The short-term and vacation rental market has been off to a slow start this year due to the Coronavirus pandemic, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel. We are starting to see domestic tourism bounce back, and property managers have been doing a great job of pivoting their business strategies to adapt to the era of travel during COVID-19.
We had the chance to sit down with an expert in vacation rental search engine optimization, Justin Kofron, Owner of White Hat SEO, and he had some great tips to share on what property managers can do to increase website traffic and bookings during these hard times.
Be transparent with what you are doing to keep your guests safe
Hotels are documenting their cleaning process and making this readily available for guests. Guests want to trust vacation rentals, so we recommend documenting your cleaning and sanitization process and making it visible on your website. This shows that you are proactive about taking care of your guests, and you can reaffirm this by including your cleaning process in your welcome packet. Several property management companies have even created marketing campaigns highlighting their process.
Market your Vacation Rental Property
Aside from cleaning processes, what other updates have you made to your properties? This is the time to really highlight your improvements. Review and update your property descriptions, both on your website and your OTA listings. Don’t skimp on the details regarding the property’s amenities.
Search engines, like guests, like to read the details. Have you changed your check-in process? Is it contactless? Do you have keyless smart locks? Are the pools, beaches, and restaurants open? Have you made any changes to the HVAC system? Even if was just regular maintenance, this could be a comfort to the guest.
Create New Content and Freshen Up Old Content
All of the ideas we just provided regarding your property details can also be part of your blog content strategy. Use your blog to reintroduce yourself and your properties to guests. These new blog posts should be promoted on social media so that your followers know that your brand is coming out of quarantine stronger than ever and you are open for business.
- Optimize content so search engines see each page as unique. This can be tricky if you have multiple properties in the same building. The goal is for each page to rank on its own. For this to happen, search engines need to be able to differentiate between your pages.
- If you have two identical units, do your best to optimize the content so the content is not considered duplicate. If you look at the pages side by side, you will be able to tell if they are the same. Use different headings, property titles and descriptions, even different pictures if possible, different angles, different bedding. Maybe one unit is closer to the beach or pool. You might have to think outside the box and get creative with your property descriptions.
- Part of what makes your destination unique is the local flavor. This is a great time to reach out to your local businesses, as they are also getting back on their feet. Talk to restaurants about including each other in your marketing campaigns or guest referrals. You can create packages that you can post as a blog, i.e. a deep-sea fishing package or jet ski package that you can work out with local rental companies. This gives you fresh content to promote or email to previous guests.
Update Google My Business (GMB) Listing
If you aren’t familiar with this, you can think of it as Google’s doorway to your business.
Here a few tips on how to optimize your Google My Business Listing:
- Review and confirm all of your business data is correct including: name, address, phone, website URL and hours.
- Your business description can be 750 characters. Put on your descriptive hat and think about what sets your business apart from your competitors. You can also add a few sentences about the extra precautions and cleaning procedures your properties are implementing.
- Review the amenities section and update if anything is closed such as pool, on-site restaurants.
- Check to see if your guests left reviews. It is a best practice to respond to each review, whether they are good or bad. If a guest left a bad review you can respond with empathy regarding the issue and show that you are committed resolving the problem.
- Now that you have updated your business information, it is time to turn on the “OPEN” sign. A Google Post is a good way to do that.
Does this seem like a lot? Just like your property, your digital space requires regular optimization and maintenance.
If you would like to learn more about White Hat SEO, visit https://www.vrseo.net/ or call (469) 730-6125.