VRS130 – Paid Advertising For Vacation Rental With Conrad O’Connell

It was a real pleasure to invite Conrad back onto the podcast for Part 2 of our interview – this time featuring his great insights into paid advertising.

Our property management company has been in business for 12 years and we’ve never seen the need to use paid ads. Over the years we’ve built up a solid reputation and through the development of content we regularly hit Page 1 of Google for our keywords. In other words, we do well on organic search even for the some of the high ranking keywords.

This year we’ll be launching a new website and taking steps to really move on our competition so I wanted to learn a little more about the type of ads we might use…and the investment we’d need to make.

As before, Conrad over-delivered and gave an information packed interview, covering Google Ads & the Google Keyword Planner, Google Analytics, Google Display Network and talked at length about Facebook ad campaigns and the best ways to implement them.

And….don’t forget to sign up on Conrad’s mailing list so you don’t miss his posts .

Conrad explained:

  • Why it is important to know your market and do your research before investing a penny in paid ads.
  • How to research keywords in your area
  • How to find out what the cost per click is for your keywords
  • Why ‘fishing in Ontario’ may not be worth the investment for my market
  • The best thing about Google adwords and capturing traffic when their intent is high
  • The reason Adwords may not be the best direction for an independent owner to take – and when they should give it a try.
  • The importance of getting Google Analytics installed and configured
  • Setting goals in Google Analytics & why and when to use ecommerce tracking
  • How Facebook ads works
  • What the Facebook pixel is and why you need to set it up on your site today
  • How to track everyone that comes to your website and has a FB account
  • How to serve ads to your audience
  • Why Facebook Boost button is the easiest but the least effective of options
  • The best option to choose when targeting your audience
  • Using Google Network Display for retargeting

Links to sites mentioned:

VRS116 – Digital Marketing for Vacation Rentals with Conrad O’ConnellGoogle Display Network

9 Facebook Ad Campaign Ideas For Vacation Rental Marketers

Facebook Ads Manager

91 Digital

Google Keyword Tool

Where you can find Conrad:







If you liked this podcast we would really appreciate it if you could leave a review for us on iTunes. You can do this by clicking on the icon below. This will open itunes and direct you to the Vacation Rental Success Podcast. Here you can review and subscribe.
Many thanks for listening.

VRS129 – May Vacation Rental Mash-up with Matt Landau

I like talking with Matt on months beginning with an M – it gives a nice alliterative title!

This month’s mash-up covers a good range of topics from the Vacation Rental Success Summit to the upcoming release of Matt’s beginners course to vacation rental.

We covered the use of Prezzi for presenting information; why owners are not using Snapchat; finding mentors and why Summit attendees were not complaining about Home Away fees.

Finally, Matt shared more about the gang intervention project he is involved in. If you haven’t heard of Esperanza head on over to the website, and prepare to be inspired: [Read more…]

VRS128 – Live from The Vacation Rental Success Summit Goldfish Bowl


Mike had this great idea at the Vacation Rental Success Summit, to set up a podcasting studio so we could record at the event. So, on the Saturday night we took over one of the small rooms – the goldfish bowl, so called because of the windows that gave everyone a great view of what was going on.

I got myself comfortable and Mike co-opted willing victims to come in and have a chat, tell me what they thought of the event and a little bit about themselves.

Sadly we had a bit of a technical glitch and some of the mini-interviews were just too choppy to use. I’ll bring those folks back over the next couple of weeks so you can get to hear what they say.

For now, this is who we spoke to:

Jessica Vozel – Guesthook

Bob Jenkins – Lead Pages

David Angotti – Smoky Mountains.com

Nikki Woodson-Blair – Clanventure

Matt Landau – Vacation Rental Marketing Blog

Gary & Natasha Miller – No property yet….but working on it!

Erica Townson – Town Events Management

Alanna Schroeder – The Distinguished Guest


Apologies to:

Alex and Tammi – Properly

Celine Girard – Villa Mercier

Darik Eaton – Seattle Oasis Vacation Rentals

Don Fehst – 3KlicksAway Vacation Rentals

Rex Brown – Holiday Matters

If you liked this podcast we would really appreciate it if you could leave a review for us on iTunes. You can do this by clicking on the icon below. This will open itunes and direct you to the Vacation Rental Success Podcast. Here you can review and subscribe.
Many thanks for listening.

Well, that’s a wrap!


As I looked around the now-empty auditorium with just the audio tech finishing off his packing up, I felt a little emotional.

Maybe it was still the adrenalin in my system, or the euphoria generated by the goodbye hugs and farewells from new friends who I knew I’d be in touch with again soon.

Or maybe it was the satisfaction of a job well done…you know…that feeling you get when despite all the odds, something you worked at long and hard came together successfully.

That’s how it was at the end of the Vacation Rental Success Summit.
[Read more…]

VRS127 – Takeaways from the Vacation Rental Success Summit 2016


For two days in Toronto, there was a place where everywhere you went the conversation was on the same topic. In the hallways, the social centre, the dining room, and even in the fitness centre – the talk was vacation rentals.

The Vacation Rental Success Summit brought together some of the most interesting, influential and motivated people in our industry. Attendees came from Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, Italy, the UK, and all across North America.

Workshops and presentations covered innovation, social media, digital marketing, video and photography, copywriting, emergency management, website creation, restrictions and regulations, social media and much more….

