Vacation Rental Ninjas: A Marketing Podcast

⚒️ Mine Those Calendar Gaps! Featuring Special Guest Vanessa Humes!! 🥳

May 31, 2023 InterCoastal Net Designs Season 2 Episode 5
⚒️ Mine Those Calendar Gaps! Featuring Special Guest Vanessa Humes!! 🥳
Vacation Rental Ninjas: A Marketing Podcast
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Vacation Rental Ninjas: A Marketing Podcast
⚒️ Mine Those Calendar Gaps! Featuring Special Guest Vanessa Humes!! 🥳
May 31, 2023 Season 2 Episode 5
InterCoastal Net Designs

In this episode, Anna and Diamond mine marketing jewels as they discuss filling up the gaps on booking calendars. 

They are joined by Vanessa Humes, ICND's Director of Sales.  

Together they discuss the evolving landscape and the need for businesses to take control of their marketing efforts. They emphasize the importance of shifting away from the "auto drive" mentality and conducting a thorough marketing tune-up to ensure optimal performance.

The conversation starts with the significance of email marketing and how it often gets overlooked as a valuable tool. They stress the need to leverage your email list, highlighting its potential to engage with both existing guests and potential leads. By sending regular guest history emails and utilizing the database effectively, businesses can stay at the forefront of their guests' minds.

Vanessa and Diamond also address the growing challenge of increased supply and competition across different platforms, affecting both standalone booking websites and OTA sites. They discuss the critical role of marketing strategy in overcoming this challenge, emphasizing the need for a strong online presence and investing in SEO and pay-per-click advertising.

The hosts touch upon the importance of continuously improving your website and highlight the benefits of a modern platform like Axis. They explore various features, such as dedicated landing pages, availability at a glance, cart abandonment recovery, and automated emails for extending stays. These tools can effectively fill gaps in bookings and enhance the guest experience.

Join Anna and Diamond as they provide practical insights and actionable strategies to empower businesses in driving their marketing efforts and staying ahead of the competition. Take control of your marketing strategy and steer your business towards success.

Find out Anna's tool of the day and her hottest tip on social media catalog ads. 

Did you listen to the end? Send us your questions and best guesses on what will be ICND's newest feature. Correct answers will receive an ICND t-shirt. 

Don't miss out on the latest insights and expert tips in the vacation rental industry - follow Vacation Rental Ninjas today!

Click the notification bell to stay up-to-date with the newest episodes, featuring interviews with top industry professionals, exciting destination spotlights, & digital marketing updates.

Enjoying the show? Help us spread the word by leaving a 5-star review on your favorite podcast platform. Your feedback helps us reach more listeners and continue to produce more content like this.

Feel free to send in your questions to The ladies would love to hear from you and answer your questions on future episodes.

Connect with us on our socials:

Show Notes Transcript

In this episode, Anna and Diamond mine marketing jewels as they discuss filling up the gaps on booking calendars. 

They are joined by Vanessa Humes, ICND's Director of Sales.  

Together they discuss the evolving landscape and the need for businesses to take control of their marketing efforts. They emphasize the importance of shifting away from the "auto drive" mentality and conducting a thorough marketing tune-up to ensure optimal performance.

The conversation starts with the significance of email marketing and how it often gets overlooked as a valuable tool. They stress the need to leverage your email list, highlighting its potential to engage with both existing guests and potential leads. By sending regular guest history emails and utilizing the database effectively, businesses can stay at the forefront of their guests' minds.

Vanessa and Diamond also address the growing challenge of increased supply and competition across different platforms, affecting both standalone booking websites and OTA sites. They discuss the critical role of marketing strategy in overcoming this challenge, emphasizing the need for a strong online presence and investing in SEO and pay-per-click advertising.

The hosts touch upon the importance of continuously improving your website and highlight the benefits of a modern platform like Axis. They explore various features, such as dedicated landing pages, availability at a glance, cart abandonment recovery, and automated emails for extending stays. These tools can effectively fill gaps in bookings and enhance the guest experience.

Join Anna and Diamond as they provide practical insights and actionable strategies to empower businesses in driving their marketing efforts and staying ahead of the competition. Take control of your marketing strategy and steer your business towards success.

Find out Anna's tool of the day and her hottest tip on social media catalog ads. 

Did you listen to the end? Send us your questions and best guesses on what will be ICND's newest feature. Correct answers will receive an ICND t-shirt. 

Don't miss out on the latest insights and expert tips in the vacation rental industry - follow Vacation Rental Ninjas today!

Click the notification bell to stay up-to-date with the newest episodes, featuring interviews with top industry professionals, exciting destination spotlights, & digital marketing updates.

Enjoying the show? Help us spread the word by leaving a 5-star review on your favorite podcast platform. Your feedback helps us reach more listeners and continue to produce more content like this.

Feel free to send in your questions to The ladies would love to hear from you and answer your questions on future episodes.

Connect with us on our socials:

VRN S2E5 with Vanessa Humes

Diamond: Hey. 

Anna: Hey. 

Diamond: Good morning 

Anna: Anna. Good morning, Diamond. 

Diamond: Welcome back. Season two, episode five. Here we are bright 

Anna: and early in the morning. 

Diamond: Always. We love this. Time in the morning when we get together. Today we have someone joining us special here in that we do. Yeah. So, coming in hot. Special guest for episode five.

We have a director of sales, Vanessa Humes 

Vanessa: welcome. Good morning, everybody. You are welcome. Welcome. 

Diamond: How's it going? Good, how are you doing?

Vanessa: Oh you know, I just love waking up at 5:00 AM to come do a podcast with you ladies. 

Diamond: So, everybody, so. You Vanessa's. Not kidding. Everybody says, Hey Anna, Diamond, can we be a podcast guest?

And we say, sure, come on down. But you got to be here. 

Vanessa: It’s like bootcamp. 

Diamond: This is our window. Yeah, this is our window of recording

Vanessa: Come, come on in. We will get there at 7:30 AM. I'm an hour away from the office. So, I was like, give me some grace. Their like, recording starts at seven 30. Here we go. Yeah. So here I am.

I'm glad it's not on video. 

Diamond: Yeah, no, no. Thank you Vanessa, for making that sacrifice for coming in. So, any other word to the wise ? Any other listeners out there who have been, asking to be a guest. You got to be able to meet the timeline. Drink coffee. Drink the coffee. All right. So here we are, Vacation Rental Ninjas.

