Marketing I’ve been writing about niche marketing recently and keep coming up with new markets that would lend themselves well to a vacation rental promotion. In fact most interests that get people outside and into the countryside are ones that owners can target with specific campaigns. Lets kick off with my new favourite sport of stand-up paddleboarding – otherwise known as SUP or supping. I first saw this done when I was on vacation in Maui earlier this year, and was determined to try it out before the year was out. So, when I saw a Toronto based company offering SUP lessons, I signed up for myself, my son Mike and his wife Andrea. Mike (from Surf Ontario) arrived at the appointed time at Lake Scucog with a selection of paddle boards for us to try, and after a short lesson on technique on shore, we were kneeling on the boards paddling out into the lake. The most challenging part was springing from knees to feet to finally stand with paddle in hand. Andrea and I were stars of the lesson, standing upright on the first go but Mike was not so lucky and ended up shooting himself off the front of the board and into the water. For anyone who knows Lake Scucog, you really don’t want to spend too much time in there, so he was back on the board and up on his feet in no time. After that and once the wobbly-legs came under control, it was a breeze and we all loved it. A week later I bought my own board and have spent many happy hours paddling up and down the river and out in the lake. Needless to say when the kids come over, it’s a fight for the board, and even the dog gets a go. Flat water supping is such a simple sport to learn, and so much fun, it’s not surprising it’s taking off and becoming popular throughout North America. When waterways that are buzzing with motor boats in summer, become quieter and calmer in the fall, people are taking to the water on their boards and exploring lakes and rivers. If your property is on or near water, then it makes it a desirable location for paddlers so all you have to do is attract them to bring their boards to your neck of the woods. As with any niche, the key is to find out where participants and enthusiasts hang out. Get in touch with operators like Surf Ontario and ask if you can advertise on their site, or create a link exchange with them. Contribute to forums such as Stand Up Zone that have threads on travel and favourite locations. The best way to join and become part of a forum is to take part in the activity yourself so you can create rapport with other forum members. Make a page on your web site devoted to the activity and show how it would be a great place for people to come and enjoy it. Use the page URL in your signature on forum posts so when people click on it, they can quickly see what your vacation rental has to offer. There are so many niches that lend themselves to this type of marketing and have forums for sharing information. Over the next few weeks I’ll touch on a few more of them.