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5 Vacation Rental Marketing Mistakes to Avoid

  • 2016-11-16

Vacation rental marketing plays a vital role in the success of any short term rental property. Without a solid plan in place, your property will not be able to compete against the many other properties that are all vying for the same audience. In Cape Town, the vacation rental space is massive. Popular areas such as Camps Bay and the CBD are highly sought-after among various travel markets. In order to compete against similar properties, you need to ensure that you have a stellar vacation rental marketing strategy.

 5 Vacation Rental Marketing Mistakes to Avoid

The first step in creating a killer marketing plan is to know what to avoid. To help you get started, we’ve put together some tips on what not to do.

Avoid These Vacation Rental Marketing Mistakes

Is your listing helping or hindering your potential growth? Succeeding in the short term rental space is not always as easy as it appears. Listing your property on platforms such as Airbnb is a good start, but if your listing is not optimised, it will not keep your bookings calendar full. There are many other ways to promote your property as well. Failing to develop a broad vacation rental marketing plan that incorporates multiple channels can also affect your bookings. To get your marketing plan whipped into shape, try and avoid these mistakes:

  1. Underestimating the importance of marketing. As surprising as that sounds, the biggest mistake made by new investors is failing to fully understand the role that marketing plays. Listings are treated as an after-thought, or delegated to an assistant who has little to no experience. The hospitality industry is massive and competitive. If you are not putting a great deal of thought into marketing your property across a broad range of channels, you can rest assured that your competitor is doing so. Unless you are dabbling in vacation rentals as a hobby, not taking your marketing plan seriously will not get you very far at all.
  2. Using poor quality images. Visuals play a vital role in the purchase decision. In the accommodation sector, guests rely on photographs to get an accurate idea of what your property is really like. Professional images that showcase your property in its best light can be an incredibly powerful sales tool. Grainy, low resolution snaps taken on your phone however may put people off right from the start.
  3. Spelling mistakes and other listing errors. A badly written listing sends a bad impression. Even if you have the best images imaginable, there is no substitute for a well-written listing. If English is not your first language, ask someone to look over the listing before you publish it live on listing sites. Make sure that it is easy to read and free of typos, slang and ‘text speak’.
  4. Lying or over-embellishing descriptions. Always be honest in your listing descriptions. Lying or fabricating details may seem like a good way to lure in guests, but when they arrive at your property, they will soon discover that you have not been honest. Trying to make your property sound bigger, more luxurious or closer to major attractions than it actually is can do more harm than good.
  5. Trying to do everything yourself. The DIY approach to vacation rental is a slippery slope indeed. This can be even more risky when it comes to marketing your property. Working with an experienced vacation rental property manager who has access to skilled copywriters, photographers and property experts is the best way to ensure that a comprehensive marketing strategy is developed and executed.


At Totalstay, we provide a one stop, full service approach to vacation rental marketing and management. From concierge services to active promotion across multiple channels and day to day management, we help you get the best results from your short term rental property. To learn more about our solutions, contact us today and let us know how we can take your vacation rental marketing to the next level.