VRS042 – Creating a Vacation Insider Guide with Andy McNulty

My guest on this episode is passionate about the vacation rental business, and although he doesn’t own a property himself, he has been a powerful advocate for delivering great information to guests, for many years.

Back in 2007, Andy McNulty, together with a business partner, founded Getaway Earth. The site aimed to create a space where owners could share a lot more about their properties than how many bedrooms and bathrooms it had. The focus was on local knowledge – which restaurant had the best pizza; how to find that secret beach, or walking trail you would not find in a tourist brochure. It was a great idea than unfortunately did not reach its full potential, and was quietly shelved a few years later.

Thankfully for all of us, Andy is back with a new product, web site and vision for getting our information out in full, glossy, online format, and he tells us all about Vacation Insiders in this episode.

tweetI would love to create a #vacationrental insider guide. @Cottageguru talks with @VacaInsiders about the steps


From the birth of the idea through to the technical details of how the Guides are produced and published Andy explains the ins and outs of producing an online magazine, and the value of it as a marketing tool.

He tells us:

• The philosophy behind Getaway Earth and Vacation Insider Guides
• How important local knowledge is to guests
• The pricing structure
• What to put in a guide
• Why it’s helpful to tell guests what to avoid
• The production process
• How to get your own insider guide

Links to sites we discussed:

Vacation Insiders

Amy Firmani’s Las Vegas Insider Guide

We always love to hear from our listeners and one lucky commenter will win a free Vacation Insider Guide and will be giving away 2 additional guides with $150 off  – a great discount on the $350 base price. All you have to do is tell us why you think a Vacation Insider Guide would be great for your location. Winners will be chosen on Wednesday 1st of October.

Where you can find Andy:





Amy T. Firmani

Andrew has taught me quite a bit about providing interesting and valuable information for my guests. The guide we put together has blown away all of the people that come to me for help … I share it even if they do not rent with me. They tell me they read every list word! That is amazing!! I now look for them when I travel …. get to work! Everyone needs one of these!

    Heather Bayer

    I love your guide Amy – there’s some really useful tips I would not have thought about.

Heather Bayer

Amy – your Insider Guide is fantastic. So much useful information. Andy is doing one for me and I’m pretty excited about it.

Amy Blomquist

Andy is such a pleasure to work with. He will help you every step of the way and the software was super easy to use. I highly recommend owners include this ‘eye candy guide’ in your marketing. My guide is going to be live in a few days and I can’t wait to show it off!!! Thanks again, Andy!

    Heather Bayer

    Can’t wait to see it Amy!

    Andy McNulty

    Indeed Amy, your guide is done, just need to send you the link to the live version – this one was a treat as I love stories of heritage, not to mention being set amongst the giant redwoods – can’t wait to hit that “go live” button!

Andy McNulty

Thanks for the compliments, much appreciated! Aside from Amy B and Heather’s, we have a few more in the works – the Turks & Caicos, Mission Beach, CA and another from Asheville. Keep them coming!

    Heather Bayer

    I’m eager to see them all. They are great for armchair travelling to places on my bucket list

    Amy Firmani

    I cannot wait to see them!

    Antonio Bortolotti

    Andy, please keep me posted with the Turks & Caicos guide! I’m off there on vacation with my wife and daughter for Christmas and I don’t know anything about it 🙂 Also, I’m currently revamping https://casateulada.com, the site of our properties, so we may have a Skype call regarding a guide for Southwestern Sardinia to add to the site…how does that sound?

      Andy McNulty

      Sure Antonio, let’s get that done – I’ll drop you an email. As for the Turks & Caicos, that should be done next week. I’ve seen the draft and I wish I was going with you!

      Andy McNulty

      Hi Antonio – having just completed a guide to the Turks & Caicos’s Providenciales (aka Provo) I want to come with you! Take a look… http://joom.ag/zOPb


Great news that Andy is adding even more guides- Can’t wait for them to come out. The difficulty now will to decide which one to go to!

I am so very excited to share with your readers the wonderful experience I had in authoring our Vacation Insiders Guide to California’s Mendonoma!

Andy was fabulous to work with in its development and design. I absolutely enjoyed writing our Insiders Guide under
Andy’s guidance. He quickly responded to all my questions and any
concerns I had. I especially liked how he worked in close collaboration
to assure our guide was applicable to our vacation rental’s particular
needs. Local businesses recommended in our guide have also seen its
benefit, establishing Sea Ranch Abalone Bay vacation home as an asset in the community.

