Short-term rental marketing is such a dynamic field and it’s always evolving. Vacation rental managers are always on the lookout for new and unique ways to stand out from the crowd in marketing their properties. Savvy property owners have discovered and are finding success by the use of mini-sites.
As their name implies, these miniature websites provide dynamic supplements to the main vacation rental website, and offer a strategic edge in reaching diverse audiences. Let’s dive into the world of mini sites and see how they can help in your marketing game.
These supplementary online spaces are connected to your main vacation website, but serve as great tools for differentiation and strategic outreach.
In this post, we’re going to discuss the various applications and most important considerations in deploying minis-sites in your short-term rental marketing strategy.
Mini-sites as a Secret Weapon
Some marketers liken mini-sites to having a secret weapon to amplify your reach and engagement.
As the name suggests, mini sites are secondary websites that stem from your primary brand or vacation rental website. They serve as specialized sites, and allow you to differentiate your properties, while also highlighting specific aspects of your vacation rental business. This approach proves valuable, especially when dealing with subsets of your area and audience.
Tailoring Mini-Sites to Specific Audiences
But, mini sites offer a chance to be more than just a subset of your business. Use them as a tool for differentiating your property while maintaining brand identity. Mini-sites allow you to tailor your message to specific audiences. For instance, talk about all the fun awaiting them at your location, plus any specials you’re running, and perhaps some information about the area.
As you can see, mini-sites serve bite-size pieces of your audience’s specific needs. They’re a great versatile tool for providing specialized information for all of your visitors.
In addition to marketing to specific audiences, mini-sites are a productive tool to provide compelling content and marketing materials, calls to action, and even immersive videos.
Crafting Compelling Content for Your Mini-Site
Each new mini site is a blank canvas. To make it effective, you must have unique content, compelling visuals, and an About Us page. A Things to Do section is also a great idea, though perhaps not as crucial as the other components mentioned. All in all, a well-crafted mini site takes about 25 to 35 hours to put together.
A Mini-Site Example
Here’s a scenario in which a mini-site is a great idea:
Let’s say you manage a condo or multiple condos in a building with several other short-term rentals. Your unit(s) are part of a larger brand or complex, let’s call it Beach Sands. If you create a mini-site with a domain name as some variation of Beach Sands (like beachsandsvacations.com or beachsandsrentals.com), this mini-site could become the go-to place for potential guests, seamlessly linking back to your main site when they’re ready to book.
As you can see from this example, it’s possible to create multiple mini-sites, with each one targeting different keywords and/or concepts for the broadest exposure.
If you wanted to add even more functionality to your mini-site, you could consider adding a booking engine directly to the mini-site, instead of having your visitors redirected to your main site. This creates a totally seamless experience for your website visitors.
Another option to consider for your mini-site(s) is creating multiple sites with the same inventory, but sorting them differently to appeal to various search queries. This can be a bit tricky, however. Don’t try it until your main site is already ranking very high in the SERPs.
Remember that each mini site should have a clear goal and focus. Avoid creating redundant online spaces. Not only is this a waste of your time and resources, you’ll most likely get dinged by the search engines for trying this tactic.
Smart Email Collection
Another great use of your mini-site is to collect email addresses for marketing. Consider tagging these addresses by specific interests and you’ll soon have a goldmine of potential guests all nicely sorted by their individual likes and interests.
Here’s another great example of a mini-site: Based on the email addresses you’ve already collected and tagged, create a mini-site based on the most popular tag (like pet-friendly or hiking trails). You can then send these visitors a direct link to the mini-site that promotes their area of interest.
Using Mini-Sites with Franchises
For those property owners who have partnered with larger franchises like Casago or iTrip, mini sites are an important way to maintain individuality amongst the sea of like properties. Whether built beneath the franchise banner or as a subfolder extension, mini-sites offer a space to showcase your properties. Be careful to read the fine print in your contract with the franchise and know what you can and can’t do to market your property under their umbrella.
The Synergy of PPC and SEO
Achieving success with mini sites involves not just building them but making them exceptional. The combination of Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) can amplify the effectiveness of mini sites. However, as always, quality is paramount. Be very mindful in choosing relevant content that is both timely and useful.
The Major Power of Mini-Sites
In the always changing and evolving industry of short-term rental marketing, mini sites are a powerful marketing tool, offering property owners a means to carve out niches, engage diverse audiences, and strategically expand their online footprint. Whether it’s dominating keywords or creating unique content, the magic of mini sites lies in their ability to complement and enhance the overall marketing strategy.