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Guest post by Jeff Caldwell 

When you’re trying to rent your vacation property, your first priority is to attract interested renters — and to do that, you need features that will catch people’s attention when they’re searching online.

Some of the most important are outdoor amenities: the right kind can grab the eye when someone is browsing hundreds of online listings, and can help someone choose your rental over the competition.

Continue Reading…

Guest post by Karen Clark

Once you’ve addressed the vacation rental essentials—like price, convenience and cleanliness—the renters’ market, to some extent, becomes a battle of aesthetics and what’s in vogue.

If you’ve taken steps to automate your vacation home, you already have a leg up. Home automation has seen a massive spike in popularity. Homeowners are tethering their houses to their electronics, and there’s never been a better time for vacation rental owners to consider the smart home game.

Why automation? Why now?

"Home Automation" on Flickr, by Denis P (CC BY 2.0 from www.pallspera.com)Vacation rental owners are specialists in simplicity. With just a few pictures and some lines of text, you can sell an entire experience to tourists. It just goes to show that in the world of travel, easier is always better—and automating your home can bring both simplicity and efficiency.

Home automation has quickly ascended and is close to becoming an industry standard. According to SecurityCompanies.com, the home security and smart home spheres are quickly merging. It’s getting harder to find a home security service that doesn’t offer some type of home automation access and vice versa.

With the onset of automation features gracing so many products in today”s market – from security systems to toasters to sprinklers – it’s only sensible to give your guests the most hassle-free experience possible. Continue Reading…

Guest post by Madoline Hatter

MyVR on Pinterest

Connect with MyVR on Pinterest.

While sharing interesting content via a blog can support your vacation rental business, adding images—and taking advantage of an image-based social network—can improve the experience exponentially. Like the adage goes, “a picture is worth a thousand words.”

Pinterest is a growing social media hub that can help boost your blog; pairing the two creates a powerful way for you to connect with new visitors.

Draw in new travelers

Even though it’s relatively new, Pinterest drives more traffic to websites than several other social networks combined. It’s easy to direct people back to your blog: add short snippets of information to each picture and link them back to your main blog or website.

Unique and well-developed pictures can spread, generating additional traffic from other sites such as Facebook or Reddit—a strong argument for hiring a professional photographer. The more attention any single image can receive, the better your chances of getting attention from a potential guest.

Boost your marketing efficiently

It’s not just about pointing people back to your website, either. By adding a Pinterest link to your website, it’s easy for visitors to find more images from you or others. Use these photos to showcase your rental property and nearby attractions. This could easily entice visitors to explore further and find out more about your property or the location itself.

The more you can draw website visitors in with eye-catching photos, the more often those visits will turn into bookings. And Pinterest makes it easy: not only can you integrate it with your blog, it’s also free to use. Continue Reading…

Guest post by Tyann Marcink

It was three weeks ago.

Well, maybe just two weeks—but it seems like an eternity.

No emails. No phone calls. Just a message from “Marie in NY” that was obviously a phishing attempt. Why haven’t the inquiries flooded in? How is it that a scammer found your property, but the legit folk seem to no longer be taking vacations?

"click" on flickr, by inna dee (CC BY 2.0)

After checking the number of views on the brand new listing, the realization hits: nobody is even clicking through to look at your property.

Take a deep breath. The travelers are there. They really, truly do want to find a vacation rental just like yours. But are you giving them a reason to click? Continue Reading…

Review Part 1, Part 2  || Guest post by Tyler Gillespie

In a recent post on his blog, Tyler Gillespie of VacationRentalBusiness.net challenged vacation rental owners to “hotelize” their businesses. In this three-part series for MyVR,  he explains why it matters, how to do it, and what you can do to bring your  guest services to the next level.  This is part three of three.Before you can truly focus on service, you need to make sure the business side of things is streamlined and running smoothly.

