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Top 5 strategies for success in short-term rentals
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Top 5 strategies for success in short-term rentals

The short-term rental market is growing unprecedentedly, making it more competitive than ever. With over six million listings on Airbnb alone and nearly 30 million on, it's no wonder many vacation rental companies and property owners are struggling to maintain their occupancy rates. To stay ahead in this crowded market, it's crucial to have an effective marketing plan and the right tools. Here are five strategies to help your listings stand out.

1. Boost efficiency with technology and AI

Technology has transformed many aspects of our lives, including the short-term rental market. If you haven't tried vacation rental management software yet, you're missing out compared to your competitors. 

Here’s how automation can streamline your operations:

  • Guest communication: The average traveler considers eight properties and inquires about up to five before booking. To stay competitive, you need to respond faster than others. Automated communication tools can help you respond within minutes, setting up templates for various scenarios like inquiries and checkouts.
  • Reviews: Reviews are crucial for attracting new bookings. Since 80% of guests are hesitant to leave reviews, automation can help. By providing feedback first through automated templates, you can encourage guests to respond with their reviews.
  • Cleaning and team management: Automation tools can streamline your cleaning and team management processes. You can assign tasks via text or email and receive notifications upon completion, reducing stress and ensuring timely turnovers. Tools like iGMS and Lodgify can automate guest communication, reviews, and cleaning management, making your operations more efficient.

2. Identify your perfect customers

Understanding your target audience is crucial. Millennials, aged 24 to 35, are a major force in the short-term rental market. These individuals prioritise experiences over material possessions and are willing to spend substantial amounts on travel. However, they demand affordability, high-quality service, and quick responses to inquiries.

To cater to millennials:

  1. Ensure your responses to inquiries are almost instantaneous.
  2. Offer unique, engaging experiences such as local culinary events or craft beer tastings.
  3. Provide practical amenities like vouchers for local bike or car rentals.

3. Improve your search ranking on major platforms

Given the popularity of sites like Airbnb,, and VRBO, it’s more effective to focus on your search ranking within these platforms rather than driving traffic to your website. Here are some simple ways to boost your visibility:

  • Use high-quality photos Ensure your listing has clear, high-quality photos. Good images attract more clicks and bookings.
  • Dynamic titles: Regularly update your listing’s title with attention-grabbing phrases.
  • Superhost status: Strive to achieve Superhost status or get listed on “Airbnb Plus or Select” for better visibility.
  • Get positive reviews Encourage guests to leave reviews. High ratings boost your listing’s visibility.
  • Offer competitive pricing Set your prices competitively. Check similar listings in your area to stay in line with market rates.
  • Use relevant keywords Include keywords in your title and description that potential guests might search for.

4. Impress from the start

Adding a “wow” factor can set your property apart. Millennials, in particular, are drawn to new technologies and smart amenities. Fortunately, these upgrades don’t have to be expensive. Small investments, such as color-changing LED bulbs or affordable smart speakers like the Echo Dot, can significantly boost your appeal and revenue.

5. Maximise your marketing reach

While major listing platforms are powerful, diversifying your marketing strategies is crucial. Social media is a potent tool, with 52% of travelers seeking recommendations there.


  • Manage your reviews to showcase your professionalism.
  • Create excitement with contests and surveys.
  • Share local content to attract interest.


  • Upload videos highlighting top local spots and experiences.
  • Provide useful travel tips and showcase your property.


  • Regularly post and create stories.
  • Collaborate with micro-influencers to reach millennials effectively.


The short-term rental market is fiercely competitive, leaving no room for mediocrity. To succeed, property owners must embrace innovation and implement new techniques and technologies. Smarthost, with its innovative property management strategies, offers an advanced alternative to traditional solutions. By adopting these strategies, you can enhance your bookings and establish a first-class vacation rental business. The future of the industry is now, and staying ahead means using every tool available.

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About SmartHost

We're an expert property management company specializing in short, medium and long lets. Since launching in 2016 we’ve managed over 130,000 stays and have earned our clients and property partners over £38M in revenue.

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Unlocking Your Property's Full Potential since 2016