 We are coming from ICND's international headquarters. Here in Ocean is Beach, North Carolina. Welcome back to all our listeners, new and old listeners, right? If you are a season one listener, welcome back., glad to have you. So, Vanessa, before we get into today's topic, I want to just take a minute and update all of our listeners on some of your most recent travels.

You've been out and about at lots of conferences so far for 2023, more than last year, the same time. So what's going on out there? You know, how are you doing? 

Vanessa: Yeah, so we just got back from the Executive Smit actually, April Burns. Our other senior account executive has been on the road even more than I have.

But, yeah, this has been a busy travel season and typically when we go to these conferences, there's an agenda of different topics, things like regulation concerns. So, , with a lot of people jumping into the vacation rental industry, , it. Poses, poses different problems and issues in different areas as far as the locals wanting to put in more regulations , housing issues and things like that.

So regulations and supporting local regulations that support vacation rental management is really important. , also, you know, with COVID and the reducing workforce, finding good employees and. , being able to find good housekeepers and inspectors and things like that. That is, finding the right talent and then safety best practices.

Justin Ford is always out there from Breezeway talking about different things like smoke alarms and how to make sure that your vacation rental is safe. That's a concern because they see the different headlines, so that's a lot just. 

Diamond: Right off the top. Right. Yeah. So there's a lot going on. There is a lot on vacation rental managers' heads right now.

Sure. They have a lot to think about. A lot to be concerned about because you know, right. What you mentioned, con regulation concerns, workforce concerns, safety, those are really major things that you know, can enhance or deplete your. Absolutely. Your portfolio of

Vanessa: homes. Definitely. Yeah. And then with the market the way it is, so, you know, post covid or during covid, really the, , all the managers were really drinking out of a fire hose when it came to rentals.

So , data dynamic pricing or big areas of interest are different. Conferences and the data that we are seeing overall is that, you know, there's been a slowdown in the occupancy for this year and there's an increase in supply from the real estate boom. So , demand is still there, but. Because supply has increased so much.

The overall occupancy is down for the summer and many markets. Mm-hmm. It's a lot more 

Diamond: inventory to manage than ever before. Yeah. Yeah. That's something I've been hearing a lot as well, is that there's a lot more inventory that people can select from across, you know, every location. Then, they normally would have.

So that's always a consideration. 

Anna: Yeah. And that really slows down that booking pace, doesn't it? Mm-hmm. It's leading into those shorter stays and last minute bookings. So how do people, how are they supposed to fill the gaps, really? 

Diamond: So, let's get into that, since that is today's main topic. Uh, you know, Vanessa came in this morning to talk about ways to fill those gaps on your calendars to improve last minute bookings.

You know, this could lead to shorter stays. We're all kind of talking about the same thing here. So we did bring Vanessa in here this morning to let us, you know, hear her thoughts about filling in the gaps in availability and drive more demand. 

Anna: So, we hear from our clients a lot from a marketing perspective about super last minute availability.

And by the time we usually hear about it, it's super last minute, like the week before, or, , the week of really 

Diamond: sometimes. True. So there's multiple ways to tackle this issue from a sales website, a marketing perspective. So let's dive in with Vanessa, uh, to kick us off on this great conversation after this commercial break.

We're almost less than one month away from July. You know what that means, right? Summer is really here. Yes, but no. Universal analytics is sun setting and Google's new analytics platform, GA four is taking over. Are you prepped and ready? Make sure you don't lose your analytics. Convert to GA four today.

Need help. Let's connect. All right, and welcome back from that commercial break. , I've been, you know, I kind of make this joke often enough to you, Anna, and I know meetings to other people that don't come looking for me on July 2nd. I will be out of office that day. Yep. We'll be out. GA4 is coming.

July one. People ask me all the time, Hey Diamond, will my data backfill? , come July one. I'm sorry to say you've heard it, you say it before, the answer is no. Your universal analytics will not automatically backfill into your GA four accounts, so please take time to date, uh, to get your data recovery plan in place.

Uh, we do not know how long Google will, uh, give us all access to Universal Analytics. The, I guess idea right now is six months, but it could ebb and flow with time. So make your data recovery plan today and put it into action as soon as possible. All right, back from the commercial back with Vanessa Humes here. So Vanessa, from a sales perspective, uh, when clients ask how they can fill the gaps, what do you usually suggest? 

Vanessa: So let's start more from a macro level just talking about overall marketing. , you know, like we talked about it. The demand was so high in the past and now it, it, you know, the softening of the bookings.

What we see is, and what we suggest is that they put their hands back on the wheel of their marketing, right? So when everybody was in auto drive, you know, driving their Teslas with their marketing, now it's time to take it outta auto drive and make sure. That everything is running the way it should, should 

Diamond: Time for a tune up.

Right. We're using this time for a tune up, we're using this car analogy. Yeah. So time for a tune up, get back, take your car back into the shop and see what's going 

Vanessa: on. Yeah. Okay. And it's really, you know, tune up is a good, a good way to say it because you really need to make sure that you have all of your tools and your toolbox. Yes.

To do that too. The tune up. So, , starting with email marketing, I was talking with a client at the executive smit, which I will not mention their name, but, , you know, talking about how it's just a slower booking pace for the smer. And I said, you know, are you doing any guest history emails with us? Are you, are you tackling that, you know, at least sending out one email per month and.

He was like, no, I don't think we're really focusing on that. And so that's like number one is you've got, you should have a good database of emails from your guest history and from the leads that come in from your website that you should be emailing on a regular basis. 

Diamond: So let's just pause there for a minute because I think people don't.

Put enough emphasis on their email list, they've, they don't, they've taken the time mm-hmm. To gather names and email addresses over the course of one year, five years, 10 years, 20 years, sure. However long, and they don't assign that value. 

Vanessa: Right. They don't make it a priority. They don't make it. It needs to be a top 

Diamond: priority.

Right? Because that list that you have spent so much time, money, and energy creating really has a value of it that you could be. It does leverage at times like these, 

Vanessa: yeah, and leveraging it more often. Like if you are typically sending out one email last per month, take it up a notch and do two email blasts per month, three email blasts per month because it is.

