How to Create an Effective Vacation Rental Marketing Plan

From social media, to SEO, to email marketing, and other strategies—we're bringing it all together to talk about how to create an effective vacation rental marketing plan.

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links.

Chapter 5 of our Vacation Rental Marketing Guide

If you want to get serious about marketing your vacation rental business, it’s important to have a solid marketing plan.

In this post, we’re bringing together all the marketing strategies we’ve covered in our Vacation Rental Marketing Guide to talk about how to create an effective vacation rental marketing plan for your business.

Here are 3 steps to an effective marketing plan. 

Step 1: Write Down Your Plan

When creating your vacation rental marketing plan, we recommend actually writing it down somewhere. You can use Google Docs or a tool like Slab to create standard operating procedures (SOPs), which will make your marketing tasks easier to outsource or delegate as you grow. 

Here’s a list of ideas you might consider adding to your marketing plan, broken down by marketing channel: 

Listing Sites

  • List on Airbnb and other sites – Airbnb is a great place to list your property. You can maximize your exposure by also listing on more sites like Vrbo and Booking.com. Here are the best listing sites.
  • List on niche sites – See if there are any niche listing sites you might want to use to market your property. 
  • Get professional photography / staging – Look at your property photography compared to similar listings. If there’s room for improvement, consider hiring a professional or read these photography tips
  • Identify your unique selling proposition – Figure out what makes your property unique, and focus on it in your description, title, and website content. Create a ‘persona’ of your typical guest, and figure out what specifically about your property will appeal to them.
  • Optimize your listings – Analyze your listings based on these listing optimization tips, and see if there’s room for improvement. 
  • Optimize your pricing – Create a pricing strategy and try using a dynamic pricing tool to maximize your profits. 
  • Use a channel manager – If you’re listing on multiple sites, you’ll want to keep everything in sync with a channel manager
  • Automate guest messages – Another way channel management software can help is by automating some guest messaging. Being more responsive will improve your Airbnb search ranking

SEO / Google

  • Create your own website / blog – Show up on Google with your own website. Learn how to make your own vacation rental website. Make sure to include lots of relevant, keyword-rich content. Focus on giving your guests all the information they need on your website.
  • Get on Google – Follow these 5 steps to get started with SEO
  • Drive more traffic with content marketing – Create pages blog posts that will help you show up in Google searches and position your business as knowledgeable and helpful. Start churning out content based on a thoughtful content marketing strategy.

Social Media

  • Set up your accounts – Create Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter accounts, and fill out the bios completely (including an attractive profile photo and a link to your website or Airbnb listing).
  • Post on Facebook and/or Instagram – Choose which social media platform(s) to use, how often to post (days and times), and what content to post (get content ideas for Facebook and Instagram).

Email Marketing

  • Build an email list – Collect emails from your guests (via direct bookings), using StayFi [affiliate link], or another strategy. 
  • Create an email lead magnet – Create an ebook, checklist, or other free resource to offer people who sign up for your email list.
  • Create an email automation series – Like this one you’re reading right now. Think about topics your potential guests might be interested in learning about, and write a series of emails to send to new subscribers. 
  • Send a consistent email newsletter – Choose a weekly, monthly, or quarterly cadence to send out an informative email to your list. Explore more vacation rental marketing ideas, and decide which strategies you’ll add to your marketing plan.

Pro Tip: Trying to do too much can lead to overwhelm, burnout, and poor results. Sometimes less is more. A lean, focused marketing plan that gets executed is better than an elaborate one that doesn’t—you can always expand your plan as you go. 

Step 2: Execute Your Plan

Your plan is only as good as your execution. Once you’ve created your plan and documented it (in Google Docs, Slab, or some other way), now you need to consistently execute it. 

If you’re running all of this yourself or with a small team, a comprehensive vacation rental marketing plan might seem a bit overwhelming.

We recommend starting small. Figure out what works for your situation, schedule, and budget.

Also consider what tasks you can outsource. You might consider hiring a professional photographer to take your photos, a copywriter to maintain your blog or write compelling website content, or a virtual assistant to help manage your social media.

Trello is another tool you might use to execute your plan. Another good way to keep track of what needs to get done and when is to schedule to-do items as recurring events right on your online calendar. 

For more ideas on tools you can use to help execute your marketing plan, check out our list of vacation rental marketing software

Pro Tip: Beware of perfectionism, which has a way of stopping your marketing plan dead in its tracks. Be willing to try new strategies, ‘fail’ and cut bait on other strategies, tweak and optimize over time, and adjust your plan as needed. Marketing is nothing if not messy at times. 

Step 3: Evaluate Your Plan

Once you’ve written down your plan, started to execute it, and you’re seeing some results (positive or negative), it’s important to evaluate and modify your plan over time.

The best way to minimize wasted time and effort on marketing is to periodically evaluate your marketing plan, to analyze what’s working well and what isn’t. You can start to try new things, or double down on what’s working.

Maybe you need to scale back because you aren’t consistently executing well enough. Maybe you need to prioritize certain strategies that are outperforming others. Maybe your plan just needs a couple of minor tweaks. 

The more you can actively and honestly evaluate your performance, the more quickly and easily you’ll be able to improve your marketing plan. But also, don’t overdo it—sometimes a marketing strategy just needs a little more time before it will produce the desired results. 

Keep in mind that online marketing results rarely happen overnight. But with consistent effort, you’ll start to see results, and your vacation rental marketing plan will evolve and improve over time.


This is the last chapter of our Vacation Rental Marketing Guide. Explore the other chapters:

How useful was this post?

Your feedback helps us write better content.

Thanks for letting us know!

How could we improve this post?