How to Market your Vacation Rental with a Blog - Vacation Rental Formula

How to Market your Vacation Rental with a Blog

BlogBlogs have gone way beyond being just a platform for self involved people to share uninteresting details of their mundane everyday life. Although there a plenty of these types of ‘journal’ around, the whole focus of blogging has changed. Businesses and entrepreneurs are using the blogging medium to promote their products and services to a massive audience.

How to use a blog to promote your vacation rental

Blogs are dynamic. This means that, unlike a website that remains static once you have got it up and running, a blog is updated regularly. There is always new content for readers to see. With a traditional website it may be costly to keep making changes each time you buy a new appliance for the cottage or take new photos; a blog is free to add to, and keep fresh. Once you begin to get visitors, they will keep coming back for more, to see what you have added and to find out what they can do on their vacation at your cottage.

You can promote local festivals, restaurants, day trip ideas, provincial parks, area attractions – in short, anything that might motivate people to come to your vacation home.

Use the blog to write short, descriptive posts about places to go and things to see in the area. Just to give you an idea, my cottage is in Eastern Ontario – in a quiet, rural area. However, within two hours of the cottage there are lots of things to do, see and experience. I just spent 10 minutes and came up with a list of things I could write about:

  1. A new restaurant that just opened
  2. A craft show or arts tour
  3. What’s on at the local Theatre
  4. Local hiking trails
  5. Fishing on the lake
  6. Best buys at the yummy bakery in the nearby town
  7. Music festivals
  8. Winter festivals
  9. Waterfront concerts in the local town
  10. Interesting Museums
  11. Provincial Parks in the area
  12. Caves and mines to visit
  13. Local factory outlets
  14. Best canoe routes from the cottage
  15. Local cheese factory
  16. Flea Market
  17. Wine tours in the area
  18. Where to take float plane trip
  19. Where to take a river boat or cruise
  20. Sugarbush festival
  21. Thanksgiving Fairs
  22. Cross country ski trails
  23. Farmer’s Markets
  24. Restaurant reviews – one for each month
  25. Bicycle tours
  26. Snowmobile trails
  27. Geocaching in the area
  28. Nature watch around the cottage
  29. Horse riding
  30. Antiquing
  31. Cruise nights
  32. Agricultural fairs
  33. Military museums
  34. Where to watch ice hockey
  35. Where to ice fish
  36. Local breweries and wineries
  37. Nearby public beaches
  38. Santa Claus parades
  39. Where best to see fall colours
  40. Best places to take photographs
  41. Rodeos and stampedes
  42. Boat rental
  43. A monthly day trip giving a route and directions outlining places of interest

Including the 12 restaurant reviews I’ve got enough for at least one post a week, and could easily think of another 40 or so topics just on stuff in the local area. Then add a post or two each week talking about the cottage itself; a few book reviews; my favourite cottage recipes; traditional cottage games, and some photo posts and I’ve got a year’s worth of content.

Alison Meacham from Florida Vacation Rentals has a great blog about her villa rentals and all things Disney. Take a look and get an idea of the type of things she writes about. Alison has also created static pages where she can describe her villa and include photos.

So, where do you start?
Building a blog with good content – enough of it so people will visit and spend some time reading – takes time and a bit of effort. But, it can be completely free, or involve minimal expense. I’m quite a newbie at blogs myself so will not attempt to do a beginners guide here; there are plenty out there on the web already. Here’s two I think offer a good foundation:

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Robin Good’s How to Blog – A Beginners Blog Publishing Guide

A no-nonsense and straightforward article on blogging, that includes lots of links to other useful resources.

Problogger’s Blogging Tips for Beginners

Darren Rowse of Problogger is probably the top dog when it comes to writing for beginners and provides a no-nonsense guide to setting up and maintaining a blog.

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While you are learning all about this new medium you will come across the word ‘monetizing’. This means doing all you can to make money from your blog. It could be by including Google Ads; reviewing books you like using an Amazon affiliate programme; even writing and selling an ebook on your site. I will come back to this in a later post.

I’m thinking of starting a new blog for my cottage. Having generated the list of things I could write about, it seems a no-brainer to get this up and running and see just how much additional traffic and interest it gets for the cottage. I have been a bit reluctant before as we have no problem finding guests to rent it, but there are a few months in the year that present a few challenges, so it might just be worthwhile. I’ll call it the Osprey Experiment – for Osprey Cottage – and keep you updated on how it’s going.

In the meantime, why not give this a whirl. If nothing else, it’ll bring you up to speed on what’s going on in the world of social media. Let me know how you get on.

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