VRS075 – Pesky Vacation Rental Owners and Social Media Tips with Lynn Abaté Johnson

The title of this episode refers to a recent Skift article that pointed to a challenge that’s been in front of the big listing sites and OTAs from the outset:

“Major players from Airbnb and HomeAway to the Priceline Group and TripAdvisor have tapped into only about one-fifth of the addressable $100 billion vacation rental and alternative lodging market and some of these companies, particularly the online travel agencies with their huge marketing budgets, face what might be be considered a surprising obstacle in their way.

That is, namely, those pesky vacation rental owners who are loathe to start paying commissions and often prefer to deal with guests directly and offline.”

My guest on this episode is just one of those ‘pesky owners’.

Lynn Abaté Johnson lives in Sonoma, California where she manages her social media consultancy business, but is never far from her cell phone, so she can engage with potential guests and book them into her vacation home in Wellington, New Zealand.

tweetTweet: #SocialMedia expert @PeopleFW and @Cottageguru talk #VacationRental social tips http://ctt.ec/n9ijX+ pic.twitter.com/XOB6yaRV0s

She talks about how she came to own her ‘Kiwi’ house, the joys and occasional challenges of owning it and her own philosophy on the business of vacation rental.

What to post on FB page – where else can they travel, post recipes

First and foremost a vacation rental customer – Lake Tahoe snowboarder — these experiences helped her develop systems for her business.

This great conversation gave rise to some gems of quotes:

On reviews:

“People are going to talk about your business so you might as well be in control of the conversation”

How social media is changing the landscape of the market:

“The customer is driving the business, not the business owner”

“You are either distinct or extinct” – Tom Peters

On getting your message out:

“Social media sharing is about 80% of everything else except you, and just 20% sales messages”

On the large agencies:

“Too many large agencies run it by the numbers without warmth, conversation and engagements”

Lynn shares her thoughts on:

  • Her success in keeping the New Zealand home booked
  • The value of having her business in hand via her Smart Phone
  • Using the SoLoMo method – why the trio of Social/Local/Mobile lands more bookings
  • Sharing local information via social media but still maintaining traditional methods
  • Being smart in the way she invests her time
  • Why businesses should have more of a heart
  • The two social media platforms you should be on
  • How tapping into the hobbies and interests of guests can create relationships
  • Why podcasting is a useful addition to your marketing strategy


Links & Resources mentioned

Think and Grow Rich – Napoleon Hill

E-Myth Revisited – Michael Gerber

The Customer Service Revolution – John Di Julius


NZ holiday home

Kainui Heights Facebook page

Blog post – make it easy for people to do business with you

Where you can find Lynn: