We’ve all received emails with offers or updates from a business, but how does one go about building a mailing list for their vacation rental business? And why exactly is a mailing list so useful in the short-term rental industry?
An email list is a list of emails that businesses gather from customers and guests, both current and potential, that would like to receive updates, information, discounts and other details. Building a mailing list is a great way to connect and nurture relationships with your guests. By providing email communication, you’re able to stay preeminent in your prospects’ and guests’ mind.
There are different goals that you may aim to accomplish through email marketing. You could set out to generate traffic towards high-value content on your website, increase awareness and education to people that are interested yet not in the booking stage, or nurture leads towards a booking at your vacation rental. By inspiring them to travel to your vacation home, showing all the amazing spots and activities around your area, or offering them special deals and promotions, you can win them over through email and get them to book with you. You can also aim to generate revenue by promoting upselling and cross-selling of optional extras or amenities, like airport pick-up or dry-cleaning service. Whichever your goal may be, your email content should be valuable.
Before you start, remember to familiarize yourself with laws and regulations about marketing consent and data protection in your area as well as in that of your guests. In Europe, the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) is in force and it requires consent to be opt-in. This means that the recipients of your emails have to explicitly agree to receive your content and offers.
As a vacation rental owner or manager, you should consider building up a mailing list. This much is certain. But why and how do you do it?
Why should you build a mailing list for your vacation rental business?
Let’s look at the reasons why, as a vacation rental owner or manager, you should start building a mailing list, if you don’t already have one. And if you have one, remember to keep it refreshed and updated.
1. Easy to reach a large number of people
In 2020, the number of global e-mail users amounted to four billion. Since so many are sending and receiving emails every day, email marketing has the potential to reach a large number of people. Few other marketing tools can offer you this opportunity.
2. Email is personal
Through emails, you can personalize your communication, like addressing people by name and offering content, offers and promotions that are relevant to them. People are much more likely to engage with your business, purchase a product or service or book a stay at your vacation home when they’re not “one of the bunch” but are instead seen as a valued consumer.
3. Email subscribers are more likely to book a stay or purchase a service
If someone subscribed to your email list, they are interested in your business and are engaged. That makes them more likely and one step closer to book a stay at your vacation home or purchase an additional service. By sending them targeted emails, you can help them get educated and get them to make the jump to customers.
4. You have full control over the list
You have full control not only over the email list and the data, but also on the emails’ design and text and other technical stuff. You can also decide to handle all the email marketing yourself. In contrast to social media where you have to follow guidelines and algorithms, email marketing leaves you in complete control.
5. Helps you build trust
Repeated communication and engagement with potential guests will help you build trust. Thanks to well-thought emails, your potential guests will see you as trustworthy, reliable and will be more likely to book a stay in your short-term rental. With trust comes an increase in the chances of gaining a conversion.
6. Low cost and great returns
Email marketing doesn’t require a large budget in order to be effective. At the same time, email has a staggering return on investment (ROI) of 4200%, generating $42 for every $1 spent. This is why, despite all the new marketing channels and techniques, email marketing is still one of the most effective ones.
How do I build an email list for my vacation rental business?
Now that you know how important it is to build an email list to nurture relationships and attract guests to your vacation home, let’s look at the ways you can collect email addresses for your list.
1. Collect email addresses from existing guests
The first way, and probably the most logical one, is collecting email addresses from your existing guests that have already stayed at your vacation rental. You can gather their first and last name and email address. It would be probably useful for you to add additional information such as month and occasion for the visit, but also anything else that might be useful for targeted marketing. The more information you have, the better you’ll be able to send them content that they’ll be interested in.
2. Create a newsletter
Do you have interesting information or tips that you want to share with your past, future and potential guests? Then a newsletter is a great way to connect and engage to get more conversions. As a vacation rental owner or manager, you could send a newsletter to keep people informed about events in the area of your vacation home, things to do and see during the different seasons or other traveling tips. Past guest inquiries could be a source of ideas for your newsletter. But how do you get people to sign up to your newsletter? You can insert a call-to-action on your website to invite people to sign up to your newsletter. You can also post about your email newsletter on your social media accounts.
3. Create call-to-action on your blog pages
Creating blog content is an excellent way to attract new guests, help you advertise and build trust around your business. Interesting and helpful blog articles will help you stand out and gain visibility while making you a reliable voice in the short-term rental industry. Additionally, you can redirect people that read your blog to other content, offers or discounts through a call-to-action.
A “Call-to-action” is fancy marketing speak for a button, image or text that tells viewers what to do, for example “sign up”, “create an account” or “subscribe”. According to Hubspot, personalized call-to-actions perform 202% better than basic CTAs. That is why you should tailor the experience on your website to the different visitors. People that visit your blog on your website, or that end up on specific landing pages, are looking for something particular and trying to satisfy unique needs. Therefore, adding tailored CTAs to your blog or landing pages will boost conversions and increase your email list. If you don’t have a website for your short-term rental business yet, or if you would like to upgrade to a professional website complete with online booking and payment options, read more here.
4. Create gated content
If you have content that is more valuable, then you might want to make it gated content. Gated content is any content that visitors of your website can access only after providing some information about themselves, like their email address, name and other valuable details you might want to collect. On your vacation rental website, you could offer tailored content, like guides, e-books, fun quizzes or exclusive articles that your guests would find useful and valuable. In order to access them, they’ll need to provide you with their contact details and marketing consent.
5. Create a pop-up or slide-in
Another way to attract your website visitors’ attention is a pop-up or a slide-in (as the name suggests, they slide in from the side). Although their vast and ill-considered use has grown their notoriousness as annoying features, when used correctly, pop-ups can be very useful. Pop-ups are used to capture the visitor’s attention by offering a strong call-to-action like offers, discounts, contests, or some other information of value in exchange for the visitor’s email address. There are welcome pop-ups that greet visitors just after landing on the website, promotional pop-ups that appear when the visitor is actively browsing, and exit intent pop-ups that appear when visitors show intent to leave in order to try to reduce the exit possibility. To be effective, all pop-ups should show relevance with respect to the stages of the visitor’s journey to appropriately spur them to stay and leave their details to you.
6. Create a pop-up survey
There is another type of pop-up that is useful not only in helping you build an email list for your vacation rental business, but also to engage visitors: timed pop-up surveys. These surveys are short surveys that run directly on your website and often pertain to the content on the page. Pop-up surveys are useful because they also allow you to gather feedback from your visitors and understand what their responses to your offers and content are. Keep the survey to one or two questions, it will make it quick and easy to fill out and will increase the response rates. Surveys are especially handy because not only do you gather contact details, but you can also learn more information about the person which may be useful to know when you are planning your future marketing to them.
7. Use social media
Social media platforms are an excellent way to drive traffic to your business. Social media is also very useful in helping you build your mailing list for your vacation rental business. You can embed signup buttons on your social accounts by adding call-to-action buttons to your profiles. As mentioned before, you can also share posts inviting people to sign up. Another great way to take advantage of social media to direct people to sign up is to create contests, discounts or giveaways. These promotions can help you drive traffic to your landing page where people, in order to participate in the contest, can sign up.
Building an email list for your vacation rental business is a great way to connect, build relationships with your guests and remain preeminent in your prospects’ and guests’ mind. You will likely need a website to effortlessly collect your visitor’s email addresses, among other reasons why you should get your own vacation rental website. For top-notch management and marketing of your short-term rental properties, there are also digital solutions like Property Management Systems and Channel Managers that will make your job easier and more successful.