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I am so excited to be signed up for the Next Level Mastermind Event. It will be the perfect springboard I need to get my business to that next level!
6 months, 1 week ago on 367 What do you do when you know that what is needed to take your podcast to the next level is just outside your financial reach? And So Much More!
My dog got the best walk ever!! Nearly two hours. I found your analysis fascinating Cliff. I haven't listened to Spencers podcast so was just taking your commentary as a bonus Cliff lesson on best practice. I spent my first year of podcasting bieng relatively inconsistent with 8 sporadic episodes From Feb this year, I vowed to be more consistent, haven't missed a week and am up to 23 episodes - just passed 10,000 downloads most of which are this year. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that consistency is key.
The best tip I got from this was that solo is good. I've been doing a couple of solo episodes and really enjoyed them and got great engagement from listeners.
Cliff....I get such a lot from your podcasts and you sharing your insights. Thank you.
9 months ago on 355 Why You Should NOT Start A Podcast – My Thoughts Regarding Spencer Haw’s Blog Post On This Topic.
I just aired a podcast about Instagram for vacation rental owners and agencies. I was a complete novice at Instagram and had no idea of its reach. These are great examples to support that episode - I will add it to the Show notes.
Here is the link to the episode: http://www.cottageblogger.com/vrs019-sue-b-zimmerman-the-instagram-gal/
9 months, 3 weeks ago on 4 Creative Uses of Instagram in Destination Marketing
That's where we will win out as individuals Kevin - the relationship is what matters to most people since they don't get that connection much anymore.
1 year, 1 month ago on Making the Vacation Rental Process Effortless
I've never used any service to automate tweets, preferring to be a little more spontaneous, and have found this approach grows followers organically. However, after listening to the podcast, I've been paying more attention to the amount of links I post and to make sure I include a brief comment saying why it resonated with me.
Thank you to you and Erik for raising these points - a lot of food for thought here.
1 year, 1 month ago on 336 Can You Automate Your Way To Relationships? Information Overload & Other Social Media Annoyances
Having your own blog is a great start too. I have achieved several quality writing gigs from people seeing my blog which is on vacation rentals. Tony is right - find a niche you have knowledge about and can write on the topic with authority. Share the content on social media and keep plugging away. Having a link to an authority blog you own will show you as an expert in the field.
1 year, 1 month ago on [MUST READ]: All Writers Can Get Paid…
I wouldn't be overly bothered about speed of WiFi - the issue is more on bandwidth you offer. We are just putting together a new TV/DVD instruction sheet so I'll post it when its finished. I'm looking out for an expert to interview on SEO because its such a good topic but can be horribly complicated, so I want someone who can give me a simplified version yet with enough information that will be effective.
1 year, 1 month ago on VRS008 – 10 Things We Learned from a Summer of Rental
@johnmgoing Hi John - Great question!
We've used Facebook and Twitter in the past to check out guests and even found them talking about the great party they are going to have. Our rental agreements are clear that occupancy is limited to the people listed on their rental application, and we remind them before they go of the restrictions and why they are in place. It's surprising how many people don't use privacy settings, so its often easy to follow a friend trail and make sure the people are who they say they are.
I agree with your post that owners need to be proactive and prepared for any eventuality. The point I was trying to make is that our guests are less self-reliant than they were 20 years ago, and the responsibility lies with owners to understand this. In ten years of managing our agency we've moved towards a greater hand-holding approach with guests, providing them with additional information and always trying to be one step ahead of the game.
1 year, 3 months ago on When Guests are Locked Out – Who is Responsible?
@iamcrafty The refrigerator issue is one we have been plagued with this summer. Mostly, guests have arrived and whacked the temperature down to it's coldest setting and had the whole thing ice up. The only way to deal with it is by defrosting completely and starting again.
Check out my next blog post which attempts to deal with these issues.
