Archives For 12 Days of VR Marketing

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

craigslist sfbayFor the eleventh day of MyVR Marketing Tips, give Craigslist a try — or another try, if you’ve tested Craigslist postings in the past.

Craigslist is a free classifieds website, and people often have mixed experiences with it. However, it has some clear benefits:

  • It’s free,
  • It’s the 9th most visited website in the U.S.,
  • People do go to Craigslist specifically looking for this information, which means that
  • For low cost and little effort, you can potentially get a solid return on the investment of your time.

To pull an effective listing together, follow our seven steps for vacation rental advertising on Craigslist.

  1. Create an account,
  2. Select your location,
  3. Create an enticing title,
  4. Write your post description and call-to-action,
  5. Upload photos,
  6. Confirm your listing, renew, and repost,
  7. Avoid phishing and fraud.

One of the biggest complaints about Craigslist is the risk of fraud and phishing (where someone tries to steal your personal information). Always be wary of suspicious behavior and odd inquiries; while sometimes these may be legitimate, try to follow-up with phone conversations and always trust your gut instinct.

References:

 

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.

pinterest mobileFor the tenth day of MyVR Marketing Tips, give some love to the millions of Pinterest addicts and build up your Pinterest profile. Don’t have a profile yet? These five steps will get you started.

If you have little idea what Pinterest is, you’re not alone: Its rise in popularity has been relatively quick and recent. Launched in early 2010 as an invite-only beta site, Pinterest officially opened to the public this past August; in September, it was labelled the 4th largest drive of web traffic worldwide.

Pinterest is an image-based social network; if you don’t have great photos, you probably won’t get very far. However, interesting and helpful photos can be shared rapidly; just another great reason to invest in high-quality photography!

Your Pinterest account is like a simplified, visual version of your website; show people enough photos to peak their interest, and make sure you highlight the good stuff.

You can also simply create a single board on your personal account, but this will limit your ability to easily use Pinterest as an information resource for your property.

Creating an account with different Pinterest boards allows you to group types of information together. Some themes you may want to consider include:

  • Your vacation rental. Photos of your home and property.
  • Local attractions. Share images that connect people to relevant websites.
  • What to bring. Share photos of things people will want to have in their suitcase.
  • Recipes. A fun thing to share are recipes and cooking tips for local dishes and drinks.
  • Recommended reading. Provide a few book recommendations that are either relevant to your environment (i.e. tropical getaways), or of local interest.

References:

What does a Pinterest account look like as you start to pull images together? Here are a few examples:

 

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: Marc Ben Fatma

facebook likeFor the ninth day of MyVR Marketing Tips, navigate through the distracting YouTube videos and pithy quotes on Facebook to update your vacation rental’s Business Page.

If you don’t have a Business Page yet, download our Vacation Rental Owners Guide to Facebook Marketing e-Book and spend today getting set up!

Word-of-mouth recommendations and referrals are key reasons to be on Facebook, as is staying connected with past renters; 87% of vacation rental guests have recommended renting a home to a friend.

While you should try to share information on your Facebook Page regularly, getting into the habit can be a bit of a challenge without a plan. Here are a few ideas for information you can share and keep an eye out for.

  • Update the cover photo on your business page regularly,
  • Promote upcoming local events,
  • Highlight recent renovations or additions to your home,
  • Share your own photos of your home,
  • Share photos of the local community,
  • Share positive reviews and recommendations you receive,
  • Encourage guests to leave tips on your page,
  • Encourage guests to share their own photos with you.

Use your Facebook page to make it easy for past guests to remember how much they enjoyed staying in your home.

References:

 

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.

search engine marketingFor the eighth day of MyVR Marketing Tips, your mission is to search for new places to promote your vacation rental website online.

You’ve already updated your listing on the vacation rental directories; today’s focus is broader, to include search engines and business directories.

Some key sites you’ll want to look at include:

Why should you spend time promoting your vacation rental in so many different locations? Because doing so:

  • Helps you connect with new groups of people who may or may not use other sites you’re advertising on.
  • Helps boost your website in search engine results, which give some consideration to the number of relevant external sites that point to your website.

The U.S. Travel Association says that at least 76 percent of travelers do their planning online; investing this time makes it easier for them to find you.

References:

 

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: Danard Vincente

flipkey listing modern tahoeFor the seventh day of MyVR Marketing Tips, take a tour of vacation rental websites where you’re listed and either add or revise your listing information with your newly-updated description.

Armed with the information about which sites have more or less value to you, you may want to adjust your plan for these sites too. If a paid site did not bring you any bookings in the last year, considering changing your subscription to a different level or canceling it altogether. This is a great time to upgrade or downgrade your account.

