Apartments & Villas
Marketing Your Holiday Rental Property on The Internet
By Jackie Taylor
Dec 4, 2007, 06:31

Marketing - Internet Advertising style
The Internet has quite literally opened up a whole new world in terms of marketing, giving advertisers instant access to a vast but highly targeted global audience. The Internet has well and truly proved itself as a major distribution channel for the travel industry. The UK online travel market is expected to reach 7.3 billion in 2007, up from 2.2 billion in 2002.

In 1997, 48 million people worldwide were using the Internet. In 2006 that figure had grown to 1.1 billion. The number of users is increasing by the minute with 182% growth from 2000-2005.

Holiday Seekers Using the Internet
A recent survey showed some 44% of holidaymakers used the Internet to research a holiday, with 32% making an actual booking. Thus there is still potential for growth in the market as initial 'lookers' are turned into 'bookers' by effective Internet marketing, good content, effective website promotion and management. Whatever people need in today's world, they're increasingly turning to the Internet to find it.

Advantages of Internet Advertising
Internet advertising offers a wealth of opportunities, which are simply not possible with traditional marketing methods - and it's considerably cheaper, especially when you consider what you get for your money. You can display full details of your property - with colour photos and comprehensive descriptions - and promote it to a global audience, 24 hours a day all year round...all for less than the cost of a small ad in a British national newspaper. Your on-line Ad can be interactive by giving your potential clients an easy and free way to contact you via email without you actually giving your email address away to unwanted abuse. On the last point you would be ill advised to publish your email address directly to avoid Spam emails! You don't want your inbox full of rubbish!

One of the great advantages of this form of advertising is that you have a vast market and one that is also highly targeted. People only tend to visit web sites advertising holiday properties if they're seriously looking for a holiday let - and a good web site will be attracting thousands of these potential clients each week.

What to expect from a good Internet Advertiser
Be careful which Internet marketing company you choose. Don't just plump for the cheapest advertising rate you can find on the web; you may find yourself paying for a second-rate DIY deal which fails to result in the bookings you want.

Look at several different Internet companies and examine the level of service offered by each one. Look for an Internet advertiser with an established reputation on the Internet and branding. Also a high profile on the major search engines with targeted search features on their web sites and especially good customer support.

In my own experience a good brand name counts for a lot! I have seen site visitors from search engines who simply search for the Internet Advertisers name only! More often than not the brand name search brings more site visitors than any other specific search term used on the search engines. These people know what they want and know where to get it!

Services provided by good Internet Advertisers
But there's much more to successful Internet advertising than a high profile on the it's worth shopping around. You want an advertiser who can help you get your property on the Internet quickly and easily with the minimum amount of fuss.

You should be able to pay and submit your advert details on-line and have facilities for you to modify your own Ad for frequently changing information like availability, tariffs etc.

The best companies will take the time and trouble to ensure that your on-line property web page looks truly professional. Your advertising fee should include, for example, access to specialist advice for composing your Ad copy.

Use of Quality Photos on you Property Ad
The use of a good selection of quality colour photos makes all the difference in terms of attracting potential clients. This fact cannot be overstated. Good photos increase the number of clicks to enquiries - no doubt! Do not under estimate the power of photos to promote you property. Also a good Internet advertiser would advise on the shots to take, change, enhance and process your photos on your behalf during your advertising period as many times as you like.

Features to expect in a good on-line Property Advert
You should be able to itemise your property's facilities and you also want space for descriptive text about both the property and surrounding area. You should be offered advice about the use of particular key words, which will bring visitors to your web page.

If the advertising company is doing its job properly, you won't need any special knowledge about the Internet to advertise. Everything will be explained simply and clearly. A team of experts will handle all the technical side so you don't even have to think about it.

Make sure your property web page includes a tariff table and full contact information (apart from your email address remember) so visitors can get in touch with you quickly and easily. You'll want an email link so visitors can send you a property enquiry directly from your property web page Ad.

This is a bonus for your potential clients because they can reach you quickly and cheaply from anywhere in the world.

