Vacation rental advertising and PPC

How to advertise your Airbnb for more bookings and visibility

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The key to more bookers? Attract more lookers. Thankfully, there are several smart ways to market your vacation rental to generate more views. Some strategies are even free, like social media marketing, email marketing, and search engine optimization.

Then, there are ways you can pay to advertise your short-term rental. One of the most effective paid marketing methods is pay-per-click advertising, otherwise known as PPC. How can you use vacation rental PPC to get in front of more potential guests, leading to more bookings? Our Vacasa PPC and search engine marketing team breaks it down. Let’s take a closer look.

Vacation rental PPC experts

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Robyn Orme

Vacasa Senior SEM Manager

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Ally Chan

Vacasa Senior SEM Specialist

What is vacation rental PPC?

In the simplest terms, pay-per-click advertising is how it sounds—you pay each time someone clicks on your ads. These ads can be displayed in numerous places, such as a Google search results page (SERP), on Instagram or Facebook, or even on a local newsite.

According to Robyn and Ally, here’s what your success relies on:

  • Keywords: Selecting the right keywords is…key. “They’re the foundation of every ad and determine when and where those ads show up and how much you pay per click,” Ally explains.
  • Spot-on ad copy: Once your ad pops up, your ad copy needs to grab their attention and hold it—and persuade your audience to click.
  • Landing page: This is where the ad leads to, once someone clicks. Whether your landing page is your Airbnb listing or a specific page on your vacation rental website, it should be relevant to the keywords you targeted in the first place.


Google Paid Search ads for vacation rentals:



Why advertise your Airbnb with PPC?

More visibility

The biggest benefit of them all—more eyes on your vacation rental. PPC helps to place your ad at the top of search engine result pages or other websites with a ton of traffic. “This means standing out from the competition and getting in front of potential new guests,” Robyn says.

Real-time results

Since PPC ad campaigns are all built online, you can track clicks, impressions, and even conversions from those ads in real-time. You can then pivot and quickly adjust copy or your budgets to get even better results.

Control over your budget

With PPC, you set your maximum budget and how much you’re willing to spend on specific keywords (some keywords are more expensive than others). This helps avoid overspending and wasting any precious marketing dollars.

Flexibility

No static ads here. “You can adjust your PPC ad campaigns, or scale up or down, very quickly,” says Robyn. “This strategy is adaptable and can be customized for different audiences, different times of the year, or different marketing messages.”

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How to successfully advertise your vacation rental with PPC

It’ll take some planning to get up and running with your first PPC campaign. Let’s break down the process here.

1: Define success

Specify a goal. Do you want to drive more traffic to your vacation rental listing? Or, get at least 10 new bookings during a slow period? “Setting a specific goal will help you decide on the right strategy, keywords, targeting, and more—not to mention help gauge success,” Ally says.

Step 2: Choose your ad platform

Where do you want your ads to show up? There are several places online where you can place your PPC ads, each with its own options for targeting specific audiences. Here are some of the top ad platforms to choose from:

Google Ads

By far the most popular form of PPC, Google Ads allows you to create ads that will be displayed on top of the SERP when someone Googles your keywords. This way, Google shows your vacation rental to people searching for exactly what you offer, such as ‘Lake Michigan cottage in Saugatuck’.

Microsoft Ads

Here, you can place your pay-per-click ads on the Bing and Yahoo search engines and other partner sites. It’s comparable to Google Ads, with similar bidding and targeting options.

Meta Ads

These ads will be placed on Facebook and Instagram, with Meta allowing you to dig deep into demographics. For instance, you can target your ad to women over 40, who live less than 3 hours away, who like kayaking, paddleboarding, and being out in nature—an ideal guest for your lakefront cabin.

LinkedIn Ads

Ideal when you’re marketing to business travelers, LinkedIn Ads allow you to target specific industries, company sizes, and job titles.

Step 3: Set your budget

How much do you want to spend daily or weekly on clicks? You can set a bid for each keyword that you use. PPC ads allow you to lower or increase your budget whenever you’d like based on your results.

Step 4: Choose your keywords

“Keywords are the foundation of your PPC success—so expect to spend some time on this step,” Robyn suggests. When selecting keywords, think about what an actual guest would search for. Where is your vacation home located? What amenities do you offer? What attractions are nearby? The goal: Choose keywords that have enough search volume, along with a low cost per click.

Keywords can look like this:

Need help with keywords? A highly recommended tool is Google Keyword Planner, where you’ll find click prices, search volumes,, and suggestions for new keywords based on the ones you already have.

Step 5: Determine your target audience

Harness the power of demographics that platforms like Facebook Ads and Google Ads offer. “For instance, with Facebook Ads you can target a lookalike audience—consisting of users who have similar characteristics as your previous guests,” Ally explains. In Google and Bing, you can narrow in on demographics like age, gender, and even household income.

Step 6: Write ad copy

Highlight your vacation home’s unique features and amenities. Also, make sure to have a clear call-to-action to drive people to click on your ad.

Step 7: Designate a landing page

After someone clicks on your ad, where do you want them to go? Ideally, your ads should link directly to a specific page on your vacation rental website or your Airbnb or Vrbo listing page.

Step 8: Publish your ads

Release your ads to the world and start seeing how many people are clicking.

Step 9: Adjust and improve

Thanks to real-time results, you’ll be able to quickly gauge whether your ads are working or not. Robyn suggests checking in every week to monitor your ad campaigns and make improvements, such as adjusting the copy, target audience, or bids. “All of these changes help to optimize your campaign,” she says.

“For instance, you can allocate even more of your budget to the keywords and ads that are doing well. Then, nix or modify the underperformers.”

Step 10: Measure your success

Track your results to see if you’re hitting the mark and achieving the goals you started with. Are you getting the views and the bookings that you aimed for? If not, continue to tweak and adjust your ads to see what sticks.

The pool area of a vacation rental in Destin, Florida.

5 vacation rental PPC mistakes to avoid

  1. Only running one ad: Have several ads running at the same time so you’re getting as much exposure as possible. Plus, you can test against each other and see which one is more successful.
  2. Low quality ad images or copy: Ads should be eye-catching and entice people to click. Test out different copy and images and see which garners more success.
  3. Targeting the wrong audience: You should only target people who are likely to book a stay at your vacation home. One tactic that Ally suggests: Consider all the types of guests who already book vacation rentals in your area.
  4. Not making continuous adjustments: Track your performance often and adjust your messaging, bids, and targeting for better results.
  5. Ignoring negative keywords: Prevent your ad from being shown in searches that aren’t relevant. Certain ad platforms, such as Google Ads, allow you to specify keywords that you don’t want to trigger your ads. For instance, if your vacation home is located in Orange County, Florida, some of your negative keywords could be:
    • Vacation rentals in Orange County, California
    • Orange County vacation rental jobs
    • How to buy Orange County vacation home

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