Your brand isn’t what YOU say it is; it’s what YOUR GUESTS say it is. You can scream your brand at the world until the cows come home, but if your guests don’t feel your brand when they arrive, then all you’ve got is a sore throat from all that screaming.
It’s important to come out of the gate with a short term rental that is well branded for your target audience in such a way that they feel it in their bones when they’re staying in your space. If they were to tweet one thing about your unit before they left, would it be branding building or detrimental to all your hard work? Let’s talk about how to make sure every guest’s review builds your brand so that they boost your marketing efforts with every stay!
If you’ve just decided to launch a short term rental, you may very well be starting with a blank canvas. It’s a designers dream come true! How will you decorate? How do you want to describe the home to potential guests? What are travelers to your area looking for? How will you stand out among the sea of other rentals in your area? It can be overwhelming when you don’t have any direction, and there are a lot of pitfalls that you can stumble upon if you don’t start with a plan.
Unless you’re going for a brand that screams “It’s Like Sleeping in a Thrift Store,” piece meal is not the way to go. Acquiring furniture, housewares, and décor willy nilly over time will likely leave you with a home that doesn’t show well online, doesn’t attract guests, and won’t delight those who do arrive.
So, let’s talk about how to make a plan and work towards a solid brand that will show well and bring you amazing guests.
Start with your surroundings. You want to:
- Stand out as different than rentals nearby
- Offer a theme that corresponds well with the reasons folks may be traveling to your area
- Cater to the types of folks who would travel to the attractions nearby
Let’s consider an example:
Let’s say you’ve got a cute 2 bedroom 2 bath home near a children’s museum, a University, and it’s near a public transportation stop that serves a happening business center. You’ve got some choices to make! Start by surveying the landscape around you – check out your area on the most common rental sites and see what else is nearby. Perhaps within your area there is a rental that is fully decked out in University gear, complete with mascot-shaped pillows on all the beds. And another unit close by has multiple bunk beds, a play room, and a swing set in the backyard. So, what’s missing? Who isn’t being served in your area? The business traveler!
Now you have an ideal target audience: they have a reason to travel to your area and the other nearby options aren’t likely to appeal to them. Let’s bring them in!
To appeal to a business travel we suggest you offer the following amenities:
- Fast reliable internet
- A desk with plenty of light and adequate electrical outlets (A desklamp with built in charging ports is a great option)
- A comfortable desk chair
- Neutral paint colors and furnishings – Our color palette article offers a few nice choices!
- A fine art print (This one from Minted would work nicely with any of the Business Travel schemes we mention in this article)
- 1 Comfortable bed in each room, as large as the room can accommodate
- Quick and easy coffee making option – secret sauce alert: provide your guests with coffee from a local roaster that introduces them to some local flavor!
- Detailed instructions for how to use the public transportation – secret sauce alert: throw in a metro or bus card to make their first ride easy!
Once you’ve furnished your cottage with the business traveler in mind, writing a proper description will be your next step. Make sure you name the rental something that speaks directly to the business traveler. Don’t fall into the trap of trying to appeal to everyone and catch loose ends – more often than not, that just means you’ll stand out to no one at all. Mention the target audience for whom you’ve built the space. Choose a name like “Business Traveler Hideaway on Bus to Business Center” as opposed to “Quiet Cottage Near Downtown.” Then write your description with the business traveler in mind. Walk them through the experience of using each amenity in your home and help them feel at ease before they even click “book.”