VRS059 – Make Video For Vacation Rental Your Goal for 2015 with Lou Bortone

One of my goals for 2015 is to create video content for my agency site. I want to help guests make great vacation choices and provide information to our owners on how to make their properties even more welcoming. But….I have been putting it off, because it seemed way too complicated and my perfectionism is just getting in the way.

I know that Evelyn Gallardo of Discovery Beach House in Costa Rica has been doing this for several years since she bartered a stay in her home for some training from renowned video expert Lou Bortone. Then, back in November of last year, I followed a Creative Live course with Lou online, and realized this was not as difficult as I thought

Lou joins me in this episode to discuss how video can be used in a range of ways to market and promote our properties, and outlines the steps you need to take, and the equipment required to get started.

tweetTweet: The power of video for marketing your #vacationrentals can't be underestimated with @loubortone @cottageguru

In fact, it is so much simpler than I thought. All you will need is:

  • iPhone or iPad
  • Inexpensive lavaliere microphone
  • Free video editing software
  • YouTube

Yes, it’s that simple!

We kicked off by talking about how Evelyn had no technical knowledge but in a few short days she was happily creating short informational videos about Costa Rica. One of the first she did – Costa Rica – Three Hidden Truths – has had over 80,000 views on YouTube, a number that Lou says is spectacular, given that a good viewer number is about 500.

Lou explains that location-based videos like Evelyn’s are really easy to do because you just use what you have. She takes her iphone out with her and just shoots video wherever seems right. Then, using free software she does simple edits, adds some interest with an intro and outro, and some music, and uploads to YouTube.

We talked about how to create a YouTube channel, and how Evelyn has separated her videos into different segments, one of which are the video testimonials. She has made these into mini promotions, narrated by her guests. Brilliant! Here is just one example – you can check the rest out on the Discovery Beach House Channel.

The overriding word here is ‘simple’. This is not difficult to do.

Lou and I talked about:

  • How helpful and useful content gets watched on Youtube
  • The importance of engagement and interaction
  • What editing software to use
  • Where to host your video – the Walmart and Nordstrom options
  • Where and how to share your videos
  • The value of guest reviews as social proof
  • Offering incentives for guest reviews
  • Why five 2 – 3 minute videos are better than one 10 minute video
  • How to find your ‘sweet spot’
  • Why it’s important not to overlook the audio quality
  • Using Google Hangouts and Hangouts on Air and the difference between them


Links to websites mentioned in this episode:

Amazon S3



Discovery Beach House

Lou Bortone.com

Creative Live Video Course


Audio-Technica Lavalier Microphone


I also wanted to mention something Lou and I didn’t discuss but I found on his website. I was looking for a mount to put my ipad on a tripod and checked out some on Amazon. Most looked a little flimsy and the reviews were not good, but Lou recommends this one in his resource guide (sign up to his email list for access to his resources). The Caddie Buddy iPad mount is US-made and is a more robust option. Not expensive either.

Where you can find Lou:












Amy Blomquist

Oh, I’m so happy you signed up for Lou’s course on Creative Live. I got so much out of it. I’ve already posted 2 videos (and a third on its way) using Wevideo which is super easy to use and free! It’s great to have so many simplified, inexpensive resources at our disposal. There really is no excuse not to do video anymore, right?!

Heather Bayer

You are absolutely right Amy! And, Lou is such a nice guy too. I will be meeting up with him at a conference in March in Atlanta and will be picking his brains even more.

Your videos are completely awesome!!! http://wherewaterfalls.com/videos/

I love them all.

Debi H

LOVED this podcast Heather! After I wrap my brain around this podcast course I’m taking, I will definitely do some videos. Especially after seeing Amy’s – they are so great! Have a wonderful vacation.

Thibault Masson

OK, as I follow your podcast religiously, I have taken your video creation challenge right here in Bali. It is badly done and I had no idea that my nose was so big 😉 Anyway, here it is, let me know how you liked it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KX2c7kmAH64

Heather Bayer

That is a great video Thibault!! Interesting, educational and fun with the beautiful scenery in the background. As you get more skilled with editing, you could cut in some images of the rice fields, museums, a cooking class underway etc. That would add some interest in a longer video. You could also chop it up and make 3 separate minute long videos – one for each topic. That might help get some additional SEO for long-tail keywords like ‘driving in Bali’, ‘can you swim in Bali’ and ‘things to do when it rains in Bali’. You have such a wealth of information to offer, you could start your YouTube channel now and start driving traffic to your website from it.
I haven’t been able to get to my cottage to do mine because of the weather conditions, so am going to be doing them in the Bahamas next week as I start my search for a property in the sun. Well done and thank you for taking my my challenge!

Heather Bayer

I can’t wait to hear your podcast and see your videos too! You could do one on each of your beaches!

Thibault Masson

Great idea, will chop it up – I had actually spent 1 hour editing the 3 parts to turn them into 1 video … sigh 😉

Amy Blomquist

Here is my latest video! I really like how Thibault was brave enough to get in front of the camera. I’m still a scaredy-cat hiding behind it! I think my next challenge will be a talking head video…gulp. Thanks for the inspiration, Thibault!


Ashore Realty

We just added videos to our vacation rentals! http://www.ShoreHomes.com

Heather Bayer

I took a look at your site but couldn’t find any videos there. Do you want to share one on here?

Heather Bayer

That’s great Amy! Yes, let’s see you front of camera next time. I think it would be great if you did a video about your family history in the area. It’s fascinating and would be a great topic.

Ashore Realty

Heather, so far we only have one rental property with a video. http://www.shorehomes.com/Rentaldetails.aspx?id=530
Working on adding others 🙂

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