Marketing Vacation Rental Homes to Seniors
Each year, seniors look for warm and inviting yet laid-back spots to spend cold winters. When they find the right spot, they may come back year after year to enjoy warmth and recreation.
Snowbirds are ideal renters for vacation homes because they will often secure a rental in winter for an extended period of time. Seniors also like to vacation frequently. According to a report from AARP on senior travel, 97% planned on taking a trip in 2015 in the U.S., and nearly 40% said they planned on taking four or more trips domestically.
Florida, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas are favorite spots in the U.S., while international locales like Mexico and even Spain are preferred by seniors with more exotic tastes. According to the Journal of Gerontology: Social Sciences at the University of Florida, Gainesville, there are more than 800,000 elderly temporary residents that come to Florida every year.
Snowbirds are typically mature adults who spend much of the winter in warmer locations.
Is Your Property Attractive to Snowbirds?
There are a few key elements that seniors look for when they fly south for the winter. Namely mild, warm weather in an attractive area that isn't overrun with tourists and college kids.
Ideally, the area is easy to get around in and has recreation nearby. Ideal examples of what snowbirds look for:
- Sports facilities, such as stadiums
- Good dining
- Museums or other cultural activities
The actual rental should offer comfortable, accessible surroundings with a variety of conveniences and amenities, and should be near medical facilities, a post office, etc. Internet, cable and phone with unlimited long distance are necessities.
Attracting Snowbirds: The Time to Start Is Well Before Winter
Believe it or not, the time to start planning a vacation rental marketing strategy is before spring is even here. This is because many snow birds start planning for next winter before this one is even over. And why not? They are just coming from a warm, possibly tropical climate and they want to secure a great time for the next season by nailing down their vacation rental property.
Social media has become a great way to reach seniors interested in winter vacation rentals.
Using The Internet to Gain Visibility
By now you realize that the Internet is an ideal way to market vacation rentals. However, with the older population, it can get a little tricky. Seniors generally don't spend the amount of time on the Internet that, say, millenials do. However, don't underestimate their know-how. Today's seniors are increasingly Internet-savvy.
Facebook is one way seniors stay in touch with distant family and friends. They may look for goods and services online, but most will first open up a phone book or ask a friend. Facebook is a place where seniors will stay, browse and read things that are relevant to them.
This is a great place for marketing vacation rentals. Facebook ads are a highly targeted way to reach your intended audience. A Facebook page is a great place to engage with potential renters, to share posts from your vacation rental blog, and to capture signups for your email list.
There are hundreds of ways to target the audience you want to reach. Alter location, age, gender and hundreds of demographics, interests and behaviors to make sure you reach the right people. For example, you can create a campaign that targets people over 55 in New York with a net worth of at least $500,000, and who are frequent travelers. Currently, Facebook has nearly 560,000 people who fit these criteria. By testing ads by state and other financial segments, you can find which demographics respond the most to your vacation rental advertising.
The combination of targeted Facebook ads and a strong social media presence will increase the success of your vacation rental marketing efforts.
Vacation Rental Blog
As good of a tool as Facebook is for marketing your vacation rentals, interesting and informative content is needed to reinforce your marketing. Use a vacation rental marketing blog to update articles and inform your audience. You probably won't turn someone into a rental client the first time they see your ad on Facebook, but staying fresh in their minds by providing useful information will help nurture them from a prospect into a lead, and from a lead into a paying renter.
Starting to advertise your vacation rental now will give you plenty of time to capture the attention and curiosity of snowbirds who are planning next winter's accommodations.
Keep your focus on what you are offering, and make yourself accessible and easy to engage with, and you will have loyal renters just waiting to fill vacancies all winter long.
Want to learn more about using social media to market your vacation rentals? Download our ebook "How to Use Social Media to Increase Leads" now!
Stephan Baldwin is the Director of Business Development for Assisted Living Center, an online resource for aging care communities.