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An updated case study that will blow you away

Let’s talk about Amy

Amy owns The Cottage At Where Water Falls.

She’s fairly new to the VR world. She owns and operates her vacation cottage in Loma Mar, California. The house was built by her grandfather – so it’s very special to her and her family.

Amy started following our bookingsplus4g system in mid April last year after hearing my social media marketing interview on Heather Bayer’s famous podcast series.

Amy signed up for our video courses and since then has adopted our social marketing strategy.

She has already gained over 4,722 followers.

She has also accumulated over 13,592 plus ones (the equivalent of a Facebook like)

Amy’s page has been viewed over 1,053,000 times.


There are no black hat shenanigans going on here. Amy hasn’t bought followers or pluses. These are all genuine figures and followers. These are real people.
People like Amy’s posts and some of the people that come across Amy’s offerings follow her.

It’s that simple.

So what did we teach Amy?

Well believe it or not, in the simplest of terms, we taught Amy NOT to advertise her cottage.

At B+4G we teach social marketing to vacation rental owners and the key to any successful social media strategy is the fact that that strategy needs to be social. It doesn’t matter if you are Coke Cola or Joe Blow – You need to be social.

Up until the launch of B+4G all VR internet marketing was owner orientated. Everyone advertises their property.

What changed? Well one day in 2013 I had this “ahhh moment” where things just fell into place.

I realised that if you flipped the coin and changed all of your advertising material to guest centric material you would dominate the market. I realised that no one was giving guests what they wanted. Give guests more of what they want and you will get more guests.

So what do guests want?

The simple answer here is – “Guests want a great holiday”. The marketing trouble starts because holiday property owners think that a great holiday revolves around their property.
It doesn’t.
This is just a conceited viewpoint and it’s hindering nearly all owners in their marketing efforts. In order to attract more guests you need to become more attractive. You also need to understand the customers journey.

The customer journey starts here…

Stage 1 – Dreaming.

The first stage of any holiday is the dream stage (that’s dream as in daydreaming, not dream as in sleeping). Potential guests dream about going somewhere. They dream about holidaying in a general region or country.
This could be Bali or London or California. Or anywhere else. Just like daydreaming this stage is a bit blurry, nothing’s in focus, things are a bit vague. California dreaming.

Stage 2 – Planning.

During this stage they refine the dream into a planned reality. Once the dream stage has been established and they have an idea of where they would like to spend their holiday they move on to the planning stage. They start to look at what that country or region has to offer.
They research what there is to see and do .
They used to buy a guidebook at this stage (remember those?).
Now they “Google” things to see. They “Google” places to go. They “Google” what’s on. They build a sort of highlights wish list. They begin to look in detail and start to outline their vacation arrangements.

At this stage they are malleable and will be influenced by what information they come across.

Stage 3 – Booking.

Only now, after stages 1 and 2 do these “travellers to be” start to look for somewhere to stay. Maybe they “Google” the location followed by the word “rental”, maybe they go directly to one of the listings companies but either way that’s probably where they will end up looking for accommodation.

If they are planning on having a vacation in your location they may well come across your listing in amongst all of the others. You may get lucky and Bingo, you get a booking.

Where does that leave owners?

As an owner you cannot impact on peoples decisions on where they will go on holiday. Not at the dream stage anyway. If, like Amy, you own a property in California and I decide to holiday in London no amount of marketing is going to change my mind.

However if I decide to holiday in California and you have been spending your time marketing all of the great things that I can do and see in your part of California, you can influence me greatly. If you spend your time promoting the things to do and see in your region there is a chance that I will come across these articles.
If these articles are interspersed with lightly branded details of your property those reading your articles will learn more about your area AND your property. Win, win.

Here’s an example of one of Amy’s recent posts

As you can see, 118 people liked this mini post (+1), 3 people reshared it so their followers got to see it too and it attracted 12 comments.

Bear in mind that property photos don’t attract any engagement WHATSOEVER.

Moreover this post conveys lots more information. You can tell that her property is situated in the countryside. If you holiday here you will be close to nature and you may well see deer. You now know that you can go walking. You can tell that she has a sense of homour. You can see that she has a following with lots of engagement.
It’s one piece in a bigger picture.. google.com/+wherewaterfallsinsiderguide

Property photos don’t have any of these qualities.

As there are only two stages in the customer journey in which you can influence potential guests it would be “pretty silly” (and I’m being kind here) to miss out on one of them completely.

There’s more… Much more

The trouble with vacation rental marketing is that it limits you to marketing your rental.
You show 20 or so photographs of your property, you write a description, you list your aminities, you collect customer reviews and you’re done.

By adopting a “vacation rental marketing” standpoint you have run out of things to say.


If you adopt a “vacation marketing” perspective you open up a myriad of things to tell your prespective guests about.

  • You can tell them about the multitude of places to visit in your area.
  • You can tell them about the masses of things to do locally to your property.
  • You can tell them about the many current events that are on in the area.

You have more things to market.

The more that you find to market – The more likely your market will find you.

It’s your choice

You have two choices.
You can continue to market your vacation rental, like millions of other owners.


You can market vacations in your area, just like Amy.
You can produce persuasive marketing material, engage with potential guests, build a following and generate touchpoints and page views.

Passive or proactive

The choice is yours…

Here’s what Amy has to say about social marketing,

How come no one mentions what is really driving the numbers for VR owners on social media? It’s the ‘help, don’t sell approach.’ I too can confirm what Alan is saying. I took his incredible course about a year ago and am having fantastic results. As I write this, I have 4,772 followers and 1,053,640 page views. But, my point is not so much about the numbers (they are incredible) but more about the marketing. We all hate being sold too, right? With Alan’s approach, not only do I get people booking directly from my website because I’ve built trust (thanks to my rankings/social proof from taking his course) but I’m in constant contact with past guests. I feel my “followers” are following me because I’m NOT selling to them; I’m more in a conversation with them and isn’t that what we all want? My VR is in a rural area mind you (167 people in my town) and my numbers have been increasing on Twitter, Facebook & Pinterest with no effort – all from G+. Where else can you get that?!

You can find more details here bookingsplus4g.com