Managers Marketing Owners Some years ago I had a ‘discussion’ with my better half about the value of using images in our pre-arrival information material which I thought were pretty boring and dense with too much text. He’s an ex-military man who spent a full career following protocols and standard operation procedures, so he felt the idea of including a few cartoon images in an effort to encourage people to read what we sent them, was a complete waste of time. I think he used the expression ‘dumbing down’ and ranted a little about children’s picture books and their relevance to adult understanding of the world. Of course, I let him have his say as I always do, then made the changes anyway. More recently when I was researching for my book, Hypnotic Writing for Vacation Rental Emails and Listings, I found so much statistical evidence for using a wide range of media in information distribution, it got me thinking again about the whole topic. Great article about sharing platforms for your #vacationrental business. @cottageguru covers some great points We have such a choice of platforms these days to deliver and consume information that to focus on one, or to remain bland and boring in a sea of outstanding peer content , is to stand still in a fast moving market. I want you to think about different ways of getting information to your guests; from before they even think of booking, to when their vacation is over and they want to share their experiences. Here are a few different ways to get your message across – and it’s way more fun than a few cartoons: Podcasting If you have been living under a rock and don’t know how powerful podcasting is becoming then watch this space! Seth Porges on Forbes.com discussed Apple’s decision to include the podcasting app as standard in its new iOS 8 mobile operation system. The next new car you buy will likely be a ‘connected vehicle’ featuring AT&T Drive (or a variation on it) giving access to on-demand radio shows and podcasts via Stitcher. Podcasts have been around since 2005 or so, and have waxed and waned in popularity but conditions are now ripe for an explosion in the platform and we should be ready for it. Given the travel market is woefully underserved by podcasts, the opportunity to get in there and create your own travel show for your area is wide open. That’s why I’m working with a few really dedicated owners on a podcasting project at the moment to help them launch their own local area podcast. Stay tuned for a Vacation Rental Podcasting Mastermind I will be launching soon. Insider Guide I am a huge fan of the Vacation Insider Guides. These eye-candy pieces are designed to showcase your area from your perspective. You provide the text and personalized content and the Vacation Insider folks do the rest. The guide can be embedded into your website – for example, Amy Firmani’s Palazzo Paradiso site has a download button for the Insider Vegas Guide on the home page. I like the format which makes these guides such an easy read and will draw readers back to the owner's web site. After all, who doesn’t want to book with the person who has all the local knowledge? You can find out more about the Insider Guides by listening to founder Andy McNulty talking about why he launched the site and how impactful it can be to have your own guide. Blog A well-written blog with consistent input remains an important feature of any website. Google still likes updated content so every time you upload a new post, Google will take notice and this can build the organic reach of your website. It is also a great spot to post information for your past, present and future guests. Get them to engage with you and before long you have developed a community. This post on 25 Ideas for Your Vacation Rental Blog may have been written a few years ago but is still completely relevant if you are stuck for ideas on what to write. Google + I am loving what Alan Egan is doing for his students on his Bookings+4G Course. You only need to read his most recent post to see how this is working: Vacation Rentals and The Rules of Engagement. We chatted on Skype recently and Alan admits to being blown away by the success, his students are achieving within just a few weeks of creating their Google + accounts. Here are some case studies to prove the point. Getting active on Google Plus was my goal at the beginning of this year and I still aim to do this and get up to speed with it. With the help of Alan, who really is the G+ guru, I will do this thing!! Haiku Deck Here’s an interesting one. Haiku Deck is presentation software that allows you to create a stunning slideshow of photos with minimal text to get a message across. I am not quite sure how I would use it but wanted to include it because it looks so good. Discovery Holiday Homes uses this effectively on their owner page – you have to scroll to the foot of the page to see the Haiku Deck. How else do you get your information out to guests? Is Facebook your platform of choice, or maybe it’s YouTube? Share a secret or two….we won’t tell!