Why You Should Choose a Vacation Rental Niche
- December 1, 2017|
- Mike Archer|
- Vacation Rentals
Thirty years ago, “stay in your lane” would have been safe business advice for just about any kind of business, but especially for vacation rentals. When it came to hotels, people had a certain set of expectations, and it paid to cater to those expectations.
Seaside rentals would have a nautical theme and a fireplace; cabins might take an old-timey, rustic approach. And generally people were happy with each rental in a particular marketplace being more or less the same.
But since the internet has come along and literally changed the world, the age of samey experiences is over. On the internet, the name of the game is specialization.
In a world where people have access to literally billions of choices, the only way to stand out is to truly stand out. That’s why, today, in the vacation rental market, finding a specialized niche—your own lane—is so important.
Choosing the right niche for your property management company or vacation rental can be the difference between being one of the choices your guests will consider. Possibly because of its convenient location or being the unique vacation experience they can’t wait to post all over Facebook and Twitter while telling everyone who asks what a great time they had while out of the office.
But that kind of brand advocacy doesn’t come cheap. While the millennial consumer is quick to speak well of brands they love, brands have to earn that love through providing authentic, personal experiences while removing friction from their lives.
That said, why should today’s vacationer choose your property over the guy down the road?
Today, if you don’t stand out, you’ll just blend in.
That’s why we ultimately chose to focus our agency on helping the vacation rental industry. Aside from our passion for travel and our experience in the space, we didn’t want to be “just another SEO agency”.
How to Decide on a Niche
So how do you decide on a niche or theme? Here’s a few ideas to get the creative juices flowing:
Identify your passion
Identify your passions and interests and infuse your them into your rental experience. If you’re an avid sport fisherman or scuba diver or a barbecue master, make those things central to your guest’s stay.
Know your customers
The information you can collect during the sales and booking process is easily captured in the digital setting; find out exactly who your customers are, then capitalize on a specific customer segment that makes up the majority of the people that stay at your properties.
Research the competition
This can be the local competition that prospective travelers are evaluating as well as your locations. Once you find out what your competitors are doing you can then shift in a direction that is unique and can capture a more targeted audience.
Identify problems you can solve. Keyword research can be leveraged to identify opportunities like this. These could be problems that travelers are experiencing often or several people could be searching for a specific amenity that you could offer.
Just offering a place to stay in a location is no longer enough to capture the specific experiences today’s customers are looking for.
Even the large segments like pet-friendly, ski in/ski out, and luxury vacation rentals, are starting to get saturated.
By focusing your properties on a specific niche or theme, you no longer are part of a consideration set for a certain type of traveller; you become the front-runner for those travelers rather than one among many similar offerings.
And the benefits don’t stop there:
We found some great examples of vacation rental companies that focus on a very specific niche or follow a strict theme with their rental properties.
Sports Themed Vacation Rentals
Cooperstown Lodging has been offering vacation rentals to families and baseball teams seeking baseball tournament accommodations in the Cooperstown New York region since 1999. This region is famous for being home to many historic attractions but the most notable is the National Baseball Hall of Fame & Museum.
They offer private cottages, lakeside and waterfront properties, and can accommodate large groups up to 14 guests (you know, like a whole team).
This is a perfect example of a company catering to travelers that are visiting the area with very specific interests; in this case, baseball.
The amateur sports market is a rapidly growing market. According to a CNBC article the youth sports tourism industry is estimated to be $7 billion and is the fastest-growing segment in travel and that figure doesn’t even include adult amateur sports.
TripMVP is poised to capitalize on a market that’s sure to grow for years to come by offering vacation rental options for traveling amateur sports teams. Properties can accommodate anywhere from 6 guests all the way up to 26! You really can bring your whole team and stay under one roof if you want to.
As the name implies, this site specializes in listing vacation rentals in cities that have Spring Training facilities nearby. One feature of the site is that you can view properties near your favorite team’s spring training facility making it easy to plan your schedule around a specific area.
This owner focuses on creating great experiences for golf-loving travelers who want to rent a vacation rental right near a golf course. These homes are are strategically located along Alabama’s Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail.
Disney Themed Vacation Rentals
Finding Disney-themed vacation rentals around Disneyland or Disney World isn’t very difficult. It seems that this is very common in the areas around the theme parks. That doesn’t change the fact that these themes are perfectly aligned with their target audience.
These companies cater to the traveler seeking to upgrade their Disney experience to the next level. Both of these sites feature properties that are within walking distance (some across the street) to the Disneyland Theme Park.
Properties feature rooms that are decorated with varying Disney characters like Mickey Mouse, Peter Pan, Cars, and more—characters that kids of all sizes know and love.
Kid-Friendly Vacation Rentals
Clanventure focuses on hand-picking vacation rentals that are the most suitable for families traveling with kids. They allow you to search for properties by age groups like baby, toddler, and kids ages 3-5+. Their properties feature such amenities as kid-safe pools, high chairs, cribs, and more.
Having a targeted niche like this simplifies all of your marketing. You can suddenly generate hundreds of ideas for content development, know exactly who your audience is on social media, and outreach for cross-promotion becomes exceedingly more effective.
Healthcare Vacation Rentals
This site caters to healthcare professionals seeking to make some additional income from their property while they’re on assignment or traveling. This seems extremely niche but I’d imagine with some targeted marketing, the word-of-mouth factor among healthcare colleagues would be huge.
Cannabis-Friendly Vacation Homes
Currently only located in California, this property management company supports the pro-marijuana culture and directs travelers to properties that allow consumption. Their website contains an entire section dedicated to the latest cannabis news. They also list several state cannabis laws and regularly post to their blog about the health benefits of marijuana.
These next few accommodations aren’t technically considered vacation rentals but they were too good to pass up. They represent the very essence of creating a memorable travel experience that would create great stories for years to come.
This is more of a bed and breakfast but it is such a fun idea (as long as you aren’t afraid of heights) that they’re typically booked out months in advance.
The property features 15 unique tree houses of varying shapes and sizes. And these aren’t your typical backyard tree houses. Some are only a few feet off the ground while others are perched almost 50 feet in the air!
Each tree house has a series of rope bridges or stairs to help you ascend to your nest for the night.
In addition to the tree houses are zip lines, horseback riding, a stream-fed pool, and much more to keep you busy while you’re not relaxing in the trees—experiences most travelers can’t wait to post to Instagram.
Who wouldn’t want to stay in a castle with a secret passage?! This adults only rental company offers very unique accommodations that you won’t find this side of Hogwarts. This place looks amazing and features multiple themes that all cater to travelers looking for a memorable experience.
Fancy staying in a Hobbit cave?
Or a mystical cottage straight out of Harry Potter?
How about a castle?
All of these options present a one-of-a-kind fairytale experience that couples can reflect upon long after having to return to reality.
Be One of a Kind
While all of the examples above had very little in common, there was one common thread amongst them all: the each strived to provide a singular, unique experience that travelers couldn’t get anywhere else.
So when you’re trying to find the right vacation rental niche for your properties, try to remember to double down on the little details so that even if the guys down the road copy your theme in six months, they can’t replicate the tiny, unique details that will make your vacation rental experience truly memorable.