For any travel brand, finding a right-fit audience to inspire with the right message at the right time can be costly. That’s because dominant players often consume the travel industry’s profits, and many accommodation providers have the odds stacked against them.
That’s why reaching and inspiring travelers in the dreaming phase is a critical marketing goal—where you can tap a right-fit audience before their competitors even have a chance.
In North Carolina, Intracoastal Vacation Rentals‘ Business Development Director, Trisha Howarth, speaks to the hurdles—
“The biggest challenge of professional rental agencies is growing brand awareness and retention of the renter. We want to keep renters booking directly with the agency versus other online platforms.”
IVR has 180 rentals spread along the beach islands between Bald Head Island and Wrightsville Beach. Last year, Trisha’s vacation rental group joined NorthCarolinaBound—a collaborative of accommodation providers across the state aimed at driving direct revenue for the travel industry—to reach more travelers at the lowest cost possible.
Advocacy in the dreaming phase
“Building a clientele that continues to come back and rent through the agency year after year is really important. We’ve found a good way to do that is to grow our audience through Flip.to’s Advocacy platform.”
Through Advocacy, past guests introduce vacation rental groups to friends and family—a like-minded audience of similar demographics. With each passing guest, their properties are continually introduced to more travelers, swelling their audiences.
From there, the platform reaches the traveler at their point of inspiration in a one-to-one conversation that’s nurtured to fill the marketing funnel and help warm leads convert.
Discovery in the planning phase
The second part of the platform reaches travelers in a completely different traveler phase. Discovery sparks conversations with planners who land on IVR’s site, ready to book a trip.
The platform unveils these planners, learns about their intent and shopping window, and re-engages the planner along the decision-making journey to win them over.
“Discovery is helpful because it shows what resonates with our audience—what they’re searching for and how to engage them with the right message. It’s really going to help us with conversion.”
Visit North Carolina’s contribution
For a boutique agency like IVR, NorthCarolinaBound—sponsored by Visit North Carolina—is making a difference.
“VisitNC and the NorthCarolinaBound partnership is building an audience for the state of North Carolina, and helping smaller agencies engage in a platform that may otherwise be unaffordable for them. It’s really a win-win—helping everyone level up.”
Maximizing VR potential
Flip.to builds product with vacation rentals in mind. From learning a traveler’s individual interests, to taking into account booking policies that guide planners on when to stay, the platform is designed to eliminate friction for a smooth and intuitive user experience.
“Flip.to is constantly working to take care of exceptions, so I find they’re really attuned to working with the vacation rental market. They’re certainly on the right track, and will continue to improve the product.”
Better marketing, bigger results
For marketers, time matters. That’s why Advocacy keeps inspiring dreamers with only minutes of time per week, while Discovery continually wins over planners with almost no input needed.
As part of NorthCarolinaBound, Trisha is filling her marketing funnel with a high-quality audience through better conversations with travelers. This more authentic approach to marketing leads to a lower cost of acquisition for her audience, and with direct bookings, to higher revenue.
If you’re ready to reach, inspire and win over travelers with an approach centered on authenticity and trust, give us a shout—we’re excited to kick off.