What's In a (Vacation Home) Name?

Here’s a case study that highlights why a well thought-out name can make a significant difference to the interest given to a property.

A family simply used their last name to identify their vacation rental home.  It became known as Clarks Cottage.  There was some interest but no real activity for several months in the first year of rental.  Eventually they did rent most of the high season but struggled to fill the off season periods in an area filled with similarly priced rental properties.  Since their rental cottage was on the shores of Cameron Lake and faced east, it was suggested they change the name to “Cameron Sunrise.”   This more descriptive title did the trick and within a week of making the name adjustment, the bookings started to flow in.  There is no scientific basis to suggest the increased interest came from the name change alone, but it sure looks as though it had some impact.

The Naming Game

Make it a family exercise to name the property and everyone gets some input – it can even become a game.  Kick off by making a first list of wildlife, plants, flowers, trees, birds – in fact all the natural inhabitants and permanent features in and around the property.  Then make another list of words that describe the location, property or  – cottage, villa, place, perch, nest etc..  Get a pile of index cards – put each term on the first list in one pile, and each noun on the second list in another.   Then pick one from each pile and see what you come up with.  Here are some examples:

Dragonfly Landing                            Oak Manor                         Beaver Creek Cottage

Moose Wood                                    Loon Haven                        Smokies Outlook

Deerview                                          Tamarack Lodge                 Osprey Cottage

Make it a Competition

If you have been renting for a while and haven’t got around to naming the place, open it up as a competition among your guests.  Offer a decent prize such as a half priced weekend, or a percentage discount of a future trip, for a name suggestion that will be used to market the cottage in the future.  Let them make as many choices as they can.

Your Name as a Brand

When you have come up with a name, use it as a brand.  This means creating a whole promotional and marketing package around it.  If you have a graphic design background or an artist friend, ask them to come up with a logo for you, and then use that on your sign, your blog header and any print literature you may use.  Your guests will come to identify with the brand and talk about it with their friends, and are more likely to share a listing if they are able to remember the name of the property.

The following names are chosen at random as being memorable and appealing and are great examples of creativity and imagination:

Flying Toucans ( a villa in Costa Rica); Squirrels Leap ( a log cabin in Quebec); Polynesian Shores ( a Maui condo); Cherry Hollow ( a waterfront wood home in Ontario); Le Chant d'Oiseau ( a Loire gites).