In this, and many other respects, you need to make sure your Internet advertising company has a web site which is user-friendly - both for you as the advertiser but also for those all important site visitors looking for a holiday property. Is the site easy to navigate with useful search features so visitors can easily find exactly what they want?

Changing your on-line Property Web Page Ad
The best Internet advertising companies provide you with the facility to make changes to your property Ad on-line, at any time and all included in your advertising fee. So you can alter prices at any time according to how well your bookings are going during the year and you should be able to change your Ad copy and contact details. A good Internet company will be able to offer you your own on-line availability chart so Internet surfers can see at a glance those dates when your property is available for letting or booked. This kind of service is popular with Internet users who don't want to waste time making enquiries about dates that are already booked and it cuts down the number of fruitless enquiries that you as the owner have to deal with.

Writing your Ad Copy for Targeted Advertising
Write your Ad copy to attract the kind of people who are looking for the features your property and its location offers. Focus on the benefits you have that would attract the kind of client you are looking for. Don't exaggerate or misrepresent what you have on offer. Be truthful and clear. For example don't say your property is suitable for disabled use when it clearly is not. In fact it is better to state the opposite if that's the case! By being straight you avoid unnecessary conflict with your potential clients, and gain more trust by not raising unfair expectations, upsetting your Internet advertiser and jeopardising your future success.

Generally speaking, as long as your property is described in sufficient detail, you shouldn't be bothered with too many time-wasters. A good property web page should answer nearly all the questions a prospective client might want to ask - so the majority of your enquiries should be from people either wanting to arrange a firm booking or asking a very unusual and specific question. These people represent highly qualified leads for you, they know what they want and you should always respond promptly and helpfully to their enquiries.

Niche Promotion
The better Advertising companies offer various extra promotional targeted searches for niche markets like villas near top golf courses, hideaways or a late availability search option to help you fill gaps in your rental season etc. Look for these targeted searches and place your Ad where it needs to be!

Customer Service
Make sure your Internet advertiser offers an on-going level of customer support, which shows it really values your business. Does it provide an on-line support forum and/or a FAQ page and does it respond quickly and helpfully to your support queries.

Does the company help you with copy advice and pricing? Does it review your Ad and advise changes. Will it advise on photos and change them for you as often as you like and better still for free!

The price to pay for Internet Advertising
The cheapest DIY-style Internet advertising packages start from around 50 UK pounds for 12 months advertising - but for that money it's unlikely you'll get all the "extras" and the personal level of service described above.

Expect to pay around 100-150 UK pounds a year for a top quality-advertising package - cheap at the price when compared with any of the traditional advertising methods.

Be aware that some companies will charge you more for advertising more than one letting unit within or around your property. If you have a substantial property to sub let or a small collection of cottages say, grouped together in one location take this into account when estimating your advertising costs.

If you have several properties or you act as an agent for several owners most good companies offer attractive discounts if you advertise more than one property with the more properties you put on the Internet, the cheaper your advertising costs.

Remember you are competing with other Advertisers
All that said remember the Internet advertisers can do so much for you but in realty the more effort you put in to your on-line Ad presentation and the follow-up you provided to your enquirers the greater your rewards!

Remember you are competing with other advertisers so try to make your Ad stand out from the crowd and attract more site visitor attention by using catchy headlines that highlight one or more key benefits of your property. Benefits you know will appeal to what your ideal client wants. And don't forget good quality photos!

One very important point is to research your pricing and compare your property type, location and amenities with other similar advertisers Ads. "Don't price yourself out of the market". Where possible offer some additional incentive like a discount for a longer let, free Internet access or a welcome pack etc. to spice up your offer. Also remember to take seasonal factors into account when setting your price bands. Make you tariffs clear and avoid to many price bands it confuses the reader and they'll move on!

Finally if you do it right and produce a really good-looking Ad you increase the perceived value of the Internet advertisers web site, making it more popular, which in turn means more site visitors and more potential enquiries for you! So to those owners who do take the step and advertise on-line here's to your on-line success.

For more advice or to enquire about advertising your property, please visit Villarama

© Copyright 2007 by & Jackie Taylor