A New Years story that stands the test of time!

Published 6 months ago • 4 min read

Happy New Year, Reader!

My Daddy grew up on a black-eyed pea, watermelon and sweet potato farm in East Texas that belonged to my Granny’s Grandfather!! By the late 1930s, my Grandaddy who was a sharecropper before he married Granny, was known far and wide to have some of the best peas and watermelons around.

Daddy remembers driving their old 50 Model Ford as soon as he could drive to all the local markets, including the Dallas Farmer’s Market, where people were clambering for Ewell Tidwell’s Peas.

Grandaddy sold the farm before I was born but kept about 20 acres, so you better believe I grew up shelling peas on my Granny & Grandaddy’s back porch. (and having watermelon fights in the yard with my cousins, but that is a story for the Fourth of July!)

Now, as a kid, I hated black-eyed peas… (I was more of a pinto bean girl)

But on New Year’s Day, I ate them along with every other self-respecting Southerner.

They bring good luck. Honestly. I 100% know this is true.

How do I know? Because every year I eat them. And every year I make it through to eat them again. At least so far. ;-)

When I was in college, I learned that although this tradition dates back to the early 1800s soul food traditions of African Americans or even before (nobody really knows), it became common knowledge across the U.S. because of a good, old-fashioned MARKETING stunt in the late 1930’s from a man who the East Texas Chamber of Commerce hired to promote black eyed peas.

The first thing the promoter did was plan a Black-Eyed Pea Festival in Athen, Texas (about 15 miles from my Grandaddy’s Farm! ). He sent cans of peas with recipes and the story of how they brought good luck to celebrities, newspapers, magazines, radio shows, and even President Roosevelt.

Black Eye Peas sales quadrupled in 4 years. It contributed immensely to the Texas Economy. I’m sure my Grandaddy started planting fewer sweet potatoes and more peas, and it might even be how they could afford to build a house with running water in the early 1950's.

And quite possibly, even probably, the success of this marketing campaign contributed to my birth in more ways than one. (My mom met my dad because her dad - my Bigdaddy - drove from Dallas to buy black-eyed peas from my Grandaddy.)

All because of great marketing and PR.

Now, besides a good story, what’s the lesson for you? Should you send your vacation rental listing to Oprah and George Clooney?

Nope. That’s not it.

The lesson is this:

Great marketing is more than a viral video on Instagram or Tik-Tok.

Great marketing is more than professional photos and a great headline and listing description.

Great marketing is more than an interesting blog post or email.

Great marketing is more than a website or brochure in your local visitor’s center.

Great marketing is about creating and implementing a PLAN. Sticking to the plan. Learning from the plan.

It’s about determining who your guest avatar is; knowing what they are looking for and understanding the best ways to reach them with the reasons they should book from you.

It’s about telling good stories and appealing to emotions.

It's about telling your stories in multiple ways and in multiple places.

For many vacation rental businesses, it’s about working with your community network to create and celebrate why people should visit your destination (destination marketing).

A great marketing plan takes knowledge, action, commitment and measurement, but it is 100% worth the time and investment.

Unless your plan is just to cross your fingers and hope for the best from Airbnb or VRBO. Or, to continue throwing spaghetti at the wall. (or in this example, black-eyed peas.)

That just makes a big mess and a frustrating cleanup.

For 2024, I want you to see how great marketing can increase your business and bring more bookings from guests you LOVE. And who love you.


If you are ready to get down to the nitty-gritty of finally creating and taking action on a plan that works for your business and your skillset,

Check out these two programs I have starting in January:

  • Vacation Rental Marketing Mastery: This is a six-month program with live coaching, homework, chat support, video lessons and accountability! Check out the page for more details and get in on this amazing program I've been teaching for years!
  • The Email Marketing Accelerator - a fun, fast-paced, 5-week program dedicated to my #1 marketing strategy for hosts - even if you don't have a website!


if you want my help to understand where you are going wrong, and what you are doing right and start 2024 off with a HUGE win (plus a roadmap for marketing success) check out my live marketing audits

I'd love to see you in any of these programs!

Now, if it is too late to eat your black-eyed peas this year, I'm sorry I didn't send this out sooner. If it is still New Year's Day, reply to this email and I'll eat some extras for you. If it's too late, reply to this email and I'll send you my recipe for black-eyed peas that my Granny taught me.

Here's a photo of my Grandaddy in front of the farmhouse in Canton, and my daughter Savannah Jane to his left. She's almost 30, and he died in 1997. I miss him.

Talk later,


PS - Stay tuned. Tomorrow, I'm going to share my 2024 marketing predictions for vacation rental businesses - plus more tips and a big win!

PSS - The promoter who came up with the black-eyed pea strategy is the father of actor Rip Torn and the great-uncle of Sissy Spacek!


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