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My Obsession: Generating leads for my vacation rental business

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Are you one of them? Are you one of these vacation rental owners want to be free? Free from listing sites such as HomeAway and Flipkey? My own goal is more about knowing how to better use any of these tools, before ditching any, but this is another topic.
For most of these “freedom fighters”, it means building their own websites. Heck, even some Airbnb hosts are busy building theirs. It is not just vacation rental owners with luxury villas.
Now, the two main questions on these people’s minds are:

  • How do you get traffic?
  • How do you turn this traffic into booking inquiries?

I know the feeling. Men think about sex every 7 seconds. I think about booking conversion slightly less than that. I think about it several times a week. OK, I think about it every day since June 2015, when I launched the website for Bulung Daya, my Bali beach retreat.
Just like most people, I’ve dabbled with a lot of things to vacation rental leads: Facebook pages, Google+ Pages, Guest Blogging, Twitter accounts, Pinterest boards, Youtube videos, Paid Article, Instagram photos, Google Ads, Blogs, Newsletters, etc.
I took actions, but a bit randomly. Whenever a thing new object was coming in front of me, I was compulsively trying it. With few results. True, I got quite a few big, nice direct bookings from my own sites. But Airbnb, Homeaway and Flipkey helped a lot on the way.
My findings are not earth-shaking. They hold within one French proverb:

« Qui trop embrasse mal étreint »

« Those who kiss too many people end up with few people in their arms », as we say in French. About 2 months ago, I started measuring my efforts. To see what was working. And what was not working. To do more of a what was working. And to stop doing what was not.
How? First, I give 1 goal and 1 goal only to all my marketing efforts: Focusing on prospects, on people who have shown an interest in staying in either Bali or St Barths (Where my vacation rental properties are located).
How? By inviting them to download a free guide about St Barths, for example. On the marketing channels where I was spending the most effort, I started directing people to such a landing page. Sadly, my beloved Twitter, where I was spending lots of time and where I had attracted more than 1,000 followers for my St Barths site was not producing much result.
However, Instagram, which I had not really taking seriously, was sending me 15 leads per week. Wow!
Finally, I had a slight idea of what to do.

What made change my way of thinking: Stopping and Listening (to podcasts).

I have some traffic, how to make the most of it?
– I’ve been listening to podcasts like ConversionCast by Leadpages, John McIntire
– I’ve learned to use better mousetraps, with tools like LeadPages (again) and SumoMe
– I’ve realized that I am not the only one obsessing about generating enquiries on my own, outside of the big listing site. For instance, there is such a topic in a famous vacation rental forum, Matt Landau’s Inner Circle.
– People like Alan Egan are launching classes on how to build websites.

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