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Today is a follow up to a recent blog I wrote  “Is This How We Break-Away From HomeAway? Follow along to see how its related…

Depending on the location of your property will determine what time of the year is your busy season.

There are a few vacation destinations that enjoy a year round tourist season. If you’re not one of them, you’ll need to get creative to keep your results and money consistent.

Some vacation rental properties peak seasons are surrounded around an event like Mardi Gras, Carnival, spring break or some other festivity or season.

Peak seasons are the best time of year for homeowners and property managers because this is where they make most of their money with higher pricing.

The issue is that the peak seasons are usually spread apart by numerous months and are just too few and far between.

So in between your peak seasons your rental rates usually drop and so does your occupancy.  Don’t you wish it was peak season all year long?

What can you do to counteract your weak seasons?

I can clue you in by explaining how we helped one of our clients Roger Milton do it.

Roger was experiencing decent rentals in the high seasons but he couldn’t stand to see his home sitting empty weeks at a time in the off seasons.

He contacted us to see what can be done and together we did some research.

We found that his vacation rental property wasn’t too far from a popular birding spot.

After more research, we found some of the preferred times for bird watchers to visit the area were during Rogers slower seasons.

That’s when we realized we are onto something. Here are a few facts we found interesting in our market research.

  • Did you know? Wildlife watchers tend to be urban, college educated, and high-earning.
  • In the UK there are over 1,000,000 members of the RSPB. (Royal Society for Protection of Birds)
  • According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service, more than 50 million people in America consider themselves to be birdwatchers.

Can you see (like Roger did) that there’s an audience of bird watchers right under his nose he can offer his property to?

We helped Roger create a page on his website about bird watching and developed a vacation rental blog within his site and began creating content about the birding spot.

He even had photographs and videos taken of the birds and wildlife, and posted them on his vacation rental website, YouTube channel and social networks.

What we are doing here is using a vacation rental marketing strategy that we first introduced back in 2006 called content marketing or inbound marketing for vacation rentals.

Back then, no one knew what content marketing was. Owners were only aware of vacation rental listing sites. Today… many of you have heard of it, right?

In a recent blog, I shared some insight about the benefits of content marketing for vacation rentals called “HomeAway Ain’t The Only Way!” (It’s related to this post.) Read it here

Now back to the story…

Within several weeks, Roger received his first inquiry from a bonafide bird watcher via his own vacation rental website. That is an amazing feeling! You know what I’m talking about if you get inquiries from your own site.

We also helped Roger by putting together a directory of bird watching websites and contacts for “bird people” online. We did some, and also assigned him some homework.

We knew it would be important to research these niche resources that cater to this specific group and reach out to as many of them as we could.

It’s fairly easy to make contact with people online today. Not everyone will respond favorably but you’ll be surprised how many will if you just ask. And the ones that don’t, oh well!

Roger chose to offer a referral fee to anyone referring a renter for bird watching. A few bird tour companies took him up on his generous offer and began sending him renters.

He was able to put his website link on their site. and that was a great result. This is an example of how our hard work pays off when we are tenacious and focused!

This link to his site also helped with his website SEO because the site was linking back to his.

We included a tracking code on the link so both of them knew when someone inquired, and when a traveler booked from being led to his vacation rental website, Roger paid a referral fee. It’s a win, win, win for everyone!

The best part is that some of those bird watchers have already contacted Roger to re-book his vacation property for the same dates next year, and his calendar is now looking much fuller.

This is something called affiliate marketing, which no one has yet to share in the vacation rental blogs. (Remember where you heard it first!)

Affiliate marketing is something practiced in nearly every industry, but we are not utilizing it.

What if we worked together with not only vendors, but with other owners in this same way?

Could it help us with developing our independence by working together?

What do you think?

While helping Roger we found that there are many groups and entire social circles built around bird watching, but it’s not just limited to bird watchers.

Bird watchers are just one example of how to target a niche for your vacation rental marketing.

There are many other events and activity groups you could attract like:

  1. Golfers

According to Sports Marketing Surveys, there are 61.1 million golfers worldwide; 6.9 million in Europe, 13.6 million in Asia, 1.7 million in Australasia, 1 million in South America and 500 000 in South Africa.

  1. Surfers

Estimated population of surfers in America is 1,736,000. Estimated number of surfers worldwide is 23 million

  1. Divers

There are approximately 1.2 million scuba divers worldwide.

  1. Bikers

In the United States alone, there are more than 67 million cyclists.

  1. Hunters

There are 12.5 million people that hunt annually. I personally don’t like hunting, and this may not be a niche everyone will want to do, but looking at those numbers, it is very popular to some. I have a client named Mathias who has a cabin in Montana, and many of his travelers are there to hunt.

  1. Sporting events

Average attendance to a football game in the United States is 68,776.

  1. Holiday events

I wrote a post about how to market your rental for Halloween. Check it out- 6 Not So Scary Tips To Market Vacation Rentals For Halloween

8. Fisherman

There are 50 million fishermen in the U.S. Did you know there is even a social network for fisherman?

This is just a short list. Do you know of other vacation activities and niches? Please share them.

With a bit of research, I am sure you too can find an event or activity group you can market to during your off season.

Is there a convention center near your property?

There are usually annual business conferences or events throughout the year.

Find out what are the dates of the events and advertise to these business travelers, but be sure to include keywords that refer to the location or event in your content and website.

For example, if your condo is near the Orlando Convention Center you could implement keyword phrases like “Rent Orlando Condo Near Convention Center” into your content and advertisements.

I explained more about utilizing long-tail keywords like the example above and their benefits to your SEO and vacation rental marketing in this video.

You can also benefit by earning higher rates as most other properties being considered for these events treat this as a peak season or peak weak.

This is how you can turn your weak season to peak season!

The strategy of content marketing is something every owner and manager needs to leverage in 2016 and beyond.

In case you need more of a nudge read the article I posted last week. I shared six reasons why creating content is important for your vacation rental marketing strategy. Click here

What are your thoughts?


  • Coracle Cove Waterfront Suite says:

    another great article Jay. I’ve been noticing the birds around my place as well. Can you give us the link to Roger’s blog

  • Interesting tip. I have a lovely place for birding and have blogged about it. Another niche market is the HAM radio enthusiasts. My property is also good for this because we sit up on a hill with good visibility. I had some guests who brought their equipment and stayed for about 10 days. You are so right, catering to niche markets can net a little extra.

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