Attract domestic travelers to your vacation rental with these tips! Discover strategies to capture the attention of domestic guests and boost bookings.

In 2024, local is the new global. More and more visitors choose to explore their own backyard instead of investing in international trips. Be it the high traveling costs, post-pandemic habits, or people simply wanting a change of scenery, domestic travel is here to stay.

As a vacation rental owner, marketing your business to domestic travelers is equally important as targeting international guests. In fact, 80% of U.S. citizens planned a domestic trip in 2024, a vast market share that your vacation rental business can't afford to lose.

In this guide, we'll shed some light on why domestic guests are most profitable for your short-term rental, along with tips to attract this growing market. Let's dive in!

Why Do People Travel Domestically?

Domestic travel means visiting local areas in your hometown or county without leaving the country. Additionally, "staycation" refers to stress-free, slow-living travel, usually within a small ray.

There are different reasons why someone might choose domestic travel over international, but it usually comes down to budget, convenience, remote work, and the new trend of exploring local heritage.

For instance, a family of four is likelier to choose local holidays than international ones. That's because of flight costs (lately gone through the roof), more safety for the kids, and saving time.

10+1 Tips to Attract Domestic Travelers to Your Vacation Rental
Many travelers choose to travel locally instead of internationally

What Are the Benefits of Domestic Tourism?

Although we all love the charm of international guests staying at our properties, certain benefits come hand-in-hand with domestic travelers:

  • Frequent bookings. Domestic travelers take frequent mini-breaks compared to international travelers who take longer trips once or twice yearly. This translates to more potential bookings for your vacation rental property throughout the year.
  • Balanced seasonality. Domestic guests usually book during off-peak season, helping you mitigate the negative effects of seasonality. Their schedule is more flexible; therefore, you get higher occupancy rates.
  • Familiarity with the area. Domestic travelers know what to expect as they're familiar with local customs and regional potential. As a result, they're less likely to leave with unmet expectations or misunderstandings.
  • Lower cancellation rates. Domestic guests don't have travel restrictions or risks of flight cancellations. Therefore, they're less likely to cancel than international guests.
10+1 Tips to Attract Domestic Travelers to Your Vacation Rental
Insider tips to target guests for domestic vacation rentals

Tips for Attracting Domestic Travelers to Your Vacation Rental Property

1. Lower Your Minimum Stay Policy

First things first. To attract domestic travelers, lose any fees related to minimum stay. In contrast to international travelers, staycationers are more likely to opt for shorter trips or weekend getaways. So paying for a minimum stay policy of, per se, 7 days will put them off.

Instead, consider lowering your stay policy to make your vacation rental more appealing and get more bookings. Additionally, offer a flexible cancellation policy to target domestic guests. They're less likely to cancel anyway, so you earn the "caring host" badge on top.

2. Enhance Your Amenities

Now is the time to upgrade your amenities to attract staycationers. Domestic travelers will appreciate home amenities more than international guests who'll be out and about all day. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Fully-equipped kitchen
  • BBQ area
  • In-house gym
  • Luxury toiletries (scented candles, oil diffusers)
  • Vinyl players
  • Welcome treats
  • Swimming pool
  • Jacuzzi
  • Home cinema system
  • Collection of board games
  • A workspace with high-speed Wi-Fi and nice views
  • An outdoor sitting space or a garden
10+1 Tips to Attract Domestic Travelers to Your Vacation Rental
Property managers should invest in unique features to increase property's visibility

3. Allow Instant Bookings

Many domestic travelers use the "instant booking" filter when searching for a property in OTAs like Airbnb. Having that option for your vacation rentals will instantly grant you a competitive advantage and increase your visibility. Plus, domestic guests are prone to make last-minute arrangements, so you want to be there when they're looking for you.

4. Tailor Your Messaging

To attract domestic travelers, you must speak directly to them through all your channels. Tailor your website, listing, and social media messaging to highlight:

  • How guests can enjoy total relaxation in a safe cocoon away from the hustle and bustle of the city
  • The sleep quality domestic travelers can achieve
  • The oasis amidst the city chaos your short-term rentals offer
  • The amenities and experiences domestic guests can enjoy while staying with you

Try to match your photos to that vibe, portraying moments of relaxation and use words such as "unwind", "rejuvenate", and "refill your batteries". For example, throw a blanket over your couch, turn on Netflix, and add a cup of hot chocolate to the table. Snap the photo and promote it as self-care.