Once you’ve nailed your basic business processes, however, it’s time to step up your service game. This is where hotels really take the lead, and by following these steps, you can, too.

Concierge Services and Experience:

Your guests’ experience really starts before they even email or call to learn more about your property. In fact, it starts with your brand and how your listings are written.

What vibes is your property giving off? Continue Reading…

Review Part 1 || Guest post by Tyler Gillespie

In a recent post on his blog, Tyler Gillespie of VacationRentalBusiness.net challenged vacation rental owners to “hotelize” their businesses. In this three-part series for MyVR, he explains why it matters, how to do it, and what you can do to bring your guest services to the next level. This is part two of three.Families have started to make the switch from hotels to vacation rentals, and why not? Vacation rentals have a lot going for them!

Unfortunately, we also have one big self-defeating problem: Inconsistency. That’s why I believe that a key part of your focus – this year and in future – should be on streamlining operations to become more professional. Much like a hotel.

Whether you manage your rental business on a part or full-time basis, here is my advice to kickstart the “hotelization” of your vacation rental property by zeroing in on the things that will keep your business running smoothly. Continue Reading…

Guest post by Tyler Gillespie

In a recent post on his blog, Tyler Gillespie of VacationRentalBusiness.net challenged vacation rental owners to “hotelize” their businesses. In this three-part series for MyVR, he explains why it matters, how to do it, and what you can do to bring your guest services to the next level. This is part one of three.I have worked directly with many hotels over the years and, as a result, I have a unique perspective on the different items and services that are offered to clients in the exclusive, high-end marketplace that is Aspen, Colorado.

In my opinion, in order to have a truly successful vacation rental business now and in the future, vacation rental owners should focus primarily on two things:

  1. The Customer Experience and
  2. Treating Your Property Like a Business

Pay close attention! These are two areas hotels excel in, and you always want to make sure your property stays competitive. Continue Reading…

Guest post by Tyann Marcink

Can just the angle or the way you frame a listing photo for your vacation rental property really make that big of a difference? Absolutely.

There is a massive difference between just taking a shot and composing a photograph.

Let’s take a look at an example…

photo collage comparing two photos of swimming pools (credit: Tyann Marcink)

Here are two photos of the same swimming pool. Both of these photos give us basic information that a traveler would be interested in:

  • the rental property has access to a swimming pool
  • the pool is a decent size
  • there are chairs to sit in
  • there is a playground nearby
  • the area is fenced for safety

However, at which pool would you rather be spending your time? The one in the second photo? Me, too!

Why is that? Let’s take a look at the composition of the photos and the subconscious psychology that is created. Continue Reading…

I often receive emails from concerned subscribers that go something like this:

Mostaza Panama

Photo credit: Matt Landau

Dear Matt,

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.

 

photo: Matt Landau

 

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.

Many of you might wonder if your furnished vacation rental could also be marketed as a corporate rental. It’s a good question and shows you’re thinking about ways to maximize your exposure and income.

Here are some telltale signs that your vacation rental might be a good corporate rental too:

Location, Location, Location:  Is the location of your vacation rental near a large city, big business, hospital, theater, university, or event center? If so, your vacation rental can easily double as a corporate rental. Corporate housing is typically used by traveling business professionals, relocated families, visiting doctors and nurses, and those traveling for medical treatments. The perfect vacation and corporate towns include cities such as Orlando, Las Vegas and Atlanta, which serve as both business meccas and vacation hot spots.  On the flip side, if your rental property is located in a niche ski village or cozy beach town, it’s likely more appealing as a vacation rental.

corporate housing services

Seasonal Trends:  Season can often dictate whether your furnished rental property would be more profitable as a corporate or vacation rental. During peak travel seasons in your area, perhaps you can ask a higher rental rate from vacationers. However, if large conference comes to town, like the Consumer Electronic’s Show in Vegas, you might want to reserve the property for a corporate client to maximize your rental income. Continue Reading…