Vacation rental email marketing guide

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While social media gets marketing buzz for holding people captive with ever-scrolling content, don’t underestimate the power of emails to also draw attention to your vacation home. A well-thought-out email marketing strategy can drive a lot of exposure and rental income. In fact, Vacasa’s marketing emails are on track to garner our vacation homes tens of millions of dollars in direct bookings in 2021.

Take it from our experience: It requires more than a few promotional emails to convince someone to book your vacation home. There are strategies behind every email—including what we write about, when we send them out, and who we send them to.

Vacasa’s Guest Marketing Manager Andy McCutcheon masterminds our email strategies (and dreams up ways to make our guests smile when we pop up in their inboxes). He’ll show you how to use email to build relationships with potential guests and drive repeat bookings.


10 tips to drive vacation rental bookings with email

1. Always deliver value

Let’s start with Andy’s #1 principle for email marketing. Above all else, be relevant. Resist the urge to continuously send out overtly promotional emails. Sure, sharing a promo here and there can be valuable to drive reservations, Andy says. But the majority of your email content should offer helpful and intrinsically valuable information to someone traveling to your region. Andy adds: A person’s email inbox is considered a precious place, so treat it as such.


2. Leverage guest data

A detailed record of each guest’s reservation will make it easier to email them relevant recommendations for future travel. For instance, note if guests travel with their family or their dog, or have an anniversary coming up. At Vacasa, we send marketing emails showcasing our pet-friendly homes to previous guests who traveled with their dogs before. In your case, you can put together a list of your favorite pet-friendly restaurants and dog parks in your area.

3. Set a regular schedule

A set cadence not only simplifies things for you—it also gives your vacation home regular exposure. Wondering how many emails you should send out? According to Andy, there is no right answer. He suggests keeping an eye on your audience’s engagement as a gauge. Keep track of open rates or clickthrough rates (most email platforms already monitor this information for you), and if they’re declining, then consider stepping back on how often you email.

With our vast number of email subscribers, Vacasa aims to email everyone on our subscriber list at least once per week. (This is in addition to the emails we automatically send out based on someone’s activity on our website. For example, when a potential guest abandons the website mid-search or leaves before completing their booking.)

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4. Consider your guests’ average booking window

Timing is everything, and email marketing is no exception. For instance, if your guests tend to book their stays an average of 3 months in advance, Andy recommends producing email content that would be relevant 3 months later. So you’d write about summer events in the spring, and promote winter activities in a fall email. This will build momentum and encourage people to book in advance.


5. Turbocharge your efforts with email automation

When someone subscribes to your email list, ideally you’ll want to send an immediate welcome email. Or, send them a special discount when their birthday rolls around. Those are just two examples of emails you can effortlessly deploy with automation, which Andy considers one of email marketing’s superpowers. Today’s email marketing platforms like Mailchimp or Emma already have easy-to-use automation tools. Andy says setting up these automatic emails can mean investing some time upfront, but you’ll be happy you made the effort.

Andy and his team send out an automated series of personalized emails to every guest before and after their stay (among other automated emails we deliver). Here are suggestions for emails that you can automate to guide guests on their journey with you:

Pre-stay vacation rental emails

  • An immediate welcome email after guests book.
  • An email closer to their stay that suggests things to do in your area.
  • An email a week or a few days before arrival that shares key information, like the code to unlock your door, the weather forecast, and your contact information.

Post-stay vacation rental emails

  • An email thanking guests for their stay that also encourages them to leave a review.
  • A reminder email asking guests for a review.
  • An email six months later to encourage them to book again.
  • An email a year later updating them on what’s new in your destination to encourage repeat visits.

At Vacasa, we know travelers trust other travelers and rely on testimonials from previous guests. So, we not only encourage reviews after every stay, we also make it easy for guests to spread the word on other review sites online.

6. Create visually appealing emails

Every email should showcase eye-catching visuals, such as high-quality destination images or your professional vacation home photos. Beautiful photography makes it easier for people to visualize the experience they’ll have at your vacation home. In turn, that can increase the chances they’ll book a stay.


7. Make emails mobile-friendly

More and more people are consuming emails on their smartphones or other mobile devices. That’s why every email you send out has to render perfectly on mobile platforms. If they don’t, it’s likely your email will quickly end up deleted. Fortunately, making emails mobile-friendly is easy—just choose mobile templates in whichever email marketing software you’re using. This means the template is already optimized for a variety of devices. At Vacasa, we have a mobile-first strategy that ensures all our emails are just as stunning and effective no matter how subscribers are viewing them.

8. Plan out content that inspires travel

As for what to write about in your emails, the ideas are endless. Start with considering what would draw guests to your destination. Is it the hiking or the family-friendly beaches? The dining scene or the remoteness? Tout all the reasons to travel to your region and separate those into several bite-size topics. Just remember Andy’s rule: Always provide value.

Here are some ideas to consider:

  • Upcoming local events. Suggest popular local happenings and encourage people to stay with you to be close to all the action.
  • What’s new. Highlight new attractions, restaurants, or activities. Give them more and more reasons to want to visit.
  • Helpful suggestions. Lay out what they need to know before visiting.
  • Guest testimonials. Share a recent guest review and encourage subscribers to experience your home for themselves.


