Protect your short-term rental revenues against recession and softening demand

Paying homage to Holiday Rental Master Rex Brown

rex brown holiday rental mastery

Rex Brown is the creator of the Holiday Rental Mastery website and writer of the Vacation Rental Mastery book. Although he sadly passed away 6 months ago, his experience lives on: The content from his HolidayRentalMastery.com website is now available on Rental Scale-Up.

Rex wanted his knowledge to remain shared with fellow holiday rental owners after he left. When he asked Thibault Masson, Rental Scale-Up’s founder, whether it would make sense for him to share this wealth of advice with his audience, the answer was easy. Thibault had been a subscriber to Rex’s industry newsletter for years and had applied his teachings in his personal vacation rental business.

So, here’s the plan to keep Rex’s legacy alive:

About Rex Brown

Rex ran his own vacation rentals in Australia for over 20 years. His prior career in corporate brings a systematic approach to the rental market, and his study of the psychology of behavior brought new insight into guest bookings. His properties have run constantly at high occupancy in challenging markets. He issued the Holiday Rental Mastery newsletter weekly to vacation rental owners worldwide.


Rex’s advice to get bookings as soon as travel restrictions lifted

A few weeks before he left us, Rex was still busy trying out and sharing new tactics for his holiday rental business. His last article was about securing bookings when the lockdown ended by getting back to his past guests. Rex was adamant every property owner needed to have his newsletter. Following his example and teachings, Thibault had done the same thing for his SaintBarth.com website.

So, what did Rex do to get bookings? He used his knowledge of what guests had just been gone through and the fact that they knew his place. In his words:

“I knew many renters had been burned elsewhere getting deposits back, and had hassles with the OTA helpdesks, so I’d make it risk free and special for them:

  • Preference for past guests
  • No deposit, pay after you arrive
  • Special cleaning – plus a modest cleaning fee
  • Full refund any time if government policy changed after arrival
  • Join an update hotlist to be first to know when we open

Normally I get a few people letting me know how much they like the newsletter, and a couple wanting to take up the current offer, while it also builds up a bank of engaged past guests who inevitably book sometime later. In the first hour after sending the newsletter, 14 signed up to the hotlist. Wow!  Then over the next few days more and more. One week on, and I  had 41 on my update hotlist, keen to come and keen to book when they are ready! A truly amazing response!

Part of the success was the pent-up frustration of lockdown for past guests and a great Subject line.  The rest was good timing, as per my intuition.

Rex Brown on creating guest loyalty (video)

In 2020, Rex was kind enough to record a video for the annual Rental Scale-Up Asia-Pacific conference. He shared actionable tips on what holiday rental owners in non-urban markets can do to get bookings from past guests and domestic travelers.

Other popular articles from the Holiday Rental Mastery blog

Here’s a selection of articles that stayed popular over the years. The technique may change, but Rex’s fundamental teachings stay true.

More about Rex Brown’s book, Vacation Rental Mastery

mastery book

Vacation Rental Mastery is a book for the age of the sharing economy. It is for vacation rental owners who want to stay small and achieve outstanding results. It shows owners how to give guests exceptional experiences and bring happiness to them in one of the most rewarding lifestyles that business owners can enjoy. It shows definitively how psychology can be used to get more bookings.

Using real-life examples and stories, this practical handbook shows vacation rental owners how to take the least effort path to high occupancy, i.e., Vacation Rental Mastery. Contains 27 diagrams/ tables.

– “When starting a new job or exploring a new hobby, someone who is willing to share their wisdom can be a game-changer. If every newcomer to the vacation rentals had the chance to sit down with Rex Brown, the industry would be a better place. But for those not lucky enough to do that, Rex’s book is the next best thing. It distills 20+ years of wisdom down into a few hours of delightful reading. And in the complex and disruptive world of vacation rentals, that is no easy feat!”– Matt Landau, Founder of vrmb.com,  Inner Circle innovation community, Unlocked podcast, Sense of place TV show.
– “In these very competitive times for vacation rental businesses, this motivational manual bursts with ideas and practical plans for increasing reservations and ensuring happy guests become repeat customers.Rex shares his wealth of experience to bring you a complete blueprint for a truly successful vacation rental business.”– Heather Bayer, Founder of cottageblogger.com, Vacation Rental Success podcast, Vacation Rental Success Summit, VR Formula


Rental Scale-Up

Thibault is the founder of Rental Scale-Up. He owns vacation rentals in St. Barths and Bali. He also leads innovative projects for companies within the vacation rental industry. Feel free to reach out to Thibaut Masson on Linkedin.

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