A great way to stay in front of your guest base. It's a great way to get in front of your leads. It's a great way to educate about booking directly. It's a great way to educate about, , the upcoming events and things to do in the area to help people, , push them over the fence. You know, you can, uh, obviously do offers, talk about new properties.

So it's when you're talking to owners and they're asking, what are you doing to make sure that. My vacation rental is as full as it can be. Email marketing needs to be number one, and that's great. Marketing tool for you to promote yourself too, that we've got this guest history list of 20,000 or whatever it is , that we're actively marketing to.

So that's outside of the OTAs because even on the OTAs, they're seeing more competition with the number of supply out there and less bookings. 

Diamond: So it is not an isolated issue. When we talk about more supply, it's affecting every single platform. Correct. Whether it's a standalone book, direct site, or an OTA site.

It's an issue that affects across the board. So it's not like just this specific person is getting affected by increased inventory. It's across the board, so everyone's having the same issue. Yeah. We're all on the same boat. 

Vanessa: We're on the same boat, and that's where you know that marketing strategy and making sure that you have.

The right things in place. , you know, during covid, a lot of people invested in their website to make sure that they had a great book direct website, and I think that those companies will definitely come out on top, especially if they also invested in SEO and paper. Click. So with SEO, it takes time to get your rankings, , and paper click takes time to perfect so that you can go in there.

As you guys know and manage, uh, the keyword phrases, make sure that you are, uh, bidding on the keyword phrases that generate bookings and that you reduce the ad spend on those. 

Diamond: So let me just ask you a question real fast, Vanessa. Sure. Beginning of Covid. Mm-hmm. We here at ICND saw a lot of our clients come in and say, Hey, we want to, now's the time, we want to manage our website, we want to redo it.

You know, and that was in the very, very beginning phases, you know, of Covid. Fast forward, we are three years past that initial wave of clients coming in, asking for a website update, and we sort of say, you know, three to five years you need to start looking again at your website. Yeah. So those clients that were originally in that first wave, I really do need to kind of keep looking at their tools again, cuz they're coming up again for a possible Yeah.

Vanessa: model. Yeah. You know, we used to say three to five years, , with our previous booking engine, it lasted on, you know, eight or nine years. And so with the new platform access, not trying to be salesy or anything 

Diamond: like that. Shameless plug. Shameless plug. Anna have you heard, did you hear the shameless plug for AXIS?

Shameless plug. 

Vanessa: Yeah, I'm about to. You're about to. It's really a platform that is, , forward thinking. So it's on the latest and greatest technology. It's mobile first, which means it's not just a responsive website, but it was built from a mobile perspective and then brought out to a desktop perspective.

All right, so, so 

Diamond: I like your segway. Yes. I'm going to pause your commercial for one second, Vanessa, but I like your segway. Yeah. Because, you know, they, we have clients ask us, Okay. How, again, how can we fill these gaps? How can we fill these gaps? We talked about, you know, using your email list, but it's also utilizing your website.

Right? Right. Yeah. So, , you know, having a dedicated landing page for cancellations, specific weeks that are slow, , availability at a glance. Remind me to book feature cart abandonment. Those are all things that are part of your website. So yeah, using. Your website as one of your tools in your toolbox to exactly fill in those gaps is important as well.


Vanessa: It's about continuous improvement. So you know that our platform allows for you, for you to add those features. So , like extend your stay emails, that's when you've got somebody who's coming in for the weekend and there's two days before or two days after their stay that's open. And so we can send them an email automatically.

It's not like you've gotta keep a running list. So the automation there really helps. And so if they're coming in early, we can say, you know, Hey, there's, , we're really excited about your stay. I hope you are too. If you wanna come in early, there's two days ahead. You know, call us to book, or if you wanna extend your stay, here's, you know, two nights at a discounted rate, call 

Diamond: us to book Anna.

What, what would you pick? Would you pick, arrive earlier, stay late? 

Anna: , oh, that's tough. I'd probably stay late if I could 

Diamond: swing it. Yeah, I would. What about 

Vanessa: you? I think I would arrive early. Cuz the anticipation, right? Yeah. Towards the end of it, you're like, oh, I gotta go back to work and stuff like that. So I, I would wanna 

Diamond: come in early.

I would wanna stay late because, Just knowing the way  I run my calendar. Mm-hmm. I would not have taken off ahead of time. Yeah. So even if somebody presented me with the idea of coming early, I'd be like, no, sorry, I'm still working. Right. Yeah. But staying late, I'd be like, oh yeah, I could figure it out.

Yeah, I can figure that out. I can spare an extra day. I could figure that out. Okay, 

Vanessa: cool. Yeah. The other thing is , the availability at a glance. So this was really helpful during Covid because a lot of the companies are really. Booked up. So availability at a glance, if I can say that correctly, is really just like a tape chart to relate it back to vacation rental managers.

It's a tape chart of all of your properties, all their availability, and you can see where they can come in on a whim. So it could be a last minute stay, could be, , a weekend stay. It could be a midweek stay. And so they can see. You know, and sort by a nber of bedrooms or a pool or ski and ski out to see what's available.

So that's very  helpful at seeing those gaps in between some of these shorter stays and being able to book them. 

Diamond: So seeing those shorter, then seeing those gaps mm-hmm. That really gives you a good visitation vis. Help me, Anna. Visualization. Thank you. I helped you last time. Help me this time? It's early.

You know, vacation rental managers, you know, actually see them and not have to run through reports. Right. And quickly try to figure out the calendar. If they're at a glance, you can take a look at it and then anybody else can look at it as well. 

Vanessa: Right. Exactly. Okay, nice. And then you also have, , you know, as people are planning more, you have the price alert feature.

And so with dynamic pricing, that really comes in handy. So if you're using data, you're using dynamic pricing, you've got. People on your website, but they're not ready to book. They can sign up for a price alert and so the price alert will go out. If the price drops, it'll say, Hey, this is a great price.

You should book now. But if the price goes up cuz it's more last minute, then they'll get an email saying, Hey, due to the popularity of your dates and limited availability, hurry book now. So we're always throwing that urgency at the consumer on your website to get them to book. 

Diamond: Definitely. I think that urgency, like I know, I think Anna, you and I have talked about this before, where we go.

On any website you see that flame in the upper corner. Mm-hmm. That's like this many people have, yeah, viewed this or four bought this, and you're like, oh no. I'm like, like, I 

Anna: gotta move fast. I gotta 

Vanessa: move fast, fast. But really like those are all great features that we like. Added five or six years ago.

