10 Essential Marketing Skills for Villa Rentals to Stay Competitive in this Digital Age

No matter how appealing your villa is, it is how it is packaged and marketed that really catches the eye and captures the imagination. From the design details to the spectacular location, your villa may be catwalk-ready to parade in front of the luxury villa rental market, but you still need to strut your stuff.

Whether you are doing it alone or utilizing the services of a marketing team, in-house or outsourced, being aware of marketing tools can help you flaunt your villa assets successfully. Here’s how:

  1. Strategy and Analysis

You need a marketing goal, a strategy for achieving that target, and a way of analyzing the results. Marketing campaigns can be multi-faceted, reaching out to would-be vacationers through a variety of paid, earned, shared, and owned media channels. This all-encompassing approach and how each part of your marketing plays out needs to be pre-assessed so that it fits together and integrates.

A good place to start is to list what you want to achieve and break this down into mini-goals. Make sure you can check results and allow for flexibility and change. Part of your marketing strategy is ensuring that other departments are delivering too, such as having the best reservation team in place.

  1. Website Management

There is no room for a bad website in terms of words and images, design and navigation. From the coding to the content, your website needs to reflect the quality of your villa. It also needs to be regularly updated. There are so many defunct sites still online that browsers simply click off when they see offers and blogs looking past their sell-by date. Maintaining your website also helps push it up the search rankings.

  1. Blogging and Copywriting

Blogs are an excellent way to market your villa and villa holidays in general; subjects such as reasons you need a villa holiday or how a villa vacation can change your life are great ways to reach out to the luxury market.  You are not just marketing your villa but the idea of villa holidays. Blogging is marketing, but it is blogging that gives readers some value too, from top tips to sound advice.

Your website content must be well-written. But it is not just your website and your site articles that you need to think about. You can also send articles to other sites and press releases to magazines and other publications. These might be print versions and online editions, local, regional, and international.

  1. SEO

Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, cannot be ignored. It is the way in which you can ensure your villa is ranked more highly in online search results. Create or write your content that integrates SEO through keywords in a natural way too. If keywords are forced, the content can look spam-like or be overly focused on sales rather than in an interesting style with creative content.

  1. Social Media Management

The big advantage of social media is that it is open to all. The disadvantage is everyone including your competitors are using it too. The main marketing code to keep in mind is to think about relevance. That means cutting through the corporate speak and actually communicating with vacationers. A well-placed quiz, beautiful images, or an appealing blog link on social media can be quickly shared. This means that your followers are accelerating your marketing strategy for you.

  1. Relationship Building

Marketing requires solid relationships. This may mean getting to know complementary businesses in your area so that you can promote your villa on their site. You could connect with writers who have an interest in your part of the world, or the travel and hospitality industry, and even contributors to luxury-focused publications.  Just as much as you might want to sing the praises of your villa, there are other individuals and businesses willing to give you a platform or even join in the chorus alongside you.

  1. Paid Media Management

In traditional marketing models, paid media was often frowned upon. Real marketing was about ‘earning’ column inches through clever press releases. However, with the advent of digital media channels, many modern marketing efforts include an element at least of paid media. This may be incorporated into search pages or through social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. One major advantage is that results are traceable and costs are often fairly low, meaning you can monitor success and steer your marketing campaign accordingly.

  1. Creative Skills

It is true that a lot of traditional marketing skills create magic out of words. However, nowadays there is a greater acceptance for blogs that are written by ‘real’ people talking about ‘real’ experiences. An experienced marketing editor can work wonders with raw copy too, polishing the content enough so it really shines. Writing is not the only way to market your villa either. Today, marketing skills include photography, graphics, and video content. A photograph accompanied by one sentence can pack a powerful marketing punch compared to reams of wordy text.

  1. Email Marketing

E-blasts are an effective and affordable way to market your villa. However, rather than take a scatter-gun approach, take aim at a target, even if it is moving. Do you have a mailing list of potential clients?  In the luxury market it is not a numbers game, but about showing those who could be interested what you have to offer. A subscription sign-up or enquiry form on your website can drive contacts to your business more easily.

  1. Event Planning

You can create online ‘events’ or real-life events to market your villa too, such as invitations to visit your villa or a competition to win a villa stay, for example. You may also decide to market your villa at certain pre-existing events, such as at exhibitions, where you can interact with villa seekers face-to-face, or at least your marketing team can. Being proactive and putting your assets out there adds to interest levels as you show what your villa has to offer, whether you organize an event yourself or with another business partner.

Good marketing is an ongoing process. One of the main skills you need is the ability to understand your market, adapt to changing seasons, situations, and strategies. Pushing your brand through a marketing strategy keeps your villa in the minds of holidaymakers.

Just as a supermodel needs to be seen in the right places to make sure that she is in the limelight and written about, so does your villa. In the same way, you need to adopt the right marketing skills at the right time to attract and influence in the same way.

Darrel Bella

Darrel Bella

Darrel Bella is the Managing Partner and Business Development Director at The Luxury Signature. He loves to travel and is often traveling between the islands of Phuket, Koh Samui, and Bali. Connect with him via Google+, Linkedin, or Email
Darrel Bella

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