Last update on January 27, 2013

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.

But first…

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.

About the author 

Matt Landau

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.

  1. Matt, I couldn’t agree more. I’ve noticed that almost every property in Mexico and Central America names their property – Casa Rincon, Villa Paradiso, etc. However most US based vacation rentals opt for the longer descriptive title instead of a name.

    It’s much easier to get excited about booking a week at “Tennessee Sunset Lodge” vs “beautiful 3 bedroom wood cabin in the trees with sunset views in the Smokey Mountains”.

  2. Good morning Matt. I am working on my marketing plan for my new vacation rental (Aug 14). Where I am really at loss is finding the proper name for my house. Would you (or anyone on this blog )have suggestions as to whom could help me brainstorming a name for my property? Thank you. Suzanne

      1. Thank you very much Matt for the information. I find your blog a very interesting and insightful reading.

  3. Matt- What are your thoughts on the length of a name? I’m in the process of registering the domain to start our vacation rental blog/site but it’s name is currently “Casa Del Norte” which of course isn’t available for a .com so I put “rental” behind it but then it seems quite long… casadelnorterental.com. I suppose I could shorten the domain to CDNrental.com?

    1. Domain names should ideally include your full name. I’d opt for casadelnortevr.com or casadelnortesanjose.com (or wherever it’s located).

  4. Always wanted a place named ‘Sugar Shack’ but wonder if the ‘shack’ element may be degrading? Close to the sea, just near the tracks (only used 1 day a week for sugar haulage train en route to sugar mill) what you think – new kid on the block in small village with very few VR’s Would love your comments one and all. Starting all over so want to get it right. Regards, Cecelle

  5. Hi Matt! I’m so glad I found this blog. My wife and I have been struggling with this for months. I knew it was mattered…..until I read your explanation I didn’t realize why it mattered. We just bought a modest off the water home in Isla Mujeres Mexico. On the day we purchased it my wife picked up a hermit crab, in quickly pinched the shit out of her…lol. Now all our Friends think it would be hilarious to name it the crab house. Casa Cangrejo means nothing to me….am I being too much of a stickler on this?

    1. Hey Lem, a name is all about personality and story. If it’s got both, you’re in good shape. The only bad name is one chosen for a non-authentic reason 🙂

  6. Hi Matt! how are you doing?! excellent article!!!!! I’m so impressed!
    I’d love to have some of your input in deciding how to name the properties I’m currently running. I have about 11 of them. Most are divided into two apartment complexes. Most agencies around here (Ibiza) name the apartments after flowers. Some do it with the name of beaches, but I think beaches might be confusing, like why name an apartment a beach that is no where near it….

    Also, my properties are luxury. I thought of giving names of Gods and Goddesses but might not go well with all our clients. I thought of perhaps using well known gemstones for the names, what do you think? Thanks Matt!!!

  7. Have a townhouse on a golf course and looking for a catchy name to put on the rental market

  8. Hi Matt! I’m just finishing a vacation rental in Redding CA. Its a one bedroom that has been completely renovated. Its has a some what rustic vibe. The house sits on six acres with two other houses. One will be converted into a small gift shop. There is an amazing view from the property. Any ideas for me? I was thinking something with the word “Ranch” in it . Then name the houses individuality. What are your thoughts?

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