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The Three C's of Vacation Home Marketing

As both vacation rental property owners and vacation rental advertising website operators, we have often had other vacation rental owners as well as online and offline publications ask us what really drives the vacation rentals by owner market. After a lot of thought and a lot of years of experience, we've distilled it down to what we call the "three C's" of vacation rental marketing: cost, comfort, and convenience. On our own vacation rentals by owner advertising website we posted a page on this topic in our owner's section, but thought that this was something worth exploring on the blog to get some additional feedback from the owner community.

Why "cost", "comfort", and "convenience"? Cost is a pretty simple argument. A typical family of four planning a vacation is probably going to require two hotel rooms, one for mom and dad, and one for the kids. A decent hotel room generally costs $150/night, depending on the location. In the high season in many hot vacation destinations, hotels can cost up to $300 or more a night. If you multiply that times two for two rooms, you are looking at $300 to $600 or more per night. In most cases, that same family of four can find a great vacation rental property with far more amenities than a boring hotel room for half of that price.

The other important aspect to the cost argument for vacation rentals versus hotels is the fact that almost 100% of vacation rental properties have kitchens with a complete set of appliances and cutlery. This gives a family on a vacation the option of cooking meals in, which can save a tremendous amount of money. A family of four would probably be looking at a budget of at least $150 a day in food if they had to eat every meal out, whereas utilizing the kitchen in an average vacation rental would allow them to save at least half of that figure by cooking a few meals in.

Comfort is a very important draw for a vacation rental versus a hotel. Since many vacation rentals are individually owned and represent a families second residence, they typically have comfortable furniture, DVD players, music systems, nice kitchens, and comfortable beds in the bedrooms. A hotel room exists to make money for its owners. It is a safe bet that these owners have never spent a night in the hotel, and never will. Typically, any comfort items in a hotel are looked upon by its owners as expenses that need to be minimized, not as items that the owner might themselves use from time to time. This difference in philosophy creates a more comfortable atmosphere for the renter of a vacation rental; you are truly staying in someone's home, and that is generally a far more comfortable experience than the clearly temporary surroundings offered by the average hotel room.

The convenience features of a vacation rental are often overlooked by the owners when they advertise their vacation rentals online. For example, if you owned a vacation rental near the beach in Destin, Florida, it would likely come stocked with rafts, beach towels, children's beach play equipment, a DVD player, a decent television, and a variety of specialty appliances in the kitchen, including everything from coffee makers to can-openers. The average hotel has none of these things, so a family would have to go out an buy rafts, beach towels, beach toys, etc, they would have to haul it all along with them, or they would have to go without. It is much more convenient for the traveling family to have these things available as part of the vacation rental's standard amenities.

Being in the vacation rentals by owner advertising business, we have looked at a lot of advertisements that owners have posted for vacation rentals. While many of them are good descriptions of the basic features of the property, it is too easy to lose site of the advantages that your vacation rental provides for the traveling family when you are trying to distill your vacation rental down to a basic set of features. We suggest that you focus the text of your advertisements on the "Three C's" advantages your rental has. If it has a closet full of rafts, snorkeling equipment or beach gear that the renter can use, make sure to state that. If it has a heated garage space for ski equipment so the renters boots will be warm and dry the next day, that's important to mention.

It's important to remember that your primary competition in the vacation rental business is not really other vacation rentals; it is hotels. Yes, hotels are easier to book than vacation rentals. Yes, they are less risky than vacation rentals. But, they cannot compete when it comes to the "three C's", and we suggest that you push those advantages of your vacation rental in all your online advertisements.

This article originally published here: www.vacationrentalsindustry.com/blog/

Jon Ludwig owns and operates the Find Vacation Rentals website, located at: www.findvacationrentals.com/

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