If your vacation rental property is booked less than 14 days per month, you may have a problem on your hand. Here are 7 quick and easy tips to Increase your
Vacation Rental Property Bookings
As of 2017 I have been working for Airbnb as a freelance photographer for over 6 years. During this time I have seen and photographed many vacation properties in the Bahamas. I have seen the good the bad and the ugly and sometimes all at the same time.
I will often have a discussion with clients about their rental giving little tid bits as to how to improve the overall look of their property based what works best in their market and area.
Those who took my advice a few would call back to let me know how things changed once they made those improvements. Im managed properties before so I have and idea of what works for the Bahamas and its not like what works with other countries.
Here are some tips to help you increase your vacation bookings in the Bahamas.
1 – Professional Photos
I don’t want to sound like I’m self promoting myself but honestly every vacation rental property manager can attest to this, well good managers that is. Any professional property manager and even rental host would agree with me when I say you can literally increase your bookings by a minimum of 20% just by having professional photos on your listing.
I cant tell you how many times I have clients call me back in a few months and attest to the increase in bookings and asking for more tips on how to boost their rental bookings. Cell phone photos can do an okay job IF you know what your are doing, so can that DSLR camera you bought. The one caveat is knowing which images to capture to show case the property properly.
Knowing the angles to shoot from, producing a well lit and open image or photographing you space based on the mood and style of your property is very important. After all you would not want the image to cheapen the hard work you did for your luxury rental with images that make it look like a $80.00 unit.
Most often this is all you may need to do and be comfortable with your bookings however there are a few more things you can consider.
2 – Copy-writing
Copywrite vs Copyright
Copy-writing is something that atleast 95% of host get wrong. Copy-writing on your listing makes the difference between selling your property to vacation renters or causing them to move to view the next listing, its really that important. You wording must be precise and relevant to your viewers and your property. A quick example of what I see on most listings.
Boring writing – Located less than 10 minutes from the beach with a wrap around porch this unit is great for the family.
Enhanced writing – Enjoy the smell of the nearby beach on a cool breeze while you sip on your favorite drink in a hand crafted rocking chair on a traditional Bahamian porch.
Which would you prefer?
3 – Your Image…here
Many listings fail to post a proper head shot of the the person guest will meet. This is a grave mistake, you are not a hotel you are a small rental unit offering a personal service. Persons are coming to a foreign country and meeting with an unknown person in an unknown area, not showing who you are is not assuring safety. Your image shows your smile and warmness to your next client it makes them feel at ease to know that there is an actual person behind the vacation rental listing and not a major company. Make sure you have a personal image that matches your listing style and mood.
4 – Property Maintenance and Styling
This should go without saying but the fact that I am mentioning it shows that there are many who are not doing this. Please, please by all means maintain your property inside and out. I cant tell you how many times I’ve arrived at a property and there are minor and major issues that are not fixed. Peeling paint may not be a big turn off but that exposed pipe a few steps away from the walk way or the un-even stepping stones can be a potential hazard.
Ensure that the electricity and water are working properly which includes having bulbs in all the sockets. Have plates, cups, pots and other utensils available for use along with changing out your towels every so often, no one likes to use a warn out towel. Make sure all appliances are available and working and keep them all nicely arranged in cupboards or dishes set out on the table. Styling is the one way you can ensure the first impression can be a lasting one.
5 – Offer external local advice
Yes your purpose is to advertise your vacation rental property but having what to do or where to go books can assist atleast 40% of your visitors. Keep in mind many of your visitors are first time travelers to the Bahamas. Don’t assume they know what to do. Provide information about getting around, finding stores, places to eat, entertainment in the area and even recreational areas.
An additional source of income is to sign up with local tour or excursions where you can receive a small percentage for each booking. This goes a long way in turning a simple vacation booking into a cash generating business.
6 – Add a rental car
This is not always an option for many, but if you have the means to purchase a vehicle and obtain the proper insurance and licensing for it, offering a vehicle can go a long way in the long run. This will cut down on the time by your guest to find a vehicle, catch a bus or call a taxi. The ability to be mobile on many island in the Bahamas is a must.
Consider this option but be sure you are legally protected
7 – Ask for a review
Seem so simple doesn’t it. Just ask for a review. Well this is one thing I notice that many host do not do, ask for a review. The good thing about this, especially if you offer a computer with wifi connection is that they can do this on their last night with you. Ask them to please leave a review of their stay in your place, either face to face or by a phone call.
The reason for this is that most persons once they leave forget because of the stress of traveling, getting back to their normal routine and life and soon they remember the trip but forget to take the time to write that review. Catch them while the vacation is still fresh.
These are my top 7 tips that you can do to increase your bookings on your vacation rental.