Beach vacations are so universally sought after, vacation rentals near or on the beach practically book themselves. Or, do they? While proximity to the beach is a plus, it takes more than that for rental owners to keep their home booked from the beginning to the end of the season. Summer is quickly approaching, and people are beginning to plan their trips – is your beach vacation rental what travelers are looking for? Do you offer the amenities travelers want most? Are you marketing your property to the right people at the right time?
TurnKey surveyed travelers to help answer questions like these, and the insights gained give property owners, managers, and future home investors a leg up when determining how to best market rentals to attract travelers. By looking at those who reported taking beach vacations, TurnKey is able to shed light on who is most likely to visit the beach and what exactly they’re looking for from vacation rentals.
Currently, the average beachgoers are female millennials with high incomes and no children. Half of respondents who reported going to the beach were under 35-years-old, with a majority between 25 and 34. Given the younger age, these travelers are less likely to have young children. In fact, 59% of beachgoers don’t have children under 18, compared to the 41% who do. Beachgoers also tend to have a higher than average income, with 51% of beachgoers making over $75,000 annually. This is compared to the 38% of non-beachgoers who bring in the same income.
Additionally, beachgoers tend to travel in groups and are more likely than non-beachgoers to travel with spouses, parents, children, extended family, and friends. Of all the people beachgoers can vacation with, however, they’re most likely to travel with their partner or spouse (73% of beachgoers travel with spouse vs. 54% on non-beachgoers travel with spouse). This means beach rental property managers and owners should be marketing themselves to not just large groups, but to couples looking for romantic, relaxing getaways as well.
According to the survey, a majority (57%) of beachgoers prefer vacation rentals that are large enough to accommodate several people. TurnKey data shows that people book summer travel at varying times in advance depending on the destination. Beachgoers tend to book housing accommodations two to three months ahead of their trip. This means beachgoers are booking February through April, since most beach vacations occur in June and July. Non-beachgoers, on the other hand, are more likely to travel in May and August and are less likely to book accommodations as far in advance.
According to the survey, the top three aspects beachgoers look for when booking a vacation rental include location, guest reviews, and the amount of space available. Beachgoers tend to place more importance on the amount of space provided by the property than non-beachgoers, who are more concerned with how the property looks in photos.
When staying at a beach vacation rental, beachgoers find cleanliness, quietness, and security to be among the top aspects that make a rental enjoyable. By placing an emphasis on these qualities, property owners are more likely to attract beachgoers seeking accommodations. Beachgoers also place more importance on having access to a pool or hot tub than non-beachgoers, who tend to care more about having access to parking.
Proximity to the beach simply isn’t enough. When marketing your beach vacation rental, consider who the average beachgoer is – a millennial traveling with their partners, friends, or family during the summer – and what they’re looking for – a spacious, clean, quiet rental.
First, using professional photography and providing a virtual tour is an impactful way to give vacationers a sense of the space, such as the level of cleanliness and openness of the gathering areas.
Next, think of ways to appeal to the traveler, and adjust your listing to highlight aspects that are appealing to this audience. For example – taking steps to make your vacation rental family-friendly and sharing that on the listing could be attractive to those travelling in large groups with extended family. This could include stocking games and offering entertainment options like a streaming device.
Additionally, once you’ve updated your listing to appeal to travelers, you need to make sure they’re seeing it. Millennials are more likely to find and share information on Facebook than Gen Xers and baby boomers, so allocate significant budget to social media listings for beach vacation properties. Millennials are also gravitating towards more visual platforms like Instagram, Snapchat, and Pinterest. According to a 2018 study from Pew Research Center, 60% of Instagram users are between 18 and 29 (compared to just 36% of Twitter users in the same age range). Further leverage professional images of your beach property by promoting them on these visual-centric channels. Not only will this ensure that millennials are seeing (and booking) your listing, but it also provides content that is shareable and can generate excitement about your rental property.
Knowing that a majority of beachgoers travel with their spouse, another key audience to market to is couples. When posting a listing on social media, utilize trending hashtags related to couple life events, such as #justsaidyes. Listings themselves can also target couples by using verbiage like “romantic getaway” and “couple-friendly activities”.
For paid advertisements, listings can be targeted towards couples by segmenting people who’ve recently had a life event, such as getting engaged. These targeting options are available for various advertising platforms, including Google and Facebook. Another way to increase bookings is to partner with local venues and vendors so they’ll recommend your rental to large groups that need accommodations during weddings or for couples looking for somewhere to stay during their honeymoon.
Armed with the knowledge of who’s most likely to plan a beach vacation, as well as what beachgoers want most from their accommodations, vacation rental homeowners and property managers can market properties with the confidence that they’re set up to attract their target vacationers.