Tips & Tactics To Elevate Your Vacation Rental Business

The Ultimate Guide To Vacation Rental Branding

Your brand is much more than a logo. Use the tips listed here to help you build and grow a professional vacation rental business.
Flat lay of daily planner, clip board, photos, and florals on a desk - JODI BOURNE VACATION RENTAL WEBSITE DESIGNER

Are you willing to devote time to creating a vacation rental brand and have confidence that you have or can learn the skills to make your brand profitable? If you have one vacation rental property or 10 and are ready to bring your A-Game, you’ll get massive value from the tips of this blog!

Creating Your Brand

Vacation Rental Branding is so much more than creating a logo and finding pretty colors to use. In fact, that’s the last step you should take when you create a lasting professional brand.

Your brand is everything about who you are, the experience you create, your hospitality, your reputation, as well as your values as an owner.  Your logo is a visual representation of those feelings and associations.

When you see a brand logo that you recognize, you associate words, phrases, memories, business practices, and reputation.

You want your name and logo to represent who you are and what you represent. 

Brand Words

One of the first steps, when you start branding your short-term rental, is to understand and choose your brand words. These are the words or quick phrases that describe the feelings you want your guests and potential guests to have about you when they interact with you in any way. They are words and descriptive phrases you use to create a “vibe” for your business. They give subtle hints to your followers of what your brand is about.  These are words you will use in your listing description, social media profiles, image captions, and advertisements.

Questions to ask when determining your vacation rental brand words:

  1. How do you want your guests or followers to feel when they first see your brand?
  2. How do you want your target audience to feel after they visit your vacation rental and interact with you and your brand?
  3. If you were to describe your vacation experience to a stranger on an elevator in less than 30 seconds, what would you say?  
  4. What are the most important words you could use to describe your experience?
  5. What is one thing about your experience you wish people knew? 
  6. What is unique about the experience you provide?

Brand Keywords

List 10 keywords that describe the feelings and the experience you want your guests to have about you after seeing, booking, and visiting your property. Use these keywords in the next step to creating your brand’s mission statement. Use your mission statement to continue guiding you toward a brand that is uniquely YOUR VIBE and YOUR EXPERIENCE!

Keyword Examples:

  • cozy
  • luxurious
  • peaceful
  • quaint
  • romantic
  • secluded
  • quiet
  • bright
  • modern
  • classic
  • welcome
  • elegant
  • casual
  • outdoorsy
  • family-friendly
  • pet-friendly
  • high-end
  • inclusive
  • traditional
  • urban
  • exciting
  • industrial
  • warm
  • couples

Mission Statement

Your mission statement is the reason you have your business. Who do you serve and why?  This is much more than “saving for retirement”. If you do not have a mission statement, ask yourself these questions to help yourself write one that’s true to your business:

  • What do you offer?
  • Why you offer it?
  • To whom do you offer it?
  • What are your business goals?
  • What are the values for your business?
  • Why would these values matter to your guests?

Brand Promise/Message

Do you have a brand promise or message? Think about why YOU make your own vacation rental choices. How do your values affect your decision? Write your brand promise/message with your mission statement in mind to tie your values in.  Make it concise, but also clearly share who you are.

Elevator Pitch

Pretend you are in an elevator riding up 15 floors and someone asks, “What do you do?” You now have 30-45 seconds to explain what you do and for who. When done right, your elevator pitch will be a brief summary of your business and how it can bring value to your listener (you never know who else will be listening on your elevator ride). Write your elevator pitch and practice it until you can say it quickly and confidently. 

A simple recipe for an elevator pitch is …….

The answer to, “What do you do?”, becomes something like, “I own custom-designed luxury vacation homes in the Florida Keys perfect for families, groups of friends to relax, fish, and enjoy living the keys lifestyle.” or

“We have tiny homes on a 75-acre ranch in the Texas Hill Country near San Antonio. Our adults-only property gives couples a secluded, romantic place to reconnect with each other, experience nature, and truly relax”.

