Tag Archives: cottage blogger

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My eyes drooped constantly.

It was the first class after lunch, and the one in which I learned how to fake taking notes while I was really taking a nap: Intro to Logic.

Seriously, I took a Logics class in college.

And at some point in your life, you end up using what you learned in college, right? So here is my vacation rental logic for 2015:

Time is money.
Faster workflow with your property and guests saves time.
Save money with a more efficient workflow.

Therefore, I am declaring 2015 the Year of the More Efficient Workflow.

Top tools for your vacation rental workfowThe vacation rental industry has literally exploded in every which way, and a part of that explosion is in both new tools and improved old tools that help vacation rental owners with their properties and their guests.

Here is a good list of the top tools for 2015 to make your workflow go smoother, more efficient, and much faster, all from setting up, to marketing, to taking care of your guests throughout their stay with you.

Because time is valuable – for both you and your guests.

Property set up and design

When setting up a property for guests, it may at first seem just like setting up another home for your own family. But it’s not.

My two favorite sites to get the quick lowdown on what you need when setting up your vacation rental property are The Distinguished Guest and One Chic Retreat.

Before you set up the master bedroom, I suggest you read this post first.

Cleaning

Not everyone enjoys cleaning. I sure don’t. But if there is a gadget or a method to help me make it go faster, I am all for it.

Gadgets

Check out the Dyson DC44 Animal Handheld Cordless Vacuum. Makes cleaning under couches and all those baseboards a breeze. Definitely an investment of money, but it saves you time.

Communication

To make communication with your housekeeper more efficient, try creating a Google calendar with your reservations, color coded for each of your properties, and then privately share it with your cleaning team.

You can even add notes for each reservation and have Google send auto reminders.

Checklists

Not sure if your housekeeper always gets every one of the myriad of tasks done on the turn over days?

How about providing a cleaning checklist for your team to mark off tasks to double-check that all is taken care of…The Distinguished Guest and I created one for you – check it out here.

Marketing

Photography
The best method always is to hire a professional photographer.
Hands down.
I promise you.
Cross my heart.

But if that isn’t possible, you do have other options to hold you over until you can get a pro to your place.

- Host a Pro. Check out ShootStay to trade pro pics for a stay at your place.

- Shoot better photos yourself. You can pick up my eBook Create Killer Vacation Rental Property Photos – a Step-by-Step Guide for Owners at my site here.

Then also follow me to get tips (sign up here). Right now, you can read my tips so far here.

Copywriting

Mesmerize travelers with the description of your property…in a way that nearly hypnotizes them. Check out Heather Bayer’s eBook on how to do this.

Social Media

It’s here to stay and ever evolving. Whether you choose to interact with guests and travelers on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, or Instagram, just note that it is time to interact with them somewhere.

Learn the best practices in social media, along with how to boost your reach, with Alan Egan and his social media course Bookings Plus 4G.

Blogging

Have you started a blog for your property yet? There are two undeniably big reasons for vacation rental owners to blog about their property and the general area…here’s the logic:

Number one:
You create fresh content with a blog.
Google search engines like fresh content.
Google serves your blog to travelers searching for information on your area.

Hey – you got found!

Number two:
You provide extensive knowledge about your vacation rental property’s area.
Travelers search for information from an authoritative source.
Travelers trust you as a source.

Hey – you’ve gained authority (and got found again)!

Blogging builds your credibility as an owner and increases your authority on the area. What traveler is not attracted to an owner and a property that provides the information and service that creates a memorable experience?

Want to learn more about awesome blogging? Follow the great Ramsay at Blog Tyrant.

Video

Have you noticed that people in general would rather watch a video than read some text? Or maybe it’s also easier to explain something in person instead of writing it all down.

Myself, I made a quick video about how to use the Schlage lock on our front doors. (See it here.)

The lock is simple to operate, but I had found that guests would have trouble unlocking the door because they didn’t read the short buy phentermine directions I gave them. Now, I don’t get anymore phone calls about getting into the house.

And did you know that YouTube is one of the top search engines? It would be a very good marketing move to have a presence there.

