They are the major force in boosting the growth of the private holiday home rental industry. As per the report published by Airbnb, millennials and younger generations will account for 75% of all consumers and travelers by 2025*.
Millennials are very different from past generations and do have different expectations for travel brands. There is a higher demand for memorable moments and activities over material goods. This has created what is known as the experience economy, driven by the need for shared experiences which is being told every day on social media. Travel being the ultimate experience will continue and will always grow as a result.
It has made me think about this opportunity and what will truly drive the future travel consumer. I think about a traveler, who wants and seeks a little extra, a little surprise and delight to share with family and friends.
What does this mean for vacation rentals?
As we approach the tipping point of millennials encroaching on the baby boomers’ status as the industry’s highest-value audience. It is time for vacation rentals to see they are on the cusp of riding this wave of Millennials driving travel growth with a key understanding about millennials — their desire for both experiences and control.
Millennial travelers are seeking authentic local experiences, whether cultural, natural, artistic or culinary. They want to go where the locals go and do what the locals do, even if it means to “dump the Eiffel Tower visit,” like Anthony Bourdain once said.
The other important trend is sustainability. Our local tourism authorities are looking for ways to limit the impact tourists may have on the environment, heritage sites and local populations. Seasoned travelers have also become aware of this and know they have an important role and responsibility to preserve the places they are visiting.
Vacation rentals are the best positioned travel segment to do this. They are local, they are more often very authentic, they provide unique stay experiences which often can be controlled by the guest to suit their specific needs.
It’s here, I must pause and say. whilst there is great value in taking time to understand millennials now rather than later, I must reflect and say that the Millennial characteristics are not necessarily exclusive or unique. With the rise and rise of social media it has also developed a “millennial mindset” with similar interests and expectations not just to this millennial age demographic alone but to many of the Generation X and baby boomer generations as well.
For Aabode.com and millennials this means we are seeking to align our future and share the experience.
Our vision is simple. We want to be the best millennial vacation rental brand, with affordable luxury at its heart. Our purpose is to deliver a better stay experience through accommodation people love. We aim to innovate and consistently deliver a better experience for both owners and guests, while bringing people together to share in their love for a great stay experience from Aabode.com
Reading list and notes:
*A survey of 1,650 travelers found that 74% of millennial business travelers had stayed in a vacation rental, like those provided by Aabode.com, while just 38% and 20% of Generation X and baby boomer travelers had, respectively.
*Given that Millennials are the fastest-growing age group and now make up around 25% of the global population, it’s reasonable to assume they make up a similar proportion of international travelers. According to Copyrise, 200,000 million global tourists are Millennials and they spend US$180 billion on travel every year.
Whether you are ready to let your first holiday home or are an established owner looking to increase your property ROI (return on investment), knowing how to market your holiday rental successfully is a common predicament for many owners and property managers.
With the growth in popularity of websites like Airbnb and Stayz/HomeAway, Booking.com here in Australia and around the world with millions upon millions of listings, it has become even more challenging to stand out against the competition and get bookings without paying a huge commission plus high ongoing digital marketing and advertising costs. Often these costs are very opaque making it hard to calculate your property ROI (return on investment)
So how do you get as many bookings and regularly returning guests as possible, while keeping digital marketing and advertising expenses low and improving your property ROI ?
Here are some tips to help you effectively market your holiday rental business and increase your property ROI with Aaabode.com
Define your target audience
Think about who your property is best suited to and who you would ideally like to attract. Every target market has different preferences and needs. The features and experience you offer should appeal to your target audience.
For example, a property on a beach will attract beach goers but will also appeal to non-beach goers who are attracted by the scenery and facilities that your property can offer. Your marketing should focus on both markets – don’t just focus on promoting excellent beach access, also sell the views sunset / sunrise, the luxury on-site jacuzzi , nearby quality restaurants and attractions.
Whilst it’s important to cater to your main target audience, it’s equally as important to ensure your property lets you appeal to as many people as possible.
Couples on a romantic break will want to surprise their other half: unique features such as a knock-out view, jacuzzi, fluffy bathrobes, quality bathroom products, cinema room, surround sound, Wi-Fi (a must), or in-house catering will do just that.
If you want to encourage pet owners and walkers, then promote that your property is dog-friendly with lots of walks and dog-friendly pubs nearby. And that furry friends get their own welcome treats!
