Trying to target and attract a mass audience to your vacation rental is never a good idea.
Because you will end up competing on price. Always.
Whether you have a chateau in the Loire Valley, a beach house in Maui or a condo in Sarasota, every vacation home is unique and if positioned correctly within a niche environment, you can step back from the mass audience arena and welcome guests who want exactly what you offer.
What is a niche market?
A niche market is a small or specialised group of consumers who are looking for a particular product or service. When they search for a product or service, they tend to use search terms which are much deeper than high-level keywords and phrases, such as vacation rental apartment in Sarasota or French chateau holidays.
For independent owners and property managers, it’s impossible to compete on these high-level search terms, which are populated by Airbnb, VRBO, and multi-level property managers.
When you create a USP (unique selling point) around your property you can start to position your accommodation in a niche market, using longer search phrases within your organic content – such as blog articles and social media posts – to attract guests who are looking for a similar experience.
Here are some examples:
- Loire Valley wine experience holidays (wine tours and wine tasting niche)
- Maui surf accommodation (surf vacation niche)
- Top things to do with children in Sarasota (family-friendly holidays)
How to decide on your niche market?
Deciding on a niche market in which to position your vacation rental means doing your homework on certain factors, such as your environment and your long-term objectives. If you treat your vacation rental like any other business and create a strategy, you’ll achieve higher bookings and rates and better reviews.
So what do we need to factor in?
- Where are you located?
- What type of property do you have?
- What do you like to do when you stay in the area – what is your passion?
- Who do you want staying in your home?
The last two points are fundamentally the most important. What are your favourite pastimes and who do you want staying in your home i.e. who is your ideal guest, should to a degree dictate your niche market. But let’s look at each in more detail…
Where are you located?
Where you are located is undoubtedly an essential factor when choosing your niche market. You can’t offer surf escapes when you own a vacation rental apartment in Florence, Italy!
Think about where you are, everything your location has to offer and why people vacation in your area. Write a list of activities, types of vacationer and the environment around you, and put that to one side.
What type of property do you have?
Do you own a penthouse condo, beachside studio or are you the lucky owner of that chateau in the Loire Valley?
Whatever type of property you own, you need to start thinking about the type of guest it’s suitable for. Your beachside studio for two isn’t going to be ideal for families and your chateau in the Loire Valley isn’t going to be ideal for couples.
So size is important, but it’s not just size. You have to really start to dig deep into the psyche of your guest (we’ll look at that further down). Think about your space, your style and your location and start to picture your guests enjoying your property.
What do you like to do when you stay in the area – what is your passion?
One of the fundamental strategies in positioning within a niche market is creating an experience around your passion. If you haven’t already purchased your short-term rental home, then what YOU love should be a major factor in what and where you purchase.
If you love surfing… create that surf experience. If you love wine and gastronomy, sing about the local food and wine and how your guests can experience the best of the local region.
Why we do this ultimately takes us onto our fourth factor…
Who do you want staying in your home?
You have worked out the USPs of your location and accommodation and decided why YOU love your vacation rental experience. From here you can start to visualise the type of guest who will also appreciate what you have and how to attract them. And often your ideal guest profile will look a lot like you.
Whether your vacation rental is purely a short-term rental investment or your personal vacation home which you rent out when you are not occupying it, you should be selective about the guests who book. And you can do this by nailing your ideal guest persona.
Niche Market Marketing Channels
The best niche marketing channels are always your own. Populating your website and social media with inspirational articles, videos and recommendations on your niche experience.
If you haven’t already got your vacation rental website set-up, have a look at our free step-by-step guide on how to create a fully functional, book direct website.
There are many other channels to promote your niche vacation rental outside of the main OTAs (Online Travel Agents), which will attract guests looking for accommodation on a much deeper level i.e. within a niche.
One of the best ways to get noticed on a local level is by advertising on a regional OTA, such as Hi Chee for Hawaii rentals or partnering with your local tourism website, which offers space for local accommodation providers.
Regional channels put a huge amount of effort into developing content around a location, which means they consistently attract more guests seeking out a specific destination and experience something the mainstream OTAs just don’t do.
Family holidays and multigenerational holidays represent the largest percentage of holidays within a niche market. If you believe your vacation home has the right amount of space and is equipped adequately for a family-friendly holiday, then you should be utilising at least one family-orientated channel for promotion.
If you want to attract guests from sites such as Kid & Coe, you will need to equip your home with children’s equipment and toys. Adding a floor plan or 3D interactive tour to your website or listing also helps families to get a feel of the space in your home and if it’s right for them.
Offering an inclusive and welcoming environment for LGBTQ travellers opens up huge opportunities for travel and accommodation providers. The LGBTQ community is one of the most powerful travel consumer markets, being frequent travellers and high spenders.
They appreciate authenticity, warmth, inclusivity and high standards, and are happy to recommend accommodation when they find a place that provides all of these during their stay. If you want to attract LGBTQ guests to your accommodation have a look at Pink Vacation Rentals and Misterb&b.
Dog-friendly vacation accommodation has never been more popular than right now. A recent survey suggests that 53% of travellers take vacations with their pets. It makes sense, as dog owners don’t have to spend money on expensive kennel facilities whilst they are away and can enjoy a holiday with the whole family, including four-legged members.
If you want to turn your vacation rental into a pet-friendly paradise, here are our tips on attracting guests with pets. You’ll also need to create clear guidelines to protect your home from damage, but the opportunity for increased bookings is definitely worth it.
With the increase in popularity for pet-friendly accommodation, specialised pet-friendly travel websites now offer accommodation providers the opportunity to target this lucrative niche market.
According to disability equality organisation Scope, there are 13.9 million disabled people living in the UK, yet when it comes to finding accessible short-term rental accommodation, there simply aren’t enough properly adapted homes anywhere in the world.
If you have a home that is wheel-chair friendly or the motivation to adapt what you have, you’ll have access to a niche without a high level of competition.
Handiscover is a website with a mix of vacation rentals, hotels and camping sites all over the world.
Hobbies & Activities
If your niche market is centred around a hobby or activity, your marketing activity should include collaboration and advertising on sites dedicated to the particular interest.
For example, cyclists will research a cycling experience or route before even considering accommodation, so doesn’t it make sense to position your accommodation within that content? The same goes for fishing, hiking, climbing, gastronomy, and surfing, check out Riparide, who offer unique adventure stays in Australia.
A high percentage of luxury travellers will not book their accommodation on the main OTA sites. They are looking for a high level of service from a company who will organise the trip from start to finish, such as the Plum Guide and Stay One Degree.
There are so many other great independent sites offering owners and managers like you the opportunity to target your niche market, Magic Stay for Business Travellers, Theatre Digs Booker for theatre professionals and Canopy and Stars for Glamping in the UK.
If you nail your niche market, we can guarantee you will stand out from the crowd. In fact, we have seen first hand how vacation homeowners that cater really well to their ideal guest and market their accommodation within their chosen niche, have enjoyed increased bookings, charge higher rates and enjoy repeat guests.
Hosthub supports hosts who want to list their properties across a multiple of channels without the fear of double bookings. You can synchronise your bookings calendar on your own website, on niche channels and the main OTA channels. With our Revenue Booster service, your property or properties are added to the channels of your choice by our experienced team and with our Hosthub channel manager, you’ll be synchronised in no time!
So what are you waiting for? Find your niche and get prepared for increased bookings! 😉