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A tale of two rentals – A modern marketing fairytale

A tale of two rentals – A modern marketing fairytale

A tale of two rentals – A modern marketing fairytale

Believe it or not, I wrote this article 5 years ago this week but it's even more applicable now than it was then.

The amount of competing properties has more than doubled in those 5 years. The vacation rental sector has exploded but the travelling public aren't taking twice as many vacations so owners are seeing less and less bookings.

The property listing model is making the huge listing sites a fortune but is failing individual owners due to over saturation.

This story shows you how you can re-empower your business and enchant your guests...

Here's the story...

Once upon a time, there were two identical holiday rentals, rental past and rental future.

These two properties stood, side by side, in a clearing in a forest. If you wanted to find these rentals you had to find your way through the forest.

Many people visited the forest and some wanted a place to stay.

The thing was, a “really big” giant lived in the forest and this giant controlled the forest and all who entered it.

The owner of rental past…

rental past

…did what many owners do when it came to marketing his house…

He put up a signpost!

He wanted to tell the world about his rental.

He wrote a description, came up with a catchy headline and uploaded photos of rental past.

He told people about the kitchen appliances and advertised the price for a week at Easter.

Then he made a website about all of these things.

He listed his rental with Homeaway, signed up with Flipkey and a host of other sites.

He tried Airbnb, he even gave Craigslist a shot.

He toyed with social media, he tweeted tweets, made a Facebook page and encouraged people to like his page.

Forever and ever and ever…

In short, he blended in with the other rentals past, he did what they all did – He shouted me, me, me, me, me (a lot).

A pretty selfish outlook really – A bit like the boy who cried wolf.

The giant got bored with this and didn’t pay him any attention.

Rental past got less and less bookings.


rental future

…the owner of rental future took a look at the holiday rental market and decided that it was a waste of time trying to compete with rental past and his crowd.
The odds were overwhelming. She thought she would try a different path…

She decided to put up a lot of signposts!

She highlighted what was on in her part of the forest.

She pointed out the best places to see.

She told people about her favourite local restaurants.

She flagged what people could do in the woods around her house.

She interacted with forest visitors and helped them find their way around.

She shared the things that she and other people found in the forest.

Others shared her findings.

She had a content marketing and social media strategy

She left a trail of breadcrumbs and a lot of footprints.

She attracted a following and was perceived as an expert.

If forest visitors needed a place to stay she told them about rental future.

In short, she stood out – She became a tour guide who happened to own a property where people could stay.

Pretty obvious really.

Rentals future got a shedload of bookings.

The moral of the story

OK, we lied, this is no fairytale, this is a zombie horror story affecting 99% of rental owners.

Worse still, it’s a story that’s taking place right now and only has a happy ending if you own a rental future.

It’s no good putting up a lonely signpost, people won’t see the wood for the trees.

If you own a rental past, not only will you be ignored by the giant but it won’t see you and it will squash you underfoot.

Big giants are hungry creatures and need constant feeding and potential guests need to follow a path with clear directions.

Cut a clear social media path, put up signposts via content marketing, leave a trail of breadcrumbs and lots of footprints and you end up with a happy giant and a lot of potential guests at your door.


Written by alan egan
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