As you check each listing:

  • Tweak your headline to ensure it includes attention-grabbing keywords.
  • Update the description to match what you wrote earlier.
  • Ensure all other information (i.e. contact details) is up-to-date.
  • If you intend to increase rates, add a notice to the page.
  • Evaluate the rest of your listing. Have you used the best photos? Are there any comments you need to respond to?
  • Make sure there are no typos or grammatical mistakes!

Vacation home renters like to browse around; a survey by FlipKey found that the average traveler looks at four different sites before finally inquiring about seven different properties.

Some listing sites give you an opportunity to connect with a more focused group of potential renters. If you target a particular group of travelers, a bit of online research may help you find a directory that’s dedicated to that particular audience.

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.

roi diceFor the sixth day of MyVR Marketing Tips, you’re going to have a look at what worked — and what didn’t — for your 2012 marketing efforts.

Use this template spreadsheet to list:

  • Different marketing channels you used,
  • How much each channel cost you (i.e. fees),
  • How many inquiries came through each channel,
  • How many of those inquiries turned into bookings, and
  • The total revenue gained from each channel, if possible.

Based on this information, the spreadsheet will help you calculate the return on your investment: The average cost per booking, as well as how much money you earned from every dollar you spent on advertising.

Doing this analysis may take a bit more time if you haven’t been collecting this information all year. However, it’s important to do because you may be surprised by the results!

Not only can tracking your results help you assess which channels aren’t working for your business, but you can also identify where it may be worth investing more (for example, different advertising levels).

Resources:

 

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.

professional photoFor the fifth day of MyVR Marketing Tips, schedule a photo shoot for your rental property — with yourself or somebody else behind the lens.

You should already have high-quality photos that accurately reflect the quality and decor of your home. However, unless these photos are relatively recent, they can become dated over time as you repaint walls, replace a piece of furniture or two, or rearrange the backyard.

Good photos are arguably the most critical piece of your marketing tools. HomeAway recommends these seven must-have vacation rental photos for your promotional materials:

  • View
  • Exterior
  • Living Room
  • Kitchen
  • Master bedroom
  • Each additional bedroom
  • Outdoor amenities

HomeAway recommends against bathroom shots, unless yours is particularly spectacular, and suggests you don’t overdo it with the scenery shots.

If you still have a great set of WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) photos, look for new images to add to your selection. Perhaps you could add a few photos of the local community, or highlight different features on your property?

While you don’t want to overdo it, you also want to ensure your rental is well represented; According to Flipkey, travelers are 83 percent more likely to make an inquiry on your property listing if you have more than 20 photos.

Choose your best photos and add as many as you can to any websites where you promote your vacation rental.

References:

 

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: Images by Ora

outdoor cafeFor the fourth day of MyVR Marketing Tips, either research or take time to reflect on some of the great experiences you’ve had in your vacation rental neighborhood recently. Then, add this new information to your local guide.

Businesses come and go from year to year, and it’s possible that there are new local gems that could also use your support.

Grab a pen and paper to list:

  • Any local attractions you enjoy but haven’t previously included in your local guide.
  • Local restaurants that have a good reputation. Have any new ones opened nearby over the past year?
  • New businesses that might be of interest to your guests, like art galleries, breweries, and other curio or local-interest shops.
  • New events scheduled over the next year, including notable sporting events, conferences or festivals.

Also, confirm that the existing information is still valid. In particular, ensure any businesses or tourist attractions referenced are still open and accessible. Delete any one-time events that have already wrapped up.

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: La Citta Vita

For the third day of MyVR Marketing Tips, have a fresh look at the way you describe your vacation rental, and the headlines you use to try to grab attention.

update headline

Next to having great photos, a captivating and detailed description is what will bring business to your door. Even if you think the description you’re using right now really captures what you have to offer, step back to consider whether there might be anything you can add.

  • Review feedback and reviews you’ve received over the past year. Do people describe your home differently than you do? Perhaps you call it “rustic” while others describe it as “charming.” Maybe people have made note of something that you never really noticed. Look to this feedback for new ideas, not just to energize the writing but also to use descriptions that may be more meaningful to your ideal renter.
  • Add improvements to your description. Perhaps you added a gazebo to the garden, or a new park opened down the street. Whether on your property or in the local area, highlight any new features in your promotional information.
  • Tweak your headlines. The overall content is important, but you also need an attention-grabbing headline. Maybe the headline you use right now is perfect, or perhaps reading feedback and reviews will spark a new idea or two. Try to brainstorm new headlines for both your website and listing sites.

For now, just update the information in a separate document; over the next few days, you’ll use it to update your advertising.

References:

 

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.