Real Estate Learnings Applied to Vacation Rentals

Similarities between marketing a real estate property and marketing a vacation rental property run deep.

Where you rest your head at night is the consumer building block both the real estate and travel industries are built upon, as well as the primary monetization catalyst.

Same as the one thing every home buyer needs is a house/condo, the one thing every traveler NEEDS on every trip is a place to rest their head at night.

For those that choose a vacation rental, how do you convince the traveler your home is the right home for them?

It may be cliche, but the answer comes down to storytelling.

Successful real estate listing agents find a way to tell an amazing, unique story about their listing. Buyers want to visualize the experience they’re going to have. The same holds true in a travel scenario. As a traveler, I want a compelling picture painted.

If you don’t believe me, note Zillow’s latest ad campaign ( is built around this exact premise. The story of “home”. Zillow is a multi-billion dollar company that researches everything. It’s safe to say if they’re spending millions on promoting the message, it’s a consumer marketing strategy worth implementing.

Remember: you’re not selling a traveler a place to sleep; you’re selling the overall experience.

Sell the fact your place is two blocks from the light rail station that will take them to the baseball game or concert. The Walk Score of 98 (if you’re in the US). That Traders Joe’s is a 3-minute walk. That there is a local Sushi bar with an unbelievable happy hour right down the street. The view of the space needle while drinking a glass of wine. A fire while curled up on the couch with a book.

If your location sucks, then you better have an incredibly compelling ulterior sell. There is a broad range of hosts on Airbnb that understands this. Geeks Paradise in Seattle is one such example (though the location of that listing is also unbelievable).

Paint a picture of the activities in the surrounding area. The skiing 45 minutes drive from your front door. The ice caves. A ferry to Vashon or Bainbridge Island. Hiking up PooPoo point. Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery.

If you are miles and miles and miles from anywhere? Sell the fact that you are completely off the grid. (side note – I believe we’re going to see entire cities/towns become places to go “off the grid”)

Are you doing everything you can to paint a picture of the unbelievable experience your guests will have while staying in your place?

This is a guest post written by Drew Meyers. Drew is the co-founder of Horizon, best described as AirBnB/Couchsurfing within trusted networks. Seattle native. Ex-Zillow community builder. Social Entrepreneur. Microfinance advocate. Travel addict of 40+ countries. Find him on Twitter@drewmeyers.


The Coral Team