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My wife and I have always used VRBO in the past for renting, and felt it was a good resource but now are on the other side of the fence with our new business. We are renting a 2-BR log cabin and two 1-BR lodges. Although we have gotten some inquiries and a few rentals, we are wondering how to maximize our efforts. We are pretty active with some local advertising, but we were really expecting more inquiries to come in with VRBO(all three properties listed and each lists our website for more info). We just haven't seen much(if any) of a return on the investment, and wanted to see if any seasoned renters out there could give us some pointers to see if there is something we're neglecting.
Our listings are: #404893, #405640 and #406726. We also have a Web site www.greatbransoncabins.com. We have gone through the webinars, read the forums and are doing our best to optimize marketing, but don't want to waste time(or money) doing things that just won't yield results. Any help/advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance, UB
You have only have 100-200 or so views on your properties so far. I think your expectations might be a bit grand at this point. You really can't expect to put a property on and expect to be filled up within a few days of listing the property. These things take time. At this time in our economy, I am only coverting 1 out of 15 or so inquiries on each of my properties. People are looking for deals and booking closer to their vacation time. It appears you are doing things correctly, you just need to be patient.
Well, all three properties have been listed since March 5, so I wouldn't quite consider that "a few days", but certainly, I am hoping that patience will prevail. I also really wasn't expecting to be "booked up" immediately, but inquiries are coming in at a snails pace and bookings are "sub-snail"(in fact one of the three hasn't been booked yet). We actually have recieved more inquiries from a simple mailing than from VRBO - and most marketing firms claim that bulk mailings are the *worst* to get a response from.
What I was really hoping to get from folks was an opinion/critique on the listings themselves, what works/what doesn't, alternative strategies etc. Obviously, "It takes time", but I don't want to sit idly by if there are major flaws in my methods. We are newcomers to the scene and realize that there is a lot to learn.
Viewing the posts on the forum, I see a recurring theme - Inquiries seem to be on the downtrend since homeaway took over, so although the economy sure doesn't help, people *are* still renting. I just hope I didn't throw $1000 down a hole with my listings.
Just my two cents - Hope to hear from others.
I'm not sure that you can do anything in particular to improve your results on VRBO. You just have so much competition with all of the listings for Branson. Is it possible that VRBO could break the total Branson listing down by neighborhood, or would that help you at all? You might add your own "from the guest book" reviews from previous renters (including family and friends), and block out several different future dates on your calendar. If you haven't already done so, I would take advantage of a free 3-month listing on Flipkey, and a free listing on other websites such as vacationrentals411.com. I would also pursue advertising/search key opportunities for your own website, set up a facebook page, etc.
I am also new as you are and just started my lisiting in March. I had the same feelings you did at first. It's a numbers game really and the placement of your listing along with special offers and good Follow up that seem to pay off. The exposure time is also key. Your Listings are new and it will take this next year to get reviews and build a repeat customer base. I hope to have a better outcome next year and my goal is customer service with the guests that I have already booked. I feel that if they are happy and I over deliver and under promise along with a fair price I will get repeat buisness every year.
Hi unclebob. We looked at your larger home and the listing looks good - photos and descriptions. However, if we were to make a suggestion for your headlines: the words "Luxury, Upscale and Great Amentities" are general terms, but don't really say anything specific. For example, so many people use "Luxury" that the word is almost meaningless to renters. Perhaps you could use some of the space to provide something more specific about your particular location or a specific amenity that your competition doesn't have. Look over the headlines of other people's rentals in your area and see how you might stand out.
We got some very good ideas on this thread http://community.homeaway.com/message/20853#20853
We bought beachfront rental last August and didn't start bookings for a few months due to construction. However, we have had good success (40 weeks first year) by setting up Facebook page, responding immediately to VRBO inquiries, promoting our own website and most of all sending specials to past guests by email. We offer guests when they leave the opportunity to book their next vacation at currents rates, which many do as they are still in "vacation mode". Good luck
Everyone has been there, renting your beloved home to a stranger isn't the easiest thing to do but make sure your house is in a Trust. I made a huge misteak earlier in my life by having my home in my name. If the house is in your name creditors can come after it! It's like having your business in an LLC with an LLC operating agreement. You can find these documents at site like LegalZoom and
Charles, it is not appropriate for you to post a solicitation for business here, especially touting legal advice and suggesting the new owner should be afraid of creditors, etc. Out of curiosity, I followed your link to see that you are charging $49 for each of your downloads. There is a "vendor" area where you can list your products for sale, under the "resources" category at the top of this page. You should also mention who you are and that you are charging for your "advice".
Thank you, dbmeyer. Charles, please post your solicitation in Community's Vendor Showroom.
Thanks to all who have been responding, and thanks to dbmeyer/laura. I kind of rolled my eyes at the solicitation.....Nice to know that there are admins who try to keep the forums legit. Uncle Bob