But a lot of people are getting a bit immune to that too, cuz they see it everywhere. Right. So they're like, are this, is this serious, serious real? Yeah. Yeah. But with the price alerts, you know, that's like real data coming back at them to give them that, you know, push off here we are and, and we need a book.


Diamond: So you're, I think, you know, Vanessa, thinking about those, those features you were just mentioning, you have to. Have a good mix of those features I do on your website. Yeah. Just because everybody has the viewer ticker mm-hmm. Doesn't mean, you know, like you need to have the right mix to, for your right.

Clientele. Yeah. And if they will be motivated by those things as well. 

Vanessa: Exactly. I'm gonna give one more. Oh, one more. One more. Okay. What I'm gonna throw back to the oldie, a lot of people don't like the pop up. When you hit the homepage to see the popup, right. So what we'll do is put it in the booking flow.

So if they've looked at one, two, maybe three properties, have that popup come up then and offer a small discount, like $25 off. Again, that gives them a really good reason to book. Now it gives them something that they can. Figure out the math on $25 off is really easy. And then send them automatically a promo code so you're gaining an email address.

Okay. And they're getting a promo code so you can track the results on that. And we see really great results from those popups on on the site. 

Diamond:  Do they get to talk to Clippy? 

Vanessa: only? They want to. 

Diamond: I love Clippy. All right, awesome. All right, so all right. Anna, you have some thoughts on this topic as 

Anna: well? Yeah, so from a marketing perspective, usually we suggest, you know, those that extend your stay.

Emails are always great, but also last minute cancellation emails and last minute cancellation social posts. So, uh, shameless plug for social media. Share those posts as soon as that cancellation comes up, but also share them to local vacation planning 

Diamond: groups. I've seen that be very successful in the last.

Several months with some of our clients where they mm-hmm. Get a last minute cancellation two days before by chance. Exactly. They wanna fill that home for the weekend and the mm-hmm. The, you know, the next week and. They will reach out to you and say, Hey, can you help me? And we, you toss up, I don't wanna say that's so casual.

You don't just toss it up there, but you, you put it, you know, up there. Yeah. Put up a last minute cancellation post. And the comments are crazy. 

Anna: Yeah. And people start tagging others in their group and then, you know, conversation starts to flow. Next thing you know, the folks you have to edit the post and the same book like, That's the worst thing about it is having to re-edit. 

Diamond: Yeah. But they work. Yeah, they really do work. Because I've seen it in action so many times and I've seen the success of it. Mm-hmm. And how literally someone will reach out to you and say, Hey Anna, this just canceled. And then two hours later they're reaching out to you guys like, Hey Anna, this has booked.

Can you edit it as booked or take it down? We're done with this. Exactly. Urgency. Those are great. 

Anna: Organic options to implement. But from a paid social side or from a paid marketing side, having social ads that are retargeting users that have abandoned their cart with properties that have openings. So those  dynamic catalog ads mm-hmm.

That we really haven't touched much on. If, if at all really, , recently those we've started running those and those are great ways. To get people to come back and finish booking or, , entice them to come back and view a property they might not have been interested in, but is similar to something they viewed in the past.

, and then Google PPC campaigns that target any vole keywords that are associated with the available units and target, and those words that target newly created, dedicated pages. So, 

Diamond: Vanessa's on one side of me. I just want to paint the picture here for our 

Vanessa: listeners since we can't be on video at 7:00 AM 

Diamond: Yeah.

Well, no, Vanessa's on one side of me and, you know, offering all this information and knowledge about leveraging that email list that has a high value and you know, you're talking about. Social ads that are targeting people that were fuddled into the card abandonment list. Mm-hmm. You're talking about these, so it's really, and the, I guess the point I wanna make here is it's really multi-touch.

You know, it's never linear. 

Vanessa: You have to try multiple things, you know? Mm-hmm. And see what works. It could be, , five, five nights get too free, you know, if you're trying to extend. People stay and fill those weeks where people wanna come in and stay a shorter stay. So if you say book your shorter stay, but you get two free nights mm-hmm.

And just, , you know, you make sure your rates are covering those seven nights. , so it's really about like merchandising the properties. Mm-hmm. And then also, you know, your destination marketing. So we're in Myrtle Beach. We've got the CC M F coming up. Yeah. That's the big country. , music fest and , you know, those are good things to help fill those shoulder seasons.

Mm-hmm. And those weeks, you know, the first week in June was really hard for us as a market to fill, uh, and put heads in beds. So they came up with the CCMF, so. Teasing those and promoting those events, and promoting those weeks. The shoulder weeks, the shoulder weeks in the busy season are around like the holidays, July 4th, uh, the start of the summer.

The end of the summer. And so you can create landing pages on your website that promote those weeks and the availability, and then if you wanna discount them, You know, you can discount them too. So here's 

Diamond: our totally free tip out to our audience today, cuz Vanessa just mentioned the Country Music Festival.

Mm-hmm. But here's our pro tip for all of our local Myrtle Beach area listeners. The Myrtle Beach Classic is coming to the Dunes Golf course. Oh, in 2024. Mm-hmm. So start now? Yeah. Get those pages. Yeah. Get your pages. Yeah. jump on that bandwagon. Get your homes, your condos. 

Vanessa: Get ranking for it. 

Diamond: Mm-hmm. Get them ready, because the Myrtle Beach Classic is coming as part of the FedEx Cup, so, Take the time. You may say, diamond, it's next year. I'll deal with it then. No, start today. Just like Vanessa's talking about the country music festival, you know, we've seen it happen time and time again. You have to create that buzz around the event.

Mm-hmm. In order to book those rooms and those homes. So, yeah, this is our awesome free tip of today. 

Vanessa: Yeah. Yeah. I mean, just marketing ahead of time is really good too. You know, you don't wanna train your guest history, you don't wanna train your consumers to come at the last minute to get a discount. So like a book early and save is always a good promotion too.

It was funny 

Diamond: Just before you had mentioned talking about topics and events that are happening in your community, and there's so many times where I'll be chatting with a client of ours and their blog is more like news, right? Like running current news instead of preview news. I know I'm always a fan of preview news of what I could do ahead of time, right?

