Vacation Rental Listing Sites Ain’t The Only Way!

By February 23, 2015 Marketing

How to make more bookings, pay less commission and be independent

Have you ever wondered…

  • How can I get more bookings?
  • How can I pay less commissions on bookings I receive? 
  • How do I wean off of and rely less on vacation rental listing sites?

There is an answer and today I’m going to introduce to you the new way of marketing your vacation rentals. I’ll even give you a free vacation rental marketing tool you can use to get started (keep reading).

Will you do something with it? If you don’t, you really can’t complain about how poorly you’re doing or how vacation rental listing sites don’t give a rat’s tail about you. I’m just saying….

By just complaining and not doing anything  about it, you’re declaring the treatment and income you receive as acceptable.

If you don’t like your current rental situation, change it! I’ll hopefully be able to help you do that.  Some of you may see the value in this post, and if you do, please let me know by commenting in the comment section below.  And if you don’t, tell me why not.

This is your time to do something today IF, you want to change your tomorrow!

 

vacation rental marketing quote

 

Albert Einstein said the definition of insanity is “doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results”. The truth is folks, by Albert Einstein’s definition, many of us ARE INSANE!

When it comes to your vacation rental do you do the same things you’ve been doing, hoping things eventually get better?

You can’t change the fruit without changing the root.”  Stephen R. Covey 

You’ve got to do something different!

 

Moving Toward A Successful Vacation Rental Marketing Strategy 

This strategy I’m sharing with you is more than different. It’s a bit unorthodox and it’s only being used by those who are really successful. In this industry this only makes up a small percentage of owners and property management companies. But, it’s always that way isn’t it?  20% of the people make 80% of the  income. That’s because the 20% are willing to do the work (or have someone do it for them).

 

#1 Problem with the old model of marketing vacation rentals.

  • You have no control!

HomeAway announced 1 million listings! Flipkey’s Changing Policies! Will the competition increase? Will your bookings decrease?

There is much to be concerned about when depending on listing sites for our only source of bookings; will I get enough bookings? will they change another policy? raise subscriptions again? will I get quality leads?

 

Does Relying  On Vacation Rental Listing Sites Make Your Business Vulnerable?

In one word, Yes! However, I’m not suggesting that anyone drop their vacation rental listings today. What I am suggesting is for you to start building your “safety net,” so if the bottom ever falls out, you’ll have something to support you. Isn’t that what you should do for an investment anyway… protect it? I mean, no one saw the market crash coming in 2008, and by the time they did, it was already too late. If something like that ever happened again it would be devastating to many of you. Be prepared and expect the unexpected in your business!

 

Bullet-Proofing Your Vacation Rental Business

This is serious stuff! You have to protect your business. A lot is riding on it. I recently shared  the reality of owning a vacation rental and a shocking statistic: Read More >  80% of vacation rental businesses will fail.  

  • The number one reason for investment failure is insolvency

Protect your investment! When it comes to bookings, inconsistency in rentals can lead to insolvency. How do you safeguard your investment property?

 

Develop A Diversified Vacation Rental Marketing Portfolio

Keep your vacation rental listings, but work on alternative forms of advertising that’ll help to strengthen your vacation rental business, increase bookings and build your independence away from the big listing sites. It’s not one source that will keep your home full with bookings. It’s the collaborative efforts of your advertising that will work all-together to provide ample leads for a positive return on your investment.

If one of your marketing channels raises its subscription fee or implements some new policy that you don’t agree with, you can drop ’em like a bad habit without worry. You may even decide to lower your subscription level because you no longer require the most  expensive listing  plan. Once you have multiple sources delivering inquiries, you have much more power and you’ll become aware that there are other ways to get bookings! Suddenly your paradigm changes. This is how we begin to take our power back from vacation rental sites and claim our independence.

 

HomeAway or Google? If you had a choice, where your property could be seen more, where would you pick- HomeAway, Flipkey, VRBO or Google?

With 93% of all online experiences beginning with a search engine, Google is the best answer. But this strategy isn’t limited by just the reach of Google. It utilizes Bing, Yahoo and a ton of other smaller search engines to get even more people to see your rental. The internet is a big place; it has no limits! Why limit your vacation rental marketing to a single website, instead of using the whole internet.

Your marketing strategy should be centered around getting your properties found on Google…and I’m not talking about Google Adwords where you have to pay for every click/lead (more on that coming soon) . It’s quite the opposite. You can get found on Google organically for free.

 

Google Leads Are Higher Quality Leads
  • Organic search leads have a 14.6% close rate, while traditional marketing leads have a 1.7% close rate

Inquiries that are generated from Google are much more likley to become a booking. Why because you’ve targeted them with your marketing and they are looking for exaclty what you have. 

