When it comes to PR for your vacation rental business, you have two options: to be proactive about it, or to be reactive. Ideally, to be successful with your PR, you need to be both. You need to know how to respond to PR opportunities, but you also need to know how to go out there and ‘go get’ the opportunities.
In this post, I’m going to focus on the second form of action – being proactive.
Proactivity is, according to Stephen Covey, one of the most important characteristics of successful and personally effective people. I’d argue that this trait is also to be found in those vacation rental businesses that are most successful with their PR (and marketing). In his book, “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”, Covey sees proactivity as the foundation of all the other 6 Habits, and therefore states proactivity as his essential Habit #1. Pretty powerful stuff.
But how exactly can you be proactive about your PR? What does proactivity really look like?
Firstly, you need to get your ducks in a row – do your thinking, and map out a simple strategy. For some guidance on how to do that, you can read our blog post on ‘Developing a simple PR strategy for your vacation rental business.’
A strategy will act as the blueprint for your planning and will help you work out what you need to say, who you need to say it to, why you need to say it and where you need to say it. It will also support you in evaluating your efforts.
Start putting together a ‘media kit’. This should include (really great) high res images of your property and also your area, if you have them. Write out a short profile of your business or rental(s). Consider this as a brief take-away that a media outlet or journalist could skim read to get a good overview of what you offer. For example, if you manage over 50 properties in South Carolina, say so. If you only have one property, talk about that. The ‘media kit’ should also have all the relevant contact details, including website, reservations contact, social media accounts and details for the best person for the press to contact. This kit can sit on your website and / or you can include it as an attachment in your email signature.
Next, start to build a list of relevant media contacts. Do your research and find out who and what outlets might be the most relevant for you. A good tip is to use Twitter to research. With Twitter you can fairly easily find out who is who, and by looking at a journalist’s Twitter feed, you can also to get an idea of what they like and what they write about.
Start to build up your ideal ‘hit list’ of journalists, editors and media sources. For a small vacation rental business, a good place to start is your local and regional travel media. Who is in your area and writing about your area?
Think about what you can offer. Can you offer a press stay to one of your properties? If so start to formulate what you would be comfortable giving, i.e. in what season and for how many nights? If you can’t offer a press stay right now, what information can you offer? Perhaps expertise on your region?
Start to put some feelers out. If you can offer a press trip, go and invite a journalist. Obviously, they would need to have a commission in place before coming to you, but you can ask them what they need for a pitch and if, in principle, this is something that would be of interest to them and an editor.
You can also get in touch with your region’s PR department and ask them if you can be part of any press activity they have coming up. You never know, they might be looking for a vacation rental to host a press visit!
Covey regards proactivity as the act of taking charge of your life, being responsible for it, and taking action to master your life. The same can be said about your vacation rental business and with nothing ventured, nothing is gained.
For more tips on PR for your vacation rental business, and if you haven’t already read it, you can download our guide: ‘Successfully pitching your press release to travel editors’.
If you would like to speak to one of our team about how PR can help your vacation rental business, you can contact us here. We’d love to chat.