Not something that happened. Two weeks ago. I'm not, because by the time I read it, country Music Fest was great. It was two weeks ago. Right? But because I'm, I'm gonna forget to go back and book it for next year. For next year. And by the time I remember that booking window has closed because everybody who.

Got a email who said, oh, we loved hosting you this year, let's come back next year. They've already booked their location, so I'm on the 

Vanessa: out. Yeah, you don't wanna be the last one.

Diamond: Yeah, I'm, I'm down early. Bird gets the worm. Yeah. I'm down at the conventions at our parking lot, trying to listen to it through the air.

All right, you will. Yeah. Carolina Forest. All right. So I think now's a good time to take a commercial break. Uh, before we break, Vanessa, anything you wanna add about filling the gap? 

Vanessa: I think we covered most of it. One thing with the cancellation emails, you know, that can be automatic too, so people can sign up to be put on a list for those cancellations.

So again, you're generating that lead and something that automatically gets sent to them when there's a cancellation. But I love, I love the idea for the Facebook groups, cuz those are really interactive. Yeah. And something that I think is underutilized maybe because of like, People are afraid of the terms and conditions that they sign up for when they join that group.

Mm-hmm. , but that's a great idea. Yeah. 

Diamond: Yeah. We've seen a lot of success with those as well. Mm-hmm. So, good job. All right, so we're just gonna take a quick commercial break here, and after that we'll be back with Vanessa to go over tool of the day listener questions and some hot rapid fire questions here for Vanessa.

Here we go. All right, I'm ready in a second. Are you considering adding social media to your marketing mix? Interested in exploring a new social platform or layering on social media ads? ICND offers social media consultation, post management and advertising services to help vacation rental managers and other small businesses maximize their social media presence, offering customized plans tailored to meet your business goals.

ICND. Can help you unlock the full potential of social media marketing. Have questions on how to get started? No problem. Connect with us today. 

Vanessa: All right, 

Anna: We are back, and today's tool of the day is one of my favorites. It's 

Diamond: cap cut. All right, Anna, I told you earlier, you're gonna have to teach me what this is.

Anna: Yes. This is Anna's educational se segment for today. 

Diamond: Anna's educational segment for school of the day. And how, oh, hold on. How about Vanessa? Are you getting, 

Vanessa: I'm always getting 

Diamond: educated. Okay, here we are. Teach us Anna. So 

Anna: Cap Cut is a tool that offers a lot of different features. To help your content creation flow.

, what's really cool about this app is you, it lets you find trending templates for reels too, and I think a few more other platforms, , with the audio attached. So no more sound searching on each platform, big Win and other templates that let you add your own content to create a polished piece of content that you can publish in just a few minutes.

So what's really cool about this, you just go on, find a cool template, you like, uh, add in and upload your video and it mocks it up to that template. You can choose and crop which sections of video you wanna show, and then boom, you have a finished product in just a few minutes. I have a question. Yes, 

Diamond: you have.

I have a question. Excuse me. , no. In the past year, you've. Tell our audience about the squiggle arrow. Mm-hmm. And how the squiggle arrow is a trending sound. Yes. So do you see the squiggle arrow in this cap cut? Not 

Anna: necessarily in cap cut itself, but there is a section similar to top at the top of the screen where you can scroll.

For like for you templates, cuz you know, if you, in theory you learn, it looks you Yeah. Your account is connected to the app too, so you can easily cross post between the two. , and then there's a section for reels itself for TikTok. So it's, and you could even search, like, travel, like I always go in there and search, travel and see what other people are doing and then create stories and reels off those.


Vanessa: So I have a question too. Oh. Oh, because I wanna like, Bring it back down to marketing, vacation rentals, like you said, travel. , so when I think of TikTok, I think of my 11 year old daughter. Mm-hmm. Getting. You know, putting our shoes out and jumping in the shoes or jumping into a new outfit. So that's a lot of what, yeah, those like trending TikTok are.

Mm-hmm. But for vacation rentals, are they marketing the property? Are they marketing the destination? Like, what should we focus on? So 

Anna: It's, I always focus on marketing the destination. Mm-hmm. But always being a shameless plug for yourself. Right. So if I'm marketing the destination I'm throwing in, like my clients sign signage out front.

Uh, room view, like a little quick pan of the room they're staying in. Mm-hmm. Things like that. To be a shameless plug, any amenities they have to kind of showcase what a vacation would be like staying with them in this destination. 

Diamond: Right. I don't wanna use the term shameless plug anymore, because we're not being as shameless when we're promoting our clients.


Vanessa: That's true. You're getting them to dream about 

Diamond: the destination. Right. They're in the dreaming phase. Definitely. So I, they're positioning their property. Right. So I, I don't wanna use, not that you know, I, I just think that that term, when we're talking about specifically marketing an area or a property mm-hmm.

It’s not shameless to be proud. Yeah. Because show what you have to offer. Right. Start a trend. Start a trend. Oh my goodness. Hey, I do have a question for both of you while we're on this trend in, social media and Instagram reels, the, , video of the people in the airport when they have their feet on the.

The suitcase and then it, it splashes to them at the pool with a drink. Mm-hmm. That I didn't see that one. You haven't seen 

Vanessa: That one? No. Oh, not enough on TikTok. 

Diamond: Oh, I it's on Instagram. Oh. I don't even, I don't have a TikTok. No, no. Don't tell anyone. Vanessa. I don't have, 

Vanessa: I have to monitor all my children, so I definitely have a TikTok and they have starred in a few with them, but, 

Diamond: Oh my goodness.

So, Anna, do you think a, you know, a template like that is something that vacation rental managers should. Find and utilize, do they have that as part of their content calendar? You know, one, when it's showing the guest of u the guest view from going to the airport and then winding up, fast forwarding, winding up at the, the home or the location.

Anna: Yeah. I've done something similar like that where I've, , kind of started a reel and done like my trunk closing as I'm leaving my house and then an opening and I'm planning to the place I'm staying at. Yeah, 

Diamond: cute. All right

Vanessa: So like a beach ball and then jumping into a 

Anna: pool and, yeah. And these travel templates and Capcut are just a starting, you know, they're just a springboard for your idea.

Right. Hi. You can mix and use 'em as, you 

Diamond: know, as needed as you need to. Okay. So Capcut tool the day if you, if you try it out. Tag us in it. Yeah, we wanna see. We wanna see it. And yes, please. Yeah, we're on all the platforms, so tag us where you're putting your videos. We wanna see if you use Capcut. Show us how creative you are, but 

Vanessa: only on Instagram.