10+1 Tips to Attract Domestic Travelers to Your Vacation Rental
Promote amenities to all your listings to attract guests traveling in the same country

5. Offer a 360 Local Experience

The whole point of staycation is staying in your local area and exploring hidden gems. Although domestic guests might already be familiar with the destination, they'll be on the hunt for off-the-beaten-path experiences. And here's where you come to the frame to share unexpected and exciting sights.

Think markets, fairs, theatres, music festivals, unique restaurants, or local attractions. Do you know any secret spots in the city with great views to watch the sunset or the best scenic walks near the water? Any recommendation will attract domestic guests and give them a reason to return for more.

6. Collaborate With Local Businesses

Join forces with local businesses to double your chances of getting booked while also promoting local products. For example, consider promoting your neighborhood restaurant by adding take-out menus in your short-term rental or treating guests to their specialties after check-in.

You can even create your own packages or earn a small commission for promoting local products. For instance, you can advertise spa treatments, local transportation, wine tastings, or boat trips and get bonus points. This way, local allies and guests will appreciate you for supporting local businesses. Win-win!

10+1 Tips to Attract Domestic Travelers to Your Vacation Rental
Recommend a local restaurant or other hidden gems to potential customers

7. Use Local Seo

When advertising your short-term rental, use location-specific keywords to get higher visibility from domestic travelers. For example, if your rental is on Virgin Island, relevant keywords such as "luxury condo in Virgin Island" and "best condo in Virgin Island" will do the trick.

Additionally, list your vacation rental to Google My Business. This free tool by Google allows you to gain visibility for your vacation rental industry in Google Maps. As a result, when a user searches for "condo near me", your listing will appear on top of web results thanks to proximity from GPS data. You'll even be able to overrank major OTAs like VRBO and without worrying about SEO.

8. Make the Most of Social Media

Social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram can help you attract domestic guests organically. Use appealing photos to highlight your property's best angles and cultivate the image of total relaxation. Make sure to use location tags and hashtags to increase visibility.

Alternatively, you can use social media platforms to share updates, showcase local events, or promote offers. For example, if guests cancel and you have a last-minute weekend booking gap, create an appealing offer for specific dates and promote it on all platforms. You'll probably end up booking it with local tourists.

10+1 Tips to Attract Domestic Travelers to Your Vacation Rental
Use correct and relevant keywords to increase your domestic bookings

9. Appeal to Millenials

Millennials are the age group that spends the most money on traveling. Gen Z doesn't fall behind, with an overwhelming 90% saying they get travel inspiration from social media. Most of them are already remote workers, which makes them excellent prospects for vacation rentals.

To attract this age group, you must invest in high-quality photos from a professional photographer. Millennials book with images, so they need to get the "feel" of your place before they visit. Additionally, you'll need to invest in trending decor such as neon signs, pot plants, or art pieces.

Your goal should be to make your vacation home look as "Instagrammable" as possible. Think of it this way - if local travelers post pictures of your rental online, they're essentially doing your marketing for you.

10. List With a Local Tourism Board

Consider listing with a local tourism board to target domestic travelers. Many guests reach out to local boards for detailed itineraries or travel inspiration. Being recommended by such organizations builds your authority and generates greater visibility.

10+1 Tips to Attract Domestic Travelers to Your Vacation Rental
Suggest local restaurants to domestic guests for extended stays

11. Create Your Book-direct Website

Effective communication with potential guests starts with a great website. Before attracting domestic travelers, make sure you invest in a proper website presence to forge direct relationships.

At Houfy, we hold a community of over 50,000 guests and 15,000 hosts, facilitating more than $23M worth of bookings. Say farewell to large OTAs who cut a large sum of your profit and market you to broad audiences. With a book-direct website, you can handle your bookings, talk directly with guests, and have a say in who books with you.

Especially if you're looking to book with more domestic guests, having your own website allows you to focus on local SEO and a well-planned marketing strategy. List your property today or, import your Airbnb listing, and take your rental business into your own hands!

Add Your Place to Houfy
Create your listing, promote and connect with guests directly.
IconReport this post

What members say about us

Read about our customers' experiences and their success stories.

Loading Views...