If you are looking to attract large families: provide a high-chair, stair gate, cot, sterilizers, hand blenders, toys, TV’s, DVDs, games room, board games, books, ‘rainy day’ items, a jacuzzi or swimming pool.
Once you have defined your target audience, you can begin creating your marketing strategy.
There are many listing sites where you can advertise your holiday rental: Airbnb, Stayz, HomeAway and Booking.com to name a few all of which charge big commissions plus fees and already have millions of listings. Do they care about your property?
Although it’s important to consider how much it will cost you (subscription or commission), your goal is to generate the best return on investment (ROI).
The Aabode Channel Manager allows you to choose which of the 60+ OTA’s to connect each specially chosen for their reach to travelers seeking private holiday home rentals.
Seamless and easy with no additional fees.
Write an story for for your listing description.
With more than 6 million listings on Airbnb for example how do you stand out from the crowd? Engage the reader on the story of how the stay experience will be for them. Set the scene for a wonderful stay experience. Both inhouse and in the surrounding local area .
To start with be clear about:
The type of property – villa, cottage, house, cabin, glamping, etc.
Who it appeals to – families, couples, pet friendly, luxury, adventure, etc.
Location and any major attraction close to you – e.g. Beach , Art , History, etc.
Highlight a special feature – Rooftop garden , outdoor deck , scenic views etc.
Your listing description should take the reader through a journey of what it’s like to stay in your holiday home.
The Aabode.com Premium team will help optimize your listing to improve your ranking and improve your property ROI.
As a rule of thumb: engaging copy, good communication, a speedy response, a strong description, online booking availability and great guest feedback will improve your property’s search ranking. Ensure your iCal is connected or update the easy to use calendars.
Photos are one of the best marketing investments you can make and will pay dividends. Good quality images catch a traveler’s eye, allowing them to imagine themselves at your property and location. Whether that’s watching the sun setting over the sea from your terrace, enjoying a glass of wine in your jacuzzi, relaxing in a hammock by the pool or reading a book by your log fire. Ensure that the default featured image on your listing stirs emotions and makes people want to be there.
If you can, hire a professional photographer to come and stage your property, take professional photos.
Price to maximize revenue
Setting your holiday rental rates is probably the hardest decision you will have to make. Set your rate too high and bookings could be slow. Set your price too low and you may not be able to earn a profit, or you’ll only attract people who abuse your property. Look at what competing rentals in the area are charging and think about how you compare value-wise to them.
What’s their pricing strategy?
Is there a minimum stay?
Do week/weekend rates fluctuate?
Are prices adjusted according to peak/high/low season?
Are there any discounts for long stays?
What commission do need to payout (Aabode.com Premium is zero commission)
Travelers are not all looking for rock bottom prices – but they do want value for their money. You may be surprised to see that people may pay a premium if you offer something ‘extra’ that makes you stand out.
Special offers are great for creating a sense of urgency to spur people to book with you, but remember they are meant to increase your revenue and profit, not lower them. Use them only when you know it’s going to be difficult to sell low season weeks or to fill a booking gap.
Always structure your prices so that they are all-inclusive (cleaning, electricity, laundry, etc). Don’t charge ‘add-ons’ which can deter guests.
The aim is to have guests come back to stay with you and recommend your property to friends and family. This is the easiest and cheapest way to increase bookings and profit. To do this you have to deliver value and exceed your guests’ expectations during their stay so they can’t wait to return.
Here are some ideas…
Your guests may well be stressed and tired when they arrive from their journey, so make sure your property is warm, cozy and welcoming when they arrive. Provide a welcome pack of essentials so guests don’t have to immediately go shopping after a long journey.
Private home rental guests expect the same standards they would find in a luxury hotel. Your holiday rental has to be immaculate. Also, don’t underestimate the importance of big comfy beds with quality linens. If guests don’t get a good night’s sleep you can say goodbye to that 5-star guest review.
No doubt you’ll have a guest book in your holiday rental full of insider tips and advice on where to eat, the top attractions, the best beaches etc. Go one step further and partner with local businesses to ‘curate VIP experiences’ for your guests. For example: arrange days out with a tour guide, a reservation at the best restaurant that is booked up for months or discounts at the best local attractions.
