When my family first bought our condominium as a vacation home and part-time rental holding, we felt we’d made a lucrative move from an investment perspective. The condo was in a popular luxury vacation destination, and the complex was quite nice. But we soon learned that despite being in a luxurious location, not every home is a “luxury home” and appeals to a luxury clientele. Our actual unit fell short of the luxury mark.
Real estate prices in the region meant that we had to charge a rental fee that was fairly high compared to prices elsewhere in the nation. Even though our rates were significantly lower than the rates of the higher-end units, we still had a challenge booking guests who traveled to the region seeking a high-end luxury travel experience.
So our family invested some money in upgrades to elevate the condo to the next level, and the results were incredible. Simple upgrades to furniture, fixtures, appliances, flooring, and décor resulted in a more luxurious overall “feel” of the condo, which led to a major improvement in bookings.
If you’ve invested in a vacation home in Palm Springs, you may find yourself in the same predicament my family was in. The Greater Palm Springs Convention and Visitors Bureau reports that Palm Springs visitors spent $5 billion in 2015, a nearly 11% increase over 2013. So there's no shortage of tourist dollars being spent in the region. To maximize your returns, you may want to consider more effectively targeting the luxury travel market sector.
How Can You Market and Brand Your Vacation Rental to Appeal to Luxury Vacationers?
The first step to targeting high-end renters involves upgrading and decorating your home in a way that's going to be appealing to that crowd. Palm Springs is known for being a luxury travel destination, but not every home is a “luxury home” per se. Still, that doesn't mean you can't appeal to luxury vacationers.
You'll want to take a few steps to ensure your home is appealing to luxury travel enthusiasts:
- Upgrade the landscaping and exterior to maximize curb appeal.
- Upgrade appliances to the best and most modern.
- Upgrade bathroom and kitchen fixtures.
- Add small upgrades that allow for greater convenience or an element of novelty.
- Decorate the home to suit a particular design aesthetic. Consistency throughout the home is essential.
- Consider providing a car or SUV for use by guests, so they do not need to rent a vehicle. You may also provide ATVs and other recreational items.
Do your best to eliminate anything that could be perceived as “cheap” or tacky. For instance, avoid linoleum or fiberboard and laminate cabinetry. Opt for quality materials wherever possible. In cases where you don't have the finances to go for the best and most luxurious option, choose a good quality alternative. For example, if you don't have the money to redo your entire shower with an automated, 360-degree shower experience, consider replacing the tiling, installing a waterproof mp3 player and in-shower TV screen, and adding a new, high-quality LED shower head.
Building a Brand for Your Palm Springs Vacation Home
Once you've transformed your home into one that's worthy of a luxury clientele, you'll be tasked with branding and presenting your vacation home in a way that's appealing to a wealthier luxury demographic. This can be achieved in a few different ways.
Your branding efforts should begin with coming up with a name for your property-- something that's memorable and appropriate for the home. A home that's surrounded by lots of cacti might be aptly named Sonoran Springs Lodge or The Purple Cholla House. You could also opt for a family name, such as Miller Ranch or Hannah-Coy Estates.
You'll also need to think of a brand identity, which is the home's personality, both in “real life” and in your marketing materials, including the logo and website. So you might go with Southwestern desert décor for a spacious ranch property, or perhaps you have a modern luxury home that's better suited to a clean, futuristic look. Whatever you choose, the name, logo, website, marketing materials, and the actual home should all have the same feeling and personality. Distinctiveness and consistency are key.
Once you've named your property and decided upon a brand personality, you'll want to focus on creating a website and marketing materials that deliver an experience -- just as your vacation home should do. You'll be promoting it as more than just a “place to stay.” You’ll be promoting it as a Palm Springs vacation experience. This is key for appealing to a luxury demographic.
Tips for Showcasing Your Home in an Appealing, Luxurious Way
Your vacation home's brand identity will go a long way toward appealing to a luxury demographic. In addition to this, you'll also want to include eye-catching elements that showcase your vacation home in a classy, engaging way.
Most vacation homes have photos and perhaps a quick “tour” video. But the pricier, luxury vacation rentals go to the next level with more engaging, dynamic elements, including:
Aerial drone videos of the property. These are especially good for homes located in a beautiful neighborhood or amidst a beautiful landscape that just can't be captured well from ground level. Lots of Palm Springs homes look better when captured from the air, particularly at dusk or first thing in the morning when the Sonoran Desert sky takes on some stunning hues.
Home staging and photography. Invest in a firm that can perform home staging, making your vacation rental look super appealing and inviting. (Notably, many cleaning companies or property management firms are willing to perform a bit of basic home staging to prepare your vacation home for its new guests, although you can expect to pay a bit more for this.) Once staging is complete, the home can be photographed. The results are often worthy of a magazine, and they're captured in a way that is inviting and compelling.
Virtual tour videos of the property. These videos use the same technology as Google Earth Street View, which allows you to “walk” through a neighborhood. Instead of capturing your neighborhood on video, the interactive video captures the interior of your home, allowing prospective guests to “walk through” and tour your vacation rental from anywhere on the planet. This not only showcases your home more effectively, but it also makes your property stand out from all others. On a subconscious level, you're saying, “See, this vacation home is so wonderful, we're willing to go above and beyond to show you!”
Also, don't hesitate to capture marketing photos with actual people in the frame. Think of the websites and brochures that you encounter for luxury spas and resorts. Many of those photographs include people. This helps to reinforce the experiential aspect that's so very important when selling to a luxury demographic. By including people in your photos, you're emphasizing an experience more than a mere “place.” So consider hiring some professional models who can be photographed in your vacation home, relaxing on the deck while watching the desert sunset, enjoying champagne while soaking in the spa, or unwinding with the family while relaxing in front of the large stone fireplace.
Additional Advice for Promoting Your Palm Springs Rental to a Luxury Clientele
Palm Springs is well known as a luxury vacation destination that's popular among the rich and famous. So there are many local attractions that you can (and should) promote on your website and in your marketing materials, from the local spas, golf courses, and boutiques, to the nearby music festivals and desert hiking.
Many Palm Springs vacation homeowners may also make the extra effort to join forces with local businesses and tourist attractions to offer perks to their guests. For example, you may contact a few local spas, restaurants, and golf courses to see if you can secure a special coupon or discount for your guests. You might also consider offering passes or tickets to local attractions, such as theaters, museums, and nearby Joshua Tree National Park. (in the case of the latter, it’s $30 for an annual pass for one vehicle -- perfect if you provide a vehicle that your guests can use.) These little perks can go a long way toward sealing the deal for any prospective guest who's on the fence and deciding between two vacation homes.
Once you've booked those guests, don't forget to treat them with a little something special, such as a nice “welcoming” basket of goodies, along with a delightful gift basket delivered midway through their stay. It's the little things such as this that can help you turn a one-time guest into a repeat visitor.
Your property manager can also make your guests feel welcome, serving more as a liaison who can check in and ensure that everything meets their approval. Not every property management firm is willing to go the extra mile for a luxury clientele, so it's important you interview prospective property managers to determine if they're right for your needs. But once you find one that does meet your needs, relying on a property manager to execute the tips we’ve listed above can be extremely helpful.
If you're in search of a property manager for your Palm Springs vacation home, stop by Rented.com. You can get a free account in just a few moments, and you'll be on your way to connecting with a fabulous property manager. You can even take advantage of Rented.com's one-of-a-kind income guarantee. Call us at +1 (844) 736-8334 or chat with us below to learn more.
Lead image: Flickr CC user Randy Heinitz