6 Replies Latest reply: Apr 6, 2018 2:45 AM by sward6880 RSS

    How to get a new listing established?

    sward6880 Contributor

      In Central Florida we are in a market of nearly 40,000 vacation rentals.    Our existing homes are well established with great reviews etc.

       

      One of them today is ranked 48th out of this vast number.   So it gets loads of page views and reservations well into 2019. 

       

      We recently listed a new place.   See https://www.homeaway.com/vacation-rental/p4843951

       

      Professional photos, photo captions and copywriting.   All these things work with other listings and as introduced made a huge difference.   It matters not whether I like the written copy / photo order etc, what matters is the marketing expertise ( not mine) that will work if only I can get visibility.   I am not looking for a critique of the listing as it matters not how great it is. 

       

      Because as a new listing with (now) a single great review ( from a guest I “upgraded” from another home) I can have a listing which looks wonderful but if at the back end of 38000 others it’s not going to be seen.  In the “old” days I simply paid for a platinum listing and awaited the bookings but now with HA / VRBO I am at the mercy of some alogorithm or other.   And no I‘m not going to list at some crazy low price.

       

      I am resigned to offering more “free upgrades” to get occupancy, then reviews so this home works its way up the pecking order.  This is easy enough because we have other homes close by.   So I can move reservations this way from home X with a high ranking to the new place knowing that the gap in the home X calendar will be easily filled and at a great rental rate.   Guests love getting an upgrade to a home with resort facilities so it’s a win win.

       

      This is presumably a universal issue and I am interested to know how others have approached it.

        • Re: How to get a new listing established?
          planthealth Active Contributor

          I nearly BEGGED guests to give us a review and explained how important it was to us. It was HORRIBLE until we got our first few, so horrible it is almost enough to keep me from buying a 4th property.

          • Re: How to get a new listing established?
            margaret CommunityAmbassador

            I think your upgrade plan is a good one to get reviews in place. You will also need to get bookings with no cancellation or declines along with page views to up your metrics. Have you check t see where you come up in a search using different filters? It may be higher in the sort than you think. Would you considered offering past guests the opportunity to book this property with the free upgrade through HA/VRBO to get your metrics up? I believe it is all about the metrics at this point.   

            • Re: How to get a new listing established?
              ohst8er Senior Contributor

              I know you did not ask for critique sward6880, but did you MEAN for your 2nd photo to be your thumbnail, rather than the photo of the front of your home?

              • Re: How to get a new listing established?
                ohst8er Senior Contributor

                you were viewed 22 times in the past 48 hours!   just looked again via a different browser!

                  • Re: How to get a new listing established?
                    sward6880 Contributor

                    Thanks ohst8er  for your helpful comments and indeed those of others. 

                     

                    Until now the only "views" were mine as we continued to edit the listing!

                     

                    We have regular contact with previous guests who have been made aware and offered a discount. 

                     

                    We have multiple subscriptions (HA/VRBO/ Owners Direct etc) so we can try different headlines and thumbnails.   Generally in our market outside pool photos work better than anything else  - the exception can be a "striking" or "unusual" outside front shot taken at a weird angle or at twilight.   We have a fraction of a second to hook the prospective guest into viewing the listing.

                     

                    The point I am trying to make is that if those of us with multiple properties and some experience find it hard to kick start a new place on HA then the way the HA site works provides a huge barrier to market entry for new participants.  In the long term this is unhealthy.

                     

                    planthealth hits the nail on the head in saying "I nearly BEGGED guests to give us a review and explained how important it was to us. It was HORRIBLE until we got our first few, so horrible it is almost enough to keep me from buying a 4th property."

                     

                    At least in my non HA armory I can :

                     

                    1.  Via a high commission rate to booking.com ( with a corresponding price adjustment - e.g 20% commission / 25% price hike) I can guarantee placement (already in top 5%) - but may be priced out of the market  - although with other homes we have secured reservations through booking.com with some eye wateringly high rental rates. 

                    2.  I can offer Airbnb guests an "upgrade" and shift the reservation from one property to another using a simple process which just needs the guest to agree by pressing a single button. 

                    3.  Again via Airbnb I can allow the offer of a 20% rate reduction for the first three reservations  ( and again will adjust the gross price) and Airbnb will e mail all those who have been looking in the same area in recent times and draw their attention to the listing  - 2 reservations so far.

                     

                    As margaret has said its now "all about the metrics" , not so long ago it was all about "best match",  so savvy owners are now behaving in a way that is designed to "protect their metrics".