The VR Owner’s Most Powerful Untapped Resource: Email Marketing


Apart from getting some shaggy teenager to don a costume and dance with a sign for your vacation rental at the nearest intersection, there are very few ways to generate immediate bookings for your property on the cheap. But this article will prove that using no more than your former guest list, a few hours of your time, and about $10, you can begin seizing your vacation rental’s greatest untapped resource: Email marketing.

I had always considered email marketing to be kinda cheesy. In my mind, it was reserved for annoying websites I never remembered signing up for and redundant credit card offers and airlines. It was the corny Black Friday deal that I “couldn’t pass up!” and the most coveted stock tip I “couldn’t afford to miss.” But that was then. And this is now.

The gist? Former guests are the single most valuable marketing opportunity for vacation rental owners and email marketing is the absolute best way to nurture your relationship with them. If you are not doing some sort of email marketing right now, you are ignoring hundreds if not thousands of dollars in bookings. Guaranteed.

Often overshadowed by generating new leads, existing client retention should be one of the most important features in any vacation rental owner or manager’s tool kit. When you consider that most of us close about 1 out of every 5 qualified booking inquiries, a former guest is worth 5 “in the bush.” Yet many of us fail to take advantage of that which is sitting in our laps.

These are the opening paragraphs of my newest report “Matt’s Definitive Handbook To Email Marketing,” which contains information so powerful that I estimate it will generate an average of 30 new annual bookings for owners or managers who read it.

So what’s so hot about vacation rental email marketing?

It’s no secret that getting an existing guest to book a second visit is 10x easier (and cheaper) than winning over a stranger. But if repeat guests are the bread and butter of so many vacation rentals, why do owners forget to focus on this in their marketing efforts?

Email marketing should be one of the primary tools in any vacation rental owners repertoire. If I had 15 seconds to tell you my favorite tips, here are 6 steps to get in the game. But if you are serious about this, do you research and find out the absolute best practices before you jump off the deep end:

  1. Get organized: Gather together all your existing previous guest information and select a email management provider.
  2. Provide an easy out: Make sure that any and all emails you ever send have an easy “unsubscribe” button. Also be sure that your recipients are OK with receiving your emails by using an “opt-in” feature provided on most services.
  3. Stick with a 9:1 ratio of content to sales pitches: “Offer more value than you receive,” was one of the best pieces of email marketing advice I ever received. Make sure you’re providing your former guests plenty of value to earn trust.
  4. Learn to create simple and sharable content: Email marketing is all about these two things. If every campaign you design is simple and sharable, you’re bound for vacation rental email marketing success.
  5. Become a master of the email offer: When you do decide to pitch offers, know exactly what will work, focus on ONE clear and major call to action, and provide a sense of urgency. If you have not read “My Absolute Best Marketing Idea of 2012” then do so immediately.
  6. Segment and grow your lists: Improvement means growing your contact lists in a targeted way.  Not unlike the power of Facebook ads to address personal details of a consumer market, a good vacation rental email list has a segment like “People who live within 2 hours,” that you can use to distribute last-minute deals or cancellations.

Email marketing, in my opinion, is the #1 most under-acknowledged technique for generating more bookings. If you are a smart owner, you need to have this in your marketing arsenal. It will be a game changer.


About the Author Matt Landau

Matt Landau is the Founder of the Vacation Rental Marketing Blog and the Inner Circle, two online resources dedicated to helping vacation rental owners and managers generate more bookings. Google+ | More Posts (230)

  • Heather Grimes

    Does your book have email templates?

    • Matt Landau

      Not yet. Working on version 2 right now 🙂