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I wrote an article about “marijuana tourism,” as it’s being called – where vacation property owners will begin using weed to book weeks.

It caught quite the buzz! Some are against it and some are all for it.

But if your vacation home is not located in Colorado or Washington, then you can’t use drugs to promote your property… or can you?

It’s true you can’t use marijuana to lure in weed enthusiasts, as that would be illegal. However, you can use other “drugs” – things that will make vacationers crave your property and want to keep coming back for more.

But how? How does this work? The whole concept of this marketing approach is to help you begin marketing your vacation rental to all the senses: taste, touch, sight, sound, and smell.

The strategy I am uncovering and sharing with you here is called “Sensory Marketing”.

Sensory marketing isn’t something you hear about from other vacation rental marketing blogs but it is important if you want marketing results.

According to Wikipedia Sensory marketing “uses all the senses to relate with customers on an emotional level. Brands can forge emotional associations in the customers’ minds by appealing to their senses.”

In this post I’m sharing a few ideas on how to bring sensory marketing into your vacation rental marketing strategy.



Can’t you smell the freshly roasted specialty coffee brewing, making your vacation rental feel just like home?

·  Over 50% of Americans over 18 years of age drink coffee every day.

·   Coffee drinkers consume an average of 3 cups of coffee each day.

·    30% of the population drinks coffee occasionally.

·     Women indicated that drinking coffee is a good way to relax.

There are a plenty of ways you can use coffee to help market your vacation rental.

I remember Amy Firmani telling me one of the most common questions she gets is how close a Starbucks is to her Las Vegas vacation rental.

I’m also working with a new client, Claudia, and she owns a 3-story vacation home in Montego Bay, Jamaica. I’ve been to Jamaica about 7 times “mon” (sorry, couldn’t resist), and I know that when I went, I wanted to try their famous Blue Mountain coffee.

Travelers visiting vacation destinations want to embrace and enjoy the culture of the area.

That’s why I suggested to Claudia to include Blue Mountain coffee in her marketing strategy and build on the cultural experience.

What’s in your area?



The Dominican Republic has coffee, but they also offer something else. Something unique.

During a visit to one of my clients there, I checked out a little spot where they hand-rolled cigars from local tobacco leaves.

It was so cool. We had a blast puffing on cigars and sipping on Modelos. I’ll be honest: I normally don’t smoke cigars, but I really wanted to try a freshly hand rolled cigar!

If your vacation home is in a destination that offers this type of unique experience, offer it to your guest.

Pushing cigars in your marketing could help you pull in more renters.



chocolate tourism

According to a scientific study Chocolate has an effect on the brain similar to opium.  In this study endorphins surged as rats began to eat an M&M.

Some travelers don’t seek after coffee or tobacco; they’re hungry for sweets. Chocolate tours are a growing global trend, and you can benefit from it.

In fact, chocolate tourism has become a global phenomenon. You can visit Italy, Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, England, or South Africa to taste some of the world’s most decadent chocolate.

And don’t limit yourself to the typical milk chocolate. There’s dark chocolate, white chocolate, cacao, chocolate liquor, cocoa, cocoa butter, Mexican chocolate, Gianduja, Couverture, and more. My mouth is watering just thinking about it!

There are a lot of chocolate lovers who would like to take their chocolate indulgence and transform it into an experience.

So point your guests toward the chocolatiers and chocolate factories in your area.

Give them a chance to watch delicious treats being made, smell the sweet aroma of chocolate, and then savor each bite as they taste them.

Maybe you could even leave a little sample for them in your vacation home. Who doesn’t like free chocolate?



craft beer tours marketing vacation rentals with this incentive

Some people like chocolate, others prefer alcohol.

·  In 2013, 56.4% of adults reported drinking alcohol within the past month

·   In 2012, 51.3% of adults reported being regular drinkers (at least 12 drinks in the past year)

That’s half the population! Which means there’s a good chance your guests will want a drink on their vacation.

Alcohol can help a person relax or enjoy a good meal or conversation.

And, of course, many wine connoisseurs and alcohol enthusiasts are looking for the best drinks they can find.

Do you have any wineries, breweries, or distilleries in your area? Any high-rated bars or pubs?

Drinking tours provide your guests with an opportunity to taste the wine, vodka, beer, and gin in your area.

These tours may be themed and provide an extra element to the evening: learning about the history and culture of a city, watching how alcohol is made, an evening of comedy, or tasting both food and drinks.

You can also offer special coupons for wine and alcohol at local bars.



how to market vacation rentals using candy

Paul van der Velpen, head of Amsterdam’s health services declared that sugar is a drug, “just like alcohol and tobacco. We’re hooked!

Ever have any sugar cravings? You’re not alone. People crave sugar just like they might crave caffeine. In fact, we’re quite obsessed with it.

Why? The taste of sugar releases endorphins and helps us feel relaxed. Plus, it just tastes good! No wonder we like it!

Help your visitors satisfy their sugar cravings by highlighting the places in your area where they can find a sweet, sugary treat. Perhaps it’s an old-fashioned soda, a homemade dessert, or a tasty fair favorite like the Elephant Ear or funnel cake.

This is a great way to get the kids excited about the vacation. Children have a huge influence on the family vacation so don’t forget to market to them as well.

And don’t forget about candy stores. Do you have one nearby? Even better, do you have one that has been recognized as one of the best candy stores in the country?

(In 2010, Big Top Candy Shop in Austin, Texas, and Sugar, Sugar in Minneapolis, Minnesota, made the top 10 list from ABC News.)

Mention candy stores and other treats in your marketing materials and help your guests satisfy their sweet tooth.


Drug Store


Let’s face it, most of us are on medication for something.

·  61% of adults take at least one drug to address a chronic health problem

·   More than 1 in 4 seniors take at least 5 medications daily

Sometimes, we need to fill a prescription or grab an over-the-counter medicine while we’re on vacation.

Think about untimely headaches or sunburns or any number of things that might pop up during a vacation.

One thing travelers want to know is, “Where is the closest pharmacy?”

Don’t make them find it on their own; point out the closest one and perhaps offer a couple of alternatives, should they have their prescriptions on file at Walgreens or another national chain.

Do you have any other drugs or ways to use sensory marketing? Please share!

 vacation rental advertising blog

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