Archives For Marketing

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:

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…

Writing Property DescriptionsIn this do-it-yourself world of how-to articles and handy YouTube clips, when and why should you consider spending part of your limited budget to get hands-on help with your vacation rental marketing?

You have an Internet full of options when it comes to marketing solutions:

  • Do it all on your own,
  • Use guided DIY solutions like MyVR,
  • Hire someone to do everything for you, or
  • Hire pros to do some things while doing others on your own.

Whatever your budget and personal marketing talents, there are three main types of work you’ll need to consider as you get started: photography, writing and design. Continue Reading…

MyVR Rate CalendarAre your rates the right fit for your vacation rental? As noted in our earlier post about setting your rates, pricing your property is subjective — more of a best educated guess than an absolute calculation. It’s possible for you to miss the mark and price too high or low. If your rates are off, how can you adjust?

Is There A Problem?

The average vacation home is rented for 17.4 weeks a year. Before you get too anxious about what you may or may not be doing right, do some research and consider: Continue Reading…

MyVR WebinarIn case you missed the recent HomeAway Community webinar I hosted on how to give your listings more firepower with a website for your vacation rental, you can watch the recording here. As promised, there were a couple of questions asked that I have answered here.

How do I generate more links to my website?

I’ve written a few articles on link building for your website here on the MyVR blog. The first is what to do after you’ve launched your website and the other is 10 free vacation rental listing sites to boost your SEO. You can also get a few easy links by posting your website on all of your social media profiles (i.e. Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter) and getting listed on local directories like Google, Yahoo!, and Bing. Continue Reading…

Pinterest iPadWhen I first started hearing about Pinterest, it just seemed like a site packed with pictures of chic baked goods and fingernail art. As cool as the images were, it was a little hard to understand the hype. Now, however, the Pinterest statistics are impossible to ignore. The latest whopper is that Pinterest is currently the 3rd most popular social networking site behind Facebook and Twitter.

For those who haven’t ventured there yet, Pinterest is a social network where users curate virtual pinboards of images that inspire them. ‘Pinners’ usually have multiple boards, and the pictures are pinned from all over the Internet. The subjects are limitless, but lifestyle topics like cooking, crafts and clothing predominate. It skews heavily female, but men are catching up. Users follow each other, similar to Twitter, thus creating the vast network.

Businesses are flocking for several reasons, Continue Reading…

Vacation Rental CalculatorLike any business, setting rates for your vacation rental can be a stressful challenge.

Set your rate too high and rentals could be slow or non-existent, or your guest may have expectations that are higher than you can deliver.

Set your price too low and you may not be able to earn a profit, or you’ll only attract people who abuse your property as a cheap rental.

How do you find balance? Here’s a four-step process to help you decide on a range that matches your property. Remember: While you want to research the information to set the right rate for your property from the beginning, you can fine-tune later.

Step 1: Know Your Costs

External factors carry a lot of weight when it comes to setting rates for your vacation rental, but to start you need to focus on yourself: What is the minimum you can charge to break even? Continue Reading…

Chamber of Commerce for Vacation RentalsYour local chamber of commerce — also called a board of trade or economic development council in some areas — is a business organization that specializes in advocating with different levels of government about business issues. They’re also a great place to network with other local business people, and they often get involved in supporting local businesses and the community through events and other initiatives.

As a vacation home owner, you have a variety of memberships, subscriptions and services to consider every year. Should your local chamber of commerce be one of them? Continue Reading…

Passport International TravelerInternational travel is on the rise and awareness of vacation rentals is improving, making overseas inquiries increasingly likely for your vacation rental property. What can you do to help accommodate foreign guests and ensure they have a good stay?

International Travel Growing In The U.S.

International travel grew 4% last year globally, and the U.S. is angling to get a bigger slice of that market. “In the first half of 2012 alone, international visitors spent an estimated $82.2 billion… an increase of 11 percent when compared to the same period last year,” according to the U.S. Commerce Department.

Earlier this year, President Obama announced the Task Force on Travel and Competitiveness, an effort that aims to double the travel and tourism business by 2021.

Where will these travelers come from? Over the next five years, visitors from other parts of North America (i.e. Canada and Mexico) will account for 42% of those visits, while people from Asia — and specifically China — as well as Western Europe and South America will comprise most of the remaining 58%. Continue Reading…

Firepower ExplosionReady to give your website an overhaul? Thinking about creating a new website for your vacation rental? Then this session is for you.

Owners who, in addition to using listings sites, use their own website to participate in further marketing efforts (such as social media) experience 40% greater occupancy rates than those who use listing sites as their sole form of marketing, according to a recent survey by Matt Landau.

These days, a website is essential for your vacation rental, yet many owners still don’t have one. Or, worse yet, haven’t updated their website since they stopped accessing the internet through a dial-up modem.

We’ll review the critical elements every website needs to be successful, looking at live examples from owners. Topics we’ll cover include:

  • Search engine optimization
  • Photos and videos
  • Comprehensive local guides
  • Integrating your HomeAway calendar
  • Inquiry forms and booking engines
  • Social media shareability
  • Keeping content fresh

Your website should be a living, breathing entity that showcases the personality of you and your home. A great website paints the picture of a dream vacation for the traveler, not just list features and frequently asked questions.

Join me October 25, 2012 at 12 noon PT for a free webinar hosted by HomeAway.

UPDATE: You can now watch a recording of the webinar online.

__________

Title: Give Your Listings Firepower with a Personal Website
Speaker: Erin Colbert
Audience: Vacation Rental Owners & Managers
Date & Time: October 25, 2012 at 2pm CST

photo credit: gunjan

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…