I often receive emails from concerned subscribers that go something like this:
Photo credit: Matt Landau
We don’t know what to do. Our leads from listing sites were going down and more competitor rentals have opening their doors weekly, so we’ve built our own website with great descriptions, professional photos…etc. But the problem is, nothing seems to be happening. We haven’t had an inquiry in days. Please help!!!!
These emails always get two things incorrect.
First, they assume that I am a magic genie (rub my belly twice, pick your ideal occupancy rate, and then *POOF* your wish is my command). I run the Vacation Rental Marketing Blog. I am not a magician.
The second, and clearly more significant assumption, that many owners get wrong is that by building your own website, your bookings will automatically increase. They think that a website is the remedy to all their worries and that once they get set up, tomorrow will begin as a new and entirely more profitable day.
But here’s the thing…it probably wont. Tomorrow will most likely begin precisely how yesterday did (only now you happen to have your own website and some added monthly costs).
I can’t help but draw the false analogy to computers. It’s common in today’s market to consider our bookings like computers: if a computer breaks, we take it to a specialist who’ll fix it for us. It’s so easy for vacation rental owners and managers to just assume that a specialist like me could turn their season around with one convenient fee.
But your bookings are not like broken computers.
Your bookings are like plants.
My rentals are located in Panama and when I first started off, I wanted to grow beautiful and traditional veraneras (aka bougainvillea) on all the balconies. However, with my forgetfulness combined with my busy schedule leaving Panama every few weeks, they began, along a period of about 1 year, to wither away until they resembled ugly brown sticks emerging from dirt. But here’s the thing: they never completely died.
Our bookings are not unlike plants: they need the right conditions to grow. You can’t fix a plant. You can only give it the proper conditions – light, soil, water – and then wait.
So if our bookings are like plants, what are the conditions needed to make them blossom?
Perhaps the most important condition (and one which MyVR solves pretty transparently) is your own website. You must diversify your business (away from solely listing sites) if you ever plan to establish some control and independence. If you’ve got your own website (or are thinking about getting one) you’re on the right track. But remember, your bookings are not fixed with one fell swoop. So you can’t stop here…
You must be involved with your website. Publish posts on your blog consistently, gather guest email addresses for monthly newsletters, upload resounding reviews, build backlinks…etc. You must give your bookings the right conditions to grow, and then wait, just like I did with my flourishing veraneras, which now – after several years – are about as bountiful as the guests inhabiting my very rentals.
This is a guest post by Matt Landau, a good friend of MyVR.com and the Founder of the Vacation Rental Marketing Blog and VRLeap, two resources designed to help vacation rental owners and managers establish independence and increase their bookings with bulletproof techniques.