My first newsletter went out a couple of weeks ago and I got a ton of positive feedback. That makes me incredibly happy! I had great open rates, click through rates and even a few unsubscribes. Read further down below for what those rates mean and why you should understand them.
But first things first
Check this out - my latest Airbnb fiasco!
I visit vacation rentals often. In fact, my husband and I travel for his work, for my work (when I visit client properties) and for fun so often, we have lost count as to how many vacation rentals we have stayed in over the years, but we know it is nearly 60... So, I have a ton of stories - both great and not so great.
I always suggest that before you start renting your vacation rental, it's imperative that you spend a night or two in the property or, even better, ask a good friend or hire an expert to stay. (FYI, I do offer this service to Texas property owners and sometimes others.)
Here's why this is so important for newbies and long-term hosts!
Last week I stayed in a new-to-the-market rental cabin in Kerrville, Texas. My husband had a project there so we took the dogs to a cabin on 4.5 acres - about 15 miles from town. We packed up my computer and monitors, bought a bunch of groceries and planned for a great stay.
Night one, we grabbed burgers on the way. But, on day two my planned dinner was a grilled chicken salad - with romaine lettuce, tomatoes, corn off the cob, mango, avocados, bacon, red onion, and chopped grilled chicken breasts with my yummy homemade avocado, lime, and cilantro salad dressing. (let me know if you want the recipe- cooking is one of my creative outlets!)
Guess what they didn't have at their vacation rental?
KNIVES. None at all. Not a butter knife. Not a paring knife. Not a steak knife. Not a chopping knife. They did have two cutting boards and a veggie peeler though. And a grill. 🤔🤔 When I kindly let her know in private, she went on the defensive, with "no one else has complained." But, eventually she explained that they had found them in their storage closet. She didn't offer to bring them to us though.
My Airbnb review included compliments of the WIFI, shady back porch and total seclusion with no mention of knives, but it probably would have garnered her a 2-star review from other guests - right when she needs good reviews the most!
Now, if you think that that's just a newbie mistake, think again. When I worked for a property management company in 2014 I stayed in the home of a long term host who was moving to this company. THEY DIDN'T HAVE A CORKSCREW. They had never had one and the company they were with before never mentioned it to them. So, before you think you have this covered, maybe you should check again, and do it regularly. Do you?
On To Email Marketing
Email marketing works. I know it does because it works for my clients. But, it only REALLY works when you create great content and share it with engaged subscribers. In my previous newsletter, I had 5 people who unsubscribed. And yeah, it kinda hurt my feeling. But, I want my content to resonate with people and I want them to find it useful. So, when they unsubscribe that means they don't.
But, your unsubscribe rate is a data point that is extremally useful to me in my overall strategy. And, if you are using email marketing you should understand the data and what it really means.
Open rates - if your open rates are low (say under 18%) that could mean a few things. Usually it means your SUBJECT LINE didn't entice your subscribers enough to open it. Subject lines are important. Test them. I use two in every email I send to see which gets the highest open rate.
It could also mean they aren't receiving your email often enough so they do not know who you are - you haven't build a relationship with them.
Or, they aren't receiving your email at all. (check your email deliverability reports.)
Click Through Rates - The CTR is the number of people who clicked a link in your email. You should expect to see between 3-7% CTR. If you aren't getting clicks it is because you aren't sharing relevant links (maybe you only have one CTA in your email and your subscribers aren't ready to book just now.) Give them another link to click to see what interests them. Send them to a blog post (yours or someone else's). When you share other links and you see what people are reading, that tells you more about what kinds of content you should create and share.
Unsubscribes - these are the people who no longer want to be on your list. For whatever reason. They don't like you, they don't want to book your home, they have already visited, or they just feel like getting rid of marketing emails. Whatever the reason, that's okay because they weren't going to book from you anyway.
When people unsubscribe after receiving an email out of the blue it usually means they didn't know who the heck you were. The probably forgot why they were on your email list to begin with (send regular updates and newsletters). If they unsubscribe soon after receiving your lead magnet, that means they just wanted your freebie. Again, it's okay. They weren't EVER going to book with you.
NOW, if your unsubscribes are really high - like over 3%, then you probably are being seen as SPAM. That's a problem. Talk to me...
Ultimately, the more your content in your email resonates with your subscribers, the better relationship you are building and the more they will remember you when they are ready to book. So, use your data to determine how you can win at the email marketing game.
I'm a huge proponent of email marketing and have a great blog post on my website about it ---read it here ---> . 5-StepsGuide To GREAT Email Marketing.
Next week I'll be on the Vacation Rental Formula Podcast once again discussing Email Content! I'll share the link in my next newsletter...
QR Codes FOR THE WIN!
Are you using QR codes? I created two videos yesterday. One is an Instagram and Facebook reel with some fun ideas for how to use QR codes for marketing and guest experience. The other is a quick tutorial on how to create a QR code in Canva. I plan to create more of this type of short video content. Do you have any tools or tips you would like to learn more about through video? Let me know!
SHUT UP ALEXA!
I have an Alexa in my office that I call my virtual assistant. She shares my meetings and reminders and important tasks with me all day. She answers questions and helps me with math because math is not my friend and she's faster than a calculator.
But, every morning she tells me the weather report. And for 759 days in a row it has been over 100 here in central Texas. Many of those days, like today, it will be over 102. I'm a lover of summer. But, I'm not a lover of brown grass and temps so high I can't walk outside without scorching.
PS - for those LOTR nerds like me... did you know the new series starts in 3 weeks??!!! WOOOP.
PSS - Did you know you can use Alexa in your vacation home for more than just a way to control the AC? Check it out.
Thanks for reading. Let me know what you think. And if you unsubscribe, then I will definitely know what you think. ;)
Are you interested in learning more about how to use email marketing as a part of your vacation rental marketing strategy? I have a pretty cool coaching program called VIP Coaching. Where you determine what we work on together over 2 video calls. I cover anything you need, from setting up your email marketing system to helping you with TouchStay or helping you write your listing descriptions. If you are interested in learning more just fill out the form here ---> Get In Touch!