AgentMarketing

Tips to succeed at selling vacation homes online

Vacation homes were over one-fifth of home sales last year
  • Of all home sales in the U.S. last year, 21 percent were vacation properties, and if you want to capture some of that traffic, you're going to need a marketing plan.
  • Vacation-home sales catapulted to an estimated 1.13 million last year -- the highest amount since NAR began the survey in 2003.
  • I'd personally recommend setting aside over 80 percent of your vacation property ad-spend for the first seven months of the year.

Acquiring new clients who are looking for vacation homes can be tricky — but it’s a huge market that you can’t afford to ignore.

Of all home sales in the U.S. last year, 21 percent were vacation properties, and if you want to capture some of that traffic, you’re going to need a marketing plan.

Vacation home sales boomed in 2014, surpassing previous heights in 2006 according to an annual survey of residential homebuyers released in April by the National Association of Realtors. Vacation-home sales catapulted to an estimated 1.13 million last year — the highest amount since NAR began the survey in 2003.

So how were most of these vacation homes purchased? By far the most popular method for purchasing was through a real estate agent, and the majority of first steps taken toward purchasing a vacation property were started by searching online.

This is your moment to capture a new client.

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Tip 1: Know your audience

On average, the median household income of vacation homebuyers is $94,380, with an average purchase price of around $150,000. In Google Adwords, setting your ad’s display settings to target those with an income of around the $90,000 range is a smart decision.

Another interesting piece of data found in Google Trends is the regional interest of vacation properties. If you live in one of the following cities, you’re in the top part of the country for the search query “vacation homes for sale”:

  1. Seattle
  2. New York
  3. Chicago
  4. Houston
  5. Atlanta

See the graphic of this search trend below.

Keyword Searches

Seattle in particular has very high traffic. This could be due to the increasing net income of Seattleites. In 2013, the median income for Seattle households climbed to $70,000 — a $5,300 jump in just one year. 

Tip 2: Know the territory

Google Trends shows that there is a large discrepancy between when people are searching. January through July sees search queries rise significantly (peaking in July), while after August, searches come to a jarring halt until the new year.

This might seem intuitive to most real estate agents, but it’s something you definitely don’t want to overlook. Be prepared for the new year, and be sure to put together your digital marketing campaign during the months prior.

Online ad-spend should progressively increase all the way through July, until the end of summer when you should start to dial back. I’d personally recommend setting aside over 80 percent of your vacation property ad-spend for the first seven months of the year.

Search engine advertising can be confusing, however, it is an important marketing tool that can drive tons of sales when used correctly. Follow the trends, know who you should be targeting, and when you should target them.

If you have any more questions on setting up a campaign or how best to target your audience, feel free to send me an email at justin@cavesocial.com; I’ll do my best to answer.

Pro tip: Negative keywords

The most popular keyword search by far is “Florida vacation homes,” followed closely by “vacation rentals.” Be sure if you’re not trying to rent a property, you add the word “rental” to your negative keywords.

Justin Kerby is the founder of Cave Social, a digital marketing agency specializing in Real Estate. You can follow him on twitter @cavejustin or connect on LinkedIn

Email Justin Kerby.