…and the venue was stellar too!
[Read more…]

VRS126 – 5 Habits Every Vacation Rental Owner Should Develop


Renting out a property professionally is no walk in the park. It’s arduous at times. It eats up hours with marketing, activity on social media and keeping abreast of changes in the marketplace.

And sometimes it feels as though all that work is for nothing, when the enquiries you answered don’t convert into bookings, and there’s no response to newsletters or social media updates.

Bookings may come in but you aren’t sure where the guests came from. Was it a listing or a post on Facebook? Perhaps those hashtags on Instagram captured some interest and someone shared it.

You eventually accept that a scattergun approach seems to be working, if you are getting weeks reserved. So you continue to waste spend time doing marketing activities and hoping for the best.

There’s a better way.

Can you imagine how liberating it would be if you knew just where your traffic came from…and where it didn’t, so you could quit doing the social media stuff that clearly isn’t doing anything for you.

The better way is to learn how to track where your enquiries are coming from and use that information to guide your marketing strategy.

In this episode I talk about the five habits that could take you from scattergun marketing to precisely targeted strategic planning.

No more flogging a dead horse.


These 5 habits are:

Using analytics to find out who is coming to your site, where they have come from, the keywords they are using, how long they stay on your site, and which pages they spend most of their time on.

Regularly updating static content so that search engines such as Google stop by your site more frequently; adding timeless articles or images to get you noticed, and continually posting top quality material rather than key-word stuffed content.

Writing new blog content consistently and regularly that delivers timely information, answers immediate questions and garners social engagement. Structuring an editorial calendar that delivers on the information gained from the analytics results.

Collecting email addresses so you can create a permission-based email list and then target the list with appropriate newsletter and broadcasts. Developing an easily digestible lead magnet and using landing pages to divert traffic.

Communicating frequently so you don’t leave your guests high and dry. Creating a regular communication strategy to keep guests updated about things happening in your area gives them the opportunity to share your communications with their friends too.

Sites mentioned in this episode:

Beginners Guide to Google Analytics

Creating an Editorial Calendar




Google Analytics

VRS125 – What your Vacation Rental guests really want


A few years ago, enquiries were simpler.

They referenced a simpler way of vacationing and underpinned why vacation rentals were becoming so popular.

People asked about the outdoors; the waterfront access; how good the fishing was, and whether there were any board games and videos.

Fast forward to 2016 and the questions are changing. They are becoming more focused on the technical and the quality of entertainment. Guests want help planning their holiday and for many, they want the owners to do the work for them.

In this episode I cover five areas where we are seeing new demands, concerns and requests for hand-holding, and talk through how we might adapt to each one.

I mention:

  • Why owners need to be completely upfront on Wifi limitations and restrictions
  • The need for unlimited access to the internet…if available
  • The extra resources to supply to meet the needs of our digitally adapted guests
  • How the Olympics, the Blue Jays and the Golf Channel might impact bookings
  • Why you should upgrade to a Smart TV
  • Your local knowledge and how to put it to best use
  • How sharing the secrets of the best vegetable stand on the Farmer’s Market can win more bookings
  • Why your personal recommendations are gold
  • The changing needs of parents in terms of child safety
  • The next best thing to a safety rail around a dock
  • Stairgates, outlet covers and lockable cleaning cupboards
  • Why you should never buy a knock-off high chair
  • The dying art of self-reliance
  • Grumpy old people …actually I don’t say that but I think I am one, and you might get the vibe!!

Links discussed:

Vacation Rental Success Summit

Villa Mercier


VRS124 – Listing with a Niche Vacation Rental Site


When I first got into this business nearly 20 years ago, there were a lot of niche listing sites.   They were started by people with vision and passion who wanted to create the portals for home owners to take advantage of the fast growing interweb.

Then, along came Home Away and the beginnings of the end of independent sites.

But they haven’t gobbled them all up yet.

We have some very successful sites here in Ontario, such as one of my favourites, Cottages in Canada.

And owners in Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket have WeNeedAVacation.com.

Starting with just 100 listings in 1997, founders Jeff and Joan Talmadge have grown their company to over 4,000 listings today, and along the way have built a loyal and professional team to support their niche business.

Marketing Manager, Becky Fischer has been with the company since 2003 and joined me on the podcast to talk about her role in the company, the changing nature of the rental business in Cape Cod, and how she helps owners to create the best listings with great photos and videos.
In this episode we discussed: [Read more…]

5 Things Your Cottage Buyers Need To Know If They Want to Rent

People buy cottages for many reasons and they have different types of perceptions and expectations. Many buyers are now considering rental as part of their investment plan, so it’s important to be able to present them with appropriate and comprehensive detail so they can make informed decisions on the their cottage purchase.

Having this information to hand will also stand you out from the bulk of your competitors – something we all want to achieve.

Here’s five basic pieces of information that will position you as a cottage rental sales expert. [Read more…]

VRS123 – Pinterest For Vacation Rental Impact – with Nancy McAleer


Take three beautiful properties, a content-rich website and a passionate owner who understands the value of blogging and focused social media activity, and you have a recipe for vacation rental success.

As an executive with Canadian retail company, Jacob, Nancy McAleer had a high-powered job that ended with a ‘golden parachute’ offer when the company was approaching bankruptcy. Rather than taking on another corporate role, Nancy switched gears, and along with friends, purchased properties on Anna Maria Island in Florida, and the rest is history. [Read more…]