@VillaYasmine I'm really armchair travelling on this post - now in Morocco! I can see that it's challenging to post a listing that has flexible accommodation options - two apartments that can be rented separately or together - some duplication is going to happen, and I think you have done a good job. However, its also a little confusing and could probably be consolidated to create a more structured lisitng. I might consider investing in a professional writer to make it more readable and appealing. Since you have three separate tabs - one for each unit/units, I'd limit the description on each to that specific unit rather than duplicating the entire content on each one.
I read through it several times and picked out a few key features that would attract travellers - the ocean view, rooftop swimming pool, outdoor terraces for dining, proximity to art galleries, museums and historical sites etc., also the spacious accommodation that would make a group rental very appealing. If it's possible to reduce the text to some introductory comments on what guests will experience in the property and in the area, and then use bullet points to highlight the key features of each apartment, it would make the overall picture a little clearer. Some work on the headlines would be helpful too.
1 year, 8 months ago on No Small Potatoes – A Review of an Idaho Vacation Rental Listing
@Shannon Bosgraaf Hi Shannon - Great site - lovely properties. As an agency owner myself with over 200 properties under management I know the issues around making all the properties equally appealing. The quality of photography is really good but at that level I think they should enlarge so prospective guests can see a decent sized image. You've been able to get a ton of information into a small space for each listing and still have it readable and interesting. I'm learning from it!
@Wendy33 @cottageguru My pleasure Wendy
@Star of the Sea Hi There - unfortunately I couldn't spend long on the the listing as I have a minor visual disorder that gives me eye strain looking at light text on a dark background. However I gave it as long as I could but the navigation is very confusing. I couldn't find any photos or information on the accommodation. Sorry I can't offer much more than that but if you are looking to attract rental guests I highly recommend getting a new web site built that will appeal to the demographic seeking this type of accommodation in your location.
@Wendy33 Hey Wendy! I'm glad to hear Narrows Cottage is renting well. I know the feeling with a new place - my latest cottage took a year before I began to see decent bookings. I just looked at one listing (VRBO/434056) and it looks fine but I think you could improve the staging to make it more appealing. Green plants in the living area and the patio table laid up for a meal might add appeal. Your text didn't mention some of the things that might attract guests such as the access to swimming pool and tennis courts, which might be extras that could swing a booking for the condo. In addition, you could put a different spin on your text to help guests imagine what it would be like staying there:
"If you love golf, want access to a swimming pool and tennis courts and enjoy great views from your private courtyard and patio, this is the place for you. After you've finished your active day, if you don't want to cook in the well-equipped kitchen or patio barbecue, stroll across to the nearby Clubhouse restaurant for a great meal............"
Keep in touch Wendy and let me know how it goes.
@dhertert Hi Debi - what a beautiful place with spectacular views! Can I suggest that you stage your feature photo a little more? If you can't get a shot with more light on the tub, consider taking the photo with the jets going. That will give the image a little more movement and appeal. I thought some of your other images would benefit from some staging too - for example you could lay up the dining table for a meal and have a photo of food cooking on the grill. If you can, consider getting some professional photography done - I think it would be worth the cost.
The text appeals to all the senses - it would be good if you mention the hot tub in there though since it is mentioned in all the reviews, and perhaps whale watching too. Describe an experience guests might have in an activity and how they might feel coming back to the house at the end of a busy day to relax in the tub and enjoy the sunset.
As with Kristi's Vermont cottage below, the best text is in the What makes the place unique section - that was the wow for me....seals barking, smells of the ocean, tide pools, deer in the vicinity etc. I almost missed that section so suspect that other potential guests might miss it as well.
@Bert Simonis @cottageguru OK -understood. Just me then who has never thought about going to Palm Springs and wondered what we might do when there. We are now thinking about it for next February and I'll get on and do the research to check it out.
@Vasily Pronin What can I say but WOW!What a beautiful property. The photographs are stunning and I want to be there now.
As a potential guest I found it a little unclear about what was shared if we were to just rent the smaller building. In addition, you mention, 'when the owner is on site' - does that mean they occupy a part of the property or just 'drop by'.
