This is The Vacation Rental Manager's Podcast with Sarah and T.. The first podcast dedicated to the professional vacation rental manager. Join Sarah Bradford and Tim Cafferty on their journey through day to day issues affecting the professional vacation rental manager. From the Coast to the Mountains, Sarah and T have been covering all things vacation rental for over 7 years and counting.
Episode 163 - EOS, (Not TS's Tour). A deep dive with Matt Durrette
Sarah and T are back with another great content episode. This week our two hosts interview Matt Durrette of Cozi Vacation Rentals in Texas. Matt has adopted the EOS platform to run his business and he shares all of his secrets with us on today's episode. In addition find out how Matt has leveraged his brother in Honduras to help his business. This one is a can't miss episode.
Episode 162 - 14 Ways to Blast Your Email Marketing Into a Booking Machine
In this episode Sarah and T take on the topic of e-mail blasts. Are you doing them? Are you doing them effectively? How do you know? 14 specific points are covered in how you can crush your next effort and know exactly how well you did.
1) Build up your email list & segment - all previous guests list, potential guests, by season, by type of property, etc.
- Every single email you get should be added to a list and segmented. I recently stayed in a VR with a company. After we booked, they kept sending us promotional emails. Made me wonder if we had a booking! Make sure your upcoming guests aren't sent an email that you are now offering 40% off!
- Booking Anniversary to previous guests on their booking date from last year
- Type of properties, size of properties, season they visited only?
2) Consistent (so you're there when it's time to book) - top of mind. Only way to pull this off is to make your emails interesting/professonal
3) Frequency of sending - at least once a month, ideally once a week (TIM & SARAH DISAGREE)
4) Not Always a Sales Email - way too many VR emails are like this "20% off for next week!" - think about your own perspective when you get an eblast.
5) Types of eblasts - introduce a new property (attracts Lookie Loo's), newsletter format - new restaurants/activities in the area, Resort developments (new gondola), groups of properites/themes, Snow alerts, local partners (make sure you show them they were included), booking anniversary, ...others, TIM?
6) Professional looking, template so recognizable (idea - personalize by showing a person from your team at bottom), highlight properties at bottom, social links, videos, other examples
Paul Hanak from ICND says open rates don't matter! Listen to his reasoning mid-podcast.
7) Call to Action - we always had "book direct & save" at bottom of every single email.
8) Lots of links! Link logo and photos too
9) Always include all owners on your emails
10) Tracking code to conversion! Follow by email monthly - this is the WHOLE POINT. Don't send an email without tracking conversion.
11) A/B testing - most platforms easily allow you to test everything from subject lines to send times - utilize it!
12) Stop gathering emails from "contests" just to have a bigger list. We've tested it! They signed up to win a contest, not to engage with your brand. Open rates are poor, so you wind up paying for all these extra emails without any payoff. Quality over quantity.
13) Subject Lines are the name of this game. Without a good subject line that captures attention and creates curiosity, that email won't even be opened. Need some inspiration? Just google "Good email subject lines" and ask ole chatGPT.
14) Check and recheck for spelling/grammar errors - everything speaks! (sarah example of "piece")
Episode 161 - 33 VRMA Conference Attendees Share Their Key Takeaways
Again this year Sarah and T have come through with their signature episode. The VRMA Conference takeaways has become an annual must listen to podcast. This year Sarah and Tim talk to more than 30 participants at the conference held in Orlando about what was hot, and what was not at VRMA.
Some of our special guests include:
Mary Beth Miles
Matt V from Cleveland Reasearch
And our Pullover Partners:
Daniel from Key Data
Brandon and Vanessa from ICND
Max Farley from Sojo
Episode 160 - David Angotti, The Vacation Rental Content Marketing Dumbledore
We've waited 159 episodes to have the wizard of content marketing on the Vacation Rental Manager's Podcast. David Angotti is on today's episode dropping knowledge about everything you thought you knew, but the secret is you probably don't. The master is in the house.
In the news segment Sarah and T (and David) talk about the upcoming VRMA International Conference and how to get the most out of your time there.
Episode 159 - BED BUGS! It's Not A Question of If, But When. Be Ready.
In this episode our two fearless rental managers talk about the subject of bed bugs. Don't pretend you don't think about this or haven't had this happen to you. What do you do when you get them? How do you handle them? Will I catch them just thinking about the subject? The answer to these and many more questions will be revealed in this episode.
In the News segment Tim talks about the wildly successful ExploreFest 23 conference that VRBO and Expedia Group just hosted in Las Vegas. Another can't miss episode with lots of takeaways to help your business! Detailed show notes below:
Bed Bug education - all from the great Durk Johnson who explains it better than anyone.
- First, a fun fact - we are seeing a rise in bed bugs the past 10-15 years because DDT is outlawed. That's a good thing, but DDT used to kill bed bugs and they were going down in numbers of outbreaks.
FACTS about BB's
- size of a tick
- attracted to our CO2 we breathe
- they can live for 365 days without food!
- They like to live in wooden footboards, headboards, wall (check baseboard)
- Often the way to find them is to check for poop and blood stains on mattress or mattress pad.
How are they transported? they are hitchhikers
- luggage (in other words guests bring them. Guests don’t want to believe it, but it is true! It is not a commentary on the cleanliness of a rental property)
- clothes (eggs are sticky)
HOW TO IDENTIFY:
Teach your housekeepers to do the following BEFORE start cleaning every single time not just when reported:
- Take flat sheet off & look at fitted sheet (look for long line of blood spots)
- Then get down to the mattress
- BTW, you need to have tight fitting mattress pad b/c they will live in the folds if loose. Yes, ALL beds should have mattress pads and even better, full encasements.
- Blacklights will show them up or flashlight on phone - looking for poop & blood stains & exoskeletons!
- then check box spring (between cover & spring)
- check under the nightstand
- check behind the bed
This training also goes to your maintenance staff, inspections team, and of course you need at least one manager who can verify before you get to treatment because the treatment is EXPENSIVE.
HOW TO TREAT
- Pest control. - With Heat thru entire house- generator, wires thru house - 120 degrees
- Sprinklers need to be covered so they don't go off. (there are also bed bug sniffing dogs?) Yes, there is.
And How to Treat Your Laundry you bring out of the property AFTER treatment complete:
-Bagging up all of the impacted linen in an airtight bag, keeping those items separated from your normal laundry, and the process of laundering those items, then getting the appropriate items back to the property after sanitization – bedspreads, mattress pads, etc.).
- Trash the pillows
- Consider trashing the mattress if there is a sizable infestation.
2) Have a Process Documented and Explained to all before it ever happens (this should also be part of new hire training!)
- So, Tim is perfect as we all know, so he actually has a flow chart for this. I'm talking decision points - diamond shape - YES/NO and path to take like those choose your own adventure books.
TIM: explain the flow chart & get into ways to handle the laundry, & staff clothing
Episode 158 - Three Ways to Connect With Your Homeowners
Have you been feeling a bit disconnected with your property owners? Concerned about what feedback you may get if you ask them how you are doing? Well, fear not fellow Vacation Rental Management Professional. In this week's episode Sarah and T take you through three fail safe ways to re-connect and energize your relationship with your property owners.
I started my own vacation property management company and having never worked in the industry nor know anyone personally that does, I have been attending the school of Sarah and T. Their great tips, strategies, wisdom have been invaluable. I can’t thank you enough Sarah and T. You are my number 1 mentors! I also respect how NOT money hungry you are to monetize your show but you are worth listening to commercials for !
Really practical info
Love Sarah and T on this podcast! They make the process of hosting an STR practical and understandable—always great nuggets of wisdom. Highly recommend!
Entertaining and informative
Love listening to them. They are fun and incredibly knowledgeable about the industry. They are always up to date on the latest VR trends and provide great ideas to take back to our company.