“I don’t have a budget, can I still master my holiday home marketing?”

I get asked this a lot.

That’s because, amongst holiday home owners who want to break free of the big listing sites and get direct bookings, there’s a misconception.

A belief and worry that to go it alone you need to put aside £100s a month towards your own marketing budget. That’s the only way you can compete with the marketing prowess of the big listing sites.

So you stay put and stay stuck as you don’t have a monthly budget anywhere near that size.

You remain trapped in the cycle of frustration and lack of control of your business, that’s part and parcel of taking bookings from the big guys.

What if I was to tell you, you can absolutely master your holiday home’s marketing without the need to spend anything like that.

You can put systems and techniques in place that will bring you a stream of direct bookings.  And most of what you do won’t cost you a penny.

Though you will have to invest some money into your business, as you’ll need a website for example. Hosting will cost around £100 a year.  Opt for hosting that allows one-click WordPress upload, that way you can build your own WordPress website. Opt for a free theme and you can have your own basic yet robust, professional website on a shoestring.

Mastering your marketing is not about how much you spend in terms of pounds, but about a shift in how you think, behave and do as an owner.

A switch in mindset costs nothing.  Nor does adopting a can do attitude, a willingness to learn new systems and some free-to-use techie stuff (that in the past you may have convinced yourself you’re not capable of learning).

It’s a move from a passive to a proactive approach.  It’s you as an owner:

* taking control of your marketing – you can do this!

* starting to build relationships with your guests, speeding up the booking cycle

* not doing hard sell, but a more effective, subtle drip feed effect

* raising your profile as an expert in your holiday home’s area

Without any budget now, for free you can do this:

Social media

To get results and for people to notice you, you need to be active and importantly regularly active on social media.  But don’t get overwhelmed and think you need to be everywhere.

Start by choosing your favourite 2 platforms.  These may well be where you hangout now on a personal level. If that’s Facebook set up a business page linked to your personal profile. Just get started!  Post new content but also share and retweet content from others.  This is a great way to get noticed and takes away the initial fear away of “what do I say”.

Social media is foremost about being social so bear that in mind. Use it as a tool for future guests to find you then provide valuable interesting content to them and continue to build relationships with them from there.  Don’t always expect instant results but results will come.

Then I would recommend spending say £10 a month on Facebook advertising, either to bring in new folk or to get a post seen by more of those who already like your page.

Spreading the word

Be an ambassador for your property at all times. From the conversations you have in the school yard to those you have at work, to those you have with friends of friends, make sure they know you have a holiday home and that you take paying guests.

Spread the word in your holiday home’s locality too.  Make sure the local pub knows about you and your favourite tea room so they can recommend you to their customers. In return you’ll do the same for them.

Be visible online too, by your social media presence. By having a website that uses key searchable terms to be found (in other words that is search engine optimised – and you can do that).

You as the owner need to be visible in your marketing.  Record some videos on your mobile phone of you at your holiday home. Explain what you like about it. Talk face to camera about a local tourist attraction and why you love going there.

Blogging

Blogging is you writing articles, positioning yourself as an expert in your local area, offering your guests interesting and helping content; adding value to their world eg 5 Recommended Springtime Walks.

Blogging is a great relationship building tool as well as giving you content (something to talk about) in your social media.  Blogs should be written from the heart, as you, telling your story and sharing your expertise.  Start brainstorming your topics and then get writing!

Blogging itself is free. And to set up your website in the first place doesn’t need blow the budget (as mentioned above). Far from it.  For more info on setting up a website, you may to read this blog >> Getting Started With Your Holiday Home’s Website

E-newsletters

Build an email list from past guests (ask their consent to go on your mailing list). And also offer a free resource that’s available to download from your website and promoted on social media.   This is something like a free guide to your area which isn’t available anywhere else and will save your guests and prospective guests many hours Googling.  This guide is known as your freebie.  It’s free in terms of pounds for you to write and free for them to download (in exchange for their email address).

So there you have it, not one single thing you do but a combination of these things. All of which you can start implementing today!  And it’s all about taking action, that’s what gets results.

Karen