According to Vrbo’s 2018 Industry Trends Report, vacation rental managers earned $44 for every $1 spent on email marketing. While other marketing channels like social media, paid search, and content marketing may receive the majority of the buzz, marketers continually report that email marketing drives more conversions than any other marketing channel.
It’s clear that growing your vacation rental email marketing list is one of the best ways to drive more bookings. Best of all, you can drive these bookings to your direct booking site – helping you become less dependent on bookings from OTAs. However, growing your subscriber base can have its challenges, and often feels like a slow process. We consulted top experts in the field on the best ways to collect more emails and grow lifetime value. Read on to get actionable tips on ways you can get started now!
Collect Emails On Your Direct Bookings Site
Tyann Marcink, of VR Mastered and Branson Family Retreats knows collecting emails on your direct booking site is one of the best ways to increase the size of your list with new engaged subscribers. Having already navigated to your website, these website visitors already have a high likelihood of being interested in booking a vacation rental in your destination.
One of the best ways to capture emails from these website visitors is a pop-up form. As an example, take a look at this pop-up on the Branson Family Retreats website:
Instead of just asking for an email address, there is a clear exchange of value here. Offering a discount code, coupon, or guidebook is a great way to incentivize visitors to provide a high-quality valid email address.
There are many different tools to create an email pop-up form and trigger an automated email, and in this case, Branson Family Retreats is using Mailchimp’s pop-up form. In addition to a pop-up, make sure to provide multiple additional areas for email submission, again using a Mailchimp form.
Participate in Facebook Groups
If you haven’t found one for your destination already, go look! There are hundreds of Facebook groups dedicated to helping to connect travelers with vacation rental managers and hosts. These groups are great places to find potential guests and collect their email addresses. Even if you don’t have availability to book these guests directly today, by collecting their email, you may be able to guide them to your rentals when they want to travel to your destination again.
Alanna Schroeder of The Distinguished Guest has found Facebook groups one of the best ways to grow her own email list for her rental in Kauai. She is an active participant in the Facebook group Kauai Vacation Rentals by Owners. What is great about this group is that only direct booking is allowed, not any OTA links, so it is easier to form a direct relationship with potential guests. With over 6,500 members, groups like this almost always have constant activity with travelers looking to book direct.
WiFi Marketing in Vacation Rentals
One of the best sources for high-quality emails is from the guests that have already stayed in and hopefully fallen in love with your rental properties. However, OTAs like Airbnb, Vrbo, and Booking.com don’t make it easy to collect emails from your guests.
Arthur Colker of StayFi set out to solve this industry-wide challenge. One of the best ways to collect guest emails seamlessly with the necessary marketing permissions is to use a captive WiFi splash page. You’ve probably already used a branded captive splash page to log onto the WiFi in airports, hotels, or coffee shops, and now that same technology is available for vacation rentals.
In addition to introducing your brand to every guest, StayFi helps you collect more guest emails than even the OTAs know about because you are collecting from all the non-booking guests.
For instance, Branson Family Retreats uses StayFi to collect emails from all their guests. Using StayFi’s splash page creator, each rental property has its own unique splash page, featuring text and imagery from that specific home. After connecting to WiFi through the splash page, each guest is also redirected to the home’s Touchstay guide, providing easy access to that information for the non-booking guests.
Now You’ve Got Emails.. Monetizing Your Vacation Rental Email List
Building your vacation rental email list is one of the best strategies to grow your share of direct bookings and increase repeat, reliable business. The most common email tool used in the vacation rental industry is MailChimp, and one of the best ways to use MailChimp is to set up email marketing automation.
Email marketing automation allows you to set up a series of marketing emails that get sent out automatically to new subscribers to your list. This way you can set up email marketing templates one time, and then all your subscribers will automatically be marketed to. Setting up email automation is made easier with these MailChimp templates and guide from StayFi.
There are almost limitless ways to use your list to market your rentals, real estate, or other services. The key is to be creative and not to leave your email list cold for too long so that subscribers don’t forget your brand.
This post was written by Arthur Colker, friend of Rented and founder of StayFi. Arthur and his team help vacation rental management companies capture guest emails with technology with a branded splash window for access to wifi. Visit their website to learn more or check out VRM Insider to read more about growing your vacation rental business.