6 Ways To Emanate "Lifestyle Brand" Vibes

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I use the term "lifestyle brand" to describe a vacation rental business whose marketing leads not with the property, but the vibes (or lifestyle) guests experience when staying there. You can immediately feel a lifestyle vacation rental brand when you come in contact with it.

For instance, Kristi Kristi and Starship Landing Retreat. The property itself is still there. But it's not the centerpiece of the photography: rather a component of the greater "being there" experience.

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If you were to draw a spectrum, lifestyle branding is polar opposite real estate branding where the property is the product: typically technical/objective/transactional.

With vacation rentals, the product (vacation time with loved ones full of meaning, purpose, and memories) is actually a byproduct of the property itself.
And a vacation rental lifestyle brand is one whose imagery is based on this more evolved definition "product" that our guests are seeking.

Perhaps it evokes emotional connections using staging like Robin Robin with Chateau Mirador of Moving Mountains.

Screen Shot 2021-03-31 at 7.38.58 AM.png

While not all of us own/manage opulent ski chalets, we do offer vibes of cozy, warm, elegant, picturesque....etc.

I believe independent vacation rental marketers are ideally positioned to emanate lifestyle vibes because we already curate those vibes for a living. With a little packaging, we evoke aspirations and the reaction: I want that for my vacation!

Here are some ideas to rise above normal vacation rental marketing levels and enter the territory of lifestyle brand vibes featuring a handful of Inner Circle stewards:

1. Piggyback on a lifestyle brand like Peloton, Tesla, or YETI


If you're looking for a quick hack to lifestyle branding vibes, find a company that already does this well and integrate.
KirstenK KirstenK (Kirsten King) of Big Sky Vacation Rentals invested in Peloton bikes for select homes.
Screen Shot 2021-03-31 at 6.15.38 AM.png

BobG BobG has a Tesla charging station.

