Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Gatlinburg Meeting for Vacation Rentals By Owners.

Well, we just got back from a great weekend in Gatlinburg TN. We had the opportunity to meet with a great group of owners in Gatlinburg. This group was formed off of the Yahoo board of Gatlinburg owners. They are taking the needed steps to help them selves in the vacation rental industry. Here is a slide show of the day; (If you are having a problem viewing the Slideshow from the feed you can go to www.ivacationonline.com and click the blog link to view this blog entry)

I think their idea of forming the group they have is wonderful. They are pulling the resources and learning to be more successful than the competition.

I also had the chance to meet Christine Karpinsky from Homeaway. It was great to finally meet her face to face. She also does a great job traveling and holding seminars to help owners of vacation rentals run successful businesses. It is very similar to what we offer at Vacation Rentals For Profit.com There was so much information for these owners we hope they all take something home with them that will help improve their rental business.

Here are a few topics we handled that day.

1) Running "Special" ads on Homeaway. We have had great success with this feature on Homeaway. You can run a "Special"ad and draw attention to a particular week or days that you need booked. Once you place the ad, guest will find your ad in prominent positions on the Homeaway network and your chances of getting a booking increase tremendously.

2) Making sure you are advertising enough. Many owners only have 1-3 web portals bringing in prospects. Owners need to set a budget and make sure they are well represented on the sites that do well with the searches in their areas. Being on 4-10 well positions sites is what a successful owner needs to do.

3) Picasa Photo Album. We went over this in detail. This is one of the best ways to close a sale. If you have a photo album of this quality on your listing at http://www.ivacationonline.com/ your conversion ratio will improve. Guest want to see pictures. Give them the latest most user friendly photo album out there.

4) Taking online bookings and credit card processing. In today's "give it to me now" society, having the http://www.ivacationonline.com/ automated online software taking real time online bookings with credit card processing will super charge your business. Guest simply react better to online booking than waiting around for an email that they must print out, sign and then mail back to the owner with a check. The faster you return a phone call, and the faster your booking process is, the better your rental business will be.

I shared a real life story with my own unit. As I drove to Gatlinburg on Friday morning, I received a call from a prospect in Indiana. I had just put back on the market a week that started on Saturday, the next day! He wanted to book with me and he did so online with his credit card. I emailed him back the CONFIRMATION once I arrived at my brothers place in Gatlinburg. He arrived the next day at my place and everyone was happy. There is no way to get that transaction completed without taking online bookings and credit card processing.

We really talked heavily about running your unit like a business. Have a business plan. Have policies in place. Have a well written online contract and check out procedures. Once all of this comes together, the owners that take the time and do the work are the ones getting the rewards.

I think more areas need to act like the Gatlinburg owners. The more we work together as an industry the better we will be perceived. We need to act and look professional. Running your business like a professional is now easy with all the tools available.

I would like to thank the group in Gatlinburg and I would love to come back anytime they will have me. I really enjoy being around like minded folks and I love talking about the vacation rental by owner business.

I wish them all luck and hope to be able to work one on one with any owners we met in Gatlinburg! Just call or email me anytime! I look forward to your continued success.

Vacation Rentals For Profit.com

No comments: