Archives For Marketing

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.

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…

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…

impact vs effort gridWe get it, you’re busy. We’re owners, too, and know there’s only so much you can do in a day. If you could carve out just 10 extra minutes a week to market your vacation rental, what could you do that would make a difference?

There’s a sliding scale when it comes to what works — and what doesn’t — in vacation rental marketing. Some things take little time or effort, but the impact is significant; other things have a high cost, but barely make a dent.

At the 2013 HomeAway Summit, Markus Nordvik and I shared 15 medium-to-high impact and generally low cost/effort marketing ideas to help you maximize your ‘bang for the buck’. Different ideas work for different properties, and these ideas give you something you can test without a significant investment.

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.