VRS065 – February Vacation Rental Mash-Up With Matt Landau

In this week’s mash-up Matt and I are exploring different options for creating a website; we answer a couple of listener questions and shout out to some owners who are doing a spectacular job marketing their properties.

Over the past week I have been immersed in Alan Egan’s WordPress for Vacation Rental Owners course, building a website for one of my cottages. I’ll be going into this in more detail in an upcoming episode so I just shared a couple of the highlights with Matt. So far I have learned about widgets, plug-ins, creating galleries, using different tools for editing images, and ways of finding free images to use on a site.

I expect to get my site completed soon and am excited about the skills I’m learning.

For those who want a more hand-held approach, then sites like MyVr and Webchalet come into their own. Matt talks more about these and the features that make them the most popular site building platforms in the vacation rental world.

We had a couple of listener questions this week.


How do I drive traffic to my blog?

Josie from Gulf Shores, Alabama, wants to start a blog talking about her area and sharing why visitors should come and stay in vacation rentals there. She wants to know how to drive traffic to her blog.

Matt dove into some of his favourite material – creating a blog that becomes a “hub of usefulness and helpfulness”. He suggests that Josie takes the 20 most often-asked questions and answers each one in the context of a blog post.

He uses an example of the question, ‘Which airport should I fly into when visiting Panama’ and suggests a post that lists the different options that visitors have when arriving in Panama, describing their proximity to attractions and areas of interest.

He followed that up with a suggestion to use an eye-catching headline and gave this example:

“Why you should not fly into this airport in Panama!”

Matt then went on to talk about the importance of backlinks and how they can work to drive traffic to a blog, because it doesn’t happen overnight. It is something that has to be worked on.

Good luck with your site Josie – let us know how it does.


Should I incorporate my vacation rental business?

Dean Curtis from Serenity Vacation Rentals in Ontario provided our next question asking about incorporation.

I need to make the point that neither Matt nor I are accountants, lawyers or financial advisors so anything we say is simply based on personal experience, and should not be construed as professional advice in any way.

Since my own business is a corporation I explained why we had chosen that route and that it is helpful in our current process of selling our properties. I also talked about liability and the benefit (or not) of having a corporation when looking for a business loan.

Finally, Matt wanted to mention one of his Inner Circle members, Sarah Elder and congratulate her on working so hard to promote her property – Serendipity Villa. He focused on Sarah’s use of Getnotify.com – an app that allows you to track when a guest has opened an email.

Matt accepts this could be seen as ‘borderline creepy’ but also stresses the usefulness of using a tool such as this to enhance a guest’s experience. He mentions several other options, one of which I have been using to great effect.

I gave a quick shout out to Naomi Saunders who has launched her Cotswolds Family Holidays site using Alan Egan’s course. We’ll be talking more about that in an upcoming episode.


Links to websites discussed in our mash-up:

WordPress for Vacation Rental Owners

Osprey Cottage.com (still under construction)


Web Chalet

Open Site Explorer (for finding backlink resources)





Serendipity Villa (Sara Elder)

Cotswold Family Holidays (Naomi Saunders)

Naomi Saunders

Thanks for the mention Heather. I’ve loved building my new website having followed Alan’s Word Press For Vacation Rental Owners course. Looking forward to seeing your finished site!

    Heather Bayer

    I have had your site open open since I started Alan’s course. It is an inspiration to me. And since I lived in the Cotswolds for 10 years (near Charlbury) I love looking at your photos. Very nostalgic.

      Naomi Saunders

      Awww…thanks Heather. So pleased that you finding inspiration from my website and that you’re enjoying reminders of the Cotswolds. We really enjoy exploring the area whenever we stay at Daisy Chain!

Maria Rekrut

Excellent Blog Heather and Matt. You’re the superstars for Vacation Rentals!! Always a pleasure listening to your podcasts!! Keep up the fantastic work!!

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