Branding your Vacation Rental: Necessary but easy
Let’s look at another important issue for owners in marketing and promoting their vacation rental; branding.
Do you know what a brand is? Do you ever think of branding for your vacation rental?
Here’s our definition of it: Branding is the process of creating a unique identification in the customers mind for a product or service, such that they immediately recognize it, feel comfortable with it, and have a positive association with it.
That definition covers a lot of ground, and is a bit vague, but that is on purpose. Branding is all about differentiating your business from your competition. This can be done through all sorts of ways; your price, your service, you location, your staffing, your policies… it pervades everything that you do in your business. So does marketing if you think about it. Branding is a part of marketing. Marketing becomes branding where it involves the purposeful creation of unique identifiers for your business to help it stand out in your customer’s minds.
An example of this might be a Logo that a business uses. A Logo can, and often does, have nothing to do with the product. Everyone recognizes Coca-Cola’s logo, but if you think about it, any stylish way of writing the product name could be on the outside of those cans and bottles. The product is a fizzy, sugary brown liquid inside the container.
What does a Logo on a paint can have to do with the paint inside? Absolutely nothing. The Logo serves to identify the product and differentiate it from other similar products, which in many cases the consumer wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between the products just by looking at them out of the container.
If your flat screen TV didn’t have a logo on it, would you realistically be able to tell who made it?
We use branding in our own personal vacation rentals business. Now we’re into this stuff, so we have probably taken this a lot further than most owners do, but we have a logo, and a wordmark, and even a defined color scheme that we use in all of our VR business communications. Everything that we do with our Vacation Rentals that a customer will come in contact with has a certain look and feel which helps define it, make it recognizable, and differentiate it from other vacation rentals that we compete with. We actually continue the use of our themes in our furniture and interior decorating, and even the photos we use to promote our properties. They all send a unified cohesive message designed to make prospective guests feel comfortable, and help us stand out from our competition.
Do you need to do any of this stuff? That depends on how competitive the market you operate in is, and what your business goals are. Let’s say that no, realistically you don’t need to worry about branding, but there is one piece of branding that every vacation rental owner needs, and if you don’t have this, you are making your business far more difficult than it ought to be.
The first and primary branding activity that every Vacation Rental owner needs to do, is to name their property.
Names, as everyone knows, have personality, and can impart feelings and understanding just by what they are, and how they sound. Your vacation rental property needs a name that communicates something about what it is; a name that will help it be memorable and differentiate in your Guest’s mind, so when they are considering your property amongst nine others, they easily remember yours and have good feelings about it.
Are we exaggerating the power of a name? Where would you rather go for a gift for your wife or mom? Tough Eddie’s Flowers’n’Sh*t Warehouse, or Daisy’s Daisies ?
Those are just words on a page (or screen) but they make a difference, even if they are rendered in the exact same font, and with absolutely no distinguishing characteristics.
To the words, you can add the power of design, which uses certain contextual clues that we are all familiar with to communicate even more. Huh?
Well, just take a look at a couple of wordmarks for these two businesses.
See how design and words communicate together? When each reinforces the other, the message is more powerful. Let’s mix things up:
See how strange it is when the words and the design don’t communicate the same message?
So how is your property referred to in your listings and other communications?
By the way, these are NOT logos though people often refer to them as such. They’re wrong. A logo is graphic symbol. A name written in a particular style, is a wordmark. What people often think are logos are actually wordmarks. A wordmark likely is all you need for a vacation rental if you even want to go that far.
For UnitedVacation•Rentals, we have both a logo and a wordmark.
Our logo is the graphic symbol of a house wrapped by handshaking arms.
Our wordmark is our name in a particular font with the orange dot in it.
Don’t do nothing!
The worst thing you can do is essentially nothing. That would be something like referring to your property as 3 Bed / 2 Bath Condo with Pool. What does that tell everyone? That the property is a 3 Bed / 2 Bath place with a Pool, which makes it absolutely no different from any other 3 Bed / 2 Bath place with a Pool. How could you as a guest, from the name alone, distinguish it from all of the other 3 Bed / 2 Bath place with a Pool places you have seen? How memorable is it?
Do you use just a location reference such as an address or something similar to refer to your property? Something like #15 Great Place to Stay Lane. That defines the property, yes, but it doesn’t communicate anything about it. The equivalent would be naming your child 3 of 4. It’s convenient and accurate but it has no personality at all. And as a result, it is forgettable. Plus it says nothing about your child. What makes #15 Great Place to Stay Lane any different from #13 Great Place to Stay Lane? In this case, nothing.
Just imagine what you are doing to your prospective guests. “Which of those places were you considering honey?” “I don’t know… I can’t keep them straight in my mind.”
What would happen if you typed “3 Bed / 2 Bath place with a Pool” into Google? Would your property show among the hundreds of thousand responses that would result? How would you even know?
You are running a vacation rental. You may not need a branding strategy like you would if running a major corporation, but you need to act like you actually do want guests to be interested in staying with you. You need to differentiate yourself from your competition and even those who are similar to you that you don’t compete with, and even things that are similar to you but in a completely different line of business!
That starts with a name for your Vacation Rental.
Give your property a good name.
In the next articles we’ll show why it’s even more important than what we have just explained here.
Feel free to copy or share this article as long as you include the following link back to it here: Branding Your Vacation Rental