For a diamond, make sure you do a reel. Just do a reel so she can see it. Just do a reel, or Anna will show her. 


Diamond: exactly. Anna will screenshot it and show it to me. I feel like an old lady. 

Vanessa: That's okay. One of a screen. I call myself a boomer all the time. 

Diamond: All right. Yeah. Anna will sh yeah, Anna will show me on her phone.

All right. So we're, we get a lot of audience questions. , and if you have a question, be sure to send it into , You know, send us your questions, send us your concerns. Uh, we're here to answer your questions. And we, you know, I'm, I'm so happy we get so many questions, uh, sent in or just throughout the month, people say, Hey, I have this question.

Mm-hmm. And then we, it's a question that we're hearing a lot, so we answer it. All right. So let me, let's see. Uh, first question here is, and I guess we'll kind of open it up to the whole room here. Uh, what's the best way to get ahead of slow weeks? So we covered a little bit about that earlier, but what are some other ways to get ahead?

That's the point, Vanessa. Get ahead. Get ahead. The bird gets the warm Yep. Of the slow weeks. I 

Anna: always think of it as promoting the off season or like the dead season. So like really emphasizing, you know, like there's less crowds, there's lower prices. There's still events you could do. The weather's, you know, somewhat mild.

Diamond: , do you know that the sloths are at the aquarium in Myrtle Beach now? 

Anna: I did see that and I want to go, there is a review about it. New things that are happening and coming to life during that time too. Anyway, you can like, really sell the slower weeks , what do you wanna put it on search? 

Diamond: The sloth joke would be good.

Since we're talking about slower 

Vanessa: weeks. Slower. Oh, oh, boy

Anna: That went right over my head. 

Diamond: The two blondes. It's a little early, guys. It's almost eight 30, man. All right. Too early. Too early. I guess my sloth joke bombed. All right. , what else, Anna, do you have any other thing from a socials perspective as far as.

Getting ahead of those slower weeks. Yeah. Really 

Anna: promoting the rentals that have the most availability during that time. Uh, getting some heads and beds where you can, and 

Vanessa: really, yeah, like 

Anna: I said before, just promoting anything you can positive about the slower weeks, whether it's lower prices, pure 

Vanessa: crowds.

Diamond: Nice. Local event. Anything you wanna offer, Vanessa? Yeah, 

Vanessa: Just from, you know, to add to that, the email marketing, I think that that's a great way to promote those weeks and the things to do, featured properties. There's just so much, so many advantages and options that you have with email marketing. So make sure that you're sending those emails out and then going back to that popup, you know, making sure that.

You're offering some sort of small discount right now. People are pretty price sensitive so that's really gonna move the ticker and something that we need to bring back in this kind of market. Okay. I will say 

Anna: Also from a website perspective, what I like to see is event calendars like the current month that I'm kind of curious about visiting in.

Right. And see what local events or what's happening during that time too. Content. 

Vanessa: Four things to do. Yes. And area events. Has suffered in recent years. So definitely 

Diamond: a group of you. Yeah. And we've all kind of talked about it is mm-hmm. People are coming for the experience. Mm-hmm. Not so, yeah.

What used to be where the home is the destination. Right. It is now flipped. , and people's perspectives are now wanting to do the location and the experience and things to do in that area. Far more than just the destination is the home, which we were seeing a lot of during. The Covid, you know, time where 

Vanessa: everybody's ready to get out and about 

Diamond: Again, everyone is getting out and that is for sure.

All right, next question is, does it matter how my landing pages are showing examples? Should oceanfront come before featured rentals? 

Vanessa: Great question. , I think that a lot of those landing pages that we create are for SEO purposes. Right? Yes. So featured rentals are more of an opportunity to promote owners that need more attention, maybe cuz they're being more vocal about that, or they're new to the portfolio or they're new and you wanna highlight them.

Right. But the landing pages are really to drive traffic, either with SEO or even pay per click. So typically we. Have those, , landing pages for specific amenities, oceanfront 

Diamond: rentals. So people could easily filter what they're looking for at the time that they're looking 

Vanessa: for it. Mm-hmm. Or as they get down the homepage to drive them back into the booking funnel.

Cuz not a lot of people skip the quick search. Right. Most of the people stay up at the top and do the navigation or the quick search. So if they've gotten to the bottom of the page, They might need some help getting themselves in there. So we give them like most popular searches, okay. So that they can see what other people are searching for.


Diamond: making it easy to kind of open that door. 

Vanessa: Some people need to be pushed through the door. Pushed through the door. They're a little lost, 

Diamond: So we, they're just, I don't, they're just overwhelmed. There's so many great things to look at, so many things to do and things to consider that everybody needs help.

You know, getting. What they need to find easily. So 

Vanessa: you're right, but I wouldn't show like a million landing pages in your navigation. Your SEO team should be able to tell you which landing pages are most important. Mm-hmm. To feature in there. , And a lot of those pages are just created for SEO and don't necessarily have to be part of the main 

Diamond: navigation.

True. Because you know, the longer your nav, the wider your nav, the more it covers and confusing and, and more covers your homepage up. It can get confusing. Yeah. So stick to, uh, those top earners in the nav and then you can create those additional , landing pages to fit, searches and filters and things you know, of that nature.

All right, Anna, I think this one's for you. , let's hear it.  To Anna,  Dear Anna. Dear Anna, are the links hurting my Facebook post reach? Oh, that's a good question. This just came up the other day.

Anna: I know and it's actually stirred up this question quite a bit. So recent reports, yeah. Right now Meta has indicated that links used inside of Post are getting less reach, so they've come out and said that.

, blatantly. So we suggest, and we're still testing and trying new ways, but, uh, for now, just try putting that link in the comments. , usually if that's the only comment it's gonna show first, if it's the most popular comment, it's always gonna show first. So it's gonna be right there in that little preview that users can just, you know, see right after they view your post.

Scroll down just a little bit and be able to click the link there in your comment. 

Diamond: So I've always been a fan of putting extra info in the common. Yeah, I  just did it the other day. We were talking about, yeah, the, oh, this is a shameless plug, but it's probably gonna be over by the time you listen to it.

