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Hi Buckfever and gojbwgo!
There is a real science to getting the most out of your listing. Many of the owners on this forum have been at it for years and are still working to hone the best formula for increasing occupancy. Some initial tips I might recommend you start with:
- Imagery: Supply plenty of high-quality photos (if you don't have them, get them)
- Test out new listing titles: Using the name of your city as well as other eye-catching words like "exclusive" or "elegant" or "private" in your title to garner more pageviews.
- Consider building a personal website for your property (all successful owners have one)
- Description: be sure to be complete and engaging with your description text.
- Expertise: one of the best ways to give you a leg up on property management companies, hotels, and other rental owners is to show that you have some authority or expertise in your region. This gives your rental a "value add" and will increase your bookings.
- Work on your conversion rate: you will inevitably start to get inquiries for your listing but not all of them will actually book a reservation. Work on your responses (time, tone, information..etc) and you'll surely find some new tricks to convert more inquiries to bookings.
Play around with each of these and I can guarantee you'll see some more interest (and eventually bookings). You'll need to be very proactive in this process and buying a listing on VRBO or HomeAway is not the only strategy. It should be a compliment to your other efforts (both online and off).
For new owners, this process is a long and challenging one during which you'll learn a LOT. Just stick with it, be persistent, and think of everything you do as an addition to your marketing portfolio. By the end of the year, look back on all your weapons and I guarantee you'll have more bookings than when you first started
Matt is the author of DIY Vacation Rental Marketing - 54 ways to increase your bookings this weekend!
The best advice i got and implemented right away was to "sell the lifestyle" - your vacation home is only one aspect of a family or couples vacation. Tell them why your home is so great and how it will enhance their overall vacation. that was the one piece of advice that really made a huge difference for me, and i also reply within 15-30 minutes unless totally impossible.
read the thread below
Hi, We are new to renting and would like to warn owners of a customer who goes by the name Mary Francis Burick "Fran" or "Frannie". She calls last minute to rent homes for two months and stays only long enough for the check to bounce. She is also very strange, we found everything in the home covered in kleenex and papertowels, the doors of the home were blocked with plants we also found out that she had been in the attic. She has Ohio plates and uses what she claims to be her mothers address in Wadsworth Ohio. We know she is using the VRBO and Vacation Rentals website and would just like to warn folks about her.
I am also new to renting. I have a question and don't know if there is a discussion here to answer it or not, but I want to know how to get reviews on your site before you have a rental. I know that, as a renter, I would want to read the reviews, but not having any, I don't know how to do that.
I realize it is unethical to have friends write a review without having stayed in the rental.....
Right now I have one confirmed rental the end of May and my nieces and their families are renting in June (so I know I'll get a good reveiw from them!). Our market (Myrtle Beach area) is seasonal, so don't want to miss out on summer rentals.
Any help would be great! Thanks
MVC, I understand your desire to have reviews, but just relax. They will come. Or they won't.
Many people don't have reviews - or solicit them. If you are new to this whole owner managed process you'll find that great photos, accurate desciptions and providing good customer service will do you well.
I no longer ask for reviews from my VRBO guests, since I heard what a hassle it is for them. I do ask for reviews on other sites.
Best of luck to you!!
You can play up the "newness" of your listing -- Headlines like "Never-before rented" or "new on the rental market" can appeal -- assuming your furnishings are updated and fresh to match. "Be among the first to enjoy our home! can be part of your text.