What Are You Missing? Ideas To Give Your Marketing A Boost

Jonathan Murray —  August 31, 2013

"Graveyard lemonade stand" by Nina Frazier on Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)You know you have a good thing going: Your guests are happy, the bookings are coming in.

But you can’t help but feel that you’re not quite there yet; you feel like your vacation rental could be doing better, but something hasn’t clicked yet.

What’s the missing link?

Here’s a look at some of the ideas we’ve shared to help you tackle three common issues: Not enough inquiries, not enough bookings, and not enough income.

Not enough inquiries

What’s your number one source of inquiries: a specific listing site? Your own website? Craigslist? (If you’re not sure, consider tracking this information going forward.) Understanding where your guests come from can help you prioritize where you spend your time and money.

Listing sites

Website

Other advertising

  • If you haven’t tried Craigslist yet, give it a chance! Ads are free, and with all the information you’ve pulled together for your website and listings, it should be pretty straightforward to create an ad to be posted.
  • Consider starting an email newsletter for both past and potential guests. A newsletter is a great way to stay in touch with people who already know and like and your vacation rental, so give them opportunities to come back and tell their friends about you.

Not enough bookings

Travelers send an average of seven listing inquiries before booking, and there are any number of reasons that influence whether you are or are not the “winning” vacation rental.

Matt Landau, of the Vacation Rental Marketing Blog, did an exercise where he went back to people who’d sent inquiries and didn’t book to ask them what he could have done differently.

Are there gaps in the way you respond to inquiries?

  • Try to customize your response. Adding a personal touch to the way you connect with guests can help you get bookings and secure great reviews later.
  • Being prepared and responding quickly can make a significant difference; following up within one hour can make it up to seven times more likely that you will score that reservation.
  • Test auto-responders. Auto-responders are emails that are triggered when an inquiry comes in. If you can balance a standardized email with helpful information, and auto-responder can be a reasonable first step to take, until you’re able to connect more directly in person.

Not enough income

If inquiries are coming in and you’re consistently booking reservations, but your income still seems to fall short, you’ll need to review both your income and expenses.

The vacation rental market varies from one area to the next; try to connect with other owners in your area so you can build your connections and share notes. They may have good advice to share, and understanding what’s going on with other homes in your area can provide insight into the highs and lows of your own business.

For more inspiration, check out 10 Minute Marketing, a presentation packed with easy-to-implement and often overlooked marketing ideas I co-presented at this year’s HomeAway Summit.

How have you adjusted when business wasn’t quite as good as you thought it should be? Did you adjust what you were already doing, or try something entirely new? Tell us about it in the comments below!

photo by Nina Frazier

Jonathan Murray

Jonathan Murray

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Before starting MyVR, he co-founded Lift Media (acquired), a lead generation company that worked with clients like American Express, Netflix, and Fandango. He started MyVR after being frustrated with setting up his own Sonoma cottage as a vacation rental. He studied engineering at Bucknell University and received his MBA from Stanford University.
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