But we're gonna have our third party Thursday podcast this Thursday when. Paul and myself. , third party Thursday. Yes. So what streamline would streamline Yes. Would our valued partner streamline? So this, it'll probably be over, but he'd go back and watch the playback. Mm-hmm. If you're listening now and you wanna hear what Paul and I have to say, , about picking the right marketing agency, but.

That just reminded me like what you just said, like putting the link in the comments, like that was Yeah. Something that we were talking about. And what a lot 

Anna: People don't realize that people love reading comments and people love digging in and reading like threads and things like that. So yeah, add it to your comments.

Add a few more information that you may have missed in your post. Just fill those comments up. Do you like 

Diamond: to go to the comments, Vanessa? 

Vanessa: Well, I gotta say as borderline boomer over here when, 

Diamond: hold on. I'm older than you Vanessa, so I must be ancient. 

Vanessa: But when I see something and on Facebook and they say the links and the comments, and I have to weed through the comments, I get a little irritated, okay?

Mm-hmm. And so I think we should start posting that to Facebook. Like, it's so irritating. I can't find the link to the recipe in the comment. Yeah. Pinned comment. Well, most of the time it's not pinned, pinned. A lot of times you can't even find 

Diamond: it. Pro tip. Yeah. Pin your comment if you have the ability to pin your comment.


Vanessa: I'm not sure. Maybe I don't think you can pin your comment, but, , 

Anna: no, I don't think so. 

Diamond: No pinning comment. You can pin your post. That's what, yeah. Your post, you might comment, but it'd be the first commenter. Yeah. Okay. This is an ever-changing topic because I feel like once a week we're getting some new update.

You know, data last week it, 

Anna: or last month it was, the hashtags are down and now it's a, you know, I, I swear, I think it's meta wanting to keep people on the platform for longer, so they're gonna penalize anything with the link to drive traffic outside the platform. Right. So we just gotta play their game and either push the link in bio or leave a link in the comments.

, yeah. 

Vanessa: Okay. I found it helpful when they put their website on, either on like the image or in the video at the end. Mm-hmm. You know, if you're, if you're watching a video and then at the end is the link to the website, but it has to be short and memorable so you can go and type it in. But I find that that's pretty helpful to just cut to the chase and find what I'm looking for.


Diamond: Okay. We all use these platforms in different ways. Right, right. Yeah, that's true. Think about that. We, the three of us sitting here, we all use these platforms in different ways. Mm-hmm. Just think about it a hundred-fold, right? Yeah. You know, people across the world are trying to find your destination and your vacation rental company to find a home.

Right. You know, all three of us have a different way of using social, so, Everybody else probably has a similar or different way that they're using social to find you as they're doing their trip planning. So Exactly. This is a good example of, you know, keeping that into consideration as well. All right, so we have some rapid fire questions here today for Vanessa, but I feel like we've maybe.

Covered them already. So let's just kind of take it back to the beginning. Today's topic is about filling the gaps. Mm-hmm. So when it comes to filling the gaps, where should VRMs start? Because we covered a lot of bases. Anna talked about social, you know, posts and groups. You talked about email lists, and, you know, creating dedicated landing features.

So, That's just a lot for someone to tackle on their own. Yeah. So is the first place to start to call your marketing agency? Yeah, 

Vanessa: definitely. I'll give you my number at the end. No, 

Diamond: Vanessa will put her number at the end of the video.

Vanessa: Yeah.  Well, I think it's about taking control of your marketing.

And the best way to take control of your marketing is through having a book direct website. Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. And then adding those marketing needs to feed it. Email marketing, SEO paper per click, social media. Mm-hmm. , and then with your website, making those gaps easy and automated. Yes. Yes. So the tape chart availability at a glance and your extend your stay emails and your cancellation notifications, your price alerts.

All of those things, you know, it's really about having every tool in your toolbox. 


Diamond: right? And if you have all these tools or you don't know how to use the tools, if you have so much going on with regulations and, , you know, Vanessa, you were talking about staffing concerns. If all those things are at the top of your list, But you know, you have to do marketing and could always consult with your agency that you're working with.

Yeah. To help take some things off of your plate so you can dedicate time and energy to those other priorities that you were mentioning at the top of the correct show. , that are, you know, really weighing heavy on VRMs 

Vanessa: right now. And there's something that the VRMs need to have a personal touch in. You can't hire somebody to be your.

Advocacy representative, right? You know, you have to be, you gotta go to town hall, you have to go to town hall. You have to be part of your community and show faith, right? And show. And support and, and share your thoughts and be a thought 

Diamond: leader on that. So if those topics, if any of those are taking up the majority of your time, take a look around, evaluate your, your, your toolbox and say, Hey, can I add an agency or can I lean on my agency more during this time?

They're an extension of your 

Vanessa: team. Exactly. And so they. Have the right tools ready to go. They're, they're your handyman of marketing. 

Diamond: Definitely. That's my $10 mechanic. No, I'm just kidding. All right. , question for the group is, uh, what's one underutilized tool or feature that our vacation rental manager friends should use more?

So we've, we've talked a lot, a lot of them already this morning, but is what, is one that is underutilized that they should use more? Anna, you got one. 

Anna: Yeah, I would have to say email is the most underutilized, in my opinion. Mm-hmm. , and it always comes to clients as an afterthought. Like, oh, maybe I should do it.

Diamond: Like, I hope you're setting us up for an onslaught of emails about, I wanna add email service. I think I want Vanessa's phone to ring off the hook today and tomorrow and or, or however long after you've listened to this podcast and say, I need to update my email marketing Vanessa. 

Vanessa: Yeah, I need to get on board with email marketing. 


Give me, give me a proposal, Vanessa, for email marketing. Exactly. 

Anna: Because the coolest thing like that I think is cool about emails is not only do you have these lists that you can go after and send all these emails to, is that we can also use these email lists on social 

Diamond: and it coming in hot with a pro tip 

Anna: and on Google.

So paid advertising can also use these lists and you can reap benefits. With more than just in the 

Diamond: email. You know, we've talked, you and I have talked about that before. Mm-hmm. More leveraging the power of your list and where else you can use it. , and I, I really think, I'm not gonna say email. I'm gonna say email list is the tool that is underutilized just because of those reasons, Anna.

