If you are serious about your vacation rental, you need to represent something. This article explains how to go about creating a name brand so that vacationers will be drawn to your identity.
Through the historic archway entrance of my rentals, I get the pleasure of meeting a revolving door of incredibly interesting travelers.
One of the most memorable was the world’s leading nation branding expert.
What is nation branding? I’m thinking to myself.
Basically, governments pay this guy to come in, learn their country inside and out, then generate a logo, slogan and campaign under which the government will brand itself over extended periods of time. “You ever heard Made in Taiwan?” he asked me. “Yeah. That was me. I did that.”
As you might imagine, I spent many hours bothering this guest and we actually became quite good friends and still talk frequently.
One time we were having lunch and he got a phone call from the President of Fiji (which is hilariously cool). His industry of branding is fascinating because it deals with the reputations of entire nations. It’s what makes you think rainforest when you hear Costa Rica or what makes you think of the Eiffel Tower and baguettes when you hear France.
Millions of dollars and thousands of man hours go into these brand identities: they are the efforts that fuel tourism, foreign direct investment, and trade.
I’ll start off by saying that branding for vacation rentals is a markedly less intensive task. But just because your property is not the size of, say, China, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be using the fundamental branding principals that drive the best companies (and countries) in the world. What this means is…
Your rental needs a brand.
Your rental needs a name.
There’s a reason Coca Cola doesn’t go by the name “Sweet Carbonated Beverage Originally Intended As A Patent Medicine When Invented In The Late 19th Century By John Pemberton.”
There’s a reason Ritz Carlton doesn’t put “Welcome To The Brand Of Luxury Hotels And Resorts With Properties In 30 Countries” on it’s sign above the entrance.
And there’s a reason McDonald’s uses giant yellow arches to signify your fat ass has arrived at fast food Mecca. It’s because a brand is the quickest way to explain what a business has to offer — and yes, your rental is a business.
So if the world’s most successful brands (and countries) are using names and logos to etch their identity into the hearts and minds of their customers, why on God’s great earth, should Ma and Pa Kettle call their Alabama rental “Our Vacation Home In The Scenic Hills With 2 Bedrooms, A Wood Burning Fire and Even A Hot Tub On The Porch”?
Almost as bad as this long-winded vacation rental name is the absurdly generic “Alabama Vacation Rental.”
Actually think about it. Your brand name is your rental’s face to the world: it’s kind of like a promise — a way for you to attract new travelers and to retain former guests. So why would naming it anything too complicated or sadly unoriginal suffice?
Owners who have a good name for their vacation rental book more nights than owners who don’t.
Giving your rental a name and a logo (don’t have much money? Read this article on how much Google and Twitter logos cost to make) signifies organization, professionalism, cleanliness, thought and care: all of which are traits that travelers like to associate with when choosing a place to stay.
A name is a way to establish an identity for your rental. A name is a way for people browsing VRBO to remember your property apart from the thousands of others just like it. A name is a way to show you care about your property. After all, would you ever name your baby “Second Born Male With Hazel Eyes Who Cries Surprisingly Little”? Of course not. You’d name him something beautifully succinct like…Jerry.
Naming your vacation rental is something owners of all skill levels can do. I once had a friend looking to rent his gorgeous oceanfront home. The moment we gave that property the name “White Palm Villa” there was a discernible uptick in interest from both agents and buyers…
I mean, people were writing in, “I’d like to get pricing for White Palm Villa,” and “Hi, would you be willing to host our family at your White Palm Villa?”
You see what I mean? Giving your property a name gives people something to latch onto. I have seen the best success with rental owners in dense vacation rental regions: in destinations like these, setting your unit apart makes all the difference.
Matt Landau is the Founder of the VRMB and the Inner Circle, two online resources dedicated to helping vacation rental owners and managers generate more bookings.
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