Last week I was brainstorming with a business consultant some ways in which I could be of more help to my followers and email subscribers.
What can I offer that would be of benefit and interest to you as vacation rental hosts?
I thought about my favorite newsletters and the content they shared. The ones I opened up each week or two and read eagerly. The ones who provided me with value and learning.
And sometimes a bit of fun.
So, I want to do that for you. Provide some value, learning, support. And maybe a bit of fun.
So, as I collect little bits and pieces of news and information from the vacation rental industry as well as the greater marketing industry, I will curate the information for you in a semi-monthly newsletter and I may share some of my own content, videos and advice.
Some weeks there will be more content than others, but this week there is plenty.
So, let’s get to it.
Guest Experience - Stock Your Kitchen!
I enjoy a great, well-stocked kitchen almost as much as an amazing bathroom.
Recently we stayed at a beach house in Port Aransas, TX with my entire family (mom, dad, brothers, etc.) We enjoyed fishing and beaching and exploring during the day and coming home to fix dinner or start the day with a big breakfast.
The hostess had ALL THE THINGS - 3 different types of coffee pots, a propane stove with TONS of pots and pans, a huge blender with two pitchers and even a lobster pot. We fried our freshly caught fish, had a shrimp boil our last night there and had pina coladas all weekend long.
Recently I saw a comment about what kind of amenities to offer in your vacation rental kitchen. This owner suggested that the kitchen is a place where you can save money by not investing in amenities that "nobody really uses." Her list of non-essentials - blender, "fancy" coffee pot, crockpot, and quality knives, among a few others.
What do you think?
Part of an elevated guest experience is providing not only essentials, but more than essentials. Your guests are on vacation. Give them a vacation! Would you rather a guest tell all her friends about your amazing chef's kitchen or about how you didn't have a blender...
Email Marketing - How is your lead magnet working for you? (and what is it exactly?)
I was a guest on the Vacation Rental Formula Podcast last week so I’m quoting Heather Bayer from her weekly newsletter here:
“If you want to grow a short-term rental business that doesn’t put all your eggs in the OTA basket, you will need to build an email list, and that doesn’t come easily these days. In this first part of a 3-episode series on Growing Your Email List, Jodi Bourne shares ideas and recommendations on creating the type of lead magnets that people will want to download.
In this rather long episode, I give my #1 lead magnet idea that I usually only share with my clients. It’s genius if I do say so myself - and very easy to implement!
Heather and I have a new program coming out in the near future for PM’s and Individual Owners. We are so excited and have been working hard at creating and recording content. You can sign up for the waitlist to hear more about it here:
My clients often ask about upcoming conferences they should attend and they are popping up everywhere. I’ve seen a good amount of discussion on LinkedIn, Facebook groups and in Matt Landau’s VRMB Insider’s Community.
If you are interested in attending a conference in person or online, there are a few great ones coming up. I wish I could go to ALL OF THEM! I love learning and networking and visiting new places.
I’m starting a list I will add to my Facebook page soon if you would like to keep up or plan.
PS - I’ll be speaking at Jenn Boyle’s Book Direct Success Summit in September (let me know if you would like the link and I’ll get it to you as soon as it is up) and the Book Direct Show in Miami in October.
Airbnb Policies & Changes - more changes this week
I’m sure you already know of the change to the refund policy Airbnb updated in early May, I know that is a DRAG for many owners who are worried about guests who want a refund out of spite, etc. I’ve had some clients leave Airbnb all together because of it.
This week, they released another statement about host cancellations. You can read it here:
One of the best reasons for building a book direct business is so that you don’t have to deal with policies that interfere with your business. HOWEVER, it is important for businesses to enact policies that give a level of confidence to your customers and build trust. Guarantees about the quality and accuracy of your listing seems appropriate in most circumstances. What isn’t appropriate is when someone else gets to determine “accuracy” and “quality” and “extenuating circumstances”.
Do you have a guest guarantee that is part of your mission statement or book direct promise? If so, you should add it to your “about page” of your website. It's a great way to build trust.
Other Airbnb Changes:
Speaking of Airbnb, have you changed your photos and listing description since the May update? If you haven’t, you should do that ASAP if you depend on Airbnb for a good % of your bookings.
You may know that Instagram is my favorite place to hang out online (follow me here) and IMO the best social tool for vacation rental marketers! I’m enjoying some of the changes they are implementing.
If you don’t have these changes within your account yet, you should soon! You can try to log out and login to your account and update the app.
Change #1 - New Maps Feature!
Y’ALL this is fantastic for local businesses like…you!
Instagram has expanded their map feature so users can search locations for nearby businesses! Be sure to edit your business profile with your address and create your location tag on Instagram and Facebook!
Change #2 - Pinned Posts!
You can now pin three posts to the top of your profile page! Do this by clicking on the three dots at the top right corner of your post and choose “pin” and it will go to the top of your feed. Highlight a carousel post of a property or reviews, a popular reel or a “welcome” post all about you. Since I’ve done this for myself and encouraged a few of my clients and students, we've seen more likes, comments, saves and shares of content.
There are a ton of other changes and I plan to write a blog post about more of them soon.
Little Bit of Fun!
Reels on Instagram are the #1 place to share inspiration and gain followers (use your hashtags). But, it can be really hard and intimidating when you first start out. When I want to practice reels or try out any new features, I use my sweet baby girl Jolene's account (my black lab, not an actual baby) to practice.
Recently, one of her reels went "semi-viral" for her small account. It's so cute! (be sure and turn on the sound!) You can do this too, btw. Just create another account using a different name and email address (maybe your own pet?) and start playing and learning.
Share yours with me; I would love to see them and give some input. You can share them through a DM.
Thanks for reading,
I hope you enjoyed my first newsletter and I would love your feedback (positive and negative). Just reply and let me know what you think. Or you can click the button below to unsubscribe from my emails.