Makeover Video in Vacation Rental Marketing
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Makeover Session 3.1: How Video Generates More Bookings

Note: This post is part of the VR Marketing Makeover. You can see all posts in this category by clicking here.

If you don’t believe that video is THE marketing & communications method of the future, consider these statistics:

  • Video now accounts for 1/2 of all mobile web traffic1
  • 1 minute of video is worth 1.8 million words, which equates to 3,600 web pages2
  • Photos are liked 2x more than text updates, while videos are shared 12x times more than links and text posts combined3
  • Including video in email marketing campaigns increased revenue by 40%4

And all these stats reflect upward trends, which means, if you want to jump ahead of a trend and give travelers what they are increasingly requiring, you should be at least experimenting with video.

But what kinds of video techniques are out there and what should you be considering?

Here are three kinds of video investments you can make for your vacation rental, two of which are implemented in our makeover. Please do not mistake them as a progression necessarily. Using one, doesn’t negate using the other 2. In fact, results are augmented by using different styles. And each style of filming matches different VR business scenarios.

Category 1: Video Email (Lean)

Holly Webb does all the little things right: she’s got a website, she’s begun a newsletter, she’s blogging, she treats guests with white gloves and receives rave reviews. But there was one area that Holly thought may be worth improving and that was her inquiry-to-booking conversion rate..

So with Holly, we wanted to test a simple style of video that reflected a minimum cost (time & money). One that would convey trust, authority, and personality to her communications with inquiries, in an effort to convert more of them to actual bookings. She used an inexpensive Logitech webcam5 and a Blue Nessie Microphone6.

Holly made an evergreen video to be used in her email correspondence, which would arrive to the guests inbox looking like this (note: this is an image capture — to view the video scroll down):

Screen Shot 2015-09-01 at 2.38.45 PM

An evergreen video is made once and used over and over again. As opposed to a one-off video tailor-made to the recipient. Here’s the actual video that Holly sends when you click that link.

Needing a place to host this kind of private video message and share it (you don’t want to use YouTube for private messages like these) Holly used a company called jiveSYSTEMS (which I recommend often). It allows you to insert the video in the body of an email and generate maximum engagement. You can then see when a guest views the video & which parts are viewed multiple times…etc. giving you x-ray vision in gauging their interest levels.

Here’s one of Holly’s tips with this style of video:

You have to “prime” potential guests on the phone and tell them “a video is coming.” So, if I am sending them a first response, like a quote, and following up with a video, I’ll say, “a special video greeting is coming their way.” Or, if I forgot, I send a special email that says the video is coming. Or, if I am booking them, I say “Keep your eye out for a video introduction from me so that we can “meet.” – Holly Webb

Holly spent approximately 10 minutes getting framed in the shot and another 20 minutes doing several takes.

Category 2: Video Introduction & Tour (Prosumer)

Just like Holly, Alanna Schroeder is also running a tight ship with her rental in Kauai. She’s got gorgeous photos, tremendous guest reviews, and even stepped up her game investing in a great domain for her new website.

In terms of challenges, Alanna expressed that when she was able to successfully convey her personality and her property features, she had no problem getting the booking. Video is perfect for this.

And instead of the lean video option, Alanna decided to opt for a slightly more invested video approach, which included doing an on-site tour of her property with a DSLR camera (“prosumer” is a pricepoint between professional and consumer cameras) and some editing. Her total “investment time” between filming and editing with iMovie was around 2 hours. She used a Cannon EOS Rebel7 and a tripod.

Here’s Alanna’s video:

You’ll notice Alanna keeps her video under the 2-minute mark so not to lose engagement.

Another great example of “putting a face to the name” in an emerging industry that is still dealing with trust issues. Here’s some advice Alanna takes away from her video experience:

I am by no means a professional in fact the “prosumer” equipment that I used is my husbands and I use that specific equipment because it’s free. The only currency expended to make this video was my time. My video is far from perfect, but hopefully those small imperfections make me relatable.  I love that I can use this video for both marketing and as a video response when communicating with potential guests.

Phase 3: Mini-Documentaries (Professional Videographer)

There are going to be some people who have tinkered with video in the past, who have pinpointed their client needs, and are fully aware of their deficiencies in communicating those needs efficiently.

And for these folks, I would endorse the professional videographer route, which represents a much bigger investment but also (when the conditions are right) yields a higher return. You’ll need to know exactly what you want (if you are on the budget end) or leave it in the hands of a professional (if you choose the right hired guns).

An example of this would be these two videos I had commissioned for my businesses (VRMB and Los 4 Tulipanes):

This video was designed to help my VRMB subscribers understand a bit more about who I am and what I do on a day to day basis. I received a fair amount of feedback from readers saying it was nice to put my work in context.

Above is a second video designed to help prospective guests understand more about the area and what to expect from a stay at our rentals. I can’t tell you how many folks revealed, “this video is what ultimately put us over the edge to stay with you guys.”

These kinds of videos can be hosted on YouTube as they’re also branding vehicles (as opposed to personalized messages) which are nice showing up in the search engines.

I look forward to documenting the results of these two mini investments from Alanna and Holly.

Some more examples of where video could be utilized by vacation rental hosts:

  • Video blogs with you (or your favorite landmark) in front and center
  • Introducing your staff or the others whom the guest will meet upon arrival
  • Explaining complicated things like “how to use the oven” or “the best way to arrive at your property”
  • Following-up a first phone call to ‘put a name with the face’ (like Holly)
  • A booking confirmation to “get ready for your stay”
  • Soliciting 5-star reviews with a post-visit thank-you video
  • A “thanks for inquiring” thank you message landing page

If you have any suggestions for how video can be utilized in vacation rental marketing or want to give feedback to the makeover gals above, feel free to use the comments section below…


  1. TechCrunch: Video Accounts For Half Mobile Traffic,
  2. Dr. James McQuivey, Forrester Research:
  3. SproutSocial Infographic:
  4. The ROI Of Video In Email Marketing by The Relevancy Group:
  5.  Logitech C920 ($99.99):
  6. Blue Nessie Microphone ($99):
  7. Cannon EOS Rebel ($449 and up):

About the Author Matt Landau

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. Google+ | More Posts (230)


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