I most love about Andy is he has not stopped caring about our guide,
assuring us that we continue to have the best online and hard copy

We now have a guide that I am proud to share not only
directly with our guests at Sea Ranch Abalone Bay vacation home, but also distribute through a multitude of social media venues. And most importantly, our guests and fans LOVE IT!

Donna Martinez

Owner: Sea Ranch Abalone Bay, The Sea Ranch, CA

Author: Vacation Insiders Guide to California’s Mendonoma

    Andy McNulty

    Thank you Donna, we appreciate the support. And the emphasis is on “we” – I do some of this work but there are others in the background who make the guides sing! And I should also give you a shout out – the guides are only as good as the insider. Working with owners like you who have high standards and understand the importance of promoting this wonderful industry pushes us to make each one better. Thanks as always!

    Heather Bayer

    Great point about benefiting local businesses Donna. It must be a good tool for connecting with them, showing what you are doing to promote their businesses, and could lead to cross-promotion.


Great news that Andy is adding even more guides – Can’t wait for them to come out. The difficulty now will be to select which one to visit on our next trip.

We also used Andy, who was fabulous, to help us develop our guide for the Mendonoma Coastal region of California (http://tinyurl.com/Abalone-Bay-Insiders-Guide). He quickly responded to all my questions and any concerns I had. Also our local businesses recommended in our guide have seen its benefit, establishing our Sea Ranch Abalone Bay vacation home (www.SeaRanchAbaloneBay.com) as an asset in the community.


We love our insider’s Guide that we created with Andy!
What a fabulous tool to help our guests really get immersed in the island life that we strive to share. We’ve utilized it on our website and social media sites.
It helps us stand out as the experts in our area and provides potential clients with one of the extra little luxuries that we strive to achieve before they even arrive. I highly recommend investing in this opportunity.
Check it out here:


    Heather Bayer

    Your guide did exactly what it’s intended – got me excited about visiting Anna Maria Island. Great job, Nancy!

    Andy McNulty

    Thanks Nancy, great to hear. One of the consistent messages we get from owners is the need to find ways of standing out from the crowd. As a guest myself, I know how tough it is (= frustrating) to work out which owner / place is the right one. It was one of the inspirations for the guides so I’m glad to hear it’s helping you guys stand out.

Helen Beaumont

I have one of these guides myself for our apartment in Serre Chevalier which I wrote with Andy last year. I’ve had a couple of comments on how good it was, but confess to not using it to its full potential. Something I need to rectify. http://tinyurl.com/neep4qg ,

    Heather Bayer

    Great to hear from you Helen. When I was researching for this, I looked for your guide on your site but couldn’t find it. I know Amy F gets traction by having a link to hers on the home page – that may be an idea for you.

      Helen Beaumont

      There was definitely a link there Heather, I’ll check it out.

        Helen Beaumont

        It’s on the home page, it was broken, but I’ve fixed it now. Thanks.

          Andy McNulty

          Hey Helen, our first insider! Swiftly followed by Heather (Madeira)! We should probably recap some of the best ways for you to use the guide since there are many more options available now than back then (I’ll drop you an email). The most basic – I assume you are including a link to the guide when you respond to guest enquiries? Those that are doing that have experienced good results with guest engagement and conversion. Thanks! Andy

            Helen Beaumont

            I do Andy, but it isn’t possible to include the link with some of the listings sites. Holiday Lettings won’t let me for example, although tbh their enquiries are becoming few and far between. I’ve got is saved as a link in my email templates, then also send it again with my arrival instructions.

              Andy McNulty

              Good to hear, and we should also give your guide a refresh, it’s been at least 6 months and these guides should be kept fresh. All in the email to follow!


There was definitely a link on there, I’ll check it out.

Anna LeCuyer

A Vacation Guide would be ideal for Summit County, CO, because it is difficult for guests to zero in on specific things to do off mountain. The bulk of guests come for winter sports, but there are hikes with breathtaking views as well as numerous festivals during the summer. Guests have been pleased with my suggestions that aren’t found in a guidebook. Anna’s Getaway, Silverthorne, CO

Naomi Saunders

Definitely looks like something else I should be providing for my guests in the Cotswolds in the UK – the guides certainly look fantastic!

Tyann Marcink

Heather, you need to stop at the Sunset Coastal Grill in Port St. Joe. Delicious seafood and a Fettuccine Alfredo to die for. http://www.sunsetcoastalgrill.com/

Villa Carpe Diem

Heather are these guides the ‘lead magnets’ that you talk about elsewhere? I’m trying to find an example and I found the Vacation Insiders Mission Beach 12 page document, which blew me away! Thanks, Andy

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