If you have one or a hundred vacation rentals, these resources may be invaluable for the success of owning, managing and guest satisfaction. We will be continually adding new resources and welcome your input in the comments.
(Sea Dunes on Okaloosa Island, Beach Front in the Destin Area Source: Shore Dreams Vacation Rentals)
If you want your logo in space, data entry or a professionally designed email campaign – look no further – Fiverr has it all and then some. For $5 you can request services that may normally cost $500! We have had logos designed, data entered and logos put on a cruise ship for 5 bucks a piece. You can add services and request additional logos for an additional $5. This is a great tool for branding your vacation rental or for just getting some help on various office chores. Take a moment to visit their site. You will not be disappointed!
We tried an experiment starting a couple summers ago which offered free Netflix movies at our personal vacation rentals. Ironically, that summer was the wettest on record with coastal flooding and roads out in various areas around the Panhandle. Because of the weather, many of our guests were stuck inside with their families and friends. The units that we have with Netflix experienced the lowest volume of calls regarding issues and weather (yes, complaints about the weather!) One Netflix account starting at $7.99 per month (try it one month for free) can cover multiple devices in each room running at a time, so you can offer Netflix on all TV’s with different programming. Your TV must either be a Smart TV with wireless capabilities or you can add a Roku stick or device to convert a regular flat screen to accommodate Netflix. It only take a few minutes to program with your login information. Do not give anyone your login, just label your devices so that the guest knows which input to use to operate Netflix. We recommend having a separate account for your vacation rentals unless you want your guest to see what you’ve been watching lately!
If you are going need linens for one property or several, check out Sam’s Club Online. You will need to become a member of the popular warehouse, owned by Wal-Mart, however the savings will be well worth it. Bath towels come in a 60-pack and are very reasonable. The same for 120-pack hand towels and 300-pack wash clothes.
If you are looking for an amazing deal on sheets, check out the Christy Sheet Sets at Sam’s Club. You will want to order some for your self as well as your vacation rental!
Matt Landau, of the Vacation Rental Marketing Blog, is one of the best online vacation rental marketer in the business. Hi innovative style of “call to action” marketing techniques creates an “ah ha” moment for even the most savvy marketers. The ideas he provides for free include website visitor engagement, inquiry followup and creative email marketing tips like creating an “Insiders Guide” to encourage email sign ups. He is truly an inspiration and it is fun to see what he is up to in each and every email we receive!
Although vacation rentals are uniquely different than hotel establishments, Hotel Impossible on the Travel Channel provides a great resource for ideas, trends and observations set forth by the veteran hotel operator Anthony Melchiorri. As the always brutally honest, and brilliant host of the show, Melchiorri takes an existing hotel, mostly in financial distress and tries to put the pieces back together again by implementing a renovation project, creating a marketing plan and destroying the paradigms the current hotel owners have operated on in the past. For example, in one episode the hotel owners in a well known Spring Break destination were in dire need of new hotel room furnishings. The designer found a hotel surplus company that sold used furniture from an high end hotel for around $250 a room and the results were amazing!
The show features some major challenges with management, owners and properties and results are some pretty interesting designs as well as some impressive successes featured in the follow up at the end of the show.
Finally, the one spot that provides the best things to do all in one place! If you search USA Today’s 10Best, there is a good chance you will find a list of things to do around your vacation rentals. This includes dining, entertainment, attractions and shopping. There are even lists for the 10Best brunches in some areas. There are some great links for many different cities that you can use on your website to promote the area in which your vacation rental is located. While there are many sites that list coming attractions, this is a simple way to link to the “Best” of them at any current moment.
If you need a reasonable, robust email marketing system, try Your Mailing List Provider for free! With a trial account, you can use all of YMLP’s features and you can send up to 25 e-mails FREE. When you’ve reached this limit, you can switch to one of the three versions YMLP offers (Free, Pro, Pro Plus) starting at $3.75 per month. We have worked with many other systems including MailChimp and Constant Contact and find that Your Mailing List Provider is the most reasonable and intuitive. It converts graphics from an Newsletter Builder to HTML for use in other programs, gives options to share newsletters with popular social media and provides easy contact upload and management.
Even if you do not have staff on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week, your vacation rental is a 24/7 operation. As many vacation rental owners and managers can attest to, a vacation rental will require late night, weekends and unpredictable attention due to leaks, HVAC problems, guest access issues or general questions that may not seem like an emergency to you but to a guest whose trip is anticipated all year long and is a short stay, it is an emergency to them!
Enter TCB Answering Services! They cater to the vacation rental industry and answer calls 24/7 as your representative. The guest gets a live voice, you get an email or a phone call depending on the level of the emergency and all for a low monthly fee!
It is truly one of the best decisions our company made as far as providing enhanced services to our guests.
Renata Circeo-Loudon is the owner of Shore Dreams Vacation Rentals, a Destin and Atlanta Area company specializing in affordable family and pet friendly privately owned accommodations. In addition to hosting thousands of vacationing guests from all over the world, Shore Dreams Vacation Rentals provides owners with full service property management options in the Southeast.
As a former sports and music executive and real estate investor, Renata started Shore Dreams Vacation Rentals in 2010 and has expanded to Atlanta and Eatonton, Georgia as well as St. Augustine Beach, Florida.
She started her career in broadcasting and events at NBC affiliate, WICD-TV and by volunteering for the first Farm Aid. In 1990 she moved to Atlanta, GA to pursue a graduate degree in Sports Management and to fulfill a life long dream of working on the Olympic Games and the Super Bowl.
Renata worked for Live Nation Entertainment as an Area Vice President following a successful career with House of Blues Concerts in Atlanta. She manages most of her investments herself and enjoys new and innovated ways of utilizing technology and organization to streamline the handling of property management and vacation rentals.
Recently, she was featured in the “Millionaire Real Estate Investor” by Gary Kellerand is excited to continue learning about real estate, investing and spending more time at her beach houses!