I found the reference to 'Eat Pray Love' interesting and think this is a hook that should be in the headline. Apart from having keyword influence it would also attract those who have read the book and want to see the places mentioned in it. It's in your intro text but could be better utilised by making it more prominent.
@KBSpaulding I'm glad you enjoyed the presentation - thank you for the feedback!
Your Vermont property looks gorgeous and there are so many opportunities to share the wow moments. I can see you have it all there in the text on your photos, and wonder if you could use some of this in your introductory text. Some examples:
"A hikers and bikers paradise. Trails filled with vibrant colors and fresh air"
"Amazing Fall Foliage photography opportunties, changing with the sunlight"
"There is nothing like vacation to slow down and enjoy the simple things..."
If I was rewriting the text I'd probably do it solely from the great captions you have with the photos - they cover all the senses and would appeal to many different types of people. What you have currently is fine, but factual and doesn't have the wow attraction that you have included elsewhere. Within that first 30 seconds it's important to grab them and get that "I want that' reaction.
This text from your section on What Makes This House Unique says
'How can one choose between the sunrise, the beautiful canoe and row boat rides during the day or the unbelievable sunsets? Luckily, you don't have to - they are all right in front of you" Personally, I would start with that.
In summary, you have some terrific 'pull' text but its hidden in the About Us section and photo captions - consider getting that out there to hit your prospective guests right from the 'get go'.
@Bert Simonis Hi Bert - I checked out both your own site and the VRBO listing. I loved your text on the listing:
"Live in the backyard; watch the sun set behind the mountains from the provided pool floats; enjoy refreshing chilled drinks; listen to music (outdoor stereo system) or read a book under the covered patio. Barbecue on the stainless steel grill or just chill on a lounge."
This is exactly the way to appeal to all your guests' senses - it's great! I'd think about including that on your web site text too.
I have no experience of Palm Springs; what is in the area, or what my family can do while there so would probably go off the listing to do some research, so you will have lost me as a potential guest. I'd have liked the text to include what I might experience in the area and what activities are available. I can see you have referenced some of these in the Other Activities section but a little in the text about how retro lovers would enjoy the vintage clothing stores - tying it in with the mid-Century thing perhaps - might be more appealing. Some of your guests have mentioned how great the kitchen is, so you could touch on this in the intro text as well to encourage foodie guests who love to cook.
The website didn't grab me as much. The professional photos show it off well, but the black background and smudges in the theme, had me trying to wipe them off the screen before I realised they were intentional. I have a mild sight disorder that creates difficulty in seeing white text on black background so that could account for it, but it's worth considering accessibility issues.
@Wendy33 HI Wendy - I often find that the wow moments are in the reviews. If guests have liked something enough to comment on it, that may be worth including in your introductory text, so in this case kick off with the wonderful waterfront. It's great to hear you are doing well on your occupancy on the Narrows Cottage!
1 year, 8 months ago on The Power of WOW – 30 Seconds to Increasing Revenue
@Jane Probst Moore I only looked at the VRBO lisitng given the volume of requests for reviews. This listing just proves why professional photography works. I was immediately wowed by the picture-perfect interior - the infinity pool, outdoor dining area etc. The text was a little less inspiring, and as a recent visitor to Costa Rica who had no clue what to expect before I visited, I would have liked to hear more about what I would see, do and experience. Features are great but why should I come to CR and stay here in preference to the competition? It seems as though your guests loved the concierge service, the welcome they received and the feeling of being pampered. Having the potential stress taken out of planning trips and tours with a concierge service can be a great motivator. I'd also like to hear more about you - why you purchased here, what you like most about the place etc. Condos can seem more impersonal than private homes, so putting a bit of yourself in the listing could help too - your guests seem to think you were an important part of their experience, so sharing a little more could be beneficial.
@PNVFrance Beautiful apartment - great pictures! You have the same kitchen tile as I have in my house here in Ontario - good choice!
