Hello and welcome to our new look, new purpose site.
Thanks for popping by.
Read on to see how you can save time and money by using our new site
You may be wondering why I decided to draw a line in the sand and change direction after 11 years of Rent More Weeks.
There are a number of reasons and I’ll outline them below.
When I created the site back in 2010 this was a very different business. Next to no one was offering holiday/vacation rental advice to owners and managers.
Really, there was only me, Heather Bayer and Matt Landau. That was it.
Over the following years, I posted articles 7 days a week covering everything from photography, security, marketing, furnishing, reviews, customer service, and much, much more.
I was the first to offer online courses for the sector. These included website creation, blog building, branding, content writing, etc.
Why start afresh?
So why would I decide to bomb 1,000’s of blog articles and many online courses and start afresh?
The primary reason is the EXPLOSION of sites that are now offering marketing advice in this sector.
To be frank, the vast amount of information being delivered to hospitality owners and managers is just straight up OVERWHELMING.
In fact, it’s become so overwhelming that it’s become counterproductive for nearly all who try to implement the advice being given.
I decided to take a step back, reevaluate the situation, diagnose the problems and come up with a workable solution that owners and managers could both cope with and benefit from.
That’s the premise of the new Rent More Weeks site that you are visiting today.
Let’s look back in time…
Back in 2004 when I started a rental and management business in Portugal my days consisted of a few things.
My partner dealt with front-of-house, client emails, bookings, and the day-to-day running of the properties.
We only advertised on Owners Direct and our own website.
I dealt with the creation, expansion, and maintenance of the website.
80% of my time was spent on SEO (search engine optimization) and content marketing in order to get the site to rank in Google.
There were few distractions.
After a year or so, the site ranked in the top 3 of Google’s search results for pretty much every search term that I targetted.
The website got a lot of traffic and converted that traffic into bookings
Back to the present day…
How things have changed?
Of course, we all still have the same client/property-side responsibilities. That’s not really changed that much.
And on the back end, we all still have a website to maintain, improve and expand.
Where things have gotten out of hand is the plethora of tasks that we are trying to juggle in order to market our properties and create direct bookings.
These include creating a Facebook page and posting to it on a regular basis. Joining and monitoring Facebook groups in order to advertise our properties. Joining and participating in owner/manager Facebook groups. Maybe running Facebook campaigns.
Then there’s Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Reddit, What’s App, TikTok, Quora, Linkedin, and who knows how many other platforms out there.
Then there are a dozen-plus podcasts a month all vying for a slice of your time.
There are SEO courses to be taken, channel manager packages to update, optimal pricing software to learn and so much more.
Not to mention webinars, wheelhouse sessions, live streams, and zoom calls, and in-person conferences to attend.
As I said, it’s overwhelming. There aren’t enough hours in the day.
The truth is, this job list isn’t going to get any shorter.
As new platforms come online you will be advised to market on them too.
This all leads to the dilution of your marketing efforts
Back in 1748, Benjamin Franklin wrote an essay entitled “Advice to a Young Tradesman” in which he coined the phrase, time is money.
We only have 3 ways of marketing,
We either spend time, or money, or both.
As most of us don’t have a bottomless bucket of money to allocate to our marketing, we fall back on using our time to, do what we can, to raise awareness of what we have to offer to the masses.
But we only have a finite amount of time and what’s become clear is that we aren’t doing any one particular job well because we are spreading ourselves too thinly across so many tasks/platforms/groups.
Let’s look at our goal
What’s YOUR goal?
When asked, “why are you marketing across so many platforms”? most owners/managers would reply “to get more direct bookings”.
That’s most owners and managers goal
But, you can only get direct bookings in one of three ways.
1. Bookings through your own website
2. Bookings through your email list and email campaigns (also collected through your website)
3. Bookings from repeat guests
So, if our goal is to get more direct bookings we need to spend all of our time working on these three factors.
Any other form of booking would be generated through a third-party platform that, by definition, makes it a third-party (non-direct) booking.
We certainly don’t want to rely on any third-party platform/s for our bookings because that’s when we lose control of our business.
Let’s look at social media
Before I downplay the value of social media marketing, I should put my hands up and say that I was the first person to promote the use of social media marketing for owners and managers in the hospitality sector.
