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Vacation Rental Beginner: QUICK RESEARCH TIP

How to find your ideal guest when you're just getting started

If you've recently purchased a vacation rental or you are about to, you have probably done loads of market research to make sure that this is going to be a good investment.

But, there is one type of research that I see gets overlooked and this video is going to walk you through what that is and how to do this research.

I have mentioned the importance of this in several of my posts and it's the importance of understanding your ideal guest and doing the research to know WHO that guest is.

But, how do you know who your ideal guest is if you are just getting started and don't have any actual guest data to work with?

I'll walk through a quick research tip that you can use to help you get started in this area.

In my post, 5 Marketing Fundamentals, I write about how Fundamental #1 is know your ideal guest. When you know this, it makes writing your listing easier and it is easier to convert then into a booking.

However, if you haven't hosted anyone yet or you've only hosted a few guests, then you might be uncertain where to start here as far as who your ideal guest is.

In this case, I have a quick research tip that will walk you through five simple steps that you can use if you are just getting started.

Pro Vacation Rental Research Tip:

Use homes that are very similar to yours and that would likely serve the same guests. Use their reviews as a guideline of who your ideal guest is and what's important to them.

Research Step #1: Find Similar Homes

Find about three to five homes in your market and use this as your criteria for selection.

You want to find a home with a similar location, similar distance from a popular destination or attraction and you have similar offering as far as the size of your home, the style of your home, and you offer the same key amenities (for example if you have an in-ground pool then you want to find someone that also has this same amenity).

Then, the really important piece here is you want to find a home that has a lot of reviews. Do the best you can to find three to five homes that meet this criteria, location, style, offering, and lots of reviews.

Research Step #2: Read All Reviews

Now you are going to scour these reviews.

Open every single one of your homes that you found in a separate tab and read every single review there from top to bottom.

Make sure to read both the guest review and the host response review if there is one and take in as much as you can here because it's a lot of good information!

Research Step #3: Take Notes

Take notes on what you are learning from these reviews.

You are going to learn information like the types of groups that the home attracts and the most liked and appreciated amenities and you may also learn what went wrong during the stay.

Research Step #4: Look for Takeaways

You're going to take a look at your notes and you are going to look for major takeaways.

You might even want to have a highlighter handy and understand if there is a common theme to the types of guests that these homes have.

You may note that it seems like they more commonly host families versus couples. You will be able to tell that in some of these reviews.

You'll also want to pay attention to what types of amenities are most appreciated by these guests because that's what's going to get noted here. Comb through your notes and the reviews and note the things that you're seeing come up over an over and over again.

Research Example:

Now I want to walk through a real life example of what I would learn from this particular review.

vacation rental research

It seems like a pretty quick little review but I was able to garner a lot of insights from this review.

And the first one you'll see here is that she's mentioning her son's 30th birthday. This is a clue to me that this is a multi family occasion. So, they are bringing their adult children with them and they're could also have small grandchildren with them.

That is going to signal to me that this is a multi family and this home might attract those type of guests.

Then you'll notice the other types of amenities that I've highlighted in green. These are the things that were most important to them during their stay.

In the headline she mentions quiet cove. She mentions the comfortable beds, that the deck was fantastic and it really makes the house and how they loved the use of the kayaks and then they also went and rented a jet ski from a local boat rental company.

These are the things I am noting and what I would be making in my notes here is that what's important to this guest is peace, comfort, a gathering space because she's coming with her grown children and they enjoy getting out on the water with kayaks and jet skis.

That is gold as far as information goes as far as how you can use this type of information to really take these takeaways and implement them into your vacation rental.

Research Step #5: Implement

Take action on as many of these key takeaways as you can. For example with the review I just read. If I was seeing the word kayaks come up in several reviews, I might be saying, okay I need to offer a kayak with my rental.

Look for those research clues and implement the big wins that you see and then when you begin accepting guests, be sure that you're asking lots of questions.

You want to learn about who your guest is, and what's important to them and be willing to keep iterating and changing a little bit because you may not have the offering perfect right out of the gate but you'll have so much guest data to learn from to really perfect your offering.


As you're researching your marketing, remember the importance of understanding your ideal guest as quickly as possible.

This quick research tip will help you get a jump-start on your vacation rental marketing without having to wait months to learn from your actual bookings.

If you really want to hit the ground running with your vacation rental. be sure to grab my guide below.

It is called The Vacation Rental Marketing Roadmap, and you can grab that in the link below.

By grabbing this guide, you'll also be the first to know when I launch my brand new program next month which is ALL about optimizing your listing for maximum success!

Be sure to grab your free marketing guide here!

Vacation Rental Marketing Guide

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