How to market your vacation rental property to boost bookings


Let’s start with two pieces of good news. One, demand for vacation homes is booming. Travel is on the rise and people are seeking private homes to stay in rather than risk sharing public hotel spaces with strangers. In a recent Vacasa survey of U.S. travelers, 59% said they plan to take a vacation in spring 2021. Plus, 52% said they would stay in a vacation rental in the future. Second, sales of vacation homes are also climbing.

What does this mean for you? While travel is on the rebound (cue the champagne), there are now more vacation rentals on the market to compete with.

How do you stand out? How do you battle it out for bookings with other homes in your area? Marketing your vacation rental effectively is imperative to survive and thrive in this market. Yet, digital marketing tactics have become even more sophisticated. And modern travelers—most of whom are tech-savvy—now hold vacation home owners to a higher standard to win their business. Our tip? Don’t get overwhelmed. There are endless ways to market your vacation home, but we whittled it down to what’s most vital. Here are the most successful strategies to focus on that could help increase your exposure, bookings, and profits.

10 vacation rental marketing tactics to beat the competition

1. Determine your ideal guests

First things first: consider who would be most interested in staying in your home. Families? Couples? People traveling with their dogs? (Pet-friendly rentals can make 10–20% more rental income.) This vital first step will guide the rest of your marketing efforts, not to mention help determine what to stock in your vacation home. In your marketing, you’ll want to spotlight your vacation rental amenities that cater to those types of guests. For example, mention the high chair, shatter-proof dishware, and baby gates for families.

2. Inspire guests to stay with an engaging website

Even if you list your vacation home in the right places (think Airbnb and Vrbo), you still need an online hub to drive travelers to with all of your marketing efforts. Consider your website to be your vacation home’s digital front door. Your website shouldn’t just be aesthetically pleasing—it should do a lot of the work for you in convincing potential travelers to book. Fair warning: websites are not a “one and done” purchase. They are an investment and require constant tweaking and testing to see what works. (In fact, at Vacasa we’re constantly testing features on our site to drive more views and bookings for our homeowners.)

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3. Create blog content to entice them again and again

One key to a successful website (and a successful SEO strategy—read on for more about that) is having consistently fresh content. The best way to achieve this is with a blog on your website. Blog posts don’t have to be long or tiresome. They can simply be a way to share your favorite tips about your destination.

For instance, here's a sampling of the travel blogs Vacasa routinely creates to entice travelers to our website. In each, we also highlight several of our vacation homes in the area:

Travelers often seek a local’s perspective on the places they visit. These tips also give you content to promote on your social media channels.

4. Advertise everywhere

The more booking sites you list your vacation home on, the more potential bookings. If you want to succeed in today’s travel market, you’ll have to expand beyond one platform. Some good places to start are Airbnb, Vrbo, and At Vacasa, we place and manage our homeowners’ listings on all those channels, as well as on Google, HomeToGo, and Plus, select properties are also listed on Homes & Villas by Marriott International and It may seem overwhelming to oversee your vacation rental in so many places. You’ll be responsible for checking in on different calendars, different listings, and different requests from guests. But the increased visibility on platforms where travelers search most often will be worth it.

5. Expand your online presence with social media

One of the big goals of marketing is to create more visibility and awareness—which, in turn, can lead to a boost in bookings. Social media is a great vehicle for that. Not only is it another way for travelers to discover you online, it’s a powerful marketing tool that can amplify your message. Does running multiple social media accounts seem like too much of a burden? We suggest selecting one or two social media sites you’re already familiar with to start off. (Hint: Instagram is a favorite among many guests looking for travel inspiration. That’s why Vacasa routinely showcases vacation home options on that platform.)

6. Consider investing in social media advertising to multiply your outreach

While posting content to social media sites is free, paying to advertise on these platforms can be a worthwhile investment. With their robust user data, social media sites like Facebook and Pinterest allow advertisers to narrow in on their target demographic in ways you can’t with traditional media, like print ads. You can filter who sees your ads to get the most out of your advertising budget. For example, you can set your advertising audience to include only users in specific cities, dog owners, or even users who like certain brands.

At Vacasa, we invest millions every year to advertise our vacation rentals to targeted audiences—both on search engines like Google and social media sites like Facebook. Plus, with our robust remarketing, we continually promote properties to users who viewed them on without booking. On average, our remarketing ads get a 9 times higher rate of guest bookings compared to other advertising methods.

7. Write a vacation home description that sells

Now’s the time for the sales pitch. When you sit down to write your listing, first focus on your headline. Besides a beautiful profile photo, a compelling headline should convince a traveler to click on your vacation home and explore further. Then, your description should push them closer to the booking button.

