7 Ways to Get Creative in the Last Minute Snowbird Market

When the wind blows, the snow falls and the temperature plummets to ridiculous figures, the population of the northern states and Canada collectively sigh as they envision several more months of life in the freezer.  That’s when they start thinking of a last minute break in the sun and warmth.  Given the host of properties that are showing vacancies it’s important to come up with some creative ways to capture that hungry market, draw them to your listing and offer them a real reason to book your place.

1. Use keywords in your listing title
To do this you need to put yourself in your potential customers’ shoes and figure out what they are looking for when they go to Google.  These people are focused.  They often know exactly where they want to go and just need to find a place that suits their needs.  For example:
  • Winter sunshine retreat with hot tub
  • Getaway from winter in an island villa
  • Tropical sunshine, sand beach and pool
2. Create a Pinterest board
If you haven’t done this already try it out.  Open a free Pinterest account, and start pinning great photos of beaches, sunsets, restaurant menus and activities.  This board from Caribbean Travel Daily shows how to do it right: http://www.pinterest.com/caribbeaninfo/.  Your boards may not be as widely varied but this gives an idea of what you can do to draw people into the world of your location.  Avoid just pinning your property photos but there is no reason why you shouldn’t create a board that just showcases your place.  Apart from anything else it’s a bunch of fun!

3. Be a fount of local knowledge
People looking for a last minute getaway haven’t got the time to find out all there is to know about a destination so you must become a virtual tour guide.  Do this by preparing a fact filled PDF that you can send to anyone who enquires.  It’s a freebie so they may just take it and rent somewhere else, but you can probably expect a few extra bookings out of the gesture of giving the information away.  It makes you into a local expert and if you add that you are available to your guests for additional help while they are there, it is more likely they will buy from you over your competition.

4. Tag your photos
Have you ever searched Google Images?  Probably you have at some time or another, and maybe wondered how some of those images get there on the front page.  It is because they have been tagged with keywords and it’s something you can do with every image your post on your listing.  Be creative though and use the keywords your guests might be searching for.  ‘Children’s Bedroom’ might not cut it as well as “Disney-themed children’s bedroom, Davenport vacation rental”.  It may be a long shot but it’s another method of getting your listing photos seen in Google searches.

5. Look for forums
If there is an activity that is popular in your area there will be a forum for it, and people who hang out there will more than likely be looking for accommodation.  Here’s a few examples:
  • Snorkeling
  • Kayaking
  • Scuba diving
  • Kite boarding
  • Stand-up paddle boarding
Back to our old friend Google again and key in the activity, your location and the word forum.  You may well find folks on there who are asking if anyone has ideas on accommodation.  Just a quick word of caution here – most forums do not appreciate anyone who blatantly promotes goods and services unless they have a special board just for that purpose.  Take some time to make yourself known as an expert in the area and simply create a user signature that has your listing address in it.

6. Write some blog posts
If you have a blog, now is the time to get some posts out there.  Review a local restaurant or activity; write a description of the best beaches in your area, or make a list of the 10 best things to do on a short break.  The goal is to include the important keywords so the blog post will be found by people searching for places to eat, and activities when they come to the location.

7. Get active in social media
10 minutes spent every day on a social media platform connecting with people can have a big payback. Notice I said ‘connecting with people’ and not ‘promoting’ your rental.  Social media users are more likely to follow your posts and updates if you share valuable information that is generally useful to their research, rather than a constant stream of links to your listing. Once again, use keywords in your posts such as ‘winter sun’, ‘best beaches’ etc.