If you can, allow guests an early check-in or late checkout, provide towels so travellers can save on luggage charges, include free logs for the open fire, free Wi-Fi and pool heating – all these little extras made a difference to the holiday experience.
Share your Aabode.com unique property link with your social media, blogs, etc.
Get reviews – easy to do on Aabode.com
More than ever, travelers will consult reviews when making a booking decision. When your past guests share their experiences and memories of their holiday they become your greatest asset. Reviews add valuable credibility and are an essential part of your marketing strategy.
Immediately after your guests depart from your rental follow up asking for feedback or if there is anything you can improve (even negative reviews help you learn and improve). One simple click from your Aabode.com dashboard. Simple and quick follow up.
Become a featured property in Aabode.com email marketing campaigns
E-mail marketing is one of the most effective forms of marketing your holiday rental to travelers As a Premium featured property you will gain an audience from Aabode.com who have are both registeredusersand are past guests booked via Aabode.com (as at 30 April 2021 50,116 users)
Get involved in Aabode.com social media
It’s no secret that travel and social media go hand in hand. Facebook and Instagram are the perfect platforms to reach new guests and stay in contact with old ones. When potential guests are researching your holiday let, one of the places they’ll look is your social media accounts to see what you’re sharing and what people are saying about you.
Having active social accounts with user reviews, tips and advice, as well as answered comments, will show them that your property is reputable and one they can trust.
Aabode.com Premium will increase your property ROI with improved visibility to the right audience and enormously reduce your digital marketing and advertising cost.
Aabode.com is a digital marketing channel exclusively for private holiday home rentals.
If your direct competitors enjoy consistent higher rankings on other OTA channels such as Airbnb, Stayz and Booking.com, and you only rank higher to be a featured property once in a blue moon while offering seemingly the same conditions and rates, it is not a matter of luck, but a smart OTA SEO strategy is using Aabode.com Premium.
Your success for a diverse OTA channel distribution strategy starts not with having just an amazing property with all the millennial “wants and needs” to create the best possible stay experiences at the centre of your region.
Indeed, it starts with good visibility of your property in online search results.
Online SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is all about making your listing appear on the first search result page. Not all property owners/managers can boast of excellent SEO skills or afford expensive hard to measure digital advertising campaigns. To get an advantage in the vacation rental marketplace, you first need to learn how search algorithms work and then be able to use this knowledge to the advantage of your property.
What is SEO?
Search Engine Optimization is the art of pushing your website to the very top of a search engine result page. In the core of a search engine lies an algorithm that assesses the relevance of a website and eventually determines its appearance in search results. For instance, Google’s search algorithm exploits over 200 factors from website content and locates its position.
What is OTA channel SEO?
Similar to Google,OTA’s such as Airbnb, Booking.com , Stayz , Expedia search engine displays the best and most relevant listings on the first search pages. With over 3 to 7 million listings published on each of these OTA platforms each has designed a proprietary algorithm that evaluates properties and determines their visibility in their own search results. This algorithm relies on predefined rules to analyze all actions that happen on a listing (both positive and negative ones) and gives your property a total internal score.
A formula to calculate a listing’s score is simple: one positive event gives +1 point, while a negative event deducts 1 point from the total internal score. The higher the internal score, the better will be the listing’s position in the OTA search results. The OTA’s are constantly monitoring your listing and will register all events that occur within it. Every single action that takes place on your listing affects its internal SEO score, either positively or negatively. When your listing is clicked and scrolled through, when your rate is updated, when there are no actions at all for a long time – Google and the OTA’s records everything and brings it into play.Internal factors are all about the attractiveness of your property proposal to guests, while external factors take into consideration user behavior, meaning what people do when they see your listing.
External factors (registered user behavior) include:
Clicking through: This criterion counts the number of users who clicked on your listing when it appears in search results along with other similar proposals.
Conversion: This criterion compares the number of users who end up booking your longing and the number of users who just viewed your listing but concluded a deal with another host in the same area.
Bounce rate: This metric reflects the number of visitors who only quickly viewed your listing and left it without performing any actions.
Exit event: This indicator registers how prospects move through your page before leaving it such as whether they read reviews, click on photos, adding your page to their Wishlist, etc.
Average book time: is an indicator calculating how much time on average a user spends on your page before placing a booking.
