Choosing Between Agency, Freelancer & In-House Marketing Teams For Your Vacation Rental Business

So… you’re thinking about hiring a marketing team to help promote your vacation rental management company. Great decision! When it comes to marketing your vacation rental management company, you have a lot of options to choose from.

But now the question is, should you go with an agency, freelancer, or in-house team? Each has its own set of pros and cons, so it’s important to weigh them all before making a final decision.

Here’s a look at the pros and cons of each approach.

Pros Of Freelancers

The growth of people choosing to start and run their own freelancing careers is exploding. According to Upwork, up to 36% of the US workforce calls themselves a freelancer. That number is expected to grow over the next 5 years to include 86 million working Americans.

Are you considering working with this growing contingent of freelancers to help with your vacation rental business? Freelancers can provide a variety of skills and services that can help take your business to the next level. Here are just some of the benefits of working with freelancers:

Here’s the pros of leveraging freelancers:

  • On-demand help with marketplaces: job listing today, hired freelancer tomorrow is very real
  • Flexibility with regards to hours worked, rate paid and minimal or no start-up costs
  • Worldwide talent pool to hire from: if you don’t require a local freelancer, then the total possible number of people you can hire in in the tens of millions
  • No long-term commitment to keep onboard: may need help with a single project that could last a day, week or few months and then the engagement can end

Cons Of Freelancers

Working with freelancers can be a great way to outsource work and get things done quickly. However, there are some drawbacks to using freelancers that you should be aware of before making the decision to work with them.

Here’s the drawbacks of working with freelancers:

  • They may not deliver the work on time or in the correct way
  • It’s possible they’ll take on too much work all at once, and your project or work may get delayed
  • There can be a lack of accountability if you don’t carefully measure and approve each element of their work
  • As a fully external team member, they aren’t often willing to integrate into your systems and processes

Pros Of Agencies

If you’re running a vacation rental management business, you know that marketing is essential to your success: keeping owners happy and growing your bottom line. You need to find ways to reach potential guests and convince them to book a stay at your properties. While you could try to handle your marketing yourself, working with a professional marketing agency can be a wise investment. Here are just a few benefits to working with an agency.

  • Marketing agencies often have experience in things you may not have mastered. For example, an agency has on their team an expert in social media content creation, SEO, link building, paid search, email marketing, Google Analytics and a lot more elements. It’s extremely rare to find any one marketing professional who knows all of those channels and tactics at a high level.
  • Agencies have more resources that sell in “slices” to their clients. An agency with a team size of 10 has 4,000 hours each week of labor that they can divvy up and work between their client roster, targeting what needs help and attention right now for each project and client
  • The top marketing firms and agencies have the benefit of learning from other clients, then applying those campaign insights to your business. If a marketing agency for vacation rentals has clients in two dozen different markets, they’re learning and monitoring trends from thousands of data points based on millions in bookings occurring each month.

From developing highly effective digital strategy to managing each channel and executing, a great marketing agency can take care of all the details so that you can focus on running your vacation rental business.

So if you’re looking for ways to boost your vacation rental business, consider partnering with a vacation rental marketing agency!

Cons Of Agencies

Working with a marketing agency can be a great way to get your vacation rental business off the ground. However, there are a few things you should keep in mind before you sign on the dotted line and begin any relationship with a marketing agency.

  • They can’t fix problems overnight. Even the best agencies will take time to get results, while some “quick wins” are going to occur, you’ll want to understand that an agency isn’t a surefire rocket ship of success for any marketing problems you have
  • There will be an upfront investment of both time and money. There’s almost no agency (even specialized ones that work with vacation rental companies) that works for free 😄! There will be an investment of both time (meetings, calls, onboarding and review) and also money (startup fees, retainer payments, ad costs) that you need to budget for to be successful
  • There’s no promise or 100% guarantee of success. While most agencies work really hard to get great results, the truth is that there is no foolproof way to know with certainty that their campaigns will produce a perfect outcome all of the time.

As a result of these elements, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons of working with an agency before making a decision.

Pros Of In-House Marketing Teams

Marketing a vacation rental management company can be a full-time job — even for an entire team of peple! There are a number of different channels to consider, from OTAs, email marketing, SEO, link building, Facebook Ads and a lot more. Each channel requires a different approach.

A dedicated marketing team can help to ensure that your vacation rental business is getting the exposure it needs to get more owners and more guests. They can also help to track the results of your digital marketing efforts, so you can adjust your strategy as needed. In addition, a marketing team can provide valuable insights into the vacation rental market, helping you to identify new opportunities and stay ahead of the competition. The pros of having a dedicated in-house marketing team are very straightforward:

  • Completely dedicated to your company and the success of your overall brand and marketing campaigns
  • The ability to change strategy more quickly than working with an outside vendor. A great in-house team will be on top of numbers daily (if not hourly) and can quickly adjust course as new data becomes available
  • Extra resources to test brand-new ideas without a significant cost in labor. One major benefit of your own in-house marketing team is letting them spend “10% time” on new projects and channels to help find the new emerging marketing channels that can improve overall performance

Cons Of In-House Marketing Teams

For many vacation rental businesses, the idea of building an in-house marketing team sounds quite appealing. After all, who knows your business better than you do? And with a dedicated team in place, you can be sure that your marketing initiatives are executed effectively and consistently.

However, there are also several potential downsides to consider before making the decision to build an in-house marketing team.

  • It can be expensive to hire and train a team of marketing professionals: the average salary for a marketing director in 2022 is over $77,000 according to Glassdoor: and that’s just one director. Junior marketing team members may cost anywhere from $40k to $50k annually on top of the director role. Expect to budget a monthly payroll into the $20k – $30k range to support a small team
  • An in-house team may not be as nimble or well-connected as an outside agency. In-house teams have a limited set of data they can review on a weekly basis, and don’t get outside perspective often. If their performance slips, they may not know the reasons why.
  • Some in-house teams may be less flexible than an agency in terms of responding to changes in the market or your business: on top of not always being able to be on “the cutting edge”, they may also not have expertise in every single channel

Ultimately, only you can decide whether the benefits of an in-house marketing team outweigh the drawbacks. But if you do decide to go this route, make sure to carefully consider all of the potential risks and challenges involved.

Making The Right Choice For Your Vacation Rental Business

What’s the best option for your vacation rental management business? The answer to that question depends on a variety of factors, including your budget, how much time you want to spend on marketing, and your goals.

If you want help with all aspects of marketing, an agency may be the best choice. But if you have some skills in-house and are comfortable executing most of the work yourself, freelancers might be a better fit.

It’s important to weigh all the pros and cons of each option and decide what will work best for your unique business.

Want more advice about choosing between agencies, freelancers, or in-house teams? Schedule a call with us today — we’d love to help break down the benefits our agency can bring to your vacation rental company.

Take The Next Step
  1. Download the free guide: 17 Ways To Level Up Your Vacation Rental Marketing and get our best tips on how to grow and scale your business.
  2. If you want to learn more about how to generate more bookings, visit our blog and read our articles.
  3. To get started working with us, visit our contact page, complete the form and schedule a call.
  4. If you’ve found this article helpful, please share it with your friends, team or other vacation rental managers you know!
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