What a great looking place and the views are spectacular. Your text is informative but if I was a potential guest I'd want to be inspired more. What I got from your guest testimonilas is that the views are the wow factor and you have two separate balconies giving sun right through the day and into the evening. People also liked the proximity of transit to get them to the heart of Nice. Rather than detailing their travel options in your important intro text think about describing the experience they will have, how they might appreciate the ease of getting to the heart of Nice, while staying in a peaceful area; or enjoy the astonishing vista while relaxing after a busy sightseeing day. For example, instead of "Ferry service from the port takes you to Corsica or on a day trip to Cannes." you could say, "It's just a ferry trip to the home of the world's most well known film festival in Cannes - take a day out to explore what the rich and famous see". For visitors coming to France for the first time, the greeting they might expect from your managers together with the helpful information provided for them, could be a contributing factor to a booking decision.
@mybeaucaire This made me miss France - I haven't been there for a long time. Your website text seem a little sterile - it didn't pull me in to the , romance and history of the region, although it neatly laid out what I would expect. I might kick off with something like: :" Imagine a perfect location for exploring historical Provence and the magic of The Camargue. Take in the views from your own private terrace as you look across the beautiful River Rhone, or explore the local town of Beaucaire, stopping for a glass of wine at a pavement cafe before returning to your excellently equipped apartment....." I'd strongly recommend reshooting the video though, using a tripod rather than the shaky, fast moving footage you have there - it doesn't do the property the favour it deserves. Photos are generally good although it would be great to see the terrace with the table laid up for a meal and with some flower tubs for colour. You used images on the video that would have been good as stills in the listing - pavement cafe; river views etc. Think about what would make a prospective guest say "I've got to stay there" - what is your WOW image?
@huskhomestead Thank you Gigi - your place looks gorgeous! You are clearly a writer because the text is appealing on all levels - it is descriptive and compelling and really made me want to come and stay. I am not familiar with your location but have now put it on my bucket list!
Loved the video Cliff - I like the presentation style; it's very effective and held my attention.
I am just about to record my sixth episode in the Vacation Rental Success podcast. If it had not been for you and the outstanding quality of your training in January and February I would not be able to do this. I had a little gap between episodes 4 and 5 but there have still been over 1000 downloads of my first four episodes. All down to you and your ability to motivate, inspire and above all, educate. I would love to give you an audio or video testimonial on how you have helped me succeed in my business.
1 year, 8 months ago on 4 Reasons Why Podcasting Is The Single Best Investment For Taking Your Platform To The Next Level!
I did the Podcasting A - Z course in January/early February and am just about to upload my 4th episode of Vacation Rental Success on www.cottageblogger.com . This was a life changer for me. I have an office storeroom filled with equipment and books bought over the years with the intention of producing a podcast, but nothing came together until this course when I really learned the meaning of the concept, 'the whole is greater than the sum of the parts'. The focus you gave to answering all our questions, huge patience with newbie technical challenges, and comprehensive tutorial material added up to an amazing and very beneficial course. For anyone on the fence on this one, just do it.
1 year, 11 months ago on Final Opportunity For Podcasting A to Z At This Cost
@tyler1 This is a vacation rental in Eleuthera - one of the out islands of the Bahamas. We usually find our rentals on Trip Advisor or Home Away
1 year, 11 months ago on It’s the Little Things that Make a Vacation Rental Perfect
@Lucie Nolette Hi Lucie - Thank you for listening! I just posted the second one and will be doing so weekly after this. Let me know if there is any topic you'd like to see covered.
1 year, 11 months ago on VRS001 – Launching the Vacation Rental Success Podcast
Which keyless entry system do you use?
1 year, 12 months ago on Gadgets to Manage Your Rental Remotely
I blog on behalf of vacation rental owners and know that some of my readers are using Pinterest to promote their properties and to show off images of their locations. I haven't heard of any getting bookings out of doing this but know it is driving traffic to their listings. Some of them are posting images of local food and delicacies and given the stats you mention, this may be working in their favour.
2 years, 10 months ago on Pin-Commerce? 21% of Pinterest Users Have Purchased a Product They Found on the Site