Direct linking: This index evaluates the percentage of users who directly land on your short term listing through URLs provided in Instagram, emails, messengers, and other external websites.
Internal factors that have an impact on your OTA ranking:
The age of your listing: The longer you publish on any OTA Channel , the more credible you seem to its search machine.
Response rate: You will relish in increased customer traffic on if you reply to enquiries ASAP or allow instant book as much as possible
Listing head and description: The algorithm analyzes keywords in the title and the description of your listing to weigh its relevance to the inquirer.
Positive reviews and ratings: The five stars and lots of good reviews lead to a higher ranking position.
Available amenities: The more comforts your property features, the higher it will appear in any OTA channel search results. Think of adding some add-ons like free breakfast, gym access, or guided tours as a part of a deal as well as fill and highlight your property with health & safety resources to boost your ranking.
Price per night OTA’s are entirely guest-focused and value an owner with affordable rates and real discounts for prolonged and low-season stays.
Cancellation rate: OTA channels will not love you if you cancel reservations without a good reason.
Approval rate: While any OTA channel will always reward property owners and managers who allow instant bookings, it also punishes those who too often decline booking requests.
Verified Property Ensuring your property is verified by OTA’s can raise your visibility in search results, too, as the platforms strive to exclude fraudsters from the business and gives an edge to those owners who are verified
Keywords in photo descriptions: While guests will hardly read the names of your vivid photos, the OTA’s algorithm is very sensitive to all keywords used in your listing.
Updated calendar: A regularly updated calendar is an important sign for any OTA channel that your availability is accurate, which means you will rarely reject or cancel a booking. Connect your Ical to Aabode.com to ensure this is not a manual process.
Why Aabode.com Premium?
A diverse OTA channel distribution SEO strategy together with any Aabode.com Premium listed property will turn all your OTA channel listings into a highly ranked property across all your chosen OTA channels . You will stay ahead of the competition as your property will consistently hit the best position in a search made by potential future guests..
To master the expertise required for smart search engine optimization on your own it is time and effort consuming as well as expensive.. If you want your listing to start generating the right kind of guests consistently and improve your digital advertising ROI then do not want to waste time with expensive trial and error with SEO, please consider the Aabode SEO team who know how to support your property to the top of any OTA channel search result page together with your Premium listing on Aabode.com.
Important for me to list just some of the many references for this article in addition to the over 100 case studies of Premium listed properties from June 2019 to March 2021
New Zealand is well known for its natural beauty and for the film TheLord of the Rings. But did you know that their sheep to inhabitant ratio is slightly more than 6 per inhabitant?
Yes – they have an average of 4.9 million human inhabitants for almost 30 million sheep!
Bhutan is a Buddhist kingdom on the Himalayas’ eastern edge and is the only carbon-negative country in the world.
The country is made up of 60% forests, which remove carbon from the atmosphere. Also, the energy there is produced by Hydroelectric power stations, there are no industries and there is almost no oil-based transportation (gasoline or diesel).
In Iceland, it is tradition to exchange books on Christmas Eve, stimulating culture and slowing down consumerism at this time of year. After Christmas dinner, it is common to spend the rest of the night reading.
Because of this, around 70% of Iceland’s books are published in the final months of the year and the country is one of the biggest reading nations in the world.
Kiribati is the only country in the world that is situated within all four hemispheres (North, South, East, and West).
This is because its 32 coral atolls and one island are scattered across a large expanse of the Pacific Ocean (equivalent in size to the continental United States)!
Did you know that in the African country, Ethiopia, it is the year 2013?!
Because of the presence of the Coptic Orthodox Church, the locals use their own traditional Ethiopian calendar.
The main point of difference lies in the calculation of the date of the birth of Jesus, which results in the Ethiopian calendar being 7 to 8 years behind the Gregorian calendar (used by most of the world).
Little Bay Beach is one of Sydney’s undiscovered jewels. A ‘secret’ beach popular with locals, it’s well protected from large coastal swells making it perfect for swimming and snorkelling. Its golden sands are popular with families while the rock ledges to the north and south are well-known, but sometimes dangerous, fishing spots.
Access to the secluded beach is via a steep timber staircase. Take Pine Avenue off Anzac Parade and there is parking on the street. A café is located in the Prince Henry Centre towards the top of the beach near the chapel.