This was 8 years ago and I encouraged people to change tack from property marketing to social marketing.
I urged owners to write about all aspects of a guest’s holiday/vacation as opposed to only promoting their property.
I taught people how to create content for their websites and how to share that content to their social platforms.
But, as with all things, this approach only works when adopted by the few. Once everybody does the same thing it becomes far more ineffective.
Take Facebook as an example…
As of 2021 Facebook accounts for 59% of all social media users.
1.84 billion users use it every day. 2.8 people use it every month
200 million small businesses are using its tools to promote what they have to offer
So, on the one hand, it makes sense to market on Facebook, as everybody’s on it.
But that’s exactly why it’s a waste of time – Because everybody’s on it.
The competition is enormous. Seriously enormous.
I’m not saying don’t have a Facebook presence but I am saying don’t spend your valuable time on a network that doesn’t give significant returns.
Be honest with yourselves here.
Monitor time spent v rewards gained. Could that time be spent more effectively?
All posts are created equal
But some are more equal than others.
Different social media platforms handle posts in different ways.
What you post to your Facebook company page disappears into the Facebook ether very quickly.
It’s only shown to a VERY small percentage of your fanbase.
Yes, it will appear on your page forever but very few will come across it that way.
It’s not searchable and Google doesn’t index it.
It’s pretty much the same with Twitter. Your Tweets are swamped by the Twitter firehose which spits out 350,000 Tweets per minute.
People can, and do, search via hashtags but post reach is limited and post-life is short.
Once again, Google doesn’t index Tweets.
The same applies to Instagram but as the platform is largely image-based this amounts to “thin Content” and is of little use in the short or long term.
Pinterest is a different animal as your posts are sorted into boards and they are searchable. They are also indexed by Google.
This makes your content have an everlasting post-life and the more that you add to the platform, the more you will build traffic back to your website.
When I was running Vacation Soup we focused on Pinterest and we were getting up to 250,000 monthly views and around 20 times the traffic to the website than through our various Facebook pages.
Saying that, we had a part-time member of staff working on that 3 hours a day, 5 days a week and I wouldn’t expect individual owners to do the same.
But, it is the only social media platform that gives long-term results.
Those boards still get 13,800 views a month and we still have over 3,000 followers even though we haven’t posted anything for over a year.
That wouldn’t happen with Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.
To summarize present-day social media marketing
Nearly all hospitality operators using Facebook, etc. are playing the digital equivalent of Pooh Sticks.
They spend their days throwing content into the stream (or gram, or firehose), only for it to float off and never be seen again.
I’m not sure that anyone has a strategy for this – Other than to keep throwing content into the stream for the sake of it.
Just because everyone else is throwing content at the stream.
The one word takeaway from this article is in the sentence above – STRATEGY
Rental owners and managers are running from pillar to post (or platform to platform to post) content that will bring little to no long-term benefit to their marketing efforts.
Instead of throwing your content in the stream only to see it float away, you should be throwing it onto your own land (website) where, over time, it will build into a big pile of content that people (and Google) will notice.
Instead of adopting, or continuing with, a time-consuming scattershot approach on other people’s platforms, take a strategic approach to improve your own shopfront.
After all, your website is the only place that you can get true direct bookings.
Where to now?
Over the coming weeks and months, I’ll be sharing a strategy that will improve your user experience and boost your SEO and search ranking for high-traffic terms.
It’s easy to understand and adopt and it takes less work than you spend on creating posts for social media.
I won’t be posting advice on any other subjects other than website improvements and content creation and strategy.
I’ll be sharing easy-to-follow advice that will result in more direct bookings.
Looking at the best value hosting packages
Reviewing the best plugins
Detailing content strategies
Walking you through targetted traffic plans
Showing you how to speed up your site
Walking you through email campaigns
Sharing the best free online tools to use
And generally showing you how to pimp your site into a booking machine
I’m also going to make a new website template available.
This new site is super fast, uses core WordPress without a bloated page builder, and comes complete with all pages, image packs and navigation.
You only need to change images and text. More details later in September.
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I look forward to helping you get more direct bookings