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Vacation Rental Psychology - Lodging Newsletter October 31st, 2018

By Wm. May
Published: 12/23/18 Topics: Advertising, Lodging Newsletter Comments: 0

Not everyone is as big of a rabid reader of vacation rental industry news as we are. In fact, I hope you are doing more recreational reading than business reading!

A regular review of vacation rental news, blogs, and forums might lead someone to think that our industry is all about technology, websites, dynamic pricing, online travel agents and many other topics. We have to admit that these devour huge amounts of our time because they do indeed affect inquiries, bookings, and maximum net income for owners.

But, hidden in all of those disciplines is a topic seldom reported on, and that is the psychology that controls why consumers buy things, why they prefer one over another, how they evaluate price versus quality, and how to help get more bookings than the competition.

This is not really rocket science stuff, but our staff has been advertising experts for decades - long before most of them even entered this industry. They were schooled in marketing and advertising, and have the ability to speak to prospective guests in ways that the giant corporate managers have never embraced.

So this month, we have a short primer on how psychology affects vacation rentals.


Why would Budweiser Beer buy a half dozen ads in the Super Bowl broadcast for about $5 million dollars each? Most viewers watch the entire game, wouldn't just one ad be enough? Is Budweiser stupid?

Nah, executives at this dominating brand know that people forget. They don't always fully retain what they are told and are sometimes reluctant to believe a message.

All advertising requires "reach and frequency" which means properties must be advertised on hundreds of websites of various types - Online Travel Agencies (think VRBO, Airbnb,, etc.), hotel-type websites (think Expedia and, and even consumer-oriented websites such as Trip Advisor.

If your manager is not operating an individual website for every home and each local management office, if they're not using email newsletters, local tourism websites, search engine pay-per-click, and even Craigslist, then they are failing to reach enough consumers and in enough ways.

But the internet ties our hands - many websites are demanding that rentals become commodities. They are very much like newspaper classifieds. They limit space and writing creativity. Some remove property names for fear that guests will "go around" them and book directly.

Smart managers know that they must have a name for every home, use floor plans, and include calls to action. This includes indicating when homes are new to renting and why renting today is urgent. -- "Buy Today!"

Giant hotel chains have promoted uniformity and consistency, but that has made them especially vulnerable to recreational guests who have always subconsciously wanted to "build memories." It's impossible to do that when every product looks the same. But it's easy for vacation rental managers (like us), who offer unique homes, unusual locations, and personalized attention.

Giant managers fail to deliver on the latter end because their focus is to increase their percentage of rental income, cut personnel, cut costs and to deliver undeserved profits to their venture capital backers.

Small local managers on the other hand, provide personality and the kind of service that the big guys fail at. We speak to guests personally. If and when they call back, they can speak to the same person. When they contact us late at night, they get a sympathetic voice that's anxious to help.

Giant companies have hundreds and even thousands of complaints. Local companies have almost none. This fact alone reveals flaws in the "I am bigger and better" myth.

Technology has progressed, so that localized vacation rental management companies like ours employ all of the same big-time marketing tools that the corporate managers trumpet - such as instant bookings, wide advertising, electronic integration and dynamic pricing. But, we offer even more with local marketing, local contacts and local long-tenured staff who are fixated on helping guests build memories.

We use the psychology of vacation rentals to match the needs and wants of guests We not only match, but also exceed the technical capabilities of those complaint-ridden giant firms. In short, we market globally but manage locally in ways that the institutionalized managers can not.

Author: Wm. May, Vortex Managers
Blog #: 0627 – 12/23/18
Sponsor: Vortex Organization – We train quality people to help run unique Inns, Resorts and Vacation Rental Management companies, in an industry that has been a webby net of technology combined with good old fashioned property, guest and owner services. –

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