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10 Tips for Marketing Your Holiday Rental

The presentations at the recent Association of Scotland’s Self-Caterers (ASSC) 2016 Self-Catering Conference in Glasgow were packed full of practical information from experts in the self-catering sector and tourism industry, covering a wide range of subjects from Search Engine Optimisation to the benefits of booking portals.   The main message of the day was the importance of working collaboratively and connecting with other accommodation providers, local businesses and attractions and your local tourism group, and that digital connectivity is essential for growth.

If you didn’t make it to this year’s Conference here are 10 tips for marketing your holiday rental.


  1. Add some floor plans (particularly if your property has four or more bedrooms).  Use a photo if there isn’t a special field for it.  Both Robert Kennedy of SuperControl and Rick Bond of My Favourite Holiday Cottages recommended adding floor plans to your property listing or website as people love to look at they layout of properties.  Some people like to print off floor plans to plan who is staying where.
  2. Send personalised emails.  Rick Bond gave some suggestions for adding a personal touch to emails, such as to the family pet describing the nearby pet-friendly attractions, good walks etc, and a ‘Santa email’ from an elf explaining that Santa knows where the family will be over the Christmas holidays.
  3. Three top tips for improving your Google ranking from Digital Marketing Consultant Stephen Whitehall – create fresh, relevant content, have a Google+ page and tweet.  The fresh content gives you authority, Google will love you that bit more if you have a Google+ page and Google also loves Twitter (tweets can be indexed by Google but not Facebook posts).
  4. Use Google Analytics and Keyword Research to choose the right channels to advertise your property on.  SuperControl’s Robert Kennedy advised delegates to do your research and find the channels that best match your guest and property profile, and emphasised that local and niche sites can be as effective as big multinationals if you manage your listings carefully.
  5. ‘Book Now’ is the ultimate call to action.  Full online booking is better for guests than enquiry/quote/response (you are letting guests book when and how they want).
  6. Track your bookings.  One of the main benefits of online marketing is that you can track where your bookings come from.  Don’t just rely on a single source of information, you can use: Google Analytics, social media, adwords, email, affiliate tracking, sources, phone.  Why not ask your guests where they came across your site when they visit?
  7. Little touches go a long way at making a good impression.  Rick Bond shared lots of top tips in his psychological approach to pleasing guests, from leaving a tub of Sudocrem for families with babies to making a visual impact upon arrival.  Leaving a brand new pack of cards for guests is said to increase repeat bookings by 15/20%.
  8. Tap into different markets: the inclusive market is a massive market and the most loyal in the world, there is a huge market for digital detox (mentioned by both Robin Worsnop and Stephen Whitehall) and Chris McCoy talked about attracting the ‘grey pound‘ in her presentation on the Accessible Market (the number of over-65s in Britain is set to surge by 4.5 million by 2030, which represents £320billion of consumer spending).
  9. Listen to customers and use customer ideas to drive innovation in your business.  Robin Worsnop of Rabbies Small Group Tours highlighted the importance of customer feedback – customers are at the heart of their business model.
  10. Moira Henderson shared some simple ideas for how you can make your holiday rental more accessible: add grab rails, use colour contrast in the decoration, create space under the sink for those who need to sit down to wash dishes, and add rise and fall tables.

Read more notes from the 2016 Conference here…

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