A marketing week in the life of a VR owner.
This week we take at a snapshot of one rental owners marketing activity for last week. We look in detail at what she did and the results that she got.
But first… If you own a vacation rental you have one or two ways of marketing your property. You have the “bait and wait”, “list it and they will come” method where you pay your dollars, place your property with listings sites like VRBO and sit back and wait (hope) for bookings.
Easy enough. It’s a passive approach but it’s a popular marketing method.
That’s the historic method – We’ve always used this method since placing adverts in print media.
We just transfered that idea to new online media.
Now there’s a new method.
One where you engage with prospects before they even become prospects. You build relationships. You just hope for bookings, you nurture them.
In marketing speak it’s called Customer Relationship Management (CRM).
In real life as far as vacation rentals are concerned it’s called destination marketing and here’s some real statistics…
We’re going to cut to the chase. No long winded explinations. Just shooting straight from the hip. We’re going to share some real numbers from last week…
Here’s how it actually works…
Here’s what one owner did last week (7th – 14th September)
- She posted 9 mini articles (see examples below)
- Each took approximately 10 minutes to create
- She gained 103 new followers
- She gained 250 +ones (equivalent to a Facebook like)
- Those posts were reshared 28 times
- There were 38 comments
- And her posts were viewed a staggering 35,000 times
Now before we go on I just want you to think about your own marketing activity last week. We are after all at the begining of the fall, a time when enquiries are hard to come by. Visitor numbers on the big listings sites are down and bookings are in short supply. At least for those of us in northern europe.
How many times were your adverts seen last week?
What interaction did you get?
Who went out of their way to follow you and your property?
What did you tell prospective guests about your area and what it has to offer?
Anyway, here are some examples of the snackable, bite sized, mobile media content that this owner put out last week. Each post related to the property location in some way.
All of this content is mobile optimised. It renders beautifully on any screen, tablet or smartphone.
Here’s a comment on this post from one of this owners followers
OK – Just gotta tell you guys… I officially love your posts
When did anyone say that about your Homeaway listing?
Nice sounding salad too, by the way.
Here’s another example post
This property is situated on the west coast Of Portugal and as such attracts surfers.
As you can see from this post – Surfs up!
Once again, great engagement on this post. Photo views are through the roof.
Just yesterday this fun post was plus oned 56 times. It was also shared 10 times.
VR marketing doesn’t have to be all bedroom photos and lists of amenities. It can be humorous, informative, eye opening or just lovely to look at.
Once again people loved this post. They plussed it, they shared it and they commented on it.
It raised awareness. It helped build brand. It planted the seeds that may flower later on.
What about the ROI?
Now I can hear some of you screaming “What about the return on investment”?
So first off let’s look at the investment. This form of advertising is free.
Sure enough this owner has taken our Bookings Plus 4G Social Media Marketing course and that only costs a one off $89, so that hardly breaks the bank..
So the investment is time. This owner spent 90 minutes creating posts this week and around 60 minutes replying to comments and generally engaging with followers.
Say, Two and a half hours in total.
No money, just time.
So what about the return?
Last week she gained 103 followers. These followers can all be emailed directly.
She now has a total of over 4,500 followers solely by using these methods. She’s gained these follower since christmas. That’s some email list.
She also gained 250 more + ones and Google counts plus ones. That’s it’s own social currency and the more you have the higher it ranks you.
Then there’s the deeper engagement, the reshares and the comments. These really form the beginnings of a relationship and can lead directly to bookings.
But let’s not forget the page views – A whopping 35,000 of them. In One week. Roughly 150 minutes work bought in 35 thousand views.
That’s around 250 views for every minutes work.
That’s an exceptional amount of exposure.
How does that stack up against Flipkey or Homeaway?
The bottom line
The detractors of this type of marketing will be saying “How many bookings did she get last week”? and as I said at the beginning we are shooting from the hip and the answer is “NONE”.
But as I also said at the beginning, we are deep into September and here in northern europe that means colder weather and minimal bookings.
Here’s what I say to those detractors – “How many bookings did you take last week”?
As we all know booking season kicks off the week after christmas and that’s a full 14 weeks away.
If this owner carries on with this type of destination marketing between now and christmas, she will have another 1500 followers taking her total followers to 6,000.
She will also have another 3,500 + ones and Google will love her for that.
She will also rank higher in Google search for her keyword of choice (she’s already 14th and 16th) and this will lead to more organic bookings.
She will have built more relationships with more engagers.
And her posts will have been seen another half a million times. That’s just the next 3 months.
Here’s the takeaway
As a vacation rental owner you have 2 choices.
You can continue to market your property solely with the big listings sites and hope for the best even though year on year bookings per owner are on the decrease.
You can join the rising numbers of owners that are discovering this new way to market their property. Take the next 12 – 14 weeks between now and the start of the booking season to build your own destination guide.
Many owners on our social media marketing course have gained over a 1,000 followers in that time and their pages have been viewed over 500,000 times. You can join them.
As always, the choice is yours.