Inbound marketing refers to a specific kind of marketing strategy – one that earns the attention of users to encourage customer interaction, voluntary sharing, and word-of-mouth dissemination. In contrast, outbound marketing is traditional advertising from the company to the consumer, outward, like cold-calling, email blasts, and pop-up ads.
Traditionalists tend to rely heavily on outbound marketing practices, spending heavily on advertising, telemarketing, and purchased email lists. These practices are tried and true; however, customers are becoming increasingly selective over what they want to be exposed to. With new technologies like spam filters and caller ID, coupled with a more and more sophisticated and informed consumer, these practices are becoming less effective.
Inbound marketing for vacation rentals allows potential customers to choose to opt in to your content and brand. The idea is that good content—written, photographed, or videoed—will attract customers who are already shopping around for vacation rentals and are open to being educated by you. Organic practices that are part of a strategic vacation rental SEO campaign facilitate inbound marketing. Think of it this way, it is more cost-effective to be found by customers who are interested in your product and have done some self-education and are ready to book.
In the hospitality industry, customers often feel an emotional investment in where they stay; make them feel at home, and they will gladly recommend your vacation rentals to both close friends as well as to the larger audience of review sites like TripAdvisor or Yelp. This is the essence of inbound marketing; your property, service, and web presence will earn the love of your customers, who in turn provide you with the most effective marketing tool of all: a personal recommendation.
Rather than spending thousands of dollars on creating ads, and thousands more on placing them in the hopes that someone, somewhere, will be intrigued enough to bite… let your customers come to you. This way you can focus all your energies on targeted customers who will actually book your vacation rental. It is a revolution in marketing, an investment that can continue on its own momentum as opposed to an ongoing expense year after year.