Most homeowners don’t know how to describe their vacation home. Vacasa’s team of professional writers—responsible for writing enticing descriptions for every vacation home—offer this tip: Describe the experience of staying there. Will they use your fully equipped kitchen to cook their favorite meals? Will they wake up every morning with the sunlight streaming into their room? Will they cozy up to the firepit on chilly winter nights? Write about the best memories people will expect to make in your home.

8. Leverage SEO by writing with keywords in mind

When someone searches Google for vacation rentals in your town, the ideal place to be seen is on the first page of those search results. Search engine optimization (SEO) will help you get there. One of the essential methods for ranking higher in search results is to write with the right keywords in mind. There are plenty of free keyword tools to find your optimal keywords.

For example, naturally incorporate phrases like “San Diego vacation rentals” or “vacation houses for rent in Myrtle Beach” in your website copy. And, write blog posts with titles that match phrases guests search for, such as “Top dog-friendly restaurants in Austin” or “Best beaches for surfing in North Carolina.” Google crawls and indexes websites to find relevant content. Optimizing your site with these keywords makes it more likely that Google will place you favorably in the search results.

Vacasa’s dedicated marketing team determines every home’s target keywords and includes them in the home’s description and property page. Plus, we’re constantly fine-tuning our SEO strategies, making sure every page on our site aligns with the latest Google algorithm updates (hint: there are a lot to keep track of). The result? Vacasa homes garner more visibility than their competitors time and time again.

9. Only use professional photography

A picture can be worth a thousand bookings. Your property photos are vital for capturing attention and convincing potential guests to book. Don’t scrimp on it. It’s imperative that your first profile photo draws guests in and makes a memorable first impression. All the photos that follow have to keep people wanting more. This is where hiring a professional comes in. Vacasa's professional photographers know the best angles, how to make better use of color and light, and how to edit. (Even better, a full-home photo shoot is provided free for all homeowners who sign with us.) The number of images is also important. We post around 25 photos per property, including exterior shots and photos of every room.

10. Build an email marketing list and send frequent, engaging emails

Creating and sending out marketing emails is extremely simple nowadays, thanks to user-friendly platforms like Emma, MailChimp, and Constant Contact. They offer a variety of pre-built templates to choose from, and all you need to do is plug in your photos and content. Don’t put more than one or two main ideas in each email—otherwise you’ll potentially overwhelm your readers and clutter your email design. For instance, send out an email touting a special winter rate, then another email sharing destination tips, then another about spring activities. The idea is to have a consistent cadence of emails, such as once a month or every two weeks, in people’s inboxes so you continue to stay top of mind.

As part of Vacasa’s email marketing strategy, we email all of our subscribers and past guests at least once per week with targeted messaging, offering travel tips and inspiration as well as vacation home suggestions. On top of that, we send automated emails to guests before and after their stay to ensure they’re taken care of and to encourage them to book another trip.

It’s important to note—there are several regulations to follow when building your email list. For instance, you have to get their permission to email communications, offer a way to unsubscribe, and not use misleading headlines. Consider placing a sign-up form on your website where potential guests can opt in to receive your emails.

One last tip: Lean on vacation rental marketing experts

When you work with marketing pros who are experts at vacation rentals, like Vacasa, getting constant exposure can be a cinch (as in, a sit-back-and-we’ll-handle-it-for-you kind of cinch). From SEO to social media, advertising campaigns to marketing emails, we have the marketing technology and the experts to keep your vacation rental in the right places, in front of the right people, all the time.

There's no one way to market your vacation rental, but these tips are a strong foundation to start with. Vacation rental marketing can take a lot of time and energy, but spreading your reach online is what will lead more people to your home—and ultimately lead to more bookings.

Vacation rental marketing FAQ

There are two ways to market your vacation home on any social media channel—by posting content or by paying to advertise. In both cases, always be relevant. Post your best property photos. Showcase different amenities you offer. Offer local tips on what to do, see, and eat in your town. Promote any specials. Plus, engage with other businesses in your area and link to your social media channels clearly on your site. You could also try visiting the Facebook page of your local tourism bureau and answering visitors’ questions.

We have extensive experience helping vacation home owners maximize their revenue. For instance, installing a hot tub can bring in 15–20% more rental income. Designating your property as pet-friendly can garner a higher occupancy rate. And, your vacation home’s interior design can capture more interest and help your home stand out among the competition.

Today, the internet is teeming with ways to advertise your vacation home for free. Build social media accounts for your property and start posting regularly. Offer relevant traveler tips on your blog. Write relevant keywords into your online descriptions. Answer questions travelers are asking online about your destination. Encourage your past guests to leave reviews.

Want even more help marketing your vacation home? Let’s chat about all the ways to get more visibility.

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