9. Always link back to your vacation home website

No email is complete without ways to drive people back to your website to book directly online. For instance, introduce a recent blog post, then link back to it so people can read it in its entirety. In your template, include links that lead to specific pages on your website, such as property photos or an About Us page. Every link back to your site can edge a subscriber closer and closer to booking a stay.


10. Rely on vacation rental marketing experts

Regularly producing and sending out marketing emails can get tiresome and work-intensive, but it doesn’t have to be. When you work with marketing pros who are experts at vacation rentals, like Vacasa, getting constant exposure can be a cinch (as in, sit-back-and-we’ll-handle-it-for-you kind of cinch). We have the marketing technology and the experts to keep your vacation rental in the right places, in front of the right people, all the time.

Best of all, we have automated systems in place that would be difficult for most homeowners to manage on their own. Such as emailing website visitors who have looked at length at a particular home without making a reservation, whenever their preferred vacation home drops 10% or more in price, and to encourage booked guests to add a day to their stay with a discounted rate. Our aim: to tirelessly lead potential guests back to you.

The competition for bookings can be fierce, especially in popular travel destinations. So, it’s key to have as much visibility as possible to potential guests. Landing in, and standing out in, a person’s email inbox can help you stay top of mind and nudge recipients closer to booking a stay.

Vacation rental marketing FAQ

The secret: Don’t make your emails entirely about your vacation rental. Instead, consider what a potential guest would want to know when visiting your area and how close you are to certain attractions. We recommend a mix of helpful destination and travel content, sprinkled with a few promotional offers. Whatever topic you cover in an email, keep it short. People’s attention spans are shorter than ever. So, make it visual with prominent images and minimal copy to get your message across. The idea is to lead the reader back to your website or blog for more information.

There are numerous ways to boost your vacation home’s ranking on search engine results pages (SERP). These include consistently creating fresh blog content around your keywords and placing keywords in key areas of your website, like the title, headers, and meta tags.

Explore our SEO guide for vacation rentals >

There are seemingly endless ways to market your vacation home and get it in front of a wide audience. At Vacasa, we like to think creatively, while also leveraging tried and tested marketing strategies. Some tips for DIY vacation home owners:

  • Narrow in on the audience who would most likely be drawn to your home.
  • List your property on several vacation rental and travel sites, instead of relying on just one platform.
  • Use social media to promote your home and your destination.
  • Hire a professional photographer to build a portfolio of eye-catching photos that you can spread out online on your website, listing profiles, social media, etc.
  • Write listing descriptions and blog posts with keywords in mind to improve rankings on Google’s search engine results page (SERP).

Learn more ways to market your vacation rental >

Want even more help marketing your vacation home? Let’s chat about all the ways to get more visibility.

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Vacasa offers property management and other real estate services directly through Vacasa LLC and through Vacasa LLC's licensed subsidiaries. Click here for more information about Vacasa's licensed real estate brokerage/property manager in your state. Vacasa’s licensed real estate brokerages/property managers include: Vacasa Alabama LLC; Vacasa Arizona LLC; Vacasa Delaware LLC, 302-541-8999; Vacasa Florida LLC; Vacasa Louisiana LLC, Dana MacCord, Principal Broker, ph 504.252.0155 (Licensed in LA); Vacasa Michigan LLC, 947-800-5979; Vacasa Nevada LLC; Vacasa New Hampshire LLC, P.O. Box 283, Conway NH 03818, Dave Grant, Broker of Record; Vacasa New Mexico LLC, 503-345-9399; Vacasa New York LLC, 888-433-0068, Susan E. Scanlon, Real Estate Broker; Vacasa North Carolina LLC; Vacasa Pennsylvania LLC; Vacasa Real Estate Corporation, California DRE #02105811, Joseph Czapkowicz, California DRE #01380722; Vacation Palm Springs Real Estate, Inc., California DRE #01523013, Joseph Czapkowicz, California DRE #01380722; Vacasa Real Estate LLC (licensed in Colorado, Daned Kirkham); Vacasa Real Estate LLC (licensed in Idaho and Oregon); Vacasa Real Estate LLC (licensed in Tennessee, 615-671-9916); Vacasa Real Estate LLC (licensed in Texas, Debra Brock, Designated Broker); Vacasa Real Estate LLC (licensed in Washington, Robert Brush, Designated Broker); Vacasa South Carolina LLC; Vacasa Tennessee LLC; Vacasa Vacation Rentals of Hawaii LLC, 3350 Lower Honoapiilani Road, Suite 600, Lahaina, HI 96761; Vacasa Vacation Rentals of Montana LLC, Patrice Tompkins, Licensed Property Manager; Vacasa Virginia LLC; Vacasa Wisconsin LLC; Vacasa Wyoming LLC. In Canada, this advertisement is provided by Vacasa Canada ULC, CPBC lic. number 75826, 172 Asher Rd. V1X 3H6 Kelowna, BC.