Archives For Inquiries & Bookings

"Slow Time in Wrist Watch on Dry Leaf" by on flickr (CC BY 2.0)When renters are constantly coming and going, it’s easy to push non-urgent administrative tasks to the side for “later”.

If your vacation rental slows down between Labor Day and ski season, “later” is here! The shoulder season is the perfect time to catch up and start laying groundwork for next quarter.

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"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.
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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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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…

A lot of vacation home renters want to include a little love in their vacation time: A survey by TripAdvisor found that one in four think the best benefit of a vacation rental is “more privacy for romance”.

LOVE sculpture NY

Photo credit: Hu Totya

How can you adjust your marketing plans to catch the eyes of folks who are looking for some time alone?

Most travelers turn to vacation rentals because they want more space for family and group vacations, so don’t focus all your efforts pitching your home as a romantic getaway.

However, chances are your home can meet the needs of two groups who will appreciate their privacy: Those who want to stay somewhere without any other guests, and those travelling with a larger group who like a lot of space so they can get away from everyone else once in a while.

While you can tell people what a romantic location your property is — “take long walks on the beach” or “watch the sunset over dinner on the veranda”, for example — reflecting it through photos and highlighted activities makes it easier for potential guests to envision how they will spend their time.

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From movie tickets to home improvement projects, people are increasingly comfortable booking and paying for things online. The vacation rental industry has been a little slow to take advantage of this, but is change coming? We think so!

pay online button

Photo credit: vyancoskie

“Online transactions are a still surprisingly low % in this industry,” Jonathan Murray, CEO of MyVR, told Matt Landau of the Vacation Rental Marketing Blog earlier this year.

However, Jonathan’s one of several experts who feel online transactions are ready to take off. Tom Hale, Chief Product Officer at HomeAway, also told Landau that 2013 “would have to be the year of ‘online booking.’”

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In my last two posts, I explained why I try not to get frustrated with travelers who inquire about dates I’ve already noted as unavailable, and the value I see in every inquiry I respond to – whether the result is a booking or not.

"Snail Mail" on Flickr, by jaaronI know I’m not the only one who gets these emails; some owners find them frustrating and a waste of time. Sometimes I wonder whether people even look at the calendar I diligently keep up-to-date!

Hold off before you hit delete on those extra emails, though: yes, it’s annoying when people overlook information you’ve made readily available. However, each one is worth the time to follow up.

Here’s how I see it: When a renter shows interest, there’s potential business for someone. Maybe this time it’s not you  —  but down the line, it could be. I don’t want to squander a chance to foster goodwill and new relationships, so I look for ways to make that effort pay off for me and the renter.

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"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…

no vacancy

Photo Credit: taberandrew

I’ve seen a lot of chatter lately from owners who are frustrated by people who send inquiries even when the calendar shows that the property is already booked.

I can understand that frustration. I work hard to keep my calendar up to date — which is easier, since we purposely designed MyVR to sync calendars across all online marketing! However, it still takes time to update and ensure it’s correct.

Sometimes it feels as if potential renters don’t even look at the calendar. And maybe they don’t! However, I feel differently about this additional work than many owners: whether I’m booked or not, I see each inquiry as an opportunity.

I actually believe it’s (usually) not the traveler’s fault; they don’t want to waste your time, they just want to confirm their plans as quickly and easily as possible. Here are four situations I’ve experienced that may help explain the inquiry overflow. Continue Reading…

"For Rent", photo by HowNowDesign on FlickrOnline advertising leaves vacation rental owners open to a variety of scams, from phishing (where someone tries to steal your online identity) to scam artists sending fraudulent inquiries.

But have you heard about schemes where scammers use copy-and-paste and a Craigslist ad to pretend to be you – or at least, someone who owns your home?

How it works

To be fair, these scams aren’t new, aren’t limited to the Internet, and aren’t exclusive to Craigslist. However, websites like Craigslist make these traps easy to set up and more accessible to potential vacation renters.

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