing on long-tail keywords. You can do this by using the Google Keyword Planner.

I’m an expert at keyword research for the vacation rental industry. I do it nearly everyday!

In my study of keywords for clients, I’ve found that even the smallest communities and areas of town are specifically searched for by travelers.

The more popular the resort, the more frequently the community is searched for.

In many cases, these small vacation rental sites will allow you to leave a link (backlink) that points back to your vacation rental website.

Since these listing sites are highly relevant to your vacation rental business, they can help boost your vacation rental SEO.

In addition these niche vacation rental listing sites can convert better than inquiries from larger vacation rental listing sites. Why? Well, because the traveler has either stayed at the resort or in the rental community before and is looking to return, or they have done their research and want to stay in that community, area or resort again.

Do you know or use any such niche listing sites? If so, please mention the site name in the comments section.

Community is our opportunity. Community is necessary for our independence.

If we want to change the future of the vacation rental market, we have to change our past behaviors.

Listing sites have taken advantage of us being a fragmented industry.

We are not a unit and we do not have a voice together. Owners look at other owners as competitors instead of allies. Thats gotta change!

Creating a niche that we as owners and property managers can leverage.

Here’s a thought: what if more vacation rental owners got together with other owners in their communities, resorts and towns to create a smaller niche website to advertise vacation rentals on to attract guests that are looking for their resorts and communities?

This could really help all of us to be less dependent on big listing sites, couldn’t it?

I believe it is a step in the right direction for a number of reasons. The first reason I think so is because it helps you to diversify your vacation rental marketing. Part of the problem we are in, is that owners and managers both rely too heavily on big vacation rental listing sites and put all their eggs in one basket.

Marketing to a specific niche allows us to do something about what’s happening with HomeAway and the industry as a whole.

It opens us up to new opportunities, helps to develop a brand niche and makes us take a step away from Homeaway and listing sites, which I see as a good thing.

I’ve created a place for owners to foster relationships and build community ….

Go here > https://www.villamarketers.com/members/

There are more ways to get bookings from niche sites.

If your vacation rental is in a ski area, you may be able to list your property on a niche activity website.

If you offer a family-friendly vacation rental, there’s a niche for that.

Do you allow pets? Are you capitalizing on that niche? Read how pet-friendly vacation rentals are likely to get more bookings this year.

There are a ton of interesting popular and even obscure vacation rental niches you can incorporate into your vacation rental marketing plan. HomeAway Ain’t The Only Way!

What do you think?

In our recent conversations, I shared with you how to survive the big changes coming in the vacation rental market. We also talked about branding and how developing a niche helps you create a stand-out brand.

Following up on that, here are several niches you can cater to.

Types of Vacation Rental Niches

Activity

Location

Pet Friendly

Event

Resort

Luxury

Women Only

Men Only

Family

Seniors / Grandparents

Honeymooners

Deal Hunters

If I’ve missed any, please share them here.

Do you offer a vacation rental service that would help owners? Are you a property management company? Please list your services as well.