How To Use Target Markets To Grow Your Vacation Rental

Target markets are often overlooked by vacation rental hosts but are crucial to informing your overall strategy. Your design, pricing, content, and amenities will all be influenced by your target market. To select a target market consider the market your in, your closest competitors, and what makes your property unique. Utilize both demographics and psychographics to develop a picture of your ideal customer.

Pro Tip: Consider which filters on vacation rental websites will best target your market. Make sure that you show up when these filters are used.

Demographics

Demographics answers the question of “who are my customers?” This encompasses a variety of attributes such as gender, age, marital and family status, household income, etc. These demographics can be useful in determining how to market your property.

For example, if you want to market to high income households make sure to have high quality amenities and furnishings that will appeal to these buyers. A unit full of Ikea furniture will not attract this market segment.

If you want to avoid attracting young people, that may be noisy, consider highlighting how your property is in the quiet part of town away from the hustle. Use descriptive words such as peaceful and tranquil in your titles and listing descriptions. These descriptors will signal that the property is not for loud or rowdy guests which may dissuade younger guests from booking.

Demographics can be a simple way to analyze your target market but it doesn’t develop an accurate picture of guest buying behaviours which is crucially more important. It is also important to note that you should never reject guests based on demographics alone. Using demographics can have the unintended consequence of discriminating, which is explicitly against the policies of Airbnb and Homeaway.

Psychographics

Psychographics are used to determine “why do people purchase?” Psychographics’ attempt to identify groups of people with similar lifestyles, interests, values, and personalities. These characteristics have a major impact on guest buying patterns.

For example, some guests choose to cook every night while others eat out. In order to market to guests that want to eat in make your kitchen a focal point of your listing, stock it with basic ingredients, and supply high quality kitchen equipment. If you have a small basic kitchen you may choose to highlight all the great local places to eat. This will help target travellers that are looking to try local cuisine but are unlikely to spend much time in the kitchen.

If your interested in attracting outdoorsy guests you should describe how close you are to nature and provide useful amenities. Consider using a title such as "Modern 2 Bed Condo only 2 minutes to the Lifts." These titles clearly communicate a major selling point of your property that is important to this segment of the market. In addition supply reading materials such as local maps and activity guides. Even better make sports equipment available such as bikes, snowshoes, soccer balls, etc.

Filter Targeting

A great strategy for choosing a target market is to consider the filters that are used on vacation rental sites. Some great filters that can help you create a niche in the market are for pets, events, work trips, and families to name a few. Effective filter targeting allows you to create a niche in the market and price at a premium. Our team has tremendous experience and resources to help you improve the searchability of your vacation rental.

Pets

Hosts often restrict pets because they fear the extra cleaning that may be required or the potential for damage. In some cases this may be true but in my experience allowing pets has been a great way to target more guests. In addition it allows you to increase your cleaning fees and damage deposits. Our tests show that our bookings increased due to a low supply of available pet friendly accommodation.

29% of guests prioritize pet friendliness as an important amenity

We recommend checking with you strata or HOA, if you have one, regarding the policy of pets. Many strata’s restrict pets in the building. Although pet friendliness is a great way to market your property it is not worth getting on your strata’s bad side.

Groups & Parties

If your property is capable and willing of accommodating large groups you can have a massive competitive advantage! Most hosts are wary of large groups which restricts supply and therefore drives up prices. In order to mitigate the risk of allowing groups make sure to charge a sizable deposit and charge extra adult fees.

Pro Tip: Consider creating a website for your property if you are capable of supporting events, weddings, etc. Direct bookings allow for more negotiating room and opportunities to sell additional services.

Family & Business Friendly

Airbnb has special filters for Family and Business Friendly units. These are units that have in the past hosted these types of guests and have amenities that are prioritized to these guests such as toys, desks, quick internet, etc. Hitting these filter achievements will vastly decrease the competition when potential guests utilize these filters.

As an example, in my home market of Whistler, Canada, there are 3310 vacation rental listings but only 197 that meet the requirements of the Business Friendly unit. It's clear when this filter is being used your ranking and chance of being booked will improve vastly.

To market your property as family friendly make sure to provide great family amenities and feature them in your photos and written description. As an example, check out a property Lifty Life manages at Cultus Lake. This property has been designed to attract families with children as such the amenities include beach gear, toys, baby gates, a crib, a highchair, among other family amenities. Of the upcoming reservations 80% have children under the age of 12.

Conclusion

  1. Identify a target market within your current customer base.
  2. Group by both demographics and psychographics.
  3. Ensure this group has the budget and is sizable enough to target.
  4. Consider what is important to your ideal customers and how to cater to their needs.
  5. Utilize Airbnb's filters to better target and maximize your ranking positions.
  6. Evaluate your strategy in targeting your customers