There is a simple solution for attracting better inquiries for your cottage rental and booking up faster: professional photos and A+ reviews. This one-two punch will save you time and work responding to rental inquiries by making your property look nicer and giving renters confidence that this property, which they won’t see until they pull into the driveway, is as good as it looks. Sound like a lot of work? It’s not. Here are a few tips on how to pull them off easily and on a budget.
#1 Get Professional Photos Taken
Photos of your property are your number one marketing tool so don’t DIY them—this is an investment that will have good returns for you. Look for a decorator-photographer duo with experience styling and photographing interiors, and give them the green light to move furniture and decorations as they see fit. As professionals they’ll add polish to your rooms, and their use of special camera lenses and lighting will create magazine-worthy pictures.
#2 Keep the Style, and All the Fixins
This may be the only time you have a decorator in your cottage so make the most of it. Most decorators will have props for the photoshoot, but if you have budget, negotiate with the decorator to leave their “props” in place, and the adjustments they made to the furniture too. This way, your renters experience what they saw in the photos, and their reviews will reflect their enjoyment of the more stylish space.
#3 Request Reviews
Whether you are using a third-party site to find renters, or managing it alone, reviews go a long way to sealing the deal with first-time renters; in fact, 49% of travelers won’t book without reviews, according to eMarketer, Alexa.com.
Getting people to leave reviews is fairly easy and can be accomplished in a single summer season—simply ask your guests to write a review. Most people who were happy with their stay will make the effort if you ask them. An easy way to do this is to send a thank you email to each renter immediately following their stay, and in it request the review (be sure to add a link if you want them to rate you on Trip Advisor, or another site or app).
#4 Make it shareable
Social media is a free marketing tool at your disposal and Canadians absolutely love social media. We’re the most avid users of Facebook in the world! And we use it to share news about our vacations—as we plan them, pack for them, are there, and as we reminisce about them upon our return home.
Start a Facebook page on your cottage and post your new photos there, as well as your contact info and the address of the cottage. Why? According to COMSCORE, over 50% of social media users “like” the Facebook page of the place they’ve booked, and write about their upcoming vacation; even more post comments and pictures while vacationing. If your property is on social it will get shared by your guests to people like them. Pinterest and Instagram are two other channels perfectly suited for posting your beautiful photos. What better way is there to spread the word about your rental?
Make this small investment of time and money this rental season and it will result in great assets you can use year after year to rent your cottage. Even better: you’ll soon build a cast of regulars coming back year after year, making your job much easier.