Short videos with info about your property, the area, and you, the owner are another way to market your vacation rental property.

Guides

Whether you print and send it or have it hosted on the world wide web, a guide about your area and your property is another method to woo a traveler to become a guest.

Get some help to create a professional guide from Vacation Insiders.

Education

Blogs and podcasts

If you don’t already follow these vacation rental industry experts to learn from their experience, I highly encourage you to do so. Each leader has a different style of sharing, so enjoy their various approaches.

Summits (aka Conferences)

Whether you prefer to immerse yourself in front of your laptop to gain knowledge or to attend a gathering in person, vacation rental summits are an excellent way to further your business.

The Vacation Rental World Summit is an online summit with recorded presentations that you can view on your own time. Check out the VRWS site here for information on getting the 2014 videos and for when the 2015 Summit is announced.

The HomeAway Summit has grown over the last couple years into intense gatherings in various locations. You will find nuggets of information throughout the sessions, but what I enjoy the most is meeting other vacation rental owners and swapping stories, tips, and tricks.

Listing sites

Is it possible to have a successful vacation rental property without being on a listing site?

Yes.

However, there are many advantages to having your property on at least one listing site. This is another blog post in itself, so I’ll touch on only one big reason right now…

Your property is seen by more travelers (aka potential guests) if you are on a big listing site versus attempting to compete with other area properties with only your own website.

The big guys are:

Besides the big guys, check to see if there are any local area listing websites that travelers might come across during their travel search.

The easiest way to do this is to simply search for a vacation rental property like a traveler and then pay attention to what websites appear on the first page of your search results.

Personal Property Websites

Your own website is important in that you not only have your own piece of internet real estate, but that you also have a place to direct travelers to for additional information about your vacation rental property and the area.

Read more about setting up your own site away from the big listing sites at my blog post here.

Booking widgets

With the big push for travelers to be able to book vacation rental properties online, have you thought about the same feature for your own website?

See my blog post here about several options available.

Mobile apps

Not every guest uses apps, but every guest that does use apps will most likely appreciate an app from the vacation rental property they reserve.

But honestly, the main reason I began using an app for my places was to make my own guest workflow more efficient. The bonus side was that it highly increased my guests’ perception of my hospitality to them.

My New Year’s Eve guest this week specifically made a point to tell me how much he loved the app that I use for our place – that it was easy to use, made the property information convenient, and it was just awesome.

The apps available to owners currently are the following:

Save time with the tools I have listed above, and use that extra time to do something you love.

Maybe even go on a vacation yourself. You are in the business of selling time, you know, but you can enjoy time, too.

Time is something that is gone once it passes…you can never get it back.

Do you have a tool that increases your workflow efficiency? Fancy sharing it with me in the comments below?

I am always looking for ways to improve my workflow so I have more time to play laser tag with my boys or sit on the beach with a good novel in my hands.

By the way, the best way to stay on top of all the good stuff is to get on my vacation rental marketing email list.

You can sign up right here:


Tyann Marcink
Marcink Designs
Create Killer Vacation Rental Property Photos - eBook now available
The Ultimate Guide to Vacation Rental Photography - coming soon

love accents.

Honestly, I could just listen to Heather Bayer of Cottage Blogger talk all day.

Go listen to our juicy conversation about vacation rental photography here.

interview with Cottage Blogger Heather BayerWe discuss staging for kitchens, the nasty yellow color of bathrooms, and my decorating budget for my first VR property, among many other things.

Put your earbuds in and go for a relaxing run or hop onto the elliptical if you're under the polar vortex still. Our conversation will be entertaining and informative, and you'll get in a great workout at the same time!

P.S. Comments on Heather's blog post are entered for a chance to win a copy of my eBook. Hurry and go listen and enter to win!

Cottage Blogger podcast with vacation rental property owner and photographer Tyann MarcinkP.S.S. Heather buy cialis also gives a mini review of my eBook during the podcast, so you really want to listen to it.

