How to get your Vacation Rental guests to market for you – send them a photo book!

vacation_rental_gift_blurb_photo_bookWhat a great weekend! Three days of excellent content from 12 industry experts, six thousand attendees and a hugely active forum bringing many owners together – the Vacation Rental World Summit appeared to be a big success. No doubt there will be a lot of feedback over the coming weeks, but from what I heard, everyone who attended got so much out of it. I’ll be pulling a few nuggets out of the sessions over the next few weeks but there was one from my own session that got a lot of interest and feedback. In the mean time, if you missed this amazing event and wanted to get the information packed videos of all the presentations, these can be purchased from the Vacation Rental World Summit Webpage. I can personally guarantee you will not be disappointed with how many great ideas, tips and income generating ideas are in these videos.




Earlier this year I spoke with Antonio Bortolotti on the Podcast about how he markets his Sardinia villas, Casa Teulada and he mentioned that he sometimes sends his guests a hard cover photo book that includes many of the images from his web site, and it’s a beautiful creation.

Antonio used Blurb – a customised book creation platform, to create his 60-page book, full of gorgeous photos not only of the property but of the local area. Sent to guests prior to their stay it is designed to excite and increase anticipation, and is a really cool marketing tool.

From my own experience, I know that I talk to a lot of people before we go on our annual Bahamas vacation, and share the listing details over and over again. Imagine what it would be like to open your mail and get a hard-backed photo book packed with drool-worthy images. It would be a coffee table book that would be shared countless times with friends, family, the plumber, electrician, and the UPS man…..well maybe not the last one, but the point is that its not something that would be dismissed as a marketing gimmick.



In my Summit session I suggested taking this to another level. Instead of sending to guests prior to their stay, invite guests to send their best vacation photos, and include them in a photo book that also highlights the best part of your property. I got the idea after spending a couple of happy hours with my son from UK, going through albums and boxes of photos from vacations past. Just poring over the pictures, turning page after page, was absorbing and such fun. Do you remember that? The time when we’d come back from a holiday, and excitedly wait for the photos to be developed – it really extended the enjoyment and memories. Now, most of us just have “jpeg families” – the images that reside on a computer that rarely get looked at – perhaps posted on Facebook or Flickr, but no longer tangible. What I am suggesting is that we create that for them and send it as a gift after they have got home and the memories of a great vacation are beginning to fade. After the session I had so much feedback from owners who loved the idea and added their thoughts on how to make it even better and easier to do. One was to create a photo contest for guests which would encourage them to send their best pictures to you. Ask for their best images of family activities – fishing, paddling the canoe, pet pics etc.



Then all you need do is to use Blurb or Shutterfly to create a photo book.

And the cost….

Both of those photo book creation sites have regular offers and discount codes. Shutterfly currently have a 40% discount (the the time of publishing this article) so why not take a look and think about how this might work for you.

This is an idea in its infancy and I threw it out there in the Summit session as a bit of an afterthought but given the reaction it seems like it might fly.

What do you think? Do you do anything like this already? Are there any drawbacks?


I met Antonio last week after his Summit and the book concept is a nice idea and ideal for certain properties. Its has so much referral and “memory experience” benefits, it well worth looking at.


Antonio Bortolotti

From my own direct experience, the book is well worth the effort. Try it out yourself and see what your guests’ reaction will be! You’ll be amazed. From a marketing point of view, this is one of those things that sets you on a completely different level and it’s amazing how it can reward you with both returning guests and referrals.

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