Domestic tourism has never been as popular in many different parts of the world as it is in 2021.

From Rentals United’s internal statistics, we have seen a 25 percentage point average increase in guests travelling within the same country compared to last year. Last summer was spent on the road as travellers ditched their overseas vacations in favour of road trips. 

Marketing to domestic travellers rather than international travellers will be the key to gaining a competitive edge through these coming months. 

In this article, we’ll show you how to step up your vacation rental marketing to target domestic travellers, and which booking sites to get listed on.

We’ve also created a new ebook How to target and convert domestic travellers. In it, you’ll find exclusive stats on the rise of domestic tourism, and get lots of actionable tips on how to take advantage of this trend. If you want to equip your property management business with all the tools you need to thrive in this new climate, download the ebook now.

Attracting domestic travellers: Strategies to eclipse the competition 

Even though domestic travel is on the rise, overall demand for vacation rentals is still comparatively low. This means that competition is higher than ever. In order to attract bookings and get noticed by travellers, you need to find ways to outrun your competitors. 

There are two areas that you need to master: pricing and marketing. Here’s what you need to know about each.

How to build your pricing strategy to attract domestic travellers

Domestic travellers have a different mindset than travellers preparing to splurge on an overseas trip. They are likely to be more budget-conscious.

In fact, according to Airbnb, “affordability is the top priority overall when it comes to choosing accommodation not just for the first trip but for future travel indefinitely (54%), beating health and safety protocols by ten percentage points.” 

As a result, to attract domestic travellers you need to have a competitive offer. 

One way to make sure your rates are always competitive and you don’t over- or underprice your rentals is to use dynamic pricing tools. These tools make frequent adjustments to your rates based on real-time market data in order to find the best nightly rate every single day. They’re super useful when it comes to optimising your rental’s performance. 

Here are the dynamic pricing tools we recommend checking out:

Another way to set rates that appeal to domestic travellers is to use Length-of-Stay (LOS) Pricing. LOS Pricing is a flexible pricing tactic that lets you adjust your rates based on the total duration of a stay, with the goal of incentivising the longest stay possible. 

Since currently, booking trends show that guests are booking longer stays with a shorter booking window, setting up LOS Pricing can be a great way to lock in extended stays and increase your occupancy.

And finally, adopting flexible cancellation policies can also help you attract domestic travellers. With so much uncertainty surrounding travel, guests are hesitant to book unless they have the option to cancel and get a full refund. 

Implementing flexible cancellation policies may seem counter-intuitive since cancellations are precisely what you’re battling. However, if you want to get more bookings, you need to risk getting more cancellations. 

According to some of the top distribution channels, flexible cancellation policies can get you more bookings and thus better occupancy. Airbnb reports a 15% increase in bookings for those who adopted Flexible or Moderate cancellation policies. And Plum Guide has revealed that 80% of all bookings made on their platform are on relaxed cancellation policies.

How to market your rentals to domestic travellers 

Next to pricing, how you market your rentals will also be a determining factor for success in the coming months. 

To encourage bookings from domestic travellers, you may have to switch gears and really think about how you can appeal to a local crowd. To make your listings domestic-traveller-friendly, consider the following: 

  • Switch to self-check-in. Automating your check-in with smart locks reduces human contact and appeals to hygiene-conscious travellers. Don’t forget to mention that you do keyless entry in your listing description!
  • Reconsider your minimum stay policy. Since domestic travellers are likely to book shorter trips, you can accommodate their travel style by reducing your minimum stay. 
  • Advertise your professional cleaning. Guests like to know that the property they’re staying in meets advanced standards of cleanliness. So, use your listing description and amenities to let them know that you’ve adopted extra hygiene measures. And don’t be afraid to raise your cleaning fee to cover the extra costs. Travellers are more hygiene-conscious than ever, so a higher cleaning fee is more likely to be a selling point than a deterrent. Some cleaning tools we recommend include Doinn, TurnoverBNB and Properly
  • Consider accepting pets. Allowing pets in your rental is a big commitment. At the same time, it lets you widen the pool of travellers who will see your rental, as you can appeal to pet owners and families looking for the perfect getaway.
  • Highlight hidden gems. Domestic guests will probably be less interested in your city’s main tourist attractions and more likely to visit off-the-beaten-path options, like hidden parks or neighbourhood-favourite restaurants. Focus on the unexpected in your listing description to get their attention.
  • Get listed on local/domestic booking sites. This is the most important step in optimising your vacation rental marketing to attract domestic travellers. In order for domestic guests to see your listings, you need to be present where they search. That includes the major OTAs plus some specialised, local niche sites. We’ll get into detail about this topic in the next section.

Diversify your distribution to attract domestic guests 

As the domestic travel demand starts to pick up it’s more important than ever for short-term rental property managers to improve their marketing mix. Once you’ve made sure that your property descriptions are appealing to domestic travellers, you also need to get listed on new channels that will give you more visibility among the local crowd.

Which websites you choose to get listed on will depend on the market your rentals are located in. Here are a few examples:

  • Locasun specialises in vacation rental properties across Europe, with a particularly strong presence in France. Having been in the business for 20+ years, they are known as a trusted, go-to local brand for both hosts and guests.
  • Dormoa is an online booking platform completely tailored to the needs of the Italian market in terms of marketing strategy, services and technology.
  • Spain-Holiday.com specialises in booking holidays across Spain. With 13 websites and over 24 million visitors yearly, Spain-Holiday.com delivers some of the best holiday rentals in Spain.
  • Florida Rentals specialises in vacation rentals in Florida and is considered the largest independent vacation rental website in the state.
  • SpeedyBooker is a fast-growing, innovative network of websites focused on generating bookings for a variety of accommodation types, including vacation rentals in 18 countries. 

You can find more examples of niche listing sites that target domestic travellers in different markets in our new ebook How to target and convert domestic travellers. Download it now!

To help you find the top-performing local and global listing sites in your area, we’ve created a collaborative Google Sheet where property managers have added the booking sites that have worked best for them. Feel free to check it out and add your own top-performing channels.

Of course, finding the right booking sites to get listed on is not enough – you also need a Channel Manager to help you manage all your listings. 

The quickest and most efficient way to get listed on a large variety of different websites is to use a Channel Manager that works in real-time. 

With Rentals United, you can get listed on 60+ channels including OTAs, metasearches, niche/local sites and Google.

Talk to us if you want to find out more!

Learn how to grow your business with a powerful Channel Manager.