Renting a vacation home is a universal luxury. People of all ages enjoy a good time away from their typical day-by-day; but it’s important to note that while all ages seek that time away, how they go about finding where to stay is vastly different. This is where you enter the scene — how do you best market your vacation rental properties to adhere to the different generations? Do you need to set a target market?
It definitely helps to set your marketing tactics to reel in one specific generation, but there is no cut-and-dry protocol when setting up your strategy. Here, we’ll help you distinguish key characteristics of each group, which you’ll want to keep in mind when advertising your properties.
Millennials: The Tech Travelers
An overwhelming majority of millennials seek out a vacation home when compared to other generations, such as Generation X or the Baby Boomers. This group, born between 1981 and 1997, are a very tech-savvy generation and are the largest in the U.S. This may not be your target market, but you should make sure this group is not left out when posting to your home share website. Forty-four percent of millennials choose vacation rentals over hotels when vacationing — and they’re looking to be your partner in booking. Millennials are a very hands-on generation, but will research their options thoroughly before making a final decision. Eighty-seven percent will use online travel agencies to research rates and. Once that research is final, 90 percent will click a ‘Book Now’ button.
To help steer them to book, it’s in your best interest to have a Wi-Fi enabled home; this is mandatory for millennials. Despite being technology-savvy, millennials still need a bit of hand-holding. This generation is more likely to book if point-of-travel destinations are recommended. It helps to offer a tentative itinerary as 77 percent are traveling solely for leisure purposes and will want to fill their time with unique local sightseeing. Since the millennial generation is typically not tied-down, they have a wanderlust need to explore; other generations are a little less inclined to set up such loose travel plans, so take advantage of your vast array of marketing abilities for younger generations.
Generation X; Family-First Travelers
The second largest generation in the U.S., Generation X (or Gen-Xers), is an example of a generation with stricter vacation plans. Many Gen-Xers are family-focused as they are a demographic born between 1965 and 1982. Because of their family need, those vacation rental management properties close to the Sun Belt — Orlando, Florida; Miami; Los Angeles; Mexico; the Caribbean — should capitalize on this marketing opportunity. Gen-X cites a beach-oriented vacation home is a priority over hotels and/or other accommodations.
While this group may not be quite as tech-savvy as the millennial generation, they’re still more likely to book online than with a travel advisor. In fact, 82 percent of Gen-Xers book online, and 71 percent will use travel agencies for research and rate comparisons. Finding a fairly priced rental home is important to this generation despite their being the generation to spend the most per day on vacation — approximately $627 a day to be exact.
However, much of this spending will be to travel with children and larger family groups. So when you’re building your marketing strategy, tune into school calendars and holidays to best capture this audience. Younger audiences will hit peak traveling times, such as the summer months, whereas older generations are more inclined to travel more frequently.
Baby Boomers: Leisure-Loving Travelers
The Baby Boomer generation is that specific generation willing to travel any time of year. Being born between 1946 and 1964 tends to leave this generation with a higher percentage of retired individuals. With a surplus of free time, Baby Boomers list travel as a top activity, but are least likely to book a vacation rental property versus a standard hotel or traditional accommodation. Roughly 19 percent of Baby Boomers favor hotels, 26 percent favor cruises, and 28 percent favor customized tours.
Don’t let this detour your plan to market toward this demographic, however. Eighty-two percent of this generation are looking to travel solely for pleasure and 84 percent will book online. So, if you offer complimentary breakfast, Wi-Fi and allow pets to accompany your guests on their travels (5 percent of Baby Boomers require this as a must-have when booking), you may be able to reel in the Baby Boomer generation just as easily as the younger generations.
Matures: The Traditional Travelers
The one generation often overlooked when marketing for your vacation rental properties is the Mature generation. This group is made up of those born between 1926 and 1945, and they are especially important to consider when thinking of your audience. Travel is significant to the Mature generation and they will spend more on travel than any other generation — and since they use travel advisors more than any other generation as well, your vacation rental property will benefit from that word-of-mouth sale.
Hone in on standard marketing techniques for this demographic; the Mature generation uses magazines and catalogs to find their next travel destination most often, as they are not the most tech-savvy of all generations.
Knowing the characteristics and travel personalities of each generation will be able to help you adequately market to a specific audience. Determine what is most important for you and your guests, and keep those things in mind when building out your marketing strategy. You’ll have no problem keeping your vacation rental properties booked all year once you map out which generation you plan to market to and when is the best time to market to them.
Quick Tips for a Generation-Based Marketing Makeover
Increase your appeal to Millennial travelers by:
- Ensuring your home is Wi-Fi enabled
- Offering a unique local sightseeing travel itinerary
Grab the attention of Gen X by:
- Tuning in to school calendars and holidays
- Keeping your price point competitive
Entice Baby Boomers by:
- Offering hotel-esque essentials like complimentary breakfast
- Making your vacation rental solo traveler friendly
Meet up with the Mature generation by:
- Getting your name out there through traditional marketing practices
- Ensuring good rapport with travel advisors