Effective marketing is a key element of profitable holiday home property management. Unless the holiday home is achieving good levels of occupancy, the returns on the holiday home will not be maximised. If you use a letting agent, the agent will handle all marketing and PR on your behalf and you do not need to worry about it. The better holiday home services companies will also sometimes be able to help you with your website and online marketing. However, many holiday home owners do not use agency services and prefer to manage their own properties. Marketing is a specialist area and therefore owners are often not as skilled at marketing as they are at other aspects of property management. So if you are an owner who markets your own holiday homes, here are six marketing tips to help you win customers and achieve the highest possible yield from your property investment:TIP 1: Firstly, work out who your target audience is for the holiday home. Taking into account the price band, location, style and layout of the property, what kind of people are most likely to want to stay there? For example, some holiday homes are ideal for families with young children, some are ideal for older people who want to be close to nature, some are perfect for young people who want to be close to nightlife and attractions. Clear definition of your target audience is a vital first step to effective marketing. Once you have defined your target audience, add any accessories and extras to the holiday home that are the kind of thing your target audience will appreciate. For example, a holiday home aimed at young families will be made more attractive by a selection of age-appropriate DVDs, a selection of toys and the provision of items such as cots or buggies that your customer would prefer not to bring with them.
TIP 2: Once you have decided on the target audience for your holiday home, think through all the ways you can attract this particular target audience. Which are the magazines and newspapers your target audience read? If you are not sure, ask the advertising departments at various publications to send you information on their readership. This will help you work out where you should be advertising or trying to get some free coverage through PRTIP 3 Make the most of the internet. The worldwide web is used by the majority of prospective customers as their first port of call for research when they are planning a holiday. So it is essential that your holiday property is presented as well as it can be on the internet. Whether you have your own website or you advertise on a website belonging to someone else, do not be tempted to cut corners on photography for the website. It is worth using a professional photographer to make sure your holiday home looks its very best. Always use online booking if possible, so that it is as easy as possible for a customer to go ahead and book as soon as he or she has been interested by your holiday home.TIP 4 Don’t miss out on the huge potential profitability of attracting repeat customers. Many people like to return to the same holiday home for many years, if they have a good experience first time round. So make it easy for potential repeat customers to decide to come back. Set up an email newsletter so that you can keep in touch with them and tempt them with a stream of special offers as well as news about the local area and perhaps even a web cam. You may also like to consider offering a reduced rate if customers book to return next year, whilst they are still on their first stay. People are often sad to leave so it is a good time to tempt customers with the prospect of a return visit. Many accommodation providers in the tourism industry see up to 70% or 80% of customers returning. Making the most of the potential for winning repeat business is an essential tool for effective marketing.TIP 5 Try to increase your bookings by thinking laterally about how customers could enjoy the holiday home out of the peak season. Most holiday home property management companies say that although the peak season achieves full occupancy without too much difficulty, the biggest marketing challenge is achieving high occupancy early and late in the season. This is where effective marketing can really come into its own. One tried and tested tip is to create a theme for a break. For example, maybe your holiday home is close to gardens that look great in the early Spring. If so, this can be made into an effective marketing proposition, pointing out how close your holiday home is to leading gardens and maybe even creating a partnership with local gardens, so you offer entry tickets as part of the rental price for the week. If you start thinking laterally about what is going on in the vicinity of the holiday home at different times of the year, you will find it easy to come up with effective marketing strategies for achieving more sales out of the peak season.
TIP 6 The final tip is to pay close attention to how you can stand out from everyone else. The holiday home market is competitive and it is vital to stay one step ahead of the rest. It goes without saying that cleaning services and key holder services must be arranged to the highest standards and your customer will expect these to go like clockwork. To stand out from the competition you have to go one step further than simply providing a basic service. Nowadays, many self catering holiday homes also offer daily cleaning services – bringing a service normally only associated with hotels to the holiday home market.As holiday home property management companies look to find new ways of standing out from the competition, a new trend is the emergence of the holiday concierge. A holiday concierge can arrange any extras the customer may want, such as arranging day trips, theatre trips, restaurant bookings, spa trips or even arranging for a gourmet dinner party to be prepared and served at the holiday home. By proving these kind of additional services through a holiday concierge service, you really will make your holiday home stand out from its competitors. If you follow these six tips, you will be able to increase profitability though effective marketing as part of your holiday home property management.
Scott Fairhurst is Joint Managing Director of Perfect Example, web: perfectexample.co.uk/ a holiday homes services specialist company. For further information about lifestyle management services, see web: holidayconcierge.co.uk/