Archives For Email Marketing

This topic recently came up in Matt Landau’s Inner Circle forum, and these two posts are based on information I shared there. If you aren’t already participating, check out the Inner Circle forum or connect with Matt Landau’s Vacation Rental Marketing blog.

In my last post, I called autoresponders “the secret weapon most vacation rental owners ignore,” explaining that adding them can save time, improve professionalism, and increase conversion rates.

As an owner, I like to know that every inquiry gets a response — even those that aren’t likely to convert because they fall outside my renter criteria. You can spend a lot of time responding individually to people who aren’t a good fit for your property, or you can use autoresponders to free up that energy so you can focus on your actual guests.

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I posted about this recently in Matt Landau’s Inner Circle forum. It’s been a while since I blogged about autoresponders, a tool many owners still aren’t taking advantage of, so I wanted to share the information with you here. If you aren’t already participating, check out the Inner Circle forum or connect with Matt Landau’s Vacation Rental Marketing blog.

"welcome" written with magnets, photo by Christian Schnettelker (CC BY 2.0)Done well, with some fine-tuning, using autoresponders in my vacation rental business have helped me capture more bookings, cut demands on my time, and build better relationships with my guests.

Inquiry autoresponders are messages that send automatically and immediately when someone sends a new rental inquiry. Some owners choose not to use autoresponders, but many don’t realize they’re even an option.

Here are seven reasons why I think every owner should include autoresponders in their booking process.

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Stack of fall leaves. "Fall" on flickr, by Mo Riza. (CC BY 2.0)If your fall reservation calendar isn’t as full as you’d like it to be, there’s good news: travelers love last-minute deals and vacation home renters are no exception!

According to the Vacation Rental Managers Association (VRMA), value for price is the number one reason why people choose vacation rentals over other types of accommodation.

And the better the value, the more likely they are to book: more than eight in ten travelers who say value is a top priority say that savings and last minutes deals are motivators that work.

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"I knew I had a lot of emails, but...", photo from Flickr by Jeff TurnerBetween the years of use and sheer volume we deal with on a regular basis, it’s easy to get complacent when it comes to email correspondence for your vacation rental.

Don’t make this mistake!

Big businesses are looking for more ways to customize and personalize their websites and email marketing, but in the travel sector, vacation rentals have an edge: a more individual and uncommon experience is inherent in the industry.

For most rental owners, email is the first point of contact. It’s up to you to capture a traveler’s interest and, ultimately, their business.

Do your email messages meet the same high standards as your rental property, or do they fall short? Continue Reading…

"You've Got Mail", by Ron Reiring on FlickrYou put a lot of time and effort into keeping your online reservation calendar up-to-date. And you should: It makes a difference for your vacation rental listings, even impacting your placement in search results. You also don’t want people to waste their time inquiring about dates that aren’t available.

Why, then, do so many people insist on contacting you about days you’ve already blacked out?!  As I said in my last post, I don’t think renters are entirely to blame. Today, I’d like to explain why I’m actually happy to see every one of those inquiries land in my Inbox.

While extra inquiries take extra time and energy — something none of us has in abundance — every inquiry you receive is proof of your hard-earned marketing investment. More importantly, each inquiry has a dollar value attached to it, whether you land a new booking today or not.  Let me walk you through how. Continue Reading…

facebook sharesYour vacation rental business and your email list have grown hand-in-hand; you have a focused distribution list of people who know you, like your property, and have given you permission to stay in touch.

When launching a Facebook Page for your vacation rental, the people on your email list are exactly the people you want to click the “Like” button. But how do you get them to do so?

1. Tell them about it

Your fans will “Like” your Page if you give them the right incentive. For example, will you

  • Organize the contests?
  • Promote last minute deals,
  • Share insider tips for local attractions?

Offer more than “like us, we’re on Facebook” by telling people what you plan to share and why it’s a benefit to them. Continue Reading…

hello notecardFor the twelfth day of MyVR Marketing Tips, start the New Year by getting in touch with people who’ve rented from you in the past.

If you haven’t already been collecting this information, you may need to do a bit of research; focus on your records from the past year or two to help keep the amount of information a bit more manageable.

Once you have your email or mailing list prepared — use the method you think is most preferable to the people you want to reach — you’ll need to craft a message that will have some meaning to them. Try to put yourself in their shoes, and ask: “What’s in it for me?”

For people who’ve stayed with you in the past, relevant information might include:

  • Any improvements you’ve made to the property, especially if you’ve addressed things that were noted by past guests as deficiencies.
  • Letting people know they can connect with you on Pinterest and Facebook, as well as the sort of information you plan to share.
  • A heads up if you’re planning a rate change; let people know they still have time to book at last year’s rates.
  • A special promotion for these loyal customers, or a benefit for any friends they refer to you.

It’s always possible that past guests were in the area for a one-time trip. However, getting in touch reminds them you’re still there if they want to return, lets them know what’s been going on, and encourages word-of-mouth referrals.

Reference:

 

This post is part of our 12 Days of Vacation Rental Marketing series. Subscribe to the blog and we’ll send you an email each day with a new post.

photo credit: Jen Collins

Email Auto ResponderAn auto-responder is an automatically generated email that is sent to the renter immediately after they inquire on your property. Even if you are diligent about replying to requests within a few hours, I still highly suggest setting one up to differentiate yourself from the competition. Try to make it as customized as possible, to let the potential renter know that you care about their inquiry and will get back to them as soon as possible. In fact, you’re 7 times more likely to get a booking if you follow up within 1 hour.

If inquiries are coming to a specific email account, for example through Gmail, you can use the Out Of Office or Vacation Settings tool to set up your reply. If you’re using MyVR, you can set up an auto-repsonder through your Inbox settings to reply to all inquiries received through your website, mobile website, and connected listing site accounts.

Here are a few examples to get you started: Continue Reading…

Thanksgiving PorchHappy Thanksgiving from all of us at MyVR! We hope you’re enjoying the day with your family and friends, giving thanks for all of the wonderful things in your life, including a booked vacation rental.

Wait, you haven’t booked your vacation rental yet? Well, what are you waiting for? It’s not too late to book up this holiday season at your rental.

If you’ve still got availability for 2012, here’s some tips to fill up your calendar this holiday season.

1. Offer a promotion

While it may be too late for some travelers to book flights for a long holiday vacation, it’s not too late for local or nearby guests to take a last-minute getaway. At this point, it’s time to decide whether you’d rather offer a discount on your rental, or risk that it goes unoccupied for the holiday season. Continue Reading…

Email NewsletterFrom your website to your listings and advertising — not to mention actually attracting someone’s attention and moving them to inquire about availability — it takes a lot of effort to get someone to book your vacation rental property.

You can start from scratch with every potential renter, or you can shorten the cycle by reaching out to your “warm leads”: People who have previously stayed with you, or who inquired about your property but didn’t book.

There’s definitely some legwork involved, but by following these steps you can create a newsletter that will help you stay in touch with both your previous guests and potential renters.

Step 1: Create your contact list

When compiling your contact list, you may want to focus on people who’ve sent inquiries over a set period of time, like the previous year, to keep the volume more manageable. Continue Reading…