How to Attract New and Repeat Bookings with Coupons
Copyright 2017 VacationRentalDesk.com
One of the keys to making your vacation home as profitable as possible is by promoting it through the use of coupons. Coupons are a great way to offer specials that attract new guests, encourage repeat bookings, and fill your property during slow seasons. In this two-part article, we'll look at the different types of coupons and their purposes, and find clever and insightful ways to effectively promote your vacation rental property using them.
One of the keys to making your vacation home as profitable as possible is by promoting it through the use of coupons. Coupons are a great way to offer specials that:
- Attract new guests
- Encourage repeat bookings
- Fill your property during slow seasons
Today, businesses of all types use coupons to effectively promote their products and services. From your local pizza restaurant or bicycle shop to mega e-Stores like Amazon.com and Buy.com, coupons are widely used and have become a universal marketing tool.
Coupons come in all colors, shapes and sizes; each specifically designed to serve a different purpose. Common variations of coupons include:
- Percentage discounts – "Get 50% off all jeans, jackets and hats"
- Fixed dollar value discounts – "Get $10 off all girls and boys apparel"
- Free items – "Visit our store Sunday to get a free GAP gym bag"
They often feature restrictions and requirements to make them more effective in marketing campaigns and specials:
- Time limitations – "Coupon expires January 31st" or "Valid during the spring months of March, April and May only."
- Minimum purchase amounts – "Coupon valid only on orders of ten or more"
- Limited quantity – "First 100 customers only"
- Members only – "For existing members only"
Now that we've outlined the basic types of coupons, let's mix and match them for creative uses with vacation homes. After each example I'll describe the coupon's specific benefits. While following along, try to think of what would work well for your vacation home.
Offering a discount with a minimum stay requirement
- "Get 25% off each additional night after your fourth night."
- "Get 10% off your total rent with a five night minimum stay."
- "Get $100 off your total rent if you stay at least five nights."
- "Get your sixth night free."
These coupons encourage guests to book reservations of at least five nights. Each varies slightly in the cash value offered, but they achieve the same purpose of extending reservations and earning more money per reservation.
Offering a discount with a time limit and quantity limit
- "First 5 guests get $50 off your spring reservation. Valid from March 1st through May 31st."
- "Save 25% during the Fall on all reservations. Valid from September 15th through October 31st."
These types of coupons can be extremely helpful in booking your vacation property during slow seasonal periods. They make your guest act quickly and can have any percentage, dollar, or freebie variation mixed in to suit your needs.
Offering discounts to attract repeat guests
- "We value you as a guest and would like you to stay with us again! Here's a $50 off coupon for your next reservation. Coupon expires February 5th, 2005."
One of the best ways to attract repeat guests is to offer them a special coupon as part of a "Thank You" package. It should be sent out either immediately after their reservation has ended, or 1-3 months later. Follow up with a courteous reminder 9 months later.
If you have a highly seasonal home, it's a great idea to make the coupon valid for up to a year. When they come back the next season, the booking process will be even easier and you don't have to spend a penny on advertising to get the extra booking.
We've only touched the surface of the different types of coupons you can offer, and I encourage you to try different variations and see what works best for your vacation home.
In the next section, we'll look at how vacation owners can use the Vacation Rental Desk ™ to generate coupons that are redeemable online, the best ways to advertise coupons through the Internet and traditional print mediums, and how to track your advertising through the use of using coupon codes.
By now I hope you've thought of some great uses for coupons to promote your vacation home. Now we'll take a look at the best way to get the message out there to existing and prospective guests, how to track your advertising by using coupon codes, and how the Vacation Rental Desk ™ simplifies and organizes coupons for you.
As mentioned before, a great way to get repeat bookings is to offer a "Thank You" package after a guest's reservation.
Most owners will mail out a quick and easy thank-you card or email. I recommend you do both and include a slip of paper with the coupon code printed on it inside your card. This can easily be done in Microsoft word and you can add decorative touches to the coupon to make it look like the ones found in your local grocery ads.
You should also send a thank-you email with the coupon's code inside so if the guest loses their card, they can retrieve the coupon code from the saved email. Nowadays, email services are offering larger storage spaces and let you actually search through past emails quickly, such as Google's "GMail."
Since emailing is free and postage is relatively cheap this type of property promotion is very low cost and takes very little time. If your vacation home is seasonal, such as a Cabin in Lake Tahoe, California, it's also a good idea to send out a reminder email and card to guests 9 months after their reservation. This gives guests enough time in advance to book their annual vacation with you next season.
To get the word out to new guests, promote your specials by advertising coupons in:
- Rental listings – most vacation rental websites will allow you to update your listing 24/7 through a "members only" area. Simply log in and add the promotional text and coupon code
- Personal website and or group websites
- Email signatures or footnotes
- Bulletin boards
- Local print and email newsletters and community forums
- Local vacation home catalogs and directories
Tracking Your Advertising
By using coupon codes you can also track your advertising to see where bookings are coming from and recognize what advertisements are producing results.
For example, say you're advertising the following special;
"Save 25% during the fall on all reservations. Valid from September 15th through October 31st."
And you're currently advertising on the following:
- XYZ Vacation Rentals.com property listing (a large vacation rental directory)
- Community website property listing
To track your advertising, create three coupon codes:
- "FALL25A" – for your XYZ Vacation Rentals.com website
- "FALL25B" – for your community website
- "FALL25C" – for your newspaper
Guests will provide you with the coupon code over the phone, or, if you have a Vacation Rental Desk™ account, they can redeem them online just like redeeming a coupon when ordering at Amazon.com. Coupons that are redeemed online show up in the reservation order on your account so you can identify each guest's coupon and determine which advertisements are producing the most bookings.
I hope you've taken away some insightful information on uses for coupons that will increase bookings and make your vacation home profitable.
I encourage you to Learn More about Vacation Rental Desk™.
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