When I wrote my book on vacation rentals in 2003, there weren’t many people writing on the topic. Homeaway wasn’t founded until 2005, and even when I started Cottageblogger.com in 2007, Flipkey had just launched their blog and there were only a few people actively delivering information on how to set up and operate a rental home, where to market, and how to manage a booking system.
Fast forward seven years and there are many more people now sharing their expertise in a range of areas and this is great news. Experts in marketing, social media, photography, staging, and general hospitality now offer advice and resources to help you get more bookings and grow your business. Most of these are owners themselves – they have experienced just what you do, have made mistakes and learned from them. Here are the ones I recommend you check out and follow, whether it’s their blogs, social media profiles or podcasts.
If you have not heard of Antonio yet, that will change very soon. As mastermind and creator of the upcoming Vacation Rental World Summit, he has worked tirelessly to bring the best minds in the industry space to deliver an outstanding 3-day event in June of this year. Antonio owns a highly successful rental property in Sardinia called Casa Teulada and we spoke at length on his secrets of that success in Episode 016 of the VRS podcast. Antonio has brought his expertise to UK Homeaway conferences.
What I’ve learned from Antonio
How off-line marketing can deliver such an amazing impact. In the podcast episode he talks about his success in getting journalists to notice his place and how he garnered a 15-page feature in Italian magazines and a prime spot in UK’s Sunday Times and Guardian newspapers, amongst others.
We have featured Antonio:
Vacation Rental Success Podcast: Episode 016
Apart from leading such an interesting life – living on a boat and sailing the world, when he’s not at his farm in Denmark – Alan has managed vacation homes in Portugal and he and his wife own a vacation home there too. Alan is leading the field in the vacation rental world on Google Plus, so if you are interested in getting to grips with this fast growing social media platform, he is the go-to person. On top of all that, he is an expert photographer and shares his tips on creating outstanding property images in several downloadable ebooks from his website.
What I’ve learned from Alan
How to create an amazing magazine style resource on Google + to share information on my region with prospective guests. Alan’s wife has done this with their property in Portugal and it’s getting a lot of followers.
We have featured Alan in:
Vacation Rental Success Podcast: Episode 010
These are the best places to find Alan:
No list of leaders in the VR field would be complete without a shout-out to Matt. I had the pleasure of meeting with Matt personally last year, and he is just as enthusiastic, motivational and knowledgable as you find him in his highly popular Vacation Rental Marketing blog. His property in Panama – Los Cuatros Tulipes, and the marketing of it, is testament to everything he does, and it is well worth paying a visit to his property website to see how he puts his advice into practice. Matt really delivers in the information he shares!
What I’ve learned from Matt
That a scattergun approach to marketing can be a wasted effort. Marketing should be analysed and measured to ensure what you do is both economical and effective. Matt talked about this at the seminar I attended at the Homeaway Summit in Phoenix and in Episode 006 – Getting Analytical.
We have featured Matt in:
Vacation Rental Success Podcast: Episode 006
These are the best places to find Matt:
Tyann and her family own 18 properties in the Branson area, so it’s no surprise she knows a lot about this business. As a professional photographer, her specialism is naturally in that field, and her expertise shows in her property listings and websites. She shared a lot of tips in Episode 013 of Vacation Rental Success.
What I’ve learned from Tyann
To learn the manual settings on my camera, always use a tripod and to ‘get low’ to take effective bedroom photos. In fact, after my conversation with her, my photographs improved immediately!
We have featured Tyann in:
Vacation Rental Success Podcast: Episode 013
Joel is passionate about this business and brings a huge amount of expertise since he currently owns 10 properties in Austin, Texas. Founder of the Austin Rental Alliance, Joel championed the cause of VR owners in his home town, when they were threatened by the potential of a short-term rental ban. We discussed this, along with his book, also called Vacation Rental Success in Episode 014 of the VRS podcast
What I’ve learned from Joel
The power of networking and that your competitors can also be your friends. Since I spoke with Joel I have been in touch with other agencies in our area and we’ve had a great meeting exploring how to create a collective voice to counter threats of short term rental bans.
We have featured Joel:
Vacation Rental Success Podcast: Episode 014
These are the best places to find Joel:
Steve owns a cabin near Flagstaff and credits much of this success to Google. By that I mean he gets to the front page of Google with most of his keywords, uses Google Maps and has a great presence on Google Plus. His interview show and Hangouts are interesting, and Steve is one to watch in this business as he shares his internet marketing expertise.
What I’ve learned from Steve
The importance of using images and videos as part of an overall SEO plan particularly in an area that is not swamped with visual media. This is an underutilised strategy and for many owners could be a huge traffic driver.
We have featured Steve in:
Vacation Rental Success Podcast: Episode 020
Other blogs and resources to check out:
Mercedes Brennan of One Chic Retreat is an up-and-coming super-resource for all of us. Her interior design and staging advice has already been invaluable for me, and as we all like before/after projects there are some absorbing articles on her site.
We Need a Vacation – this is a site for Cape Cod vacations but that’s not all. The team on the blog produce some great articles and downloadable resources for owners and it is well worth checking out.
Charles Cawley from Country Holiday-Lets in UK has some solid resources for those starting out in the holiday rentals business.
Phil Schofield – Phil was a guest on the podcast and gave some great advice on holiday home insurance. He is also an experienced owner and shares his tips and advice on his blog.
Eva Whitney is a property manager extraordinaire – if you rely on someone else to create a wonderful space for each set of rental guests, then you want someone like her. Eva’s blog is all about the property management side of the business from how to keep a BBQ looking pristine to cleaning shower doors, and much more. I passed the link to her blog to my cottage manager and I’m seeing the results!
This is probably not the most definitive list because I don’t claim to know everyone who is active in vacation rentals these days, but these are the folks who are most active on social media or get mentioned the most when I am talking to owners. I know I will have missed some people out, so apologise and ask that you don’t take offense – just add yourself in the comments, with a reason why owners should seek you out for your expertise. And if you are an owner who has got useful information from someone not on the list, please add them. I’ll put the resulting list in the Resources section and we can keep adding to it.