Having your own website to advertise your vacation rental is the number one way of marketing your vacation home. However, if all you are doing with it is promoting the cottage there is a finite amount of income in weeks rented. Once those have been reserved there is no more money arriving in your mailbox.
But wait! There's more….. In fact there is even a name for making additional income through your website. This is called….drumroll please….MONETISING. Yes, I know, it's a horrible name but I would imagine Webster's dictionary will be listing it soon if it is not already in there.
Monetising covers all types of income generating activities you can incorporate into your website or blog. Here's four of the easiest ones to set up.
Sell Advertising space
If you have a decent amount of visitors to your website, you may be able to sell ad space on it to local providers. Let's say your property has a thriving local town where there are a number of restaurants or activity providers. Start a review section on the site and write a short summary of where to eat and what to do. Then contact the restaurant owners and activity companies and ask if they would like to advertise on your site. The advantage for them is that people are coming to your site to look for accommodation in the area – they are already warm leads. You would need to show that you have a good amount of site visitors though, so having a stats programme on your site is important to monitor activity.
Take a look at the left side of this blog. There's a block of Google Ads generated every time the page is viewed. These are supplied by a programme called Adsense which is run by the mighty Google. You'll see them on lots of sites but you may never have clicked on them. In fact I wouldn't be surprised if you don't like them much, but they do generate income without you having to do a thing! I've heard people comment that they don't like the idea of competitors advertising on their site, and since you have little control over the ads that are shown, you would have to accept it. The reality is, people are going to find your competition anyway, and if you can make a buck or two out of them doing it, it may well be worth the try.
Now shift your eyes to the right where I blatantly advertise my book, Renting your Recreational Property for Profit. If you now click on that book image you'll be sent to the Amazon page and of course you could then buy the book which would be wonderful for my ego, and of course my royalty cheque! Not only that but if you bought my book, or any other product on the Amazon site during that visit, I would also make a few cents commission because the link you clicked on contains my affiliate code. You can advertise any book on your site this way and signing up with the Amazon Associates programme is free and easy.You can even create a complete Amazon Store, select books that you believe are relevant and add the store as a separate page on your web site.
If you want to know more about affiliate programmes and how they can work for you, download the free book, The Affiliate Masters Programme and get set for a great read. I can't recommend this highly enough as this is the book that really fired me up on how the internet can create additional income.
Create an ebook
They say everyone has a book in them. Well, I wrote one and if I can do it, then I'm betting most of my readers can too. Ebooks are a great way of creating an income generating product to sell on your website. Think for a moment about all the things you could write about that would interest your site visitors. I came up with three topics I could write about straight away.
Day Trips in the Kawarthas – I could come up with at least half a dozen good outings that guests could do from my cottage and include a route map for each with places of interest along the way.
Crafts, Antiques and Farmer's Markets – a guide for visitors – this would be a list of all the interesting stores and places to go in the area with a description of each.
Hidden Trails and Ghost Towns – find the unique aspects of the area and write about them. Where I am in eastern ontario, there are lots of ‘ghost towns' and abandoned villages that people may be interested in. Add in a list of trails that are less well known, and there's a saleable ebook.
If you like this idea but haven't a clue how to get started, Jim Edwards & Joe Vitale's ebook, “How to Write and Publish Your Own eBook… in as Little as 7 Days” is a terrific primer.
Remember that people coming to your web site are already primed to buy a vacation. They are looking for information related to that decision, so even if your cottage is not the one for them, or it is already booked for the time they want, there is a good chance they will be interested in any supplemental information you can provide.