My mom always taught me it was good to have backup plans. So to get your listing site non-dependence initiatives in 2016 off to a good start, I wanted to share with you three tactics that members of our Inner Circle community have used to build a stronger, more sustainable vacation rental business.
With so many changes in the vacation rental industry in just the past few months, it's a good idea to protect yourself from any future surprises by downloading all your former guest's email addresses onto your computer.
With this list(s) all in one place, you can begin nurturing former guests in the form of a newsletter, making special offers during low season, or simply sending out thank-you or Happy Holidays emails. Online marketers will tell you that your "list" is the most important asset you own. Yet until you download this list file, you don't really even own it.
Along the same lines, reviews in many cases are synonymous with our reputation and it's important to have them easily retrievable on our desktops for use in marketing.
Unfortunately, most of the major listing sites don't offer this functionality, so you'll want to copy/paste the reviews yourself into an Excel document. If you are busy, hire a freelancer to do this job on UpWork (formerly Odesk) for a few bucks an hour. Simply use the instructions below:
I am looking for someone to copy/paste XNUMBER traveler reviews from my vacation rental into a Microsoft Excel document. Please include the date of the review as well as the name of the reviewer as corresponding columns in the Excel document.
These reviews can be found here: LINK TO REVIEWS
*Please download the profile photos of each reviewer if possible as jpegs and save each jpeg file as the name of the reviewer.
You never know what might happen to your listing site account so it's important to have all this information in your own court, sure. But storing a single file on your computer's desktop is still not 100% safe considering the value of the contents: what happens when your computer crashes or (more likely in my case) gets stolen?
Step 3 for the new year is to upload your emails and your reviews to "the cloud" -- a buzzword that basically promises the convenience of being able to access those from anywhere in the world at any time on any device. I recommend Google Drive and would suggest sharing access to the cloud account with your partners or staff.
A listing site is often the nucleus of one’s vacation rental marketing portfolio: the seed from which grow branches of websites and blogs and newsletters and all kinds of fun stuff. So for this reason, owners/managers reference their listing page(s) quite frequently to copy/paste amenities, descriptions, About Us stories…etc.
If you have more than one property, all this referencing begins to get clunky and repetitive.. Worse, imagine what happens if the sanctity of that information is somehow compromised.
To streamline and establish a bit more control, take all the text and images that define your listing site property and upload them into case files in the cloud. Each file should contain all relevant info for one specific property. Stash this information here and apart from saving you time and potential danger, it becomes handy when acquiring more properties or bringing on staff.
Matt Landau is the Founder of the VRMB and the Inner Circle, two online resources dedicated to helping vacation rental owners and managers generate more bookings.
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