Archives For Local Guide

Once they decide where they want to go, travelers want to know what they can do when they get there, relying on the Internet and a sense of exploration to serve their needs.

However, new and emerging websites and smartphone applications are popping up all the time, many of them delivering information that’s local, socially curated and—in some cases—highly personalized. And they require little if any extra work from you!

Pointing your guest towards resources like these can help make their travel research much easier. Continue Reading…

"Travel Swag Bag Contents SXSWi" by Sheila Scarborough on flickr (CC BY 2.0)As a group, the preferences of travelers don’t change much from year to year. But they way they do their research and bookings—and the opportunities you have to connect with them—does.

Following up on a survey conducted last year, Google recently released “The 2013 Traveler“, a report that doesn’t offer shocking revelations but emphasizes that if you’ve held off on taking control of your vacation rental marketing, now is the time to do it. Continue Reading…

What are vacation rental owners talking about, and is there any news that might impact your vacation rental? Here’s a look some recent highlights.

Vacation Rental Marketing Blog || Go Big Or Go Home

"Hotel Kursaal & Ausonia ROOM" by Hotel Kursaal & Ausonia on flickr (CC BY 2.0)If you missed this great discussion on the Vacation Rental Marketing Blog last month, it’s worth reviewing.

Referencing a thread on the HomeAway Community Forum, Matt Landau said:

“You either run a business and treat every guest like the most spectacular VIP in the world. Or you participate in a hobby and worry not about your income or revenue.”

The “hotelization” of vacation rentals is something Tyler Gillespie blogged about in a series of posts for MyVR last month, looking at our need to balance the best of vacation rental travel against increased competition from hotels.

The comments on Landau’s post provide an interesting look at the lack of consensus among owners—and food for thought when it comes to how you want to manage your own rental. Continue Reading…

"Travel bag" on flickr, by Monterey Public Library (CC BY 2.0)There’s no question that online marketing matters when promoting your vacation rental; Google’s report, “The Traveler’s Road to Decision,” found that the vast majority of business and leisure travelers plan their trips online using search engines, websites, online agencies and other channels to get information and make reservations.

However, it seems that many travelers still prefer a good printed guidebook.

According to the “World Travel Market 2013 Industry Report,” more than half of UK travelers (59%) referenced a printed guidebook during their travels this summer.

Personal recommendations and other online resources still rank high. However, in the middle of the move to digital, it’s a good reminder not to forget the folks who prefer paper. Continue Reading…

inquiry formOnce you have your vacation rental management process figured out, it’s time to start getting guests through the door. With the growth of social media and the omnipresent Internet, marketing isn’t what it used to be — and it’s changing all the time.

As you start moving forward with your marketing plan, here are some terms you’ll likely hear, particularly when it comes to your website and online promotional activities.

Keep hearing a term that’s not on this list?  Please post it in the comments section below.

Analytics — the numbers you use to measure progress and results, and watch for patterns. For example, you may keep track of your web conversions, like the number of website visitors who send you an inquiry. Or, you may use this information over time to monitor whether the number of visitors to your website peaks at particular times of the year. (See also Conversion Rate.)

Auto Responder — an email that is automatically sent when someone sends you a message or inquiry. They can be a great way to deliver better customer service and help connect people quickly with important information about your property.

Call to Action — a word or phrase that encourages your reader to take a particular action, like “continue to reservation” or “share your review”.

Categories — broad topics used to group blog posts. For example, MyVR’s categories include “Contracts & Payments”, “Inquiries & Bookings”, and “Social Media”. (See also Keywords, Tags.) Continue Reading…

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

You know you should have a website for your vacation rental. What that means, however, is a little vague. What kind of content do you actually need to pull your website together?

Your website is, in most cases, your first and only chance to make a good impression. It’s also a critical way to communicate essential information to both potential guests and those who’ve already made reservations.

Try to get inside your guests’ heads and anticipate what they will want to know by considering the following content checklists. It will likely take at least a few hours to pull this information together, but ultimately this investment of effort is worth it; if you don’t make it easy to find essential information through your website, travelers will turn to a competitor who does.

There are three main areas people will have questions about:

  • Your vacation rental property,
  • The community they’re visiting, and
  • The business details of the vacation rental.

Continue Reading…

Travel Concierge on DutyI think the third most frequently asked question I get from travelers — after “What are your rates?” and “Is your vacation rental available for these dates?” — is “What activities and restaurants would you recommend near your home?”

We typically go back and forth via email, me asking them what kinds of activities they like, whether they’re traveling with children, what type of food they’re looking for, etc, etc. Basically, I become their travel concierge.

I decided it was a lot easier to just start posting my recommendations, favorite restaurants and upcoming events to my website. You can do the same and save yourself countless hours by directing travelers to your website. Plus, a local guide will also help your vacation rental website be found more easily online. Continue Reading…