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How to Rent More by Writing - Vacation Soup

You want to get more bookings, of course you do.

You want to get them directly, unless you and your guests want to pay 20% extra between you of course.

You have your own site and it shows your brand beautifully. You may have even paid an SEO consultant to tell you all the things you need to do. You may have even done them!

So why are you not getting bookings?

As a website owner, like it or not, you are a publisher. To make your publication achieve its goals (bookings and brand) you need to understand how the marketing works.

A great analogy for this is to look at your rental marketing process like building a racing car. You have spent months - if not years - designing it, making it look stunningly beautiful, investing fortunes in time and money on each facet of the style.

Then you design the perfect chassis - rigid where it needs it, and flexible where it counts. You have bought in the best performance engineers to create an engine that is tuned to perfection. Every drop of lubricant is perfectly matched to its purpose. You then hire the fastest driver there ever was. You're on to a winner - what could possibly go wrong?

You have created the dream. It looks slick (now imagine the car is your site's look and feel), you have optimised the experience (the chassis and engine representing the guest's experience on the site and when they stay), and you have the best humans involved (the driver, in this case is you, the host, after all who could do it better?).

Content - The Fuel for Marketing

Of course you will have realised by now that it's not going anywhere without fuel. The best fuel, lots of it, continually.

You won't win the Grand Prix on 1 gallon (3.79 litres) of the cheapest stuff from the local gas/petrol station for 2 reasons (at least).

Firstly any old fuel won't do the job. Any old posts won't do it either. Your posts need to be carefully crafted for your audience - which is people wanting to travel to your destination. The posts need to answer the questions they are asking and the posts need to be really engaging.

Secondly you will need to continually keep it topped up. The more you post, the more questions you will answer, the more Google will see you as an authority in the area and the more visitors you will get. Without a continuous supply of fresh, new and engaging content your site will cough, splutter and stop, just like your perfectly engineered car in the middle of the race.

The Proof

We are publishers too at Vacation Soup, publishing your posts, getting them seen by thousands of travellers every week. As a result we have a unique view of the direct relationship between owners that create regular, well crafted content and the amount of traffic they get to their sites.

In 9 months the average US owner created 36 posts which were viewed 4,600 times and created 43 qualified leads to their website. 
Non Posters (less than 5 posts) got only 18 leads on average.
In 9 months the average US owner created 36 posts which were viewed 4,600 times and created 43 qualified leads to their website.
Non Posters (less than 5 posts) got only 18 leads on average.

We chose Florida as a case study because it is contains our most active writers, and the reward for all that hard work is evident. On average our Florida owners get 3 fully qualified hot leads for every 2 posts they write, which considering the revenue per booking, and the saving on fees at the big listing sites is an excellent rate of return.

It is worth defining what a qualified lead is. The potential guest has engaged with our site by clicking on a property advertisement. They have seen the price, photos, description, amenities and location (along with other articles written about the destination) and clicked #BookDirect for that property. These are hot leads - this is a guest that wants to stay with you.

But... this is not the whole story. We are only referring to the statistics within Vacation Soup. All our owners can (and do) show their posts within their own sites, and these are also bringing in traffic and building their brand every day for them.

No review of this area would be complete without highlighting the excellent work of Terry and Sandy Whyte, our most prolific writers, based on Anna Maria Island. We had to change the scale, which literally puts all of their hard work into perspective.

Terry and Sandy got a whopping 93,000 views of his posts in the last 9 months, and 439 leads to their website. Unsurprisingly they are fully booked.
Terry and Sandy got a whopping 93,000 views of their posts within The Soup in the last 9 months, and 439 leads to their website. Unsurprisingly they are fully booked.

On top of these high value leads, your posts and properties are being syndicated across an ever-growing social media network, with many posts getting hundreds of social shares and properties getting tens of thousands of impressions. All of this goes to building your brand, getting travellers to see and recognise you as the go-to site for the area.

"I find the real value of soup is not only the traffic it drives to your site but what it does with social media is amazing. People can make the argument that more is better and blogs should be 3000 words. Maybe it's true and maybe not. We have found the opposite. Posting more content more often around 1000 words drives tremendous traffic to our site and what it does with FaceBook amazing. When Sandy slows down her blogging traffic to our site and FaceBook traffic slows as well. When she picks up the pace so does our traffic."

Terry Whyte

Our analogy is not perfect, in fact it hides one very important aspect of regular posting, and that is that each post's value lasts a long time, and in some cases improves (in Google's eyes) like a good wine over years.

I'll stop mixing metaphors with analogies right there. Hopefully this article gives you the evidence that setting aside a couple of hours to write a great post about your destination is well worth the effort.

Here is further information on what we are about and on joining Vacation Soup to turbo-boost your marketing. We have over 400 training videos to help you build your site and lots of tools to help you decide what to write.

All it needs now is you.

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