Pop quiz: What makes your vacation home stand out? We mean really stand out: Why should a traveler choose your home over the one next door, or the one with very similar amenities, or the one with an identical floor plan? Your answer forms the cornerstone of your property management and vacation rental marketing: unique selling points, also known as USPs.
You can think of unique selling points as your competitive advantage: those few specifics that really spell out your winning difference. In travel, and especially in the vacation home industry, this typically boils down to something special that sets your property apart.
What’s more, that something special fulfills travelers’ emotional needs (and may resolve their pain points). More on this, below.
Bottom line: Your USPs are so important that they should be one of the very first topics you tackle. Here at Peak, every new client relationship, new project, and new property branding begins with USPs. Because USPs inform us of the why so we can convince travelers why.
Why, Why, Why?
Travelers always want to know why: Why should I choose your property? How is it different from all the others that they’ve found in their online searches? What makes it stand out?
And, perhaps most importantly, why should they care? In other words, what aspects of your home will tug at their heartstrings? What details will make a traveler declare, “this is where I have to stay!”?
By now, it’s clear: Your USPs are the foundation of your property management and vacation rental marketing: they will inform and shape all your marketing efforts. This is your starting point.
What Vacation Rental USPs are Not
If vacation rental USPs still seem like some vague, nebulous idea, don’t worry: We’re going to dig into them (and help you identify yours), in a moment. But first, let’s discuss what USPs are not:
Warning: Amenities are Not USPs
You can likely rattle off a full list of amenities for any given vacation home: Concierge services. Ocean views. Multiple ensuites. Onsite staff. Infinity pool. Private chef services. And on and on.
Amenities and services do not constitute USPs; they are amenities and services. That said, your amenities and services could help shape your major USP. For example, a luxury private villa with all of the above-listed amenities? Well, when put together, they create the home’s USP: a standalone villa with the privacy of a home, the luxury amenities of a top-tier hotel, and the five-star services of the best resorts in the area.
Warning: Don’t Load Up on USPs (But Don’t Constrain Yourself to Just One, Either)
If you do any further reading on USPs, you’ll likely come across the advice that you should have only one USP. After all, it is a unique selling point and in this vast, wide world of travel, how many selling points can really be unique?
The truth lies somewhere in the middle of a single and many USPs: At Peak, when we work with property management companies and luxury vacation homes, we remind our clients that a guest’s vacation experience has levels or tiers: It’s about more than the home; it’s about the location, and your service, and the amenities, and the many other minutiae that comprise the overall experience.
Your vacation rental marketing is predicated on this comprehensive, all-in experience, and so should be your USPs. You will create one overarching USP as the cornerstone for your marketing, but beneath it, you can also have “child” USPs (= sub-category USPs) for said location, service, amenities, and many other minutiae.
How to: USPs for the Vacation Rental Industry
At the very, very heart of it, a vacation home’s unique selling point is always about your home’s differentiating qualities. And it’s entirely unique to your property.
Chances are, you already know it. You just haven’t put it to words. That’s what we’re here to do now.
Step 1: Ask Yourself, Why?
If you’ve ever spent extended periods of time with a 2-year-old, you know where this is going: But why? Why is the sky blue? Because we’re seeing blue light waves. But why? Because they’re shorter and smaller than other colors, which makes them easier for us to see. But why? Because… Etc. etc.
So, let’s circle back to the pop quiz in the intro: What makes your vacation home stand out? We mean really stand out: Why should a traveler choose your home over the one next door, or the one with nearly identical amenities, or the one with an identical floor plan?
Step 2: Would Your Competitor Have the Same Answer?
Once you have your answer to the above questions, then ask yourself, could any of your competitors – and by this, we mean other homes a vacationer might consider – answer in a similar way?
If the answer is yes, then you must reconvene with your inner 2-year-old: But why? Why is your answer unique? And why does it matter?
For example, an oceanfront location with a view from every room is a pretty stand-out feature but it’s not a unique selling point unless you’re the only home on the oceanfront with a view from every room. Remember, it has to be unique to you – not you and a few of your closest competitors.
So again, but why? Ask yourself why and why and why, again, until you have refined an answer that begets no further whys? and can be voiced by no one but you.
Step 3: Make it Emotional
Once you’ve settled on your major, overarching vacation rental USP, then it’s time to create an emotional connection.
Because without an emotional connection, your USP means nothing. It lands with no impact; it resonates with no effect. And that is the last thing you want for your vacation rental marketing.
So, create that emotional connection! If you do have the only oceanfront home with views from every room, then embrace it. Frame that USP in all the ways it matters:
- You’ll wake up to the melodic crash of the waves, no matter which bedroom suite you call yours.
- You’ll have a front-row seat to the sunrise/sunset, every day.
- You can check surf conditions from your personal hammock.
- You can step right off your terrace and into the sand…
All with the implication that you can experience these emotional touchpoints here, and only here.
That is your unique selling point.
Step 4: Build Out Your Child USPs
Once you have your most important, comprehensive property USP, then you can begin looking into your child or sub-category USPs.
- First, think of all your standout features/amenities/services that could be sub-category USPs.
- Then, ask yourself: Is it unique? And if it’s not, is there an approach/way of considering it, that would make it unique?
- Describe your possible child USP. Then ask yourself, but why?
- Refine, refine, refine.
At the end of the day, most vacation homes will have one parent/overarching USP and may have 2-3 child/sub-category USPs.
For example, you could have a child USP to describe your home’s unique concierge services: “Welcome to the lowest-stress vacation you’ve ever experienced, thanks to our dedicated pre- and post-arrival concierge staff, who plan and perfect every detail. It’s exactly the vacation you’d plan, if you only had the time, the expertise, and the local connections.”
Deploying Your USPs
While we could wax poetic about (and create an entire post on) all the many ways to deploy and employ your USPs, we’ll stick to one major takeaway: Your USP should be the first and last consideration for all your property management and vacation rental marketing efforts.
What do we mean by that? Simply this: Before you write that new blog post, or publish that new ad, or click send on that newsletter, or create any other marketing collateral, ask yourself, does this convey at least one of my USPs?
If the answer is “no” or “I’m not sure,” then take a second look. Try to work it in there. Because your marketing efforts, at the end of the day, exist to show and tell travelers why: Why you?
Because when you can easily explain why you – and when that why creates an emotional response in your future guest – then that “why you?” becomes a “yes you!” becomes a “Book Now.”
Stuck on Your USPs? Vacation Rental Marketing Overwhelm? We’re Here to Help.
USPs are both incredibly important and yet, also hard to pin down. If you’re having trouble, take heart: You’re not the only one. And this is a work in progress.
At Peak Integrated Marketing, our property management and luxury vacation home services begin with USP development. We’ll work with you, one-on-one, to not only understand your business but to ask all the right questions – to be that questioning 2-year-old who demands to know why? until the answer takes full form.
And from there, we’ll help you weave your USPs into your branding materials and marketing – from your website copy to your social media and content marketing. So please, get in touch and let’s talk. We look forward to it!