P.S.S.S. Thanks so much for reading and listening! If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me today. :)

Tyann Marcink
Marcink Designs
Create Killer Vacation Rental Property Photos - eBook now available

P.S.S.S.S. I send out a vacation rental marketing tips email a few times each month. You should sign up for it right here:


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Are you ready to get serious about your vacation rental property?

7 vacation rental experts to follow in 2014
Seven vacation rental experts to follow in 2014.

Wondering where the best source of information is?

I've got you covered. Here are the 7 vacation rental experts to follow in 2014. Some of these experts have been sharing their knowledge for awhile, and others are quickly making their mark.

My "go-to" favorites, in no particular order:

1. Heather Bayer at Cottage Blogger

I had the pleasure of meeting Heather at the HomeAway Summit in May 2013 when she spoke about the Power of WOW. Fabulous information that kept me nodding my head in agreement the entire session.

What I like about Heather, besides her accent, is her pleasant and straightforward way of explaining vacation rental owner tips and issues. Watch for her 101 Ways to Creating Loyal Vacation Rental Fans eBook (with contributions from many different vacation rental owners) to release later this year.

2. Matt Landau at Vacation Rental Marketing Blog

Matt is a VR celebrity if were to ask me to name one in the industry. He has had his property featured several times in major publications, including CNN, Business Week, and the US News & World Report. Matt also frequently writes for other industry blogs including FlipKey, the HomeAway group, BiggerPockets, and more.

This year Matt is taking on a crazy experiment, kind of like "Extreme Makeover VR Style." And, he is writing about each and every step in the process so everyone call follow along to learn from both the successes and the failures. Follow Matt's Makeover with the introduction of the victim homeowner.

3. Alan Egan at Rent More Weeks

I think what draws me to Alan is that he is also a photographer. And he likes marketing, just like me. But most importantly, Alan shares his opinion on marketing techniques that are based on solid facts. And I like that.

My favorite thing about Alan, and a very good reason to follow him, is his "Photo of the Week" posts. Not only does he just show you a beautiful photo from a vacation rental, but he tells you why it is a good photo.

Just because we like something doesn't mean we are able to explain why we like it. I love that Alan tells the "why" with his posts.

4. Steve Sasman at VR Owner's Guide

Steve is one of the "new kids on the block" when you compare him to the others on this buy tramadol list. But just because he's new doesn't mean he doesn't have some good stuff.

What I like about Steve is that he shares via video. You can read the info, but he also takes the time to walk you through things step by step. For instance, his latest post about electronic rental agreements...Steve's videos show you exactly what to do.

And, he does video interviews of vacation rental industry experts. I hear there is one with a pretty blonde lady talking about photography. 😉

5. Antonio Bortolotti and David Prescod at Vacation Rental Secrets

I just stumbled across Antonio and David and am excited to follow them this year. Just browsing through their blog post titles, I have noticed that they have many different tips that I have not seen elsewhere.

The secrets they share focus on the marketing side of the VR business. Marketing and social media are areas that many vacation rental property owners struggle with, so this should be good!

6. Industry Blogs

Several of the vacation rental industry leading product websites also have blogs full of tips for homeowners. One of the bonuses about these blogs is that the posts are written by a variety of authors.

A few good ones are MyVR, Web Chalet, and Villa Marketers.

7. Communities, Groups, and Forums

Have a question about keyless entry locks? Or maybe wondering how to respond to a guest that raises some red flags?

Head over to one of the vacation rental groups, and you'll receive answers from other vacation rental owners from all over the world. There is the HomeAway Community Forum, the Vacation Rental Owners on Facebook, and several groups on LinkedIn, including Vacation Rental News and Information and Vacation Rentals.

So in 2014, you don't have an excuse for not doing better with your vacation rental property. Do you have another information source that we should follow this year? Please leave a link in the comments below!

Do me a favor? Don't forget to subscribe to the email newsletters of the above industry experts to make sure you get all of their goodies.

P.S. If you want a few good business tips and articles in your email a few times a month, sign up for my email newsletter also. I promise not to send too many emails.


Tyann Marcink

Business owner. Artist. Photographer. Writer. Amazing wife and mother according to reliable resources.

author of Create Killer Vacation Rental Property Photos