Matt Landau – founder of Vacation Rental Marketing Blog (VRMB) and one of the top vacation rental marketing professionals in the industry – works to help individual managers effectively market their properties and maximize rental investments.
Through his blog and Inner Circle program, Landau and his team bring transparency and valuable information to vacation property managers all over the world. His experience and processes have enabled vacation rental managers to increase occupancy rates, adjust to industry changes and receive valuable tips for growing their business. Read more to learn about Landau and marketing trends in the vacation rental industry.
Q&A With Vacation Rental Expert Matt Landau
What inspired you to start VRMB?
I was inspired to start VRMB upon living in a vacation rental industry that was growing quickly yet lacked the learning resources to be truly sustainable. Since I learned all the lessons the hard way with my own vacation rental business, I decided sharing my advice publicly could be of value.
What has been your biggest accomplishment so far?
I tend to focus less on big accomplishments and more on the little habits needed to achieve them. For me, watching a vacation rental owner get over camera-fright and record his or her first video feels like as big of an accomplishment as does sitting in the audience at a conference as a veteran vacation rental manager presents his recipe for success for the first time. I suppose, in the spirit of pioneering, that I consider all firsts for me and my community members to be equally great victories.
In your experience, what is the No. 1 challenge managers face when marketing their properties, and what is your No. 1 tip to overcome that challenge?
The biggest challenge is (a) realizing that sustainable marketing takes time and (b) committing to that process. Vacation rental owners and managers got spoiled for many years with easy bookings via listing sites. So coming to grips with the fact that: Guess what? Growing a small business doesn’t happen over night is typically the biggest hurdle. Once owners and managers get over that hurdle, look out!
How to make the mind-shift? Ask yourself, what happens if my favorite listing sites disappear tomorrow? Once you can answer that question with a particular plan, the journey begins to make a lot more sense. And it gets more fun.
How do you see social media influencing marketing? Is there one social channel you recommend everyone use?
I personally don’t love social media. But I do accept the fact that it is part of the new marketing landscape. The most effective use of social media that I have seen comes not in generating bookings, but rather staying in touch with guests who have departed and would consider staying again. Most guests who had a great time at your vacation rental would like to keep your information handy for referrals or a repeat booking – not unlike a business card in a Rolodex. So using social media to stay front of mind – sharing cool and interesting things happening in your destination – especially since it costs nothing, seems pretty hard to pass up.
What’s your opinion on direct mail and enewletters? Do you recommend both, or have you seen one prove more successful?
I love anyway that a host can tastefully stay in touch with past guests. Not salesy stuff. Relevant, friendly, personalized communications. I prefer enewsletters over direct mail because they’re cheaper and easier. But so do all my competitors. So I should probably be doing more direct mail in the future 🙂
Where do you see digital marketing going over the next two years? Are there any aspects you foresee fading out or becoming more popular?
I really don’t know much about the future of SEO and social media and PPC and blogging. But I can confidently say, when it comes to vacation rentals, that personality is the new premium. If you and your property have a great personality, the future of digital marketing will help you amplify it. If you don’t have a clearly defined personality, work on that pronto because not even the most amazing new digital marketing tools will change the game.