Marketing your vacation rental offline

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The VR world doesn’t just live on the internet!

If you understand your guest niches really well, you will find that they often go to the same physical space and they spend time reading ordinary paper notices!  If you know those places, you can advertise your offer to them very effectively. Here are some examples of offline marketing to give you some ideas.

Business Cards

You can inexpensively have 500 business cards made with a picture featuring your VR, your website URL and your contact details.  As you meet folks socially, they will often genuinely be interested in your VR and want to know more.  You just hand over your card, they research your website and book with you.

Dog lover niche

You can put a flyer or a postcard on the noticeboard at your local vet in the nearest city feeding your VR with guests.  Or at your local dog groomer.  The message is ‘Dogs like going on holidays too’.  You have a great picture, a short message, and your phone and website.  The business owners may even allow you to leave some business cards there too.

I had the president of the Scotch Terrier Association come to stay and loved the experience.  She wrote a story in the club newsletter and I had several other members come and stay.  I also put some catchy postcards in our local vet with some bonus bookings.

Other niche businesses

If you have surfers come to your VR from the city, put up an ad in your feeder city surf shop.  If you have fishermen, put up an ad in your city fishing shop.  If your market is for families with children, you can put an ad on the school noticeboard with whom you have a connection in the major feeder city.

The work noticeboard

Your colleagues will hear your stories of your VR and want to find out more.  There is often a noticeboard at work for selling furniture and advertising social events which you can use.  In large workplaces, a lot of people will see your notice, and may even prefer to book with someone from work that they know and trust.  Your raving fans can be sometimes such enthusiastic advocates, they will volunteer to put up your flyer at work!

In the early days of my past rental Treetops, the owner had half his bookings through staff of a major television station, starting with one guest who just loved the property and sold their colleagues!

Letterbox drop for visiting local families

A lot of VRs are located in urban locations, and a lot of families come from interstate to visit.  They want to be close, but not too close, so the local family and their visitors each have their own private space.  This happened a lot when we operated our Richmond townhouse VR in inner Melbourne.  It was particularly useful for families when mum came to visit her daughter for the daughter’s firstborn.

How do you advertise locally?  Simple: the letterbox drop.  Print postcards with an image and details of your VR, and have them delivered to all the neighbours’ letterboxes a few times a year.  My fabulous local cleaner Lizzie thought it was a hoot and volunteered to deliver the postcards to the neighbouring streets on her way home.

I once asked a well booked VR colleague in a prosperous urban area which Online Travel Agencies she used.  She said “ Just one, but most of my business comes from local letterbox drops, and my neighbours don’t care what they pay for their families to visit locally!”

Ads on cars

Many VR owners operate remotely from their rental.  When you live in the same catchment as your target guests, it makes sense to put an ad on your car as you drive around surrounded by prospective guests.  It would be worth trying – a magnetic advertising sign to attach to your car is not expensive compared to the Online Travel Agency commissions you are paying, and may be a good investment!

Experiment and measure 

Don’t forget to always ask that question for new bookings “… and how did you find us?”, otherwise how will you know which of your offline marketing is working!



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My name is Rex Brown. I live in Australia, on the Great Ocean Road in Victoria. I run two of my holiday rentals here on the coast, and another in inner Melbourne . They are all quite different, but they all run at high occupancy. They are the sandpit that I play in, running constant experiments about what works and what doesn’t.

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