Why work with a designer to brand your airbnb/short term rental?
Modern travelers aren’t simply looking for a place to sleep at the end of a long day of exploring, dining, and taking in the sights. Rather, they seek out immersive experiences that reflect who they are as a unique individuals—their aesthetic style, hobbies, interests, and aspirational lifestyle. By working with a brand designer, short term rental owners have the support necessary to translate their property’s unique attributes into a professional visual brand identity that is functional, cohesive, and calls in visitors who are excited to make the space part of their story. (If only for a few nights.)
I. Timeline: When is a good time to hire a brand designer?
First and foremost, the property is a physical space; therefore, it’s best to bring a brand designer into the project after the major interior and exterior design decisions have been made—whether with the help of the contractor, interior designer, etc. or personally. As a brand designer, creating a brand identity that’s cohesive throughout a customer’s entire brand experience from start to finish is key; therefore, the space’s interior style will largely drive creative direction and visual brand design decisions. For example, a brand identity for a property that embodies the design style of Wabi Sabi would (and should!) look and feel much different than a space that embodies a Mid-Century Modern design.
The fine print timeline details:
For full brand identity design for your property, I recommend reaching out to the brand designer you hope to work with approximately 12 months before the anticipated date of the first renter stay. Many designers book out a minimum of 1-2 months in advance. This 12 month timeline provides enough time to:
- Book your brand designer and go through any pre-project on boarding tasks they may require for the creative process.
- Complete the brand identity design collaboration with your designer.
- Order, manufacture, and install any designed print materials, merchandise, signage, etc.
- Use the completed brand identity to begin to establish a consistent digital presence on platforms such as Instagram, Tik Tok, and Pinterest. (This builds brand recognition, community, and generates excitement as people discover and follow along with the development of the space, feel like they’re part of the journey, and plan their potential stay on their calendars many months before bookings open.)
- Bring in the brand identity elements to customize the booking website if using a template-based platform specifically for short term rental businesses such as Lodgify.
- Plan, hire, and execute a professional photoshoot. (Including the physical space and lifestyle imagery.)
II. Preparing to Work With a Designer: Consultation Call
In order to determine if the project can be successfully executed, your potential designer will ask you many questions tailored specifically to their process and creative practice. (While also taking time to answer yours!) While each designer will gather different information, below are questions and general areas brand designers will likely touch on. Reflecting on them prior to the call can help you get the most out of your consultation and be as prepared as possible.
Timeline Details: Where are you in the process from acquiring the property to the estimated date of first guest stay? When are you aiming to open bookings?
Team: Are you working with an interior designer and/or contractor? Have the major design selections been finalized? (Think exterior finishes, paint colors, furniture, appliances, hardware, etc.) Do you have a plan in place for professional imagery of your property? (Both of the physical space and lifestyle imagery for marketing.)
Key Draws: What do you feel makes the space special? What might draw potential renters into your space specifically? What is the rental market like in the area? (Are there many ‘competitors’? Is there a busy season, event, attraction, etc. that creates high market demand?)
Budget: Beyond brand identity design, do you have a budget for printed materials, merchandise, etc?
Misc: (If project is booked with designer) Can I come do a physical tour of the space? (If local or willing to travel) Can you send me any relevant samples and swatches of interior design selections? (Fabrics, paint colors, wood stains, etc.) If not able to send physical samples, can you share photos of design boards/decks or Pinterest boards?
III. Design Deliverables: What a brand design project proposal (from EOJ) for a rental property would likely include:
Base Brand Identity Design: Creative Direction Deck, Full Logo System, Color Palette, Typography Selections, Brand Style Guide
Digital Marketing: Social Media Direction Deck, Templates (To be built out in a user-friendly platform like Canva so you can easily use them yourself without designer assistance), Email Marketing Templates (My favorite platform is FloDesk), Professional Photoshoot creative direction & planning assistance
Relevant Physical Brand Materials: Unique physical and printed materials that are specific to your location and ideal renter experience. Ideas could include but not limited to: Signage (Interior and/or exterior), Postcards, Stationary, Merchandise (food/beverage labels, decals, mugs, embroidered patches, etc.) Custom illustrations (local map, mini art print, welcome card), Printed property guide book.
IV. Notably, What EOJ Would Not Include: Custom Website Design
Short term rental property brands have extremely specific web integrations, most of which brand designers aren’t (rightfully so!) professionals in—unless they’ve been professionally designing exclusively within the hospitality industry for many years.
In order for a 100% custom booking website to work seamlessly for users and potential renters, (as well as work for YOU as the brand owner) your brand designer would need to be highly trained and experienced in the rental property industry’s specific digital needs—specifically planning, setting up, and educating you on the site’s necessary multiple third party integrations which would manage calendars, booking systems, back-end management systems, and so on. If your brand designer is not highly experienced in building custom websites for rental properties, using a platform with easily customizable templates built specifically for rental property brands such as Lodgify could be a good fit.
Are you ready to begin the process of branding your rental?
Inquire today and let’s start the conversation.
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