Mm-hmm. Unfortunately, the leveraging of that email list into other parts of their marketing mix or a plan is not as utilized as it could be. Yes. And , I think that may be misunderstood or not always top of mind. Mm-hmm. So that is my answer for that. What do you got, Vanessa? Well, 

Vanessa: I think it's a matter of the time and effort to put together an email blast.

For a lot of people, it seems like a simple, easy task, but when you sit down and do it, it's pretty complex and you need to have a strategy behind it. Mm-hmm. But email's very easy, trackable. 

Diamond: , it's, it's, it's not so high 

Vanessa: pressure. It's not so high pressure, but it's a great way to stay in front. And then when you combine it with social and paid Ads and stay in front of your guest history and your leads, you're hitting them multiple times.

Cuz a lot of times it takes multiple times to get in front of somebody before they get pushed to book. Mm-hmm. And so either you are gonna be out there in front of them or there's a lot of competition right now, so somebody else is gonna do it, so. Mm-hmm. You know, it's really it. It's about doing the things that you need to do right now.

In this type of market conditions to make sure that you are getting people to your website to book directly. And those people that do that will win. They 

Diamond: will definitely win. All right. Flipping it just a little bit, we were talking about all the different types of features and services that vacation rental managers can utilize, but let's talk about ourselves for just a quick second, a question for the group.

What is your favorite ICND feature? Okay. 

Vanessa: I think my favorite feature is the booking abandonment just because , like shopping cart abandonment, somebody gets all the way through, they find the right property, but for whatever reason, there's so many reasons that we get distracted and we don't book.

Either we have to wait for somebody else's opinion or we have to wait till. We get home from work or you know, you don't have your credit card, make dinner. There's so many reasons why somebody abandons that booking. And so ours is so intuitive to be able to collect the data and then email the customer.  Hey, is there something you forgot?

Or the remind me to book where they can just opt in for the reminder. Cuz sometimes we need to be reminded of things and then, you know, it's also in the footer, so if they come right back to the website or come back the next day. The cookie has attracted, they can go right back to that 

Diamond: booking and they don't have to restart the process.

They don't have to restart the process. I think that's frustrating, something that's misunderstood is sometimes. You know, people say, well, card abandonment, I'm, I'm gonna get reminded to come back to book, but I'm gonna have to go through that process again. And Right. What was that Holmes's name? What was it? It's so frustrating.

They don't wanna, I think that is misunderstood that it'll take, if you return in the next day. Mm-hmm. , you know, All the searching around you did, and all the decision making that you made is, it'll come right back to you where you left off. You don't have to start the process over again. So, miss, here's Vanessa.

, myth bust in, 

Vanessa: Keep it simple and make it easy.

Diamond: All right, Anna, what is your favorite feature? 

Anna: Promote this yet, but these, oh, oh hold, hold on. The new dynamic catalog ads that we've been pushing out. , so we've recently started pushing out these automated hotel feeds, and with these feeds, they pull all the properties from your site, all the info, the description, the property name, the base price.

All the good stuff and puts it over into a catalog on meta that then we can use to dynamically retarget users that have visited your site, gone almost to the booking process, almost completed it, but haven't yet and serve them that house or. The few houses they've been looking at when they go and open up Facebook.

Diamond: So, so you have been experimenting with this. Yes. For about six months now. Yes. And you have seen really good success. Yes. 

Anna: Uh, a lot of our clients have already switched over to it. And we're seeing very high click through rates, lots of conversions from it. So yeah, that's 

Diamond: where I'm floored the conversions from it. 

Anna:  Yes. So basically it's just, you know, if someone's down that booking funnel and then they forgot to book, they open up Facebook late at night, boom, there's that property there that they were looking at earlier. They go back to the site, they pick up where they left off, and boom, 

Vanessa: you're about, 

Diamond: all right, so if you are a listener out there and you are not utilizing our social media services, This may be something to consider if you want to be part of this group that is using these new types of ads that, ICND has been running, , in the last six months or so.

And I will say I've looked at the results. The results are, like I said, I am floored every time I see, uh, the booking return on these types of ads and just the amount of traffic that delivered 

Anna: docent. Okay. What is your favorite ICND feature? 

Diamond: Well, I don't, I think this is also Vanessa's favorite feature, possibly the next greatest thing.

I was 

Vanessa: Just gonna say, go ahead. Yeah. Are including my mind. Yes, yes. Machine learning in my mind. 

Diamond: Yeah. Whoa. Then yeah, the next greatest thing that, uh, w what cannot be spoken of. Today, but maybe soon we can speak about the next great thing. 

Vanessa: You always love to tease on this podcast. I do. I'm a, you're a, a vague podcaster.

Diamond: People just tune in to see if they can decipher my vague sentences. 

Vanessa: like, can I guess what’s next, if you think you can guess 

Diamond: what’s next exactly. Send it in if you Yes, yes. We'll send you a t-shirt if you're right. Whoa. Big guns coming out with a t-shirt. Okay. So this is the challenge.

We're to send Diamond to the post office again because we love to send Diamond to the post office. No, I'll send it. I'll go to the post office. Oh no, no, that's fine. , if you can guess what ICND'S next best newest feature. Is going to be, , please write in, leave us a comment. You know, send us an email.

Mm-hmm. You know how to get in touch with us. , and then if you are the winner, Vanessa will go to the post office and mail you a T-shirt and I'll make a reel while I do it.  And she'll make a reel. Yes. Hitting all the marks. All right. If you're not writing in right now, it'll take me a month.

I need to have proof that Vanessa went to the post off. Yeah. We wanna hear. From you. All right. We definitely want to hear from you. Awesome. So there are lots of ways to communicate with us. You can follow us on all of our social channels. You can listen to this podcast on your favorite streaming service. Please leave us a comment, give us a review.

We love your feedback. Yeah, we get questions all the time. That's how we put the content for this podcast. Yes, we use your questions, Vanessa, any last thoughts from you today? No 

Vanessa: last thoughts, but you know, just make sure you're getting all your tools sharpened in your toolbox and yeah. Mm-hmm. Whatever tools you're missing, come ask ICND or another marketing agency and we're glad to help.


Yeah, definitely. Yeah. Anna, final thoughts for today?  I'm all caught up. You're all caught up. I think we've covered it. All right. Well thank you both of you for coming in this morning and sitting down here in the podcast studio here in beautiful Ocean Island, beach, North Carolina, coming from ICNDs International Headquarters.

This is us signing off. Have a great day. See you later. Bye guys.