Vacation rentals seem like a natural fit for families who need 2, 3 or more bedrooms when traveling. Yet, it can be hard to find a house that offers all the right equipment for toddlers and that it is safe for them.
Nikki Woodson Blair has created Clanventure.com to serve the needs of this large market. She explains here why families with small children make up an attractive market that can boost occupancy rates in the low season, how her trips to Europe inspired her to create Clanventure, what makes a rental family-friendly and how vacation rental business owners can rely on the power of niche marketing to grow.
Clanventure is wonderful entrepreneurial story, as well as a great example for our article series about niche vacation rentals.
Why should property owners and managers find families with small children an attractive market?
Families with small children can and do travel in the off season. Once kids are school age, many families have to restrict their vacations to school holidays and summer. Families with babies, toddlers and preschoolers can take advantage of off season travel, potentially increasing off season bookings. Similar websites in Europe (Tots to Travel, for example) see about 65% of their bookings in the off season.
Also, family travel in general is booming, especially multigenerational travel — the grandparents, parents and kids all going on vacation together. Targeting a large share of the market and catering to their needs sets you apart from the rest.
What turned you from a travel guru into the founder of Clanventure.com, a website that simplifies family vacation planning?
I struggled for years trying to find suitable vacation rentals for my family of 5, looking through hundreds of listings trying to find the right place.
More often than not, there were surprises once we arrived, such as dangerous stairways and unprotected pools. Not very relaxing for parents with little ones! No one seemed to offer any amenities for families, or if they did, those homes were very hard to find. My friends and family were having the same problems.
Then, I was planning a trip to Europe and ran across vacation rental websites that specialized in family-friendly properties. I thought the idea was just brilliant and knew we needed something similar here in the U.S. I contacted Wendy Shand of Tots to Travel and she has been my mentor through the whole process.
Here is more on how this happened in this blog post: https://clanventure.com/blog/family-vacation-dream-vs-reality
What is the Clanventure Gear Guarantee?
Our Gear Guarantee is a short list of what our homes provide for families with small children, making it easy for parents to find vacation rentals with the gear and safety features they need and want.
We have basic requirements for all homes, like protected pools, nightlights and toys. We also further define what children of different ages need — babies, toddlers and kids — and categorize our homes accordingly. We want guests to be able to find what they need quickly and easily.
They know that when they book through Clanventure, the homes have already met our standards and offer at least a minimum level of family-friendly amenities.
How do I get my property listed with Clanventure.com? What is the selection process like?
Owners or property managers interested in marketing to families with small children contact us through our website. (We have a ‘List Your Property’ page with more information and a contact form.)
We look at a property’s website and schedule a call with the owner or manager to discuss the suitability of the property for Clanventure. If the home is a good fit for our brand, we will approve the listing. We also can advise owners on ways to make their homes more family-friendly and more attractive to this target market.
What is your advice for other business owners who want to create their own niche vacation rental websites to differentiate themselves from the big listing sites?
Narrow down your niche as much as you can. It can be tempting to try to appeal to a broad range of people, but in the long run targeting a tight niche and marketing to that population is a much easier job.
Know your market well and use social media to reach out. Have standards and stick to them. It is hard in the beginning, when you are trying to grow, to say no to someone who wants to list their property. But keep the big picture in mind and build something of value.
Vacation rentals being family-friendly by essence seems to be like a given, but Nikki’s Clanventure makes it clear that parents of small children have specific needs that need to be better addressed.
Family vacation rentals are just one type of niche vacation rental listings. Do you see how you use the power of niche vacation rentals to your own benefit?
You can also get more inspiration for other examples of niche marketing, by reading your articles about BringFido.com’s dog-friendly vacation rentals, Misterbnb.com’s gay-friendly vacation rentals and NicheEscapes.com’s multi-niches holiday rentals.