Could Twitter Be Your Competitive Edge?

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Every day I talk to people who want to rent a vacation home. Mostly, they are frustrated and confused with so many sites; so little information and so much uncertainty about the choice they are making. As one lady said yesterday:

“I’d love to go back to the good old days where I could talk to a travel agent who had been to the place I wanted to go and could give me an objective opinion. It’s so difficult to tell what is truth and what is embellishment on these listings”

I can understand that point of view. The monster rental site Home Away lists over 18,000 properties in Florida for example. I’m sure if a renter knows where they want to go and has some strict criteria to work from, they could drill down and shortlist a few hundred before they finally made a choice. But, if your property is in that few hundred, how can you make it stand out from the rest?

I’ve talked about making sure the photos are wonderful, the text is accurate and informative and how important it is to have a good looking web site to capture the VR surfers on their trip through cyberspace. That’s not enough though, because if there’s a ton of listings just like yours, it could be just the luck of the draw that brings a potential renter to your door.

Could Twitter be your answer? Since 50% of visitors to this blog are now coming via Twitter, I could be preaching to the converted here, but since this is a new medium for me, let’s just go with it for a moment.

When someone first suggested I use Twitter, I scoffed at the idea. Telling the world what I was doing in 140 characters or less seemed a total waste of time. Who wants to know whether I’m watching Oprah or CNN; about to go shopping, or eating a cheeseburger? But I did register; I followed a few people; others started following me, and within three weeks I’ve discovered a whole new world of networking.

There must be something to Twitter when the Obama marketing campaign used it to such great effect by telling supporters where he was and what he was doing every day of the campaign. Major online and offline companies are using it to communicate with their customers at grass roots levels, and I was fascinated by this article on the Mr Tweet blog telling how an online invoicing company is using Twitter to demonstrate its customer service edge.

So, what good is this to the vacation rental owners? I’m still trying this out but just for starters, I follow over a hundred travel writers on my Twitter account. These people write blogs, articles and post on Twitter about the places they’ve been and where they are planning on going next. How good would it be if I got just one of them to take an interest in my neck of the woods and write a post or blog about it? I’m now networking with people who can talk about my cottage rental business and spread the word; they visit my blog and come to my website. This is so cool.

What is stopping you from trying this out? Why not give it a whirl? Here’s a great beginner’s guide to help you out. Let me know how it’s working for you.

Image by Pandemia on Flickr