Vacation rental owners and managers want to find niche vacation rental listing sites for several reasons, such as getting more bookings for a non-traditional property, having a higher occupancy in the low season or being less dependent from the big listing sites.
To help you find whether this is a right vacation rental marketing and distribution strategy, I’ve created this series of articles. I have interviewed several founders of niche listing sites and also shared with you the tools I use to find relevant niche sites for my properties.
This post here is the summary for my findings, but be sure to read every article, for they provide valuable and actionable information. Even if your own properties are not in one of these niches, there are great ideas to discover, copy and apply in your vacation rental business.
1. Why list some or all of your properties on niche vacation rental websites
If you own a property that can appeal only to a certain type of guests, say a French chateau, a luxury beach retreat on a private island or a cabin in the woods fit for a digital detox, niche vacation rental listing are great for you to reach out to potential guests.
But these niche sites can also lead to more revenues year-round, as well as more to more independence from the big listing sites.
1.1. Niches can yield more bookings, higher occupancy, and more revenues per booking
There are a lot of benefits to listing your properties on a few, well-targeted, vacation rental sites for travelers with a specific interest.
Here are 4 examples that I got from interviewing the founders of several niche vacation rental listing sites:
More bookings in the off-season
Families with toddlers can book off-season, unlike families with older children, explains Nikki Woodson Blair, founder of Clanventure.com.
Higher revenues per booking
Melissa Halliburto of BringFido.com quotes a study showing that 50% of dog owners were willing to pay more to stay at accommodations that are dog-friendly.
More bookings by solving the needs of specific travelers
Even if you are not gay, you can list your properties on gay-friendly site MisterBnb.com, says CEO Matthieu Jost, provided you are a welcoming host.
More bookings by making it easy to find your one-of-a-kind property
For travelers looking for unique rentals, a website like Gavin Ferns’ NicheEscapes.com is a great place where to find inspiration.
1.2. Diversify your channels, get more independence from the big listing sites
Are you getting most of your bookings from only 1 channel, say HomeAway, Booking.com, TripAdvisor or Airbnb? What if, one day, things changed on this platform and you were not receiving bookings anymore?
Impossible? Well, think about vacation rental owners and managers who have seen big drops in bookings since HomeAway introduced guest fees. Think of vacation rental managers who’ve had their listings wiped out from Airbnb.
It never hurts to diversify your channels, or, at least, to be ready to activate new ones should something bad happen.
Listing Site Independence in 2016?Listing your property on niche websites is a way to gain independence from the big listing sites. This is a recurring theme in 2016.
Vacation rental marketing gurus like Matt Landau of VRMB.Com and Jay William of VillaMarketers.com think that this year is the year rental owners and managers reclaim some freedom from the sites. Even if I am as drastic, this is also one of the things I had in mind when launching my RentalPreneurs Club for rental entrepreneurs like you and me.
For instance, Matt’s website tag line is “Vacation Rental Marketing Blog by Matt Landau: Free Vacation Rental Marketing Advice To Generate Independence From The Major Listing Site”
2. How to get bookings from niche vacation rental sites?
2.1. Yes, your properties can be a perfect for a niche of travelers. Find out how to determine it.
As I own properties in 2 specific locations, on the Caribbean island of St. Barths and on the Indonesian island of Bali, it is normal that I should first think of geography as a way to do niche targeting.
Consequently, my Bali rentals are listed with a site called Villa-Bali.com (See on this site a study on the Bali rental market made by this vacation rental management company) and my St. Barths rentals are listed with local agents like Sibarth and Wimco.
What other ways of niching down your properties do you have? Here a few ideas:
Geography, Location-Specific Traits
Can you target people who want to say in your region? Nearby ski slopes or golf courses? Near hiking trails?
How about targeting who are looking for luxury vacation rentals? If your property has the right gear and has no safety issues, how about targeting families with toddlers? Do you own a chateau, a cabin, or another unique place?
Based on the traits of your target guests
Can you host people with disabilities? How about people traveling with their dogs? Can you attract foodies, digital nomads or vegans?
Based on your own unique traits
Can you or can someone in your team speak a language that your guests speak, but that your competitors ignore with their marketing? Are you a gay man with plenty of information to share about the local scene?
2.2. How to find niche listing sites for your vacation rentals?
For this series on niche vacation rentals, I have written up a whole article on how to find niche vacation rental listing sites. You can read it here: https://www.rentalpreneurs.com/how-to-find-niche-vacation-rental-listing-sites-to-get-more-bookings/.
In this article I share with you 3 tips on how to find them:
- Learn how to conduct an advanced search in Google to find sites competing in your niche.
- Learn how to easily use market research tools like Semrush and Spyfu to find and rank niche listing sites.
- See how you outsource this useful, but time-consuming, research for $5 to $15 on Fiverr.
Read the whole article here: How to find niche vacation rental listing sites to get more bookings.
3. Get niche marketing ideas by reading these value-packed interviews
In order to make this article series about niche vacation rentals more useful and more actionable for you, I have taken the time to research niche sites that were doing a great job.
Even if your properties are not a good fit with the niches mentioned here, I believe that you can copy a few tricks and adapt them for your own market.
3.1. Family Vacation Rentals: How Clanventure can help you get more bookings year round
Find out how you can adapt your properties to attract families with small children who travel in the low booking season. Also, see how Clanventure uses great photos and social media to reach out to their niche target.
Read the article here: Family Vacation Rentals: How Clanventure can help you get more bookings year round.
3.2. BringFido.com : Higher Occupancy and Higher Revenues with Dog-Friendly Vacation Rentals
This article is packed with amazing data about the pet-friendly travel market. As dogs represent 90% of the pets that travel, it is interesting to see how you can charge more by letting guests bring Fido with them.
Read the article here: BringFido.com : Higher Occupancy and Higher Revenues with Dog-Friendly Vacation Rentals.
3.3. Misterbnb on growing a gay-friendly vacation rental listing site into a global brand
MisterBnb has raised $2 million in investment and has smartly fuzed the Airbnb business model with the needs of an existing, strong community. Very smart marketing, and a nice opportunity for gay-friendly vacation rental owners and managers.
Read the article here: Misterbnb on growing a gay-friendly vacation rental listing site into a global brand.
3.4. How NicheEscapes.com helps owners reach out to travellers with specific interests
Gavin Ferns’ family owns a French chateau. He decided to take matters in his own hands and has created Niche Escapes, a site targeting 17 different rental niches. This is a good example of gaining independence by grouping like-minded VR owners and managers around you.
Read the article here: How NicheEscapes.com helps owners reach out to travellers with specific interests.
ConclusionPick top niche listing sites. Beware of calendar updates. Dominate your niche.
I hope that this article series will help you decide on whether to use niche vacation rentals sites as part of your vacation rental marketing tactics.
Maybe there is a slice of your rental inventory that would benefit from being listing on these sites.
However, beware of technical issues: For instance, you have to make sure that it is easy for you to synchronize your main booking calendar with these niche sites. Some of them will integrate with channel managers such as Rentals United or let you use iCal.
You may be happier picking only 1 top site per niche and try to dominate it with your listings, rather than spreading yourself thing among several sites.