As we settle into 2017, now is an excellent opportunity to reflect on your inventory and determine whether to grow in the upcoming year. Why now? Property owners just wrapped up a busy summer season and may be ready to look for a new property manager. In addition, real estate sales across the United States were favorable, bringing new vacation home owners to the marketplace. As a result, if you have the resources and infrastructure to facilitate increasing your inventory, then this is an ideal time to create a robust acquisition strategy designed to build lasting relationships and sustainable long-term growth.
The Strategy: Attract New Owners
The partnership between owners and professional vacation rental managers is incredibly unique. Owners are asked to trust their most valuable assets with your team, and in return, owners request that your team make a healthy return on their investment. Sean Kelly, a senior strategic account manager at Bluetent, often says, “We choose beaches and mountains over Wall Street, but we are all still asset managers.”
Your messaging and communication should reflect your deep understanding and respect of this partnership. The first step in appealing to new owners is to consider your brand and unique sales proposition during the following four key moments in the owner experience:
- Upset Moments: When an owner has a negative experience with his or her current vacation rental manager
- Buy or Sell Moments: When owners purchase vacation properties and begin to explore working with a professional vacation rental manager
- Need to Know Moments: When an owner is interested in learning more about the benefits of short-term rentals, how to rent his or her home, or how to choose a property manager
- Overwhelmed Moments: When owners are trying to manage and rent their properties on their own, but are entirely inundated
Your unique sales proposition must focus on what makes your company unmatched in the rental market as well as the benefits of professional management over rental by owner platforms. Once you identify your unique sales proposition for each moment, you’ll be able to establish consistent messaging for a saturation of media channels so you may attract owners at the right time, in the right place, and with the right message.
6 Marketing Strategies to Implement
1. Create Compelling Sales Collateral
In only a few moments, you must explain how you will generate revenue for owners. Be clear, consistent, and powerful in your sales collateral. You’ll want to have a captivating brochure that speaks to all the aspects that make your company unique. You’ll also want to provide a revenue prospectus to reveal proven performance.
2. Develop Engaging On-Site Assets
Focus resources on developing areas of your digital presence that are designed to convert owners. This should include a unique landing page, educational blog posts that appeal to owners, and compelling owner testimonials. Your current owners are likely your fiercest advocates, so solicit testimonials and let them tell your story.
3. Design a Direct Mail that Inspires and Connects
Create a compelling campaign that speaks to your brand and unique sales proposition. Your county assessor typically has a list you can buy to obtain addresses. However, it’s critical within this step to understand the laws and regulations of your market. For instance, in some locations it’s illegal to send postcards to only oceanfront properties, so you must send them to the whole neighborhood. Know your area and tailor your messaging and timing accordingly.
4. Stay Front of Mind with Digital Advertising and Retargeting
Paid search, retargeting, and social retargeting are all exceptional opportunities to stay ahead of the competition and to be there when owners are searching. Even though paid advertising for owner acquisition campaigns typically has a low volume of traffic and difficult-to-track conversion rates, it’s great for brand recognition, owner loyalty, and competitive edge.
5. Capture and Nurture with Email Marketing and Automation
Throughout each step of your acquisition strategy, you must gather the contact information of potential owners. As you do, enter these contacts into a nurturing campaign that will connect at each level of the engagement funnel. By providing the right message at the right time in the right place, you’ll be able to stay in front of owners and connect through simple, streamlined, and educational messaging.
6. Get Creative and Network
Building personal relationships is one of the most important steps in acquiring new properties, so have fun and get out in the community. Participate in local chamber events, sponsor community fundraisers, use the local MLS to get in front of realtors, and create a referral program for current owners.