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Dream Merchants, Selling Dreams And Dream Selling


Advice for vacation rental owners

I’m not sure if you noticed a recent report from Google that identified the 5 stages of travel http://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/insights/featured/five-stages-of-travel/

The 5 stages of travel are, according to Google,

1.  Dreaming
2.  Planning
3.  Booking
4.  Experiencing
5.  Sharing

Vacation rental owners and owners of villas, holiday homes, cottages, cabins, condo’s, etc. are all in the travel business and should be paying attention to these findings and should be paying particular attention to the first stage, THE DREAM STAGE.

The best, and easiest, way to look at this is to forget about being the owner of a holiday rental property for a moment.
Instead imagine that you yourself are due a holiday, maybe with your husband, wife or partner, maybe with or without the children, if you have any.
Just imagine that and the fact that you are going away for, say, two weeks.
Imagine that you can go anywhere that you like.
This is THE DREAM STAGE. It’s the first of the five stages.
Every travel experience starts like this.

Now humour me, get a pen and paper and before reading any farther write down 6 things that you are looking forward to on this upcoming holiday.
vacation rental owners should be selling dreams
Now, come on, no cheating, really get a pen and paper and list 6 things that you would be looking forward to.
You may well learn something.

Okay, I hope you listed six of the things that you are looking forward to.
I did the same thing and here’s my list.

1. Better weather than at home. Hot, sunny days and warm nights.
2. Lounging by a swimming pool, maybe with a cold beer and a good book.
3. Dozing in a hammock in the afternoon.
4. Eating meals on an outdoor terrace (it’s too cold to do this at home)
5. Walking hand in hand with my wife on the beach.
6. Playing a round or two of golf.

If it was a family holiday with the kids I may have included making sandcastles or visiting a water-park, or something similar.

Now, here’s the first thing to bear in mind,

I’m willing to bet that your list is pretty similar to my list.
All DREAM LISTS contain the same things.
Things that we like to do and things that we don’t have too much time for in our, “normal”, day to day lives, with lots of relaxation, fun and some good weather thrown in.

I wanted you to make your own list because, firstly, I wanted you to think like a potential client (DREAMER) as opposed to thinking like a vacation rental owner. This is very important in all aspects of vacation rental marketing. The trouble is vacation rental owners know their property, the surrounding area and what they have to offer, their web visitors do not.

Now, here’s the second thing to bear in mind,

And I’m willing to bet a lot of money here, you will notice that my list, your list, in fact anybody’s DREAM list, makes no reference to the property at which they will be staying.
The accommodation is independent, secondary if you like, to the dream experience.

Here’s todays take away
The Take Away

Firstly, If you want more bookings it’s very important that you think like a client, not a rental owner. I can’t stress this enough.

Secondly, If you want more bookings it’s very important that you show photos that depict dreams instead of photos that only show your property. By using a few props and adding a few extra images within your online portfolio you can enhance your image so that it fulfils potential guests dreams and at the same time instills a craving for a holiday at your property.

It’s no coincidence that synonyms of the word dream are, amongst others, image, impression and mental picture.

You will get more bookings if you feed your web visitors dreams with images that give an impression and paint a mental picture of those dreams.

Here are a couple of examples

Tips for vacation rental owners
Here is a pretty standard house and pool shot
Top tips for vacation rental owners
Here is the same pool, taken on the same day, but in dream mode. Ask yourself, which photo were you drawn to the most and where would you rather stay?

Here’s another example

Expand your portfolio with dream images
By adding a photo of your local golf course or a generic golf photo like the one above to your portfolio you associate golf with your holiday rental, reinforce a dream and enhance booking potential.

Pretty simple but not many vacation rental owners do this.

I have been employing these DREAM photo techniques for over 8 years, because they have a huge impact on conversions, I didn’t need Google to tell me that the first stage of travel is dream, I have always made my marketing strategies based on how, I as, a client would think.
As there are only two stages of travel prior to the booking stage it would seem very foolish to ignore the first.

So, strive to become a Dream Merchant, produce better images, feed web visitors dreams and profit by way of more click-throughs, enquiries, bookings and income.
My dictionary describes a dream merchant as a person, a movie maker or advertiser, who panders to or seeks to develop the public’s craving for luxury, romance, or escapism.
Become a dream merchant, sell dreams and rent more weeks.

I have written a number of guides for vacation rental owners.
They show, in an easy to follow way, how to produce, amongst others, images like the dream mode pool shown above and how to create a portfolio that covers different aspects of dream marketing.

I hope that you found this article useful.
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