Your Brand Story

Create your brand/business story.  Marketing your business is about building connections with a story – not only of the experience you provide but the reason you should be trusted with your customer’s dollar.

You may not answer each of these questions but if you can it will help you create a better story.

  1. Why did you decide to start a rental business or Property Management company?  
  2. Does your Vacation Rental business fulfill a need in the area? (Such as you saw a need for larger homes, you wanted to provide a luxury experience, you wanted to give guests a place where they could participate in something special?)
  3. Where is your rental?  Why did you choose that location? Is it special to you in some way? (You grew up visiting this beach or took your kids there?)
  4. How do you feel when you get a five-star review? (If you have none, how WOULD you feel?)
  5. How do you measure success other than financial gain? 
  6. What is your mission statement?  
  7. Do you have any social issues you support that align with your brand? 
  8. How is the experience you provide better than others?
  9. What are the feelings you want people to have when they book with you?
  10. What are the feelings you want people to have when they walk in your door?
  11. What are the feelings you want people to have when they experience your destination?

Build connections with your authentic story of who and what you are.

Brand Visuals

It’s a lot of fun to choose the logo and colors to represent your brand. So much fun that it’s typically one of the first things any business owner who is new to the business will do – which is one reason that so many brands have to throw it all in the trash and start over. Professional branding agencies will work through the steps I’ve outlined above before they even think about logos, fonts, and colors. In fact, if you are just getting started, you might want to think about these things before you choose your business name or property name.

Brand Colors

All colors have psychological and cultural connotations. White represents weddings, blue is peaceful, and turquoise can be beachy or southwestern, but these colors may represent something entirely different in other countries. In America, yellow means happiness and sunshine. In China it symbolizes pornography. So, you can see why it’s important to understand color well if your target market is from other countries.

Think about the colors that most represent the keywords and key messages you described. 

NOTE:  Even if you already have your logo created you can gradually shift your brand colors.  It’s more important for your colors and style to match your experience and brand words.

Color Search

Using your keywords/phrase list, find colors that you associate with these keywords. Ask your friends what colors they think of and use these sites for inspiration and help:

  • Coolors.Co – A fun site for graphic designers and web developers, but works for anyone looking at colors.
  • Canva’s Color Generator – I use Canva for everything and especially for helping me choose colors for web design or branding projects. Check it out!
  • Pinterest – Pinterest is a great site for researching color combinations. Create a secret Pinterest board and save images that represent the mood you want to feel.

Brand Logo

Once you have thought about your vacation rental brand keywords, mission, and unique selling proposition, it’s time to work on the visuals – you will need a logo with several versions, social media banners, print collateral, signage, and of course a professional vacation rental website.

It’s important that you don’t skimp on your brand visuals and find an affordable branding agency that specializes in the tourism industry. If you’d like help creating your brand messaging, reach out to me for professional vacation rental consulting or join my Book Direct Pros Membership Program.

Final Thoughts

Building a brand for your vacation rental business that captures your target market is an essential part of your overall marketing strategy. Whether you already have a brand and logo or you are just getting started, following these tips will help you build a brand that will attract guests who are seeking the experience you are offering from your vacation rental property.

  • Determine your keywords and your key message
  • Create a mission statement
  • Create a brand promise
  • Understand how colors can create feelings
  • Decide on imagery to use that embodies your brand most effectively
  • Make a promise to yourself to think about your brand as you make key decisions in your business, interact with your guests, and with your social media followers
  • Tell your story

Want more book direct vacation rental marketing, branding, and business tips? Download the FREE 5-Step Guide To A Book Direct Vacation Rental Business and start building an independent, hospitality-focused professional business.

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Jodi Bourne

Jodi Bourne

I help vacation rental hosts elevate their guest experience, market their properties and destinations and get more bookings.

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