Higher Return On Your Marketing Investment

Because some of this marketing can be done for free or low costs and Google doesn’t charge commissions the return on your investment happens quickly, often with the first booking you manifest from your new marketing plan. Since there is lots of material here already, we’ll go over some of these free and paid marketing outlets in much more detail in my upcoming posts.

More Bookings – Less Competition 

What you’re discovering today is a search engine marketing strategy. It’s unlike those crowded vacation rental listing sites where every owner and manager is on there, advertising their rentals, fighting for each booking they can scrape up. Heck, these vacation rental websites promote the fighting by continuing to offer other properties to travelers even after they’ve inquired about your rental.

When a traveler finds your vacation rental on a search engine it cuts out the competition in comparison to being found on a listing site where there are thousands of other rentals, often like yours.  They found your website where you are showcasing only your property(s). That makes booking a whole lot easier for you.

 

You Could Be Sitting On A Booking Goldmine 

Every situation is different, but I know some of you may have overestimated your competition and have an ENORMOUS opportunity right in front of you and don’t even know it. I shared a video that explains a bit on how  you can get your share of bookings in the toughest markets using  the right keywords. http://isbeingbuilt.com/villamarketersold/longtail-keywords-seo/

Claim your piece of the pie. You just might be surprised how big that piece of the pie can be for you… yes you, even the little guy! If you aren’t sure if you can compete with the big guys in the market, please read this http://isbeingbuilt.com/villamarketersold/how-single-property-owners-can-compete-with-b…

I’m going to share several posts on this strategy and I’ll share it all right here on my blog. If you haven’t signed up for the newsletter, sign up today so you don’t miss out.

 

Will This Strategy Really Work For My VR BUSINESS?

You gotta know that I swear by it! I use it for myself, everyday I live, eat and breathe this strategy. The thing about this style of marketing is with as much as the internet and technology has changed in the past 10 years, this technique is more relevant than ever today. It’s rock solid and has stood the test of time! That’s why I’m preaching it from the mountain top with a megaphone!

 

What is this vacation rental marketing strategy?

It’s not my only technique but the core one I’m sharing with you today is called content marketing! 

In a nutshell content marketing is based around creating content that brings customers to you, instead of you looking for them. They find you/your rental through the content you create. Why? How? Because they’re looking online for the content you’re creating for them.  For example: a traveler plans and researches their travel destination before booking and that is where you want to be found before they land on listing sites. You want them to find you during the planning stage and this strategy is how you do that. 
I can’t share everything about content marketing in this one post, consider this the introduction.

  • Content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing and generates about 3 times as many leads. (Source: Demand Metric)

It’s cheaper too, who would’ve thunk it!

Less Looking – More Booking

  • Website conversion rate is nearly 6x higher for content marketing adopters than non-adopters (2.9% vs 0.5%).

This statistic shows that by implementing a content marketing strategy for your vacation rental you’ll get more people who visit your website AND actually inquireThat’s an awesome piece of data!

 

Why Implement This Type of Marketing? It’s an investment in your business – not someone else’s!

When you pay for a spot on a listing site you’re paying for advertising, that’s it. It’s a marketing expense, not an investment.

What is the difference between a marketing investment and a marketing expense?

  • a “marketing expense” is something you use to help make profits but has no residual return after the performance period. Another example of a marketing expense would be Google Adwords.
  • a “marketing investment” also provides profits like an expense but it continues to give you a residual return and benefit even after the payment and performance period has ended. An example of this would be SEO.

 

What makes more sense; a marketing investment or an expense?

 

Think about this: lets say you’ve listed your vacation rental on VRBO and the year is up and for whatever reason, you decide not to renew that VRBO listing. What long term residual return do you receive from that vacation rental listing and the money that you have spent over the year(s)?
Little to none! The rental ad is dead and that’s the reason why you stay dependent on rental listing sites. It’s a cycle that keeps you dependent and because they know that, they treat us like so.

With this type of advertising everything you’ve created never dies. It lives on forever waiting in cyber-space for travelers to discover and find your rental.

Until my next post “The 3 Building Blocks for Content Marketing”, I’d like to leave you with my powerful vacation rental marketing checklist. If you follow the steps it will deliver booking success.

DOWNLOAD THE VACATION RENTAL MARKETING CHECK LIST FOR FREE >> http://www.vacationrentalsmarketing.com/product/vacation-rental-marketing-checklist-free-download/

This will help get your vacation rental marketing on track! If you have any questions about the marketing checklist or how to use it, ask your questions below and I’ll do my best to anser them. Thanks Ya’ll!

Stay tuned, you’re going to love our next posts.

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