Marketing Being competitive in this industry gets more difficult by the day. There’s no easy route any longer. Just piling more and more money into the big listing sites may get you to the top of the pile, but that’s no guarantee people will stay any longer on your listing. You know you have to have great images. In fact there are so many listings with professional photography that simple iPhone snaps just won’t do any more. Your text needs to grab attention and get potential guests drawn in by the magnetic copy. Multiple reviews can be the key, but may only be the window dressing. If you’ve ever been encouraged to go into a store because of the allure of the window but there’s not enough to keep you interested once inside, you’ll know you need more substance to fulfill the expectations. But what if it’s your knowledge of the local area that really drives the traffic? If you could really get into the minds and imagination of someone planning a trip and become their go-to person for the information they need? You become their personal guide to the area. Create a #vacationrental marketing funnel – How to suck in your guests! Great article from @cottageguru I listened to a great podcast from marketing expert Pam Moore recently and it inspired me to create a list of ways you could share your knowledge, grow your audience and create raving fans for your location (and maybe to book as well). Build a great website A listing might trigger some attention, but if you can get people to move away from the listing site and onto your personal site, you’ve grabbed them. And of course you use the URL for your site on every social media platform you use. Just make sure your website includes great content so visitors can use it as a resource. Check out these three very different sites – all packed with content and interest, and all built on the WordPress platform Amy Firmani’s Las Vegas Villa Rental Brea Gratia’s Cabin in Asheville Martha Tulberg’s Chalet La Foret Share on Twitter Twitter is all about engagement and sharing – not about self-promotion. There’s nothing wrong with occasionally tweeting about late availability or a special deal but you will get more traction by sharing what’s on in your area, and getting people interested enough in your contributions to follow you. Maria owns a Niagara on the Lake cottage and is a consistent poster of content on social media. Her twitter shares are always useful, informative and encourage engagement: Maria Rekrut: @NOTLcottagerent Deliver your content ‘magazine style' via Google Plus In Episode 10 of Vacation Rental Success I interviewed Alan Egan of RentMoreWeeks.com. Alan is at the forefront of the social media revolution for vacation rental owners and we talked about the Bookings Plus 4G Course that he had just launched. A year later and the latest graduates of the course are crushing it on Google + with their ‘magazine’ methods of posting local knowledge. Amy Blomquist’s G+ page is a fabulous example of how this platform can be used to promote a location and place an owner as the expert. There is no self-serving promotion of her property because that is completely unnecessary – she is simply demonstrating her local knowledge. Here, she’s talking about a local restaurant – showing great food photos are popular on Google Plus. Naomi Saunders doubled her site visitors with her Google Plus Cotswold Family Holiday Guide output by sharing content about her Cotswolds property. She recently hit 1 million views on her page: The Bookings Plus 4G Courses are very affordable and can have a huge impact on your marketing strategy. Above all, getting to grips with G+ is a ton of fun. Start a Podcast When was the last time you stayed on one blog post for 40 minutes? I am guessing you would say “never”. But I hear so often from my own listeners in the comments of the Vacation Rental Success show notes that they regularly listen while in the car, taking the dog for a walk or on the treadmill. And my episodes are up to an hour long…..that is the length of time people are listening! How else could you get that amount of focused attention? Podcasting is back and is making money – as this recent article in The Washington Post attests to. And travel remains a very underserved area. Just check out what Lou Mongello is doing with his Disney podcast or Bruce Fisher with his Hawaii Aloha Travel show. And as far as I know (and I am happy to stand corrected) there are no vacation rental owners with popular podcasts on their area. There’s a few of us working towards correcting this right now and I will be welcoming a few more people committed to launching a podcast in the New Year when I launch my vacation rental podcasting mastermind group. Will you be one of the them? If so, let me know in the comments that you are interested and I will let you know more. The market is wide open to share your content via your voice. Launch a YouTube Channel YouTube remains one of the worlds largest search engines and you don’t have to look far to find stunning statistics on how many videos there are online or how many hours people spend viewing them. Suffice to say that if you can produce consistent content, it is a great way of sharing location information as well as promoting your listing or website. Evelyn Gallardo rocks it on Youtube with her Discovery Beach House Channel, posting travel tips, guest reviews, animal videos and many other topics. Some of the videos are several years old but still get viewed consistently. Matt Pauli of the South Maui Condo Owners Network does this well too – from filming a sunrise on the beach to standing in front of a whale watching tour company office, he shares great content on the Island of Maui. There’s no requirement for fancy video equipment any more – the video function on an iPhone works just as well for making a short movie. Just make sure you mount it on a tripod! Shaky walking video still doesn’t make the grade! I hope this has given you some good ideas for content sharing and that you’ll let me know if you use other methods. Turn it around too, and let us know what content sharing platforms work best for you when you are looking for a vacation. We’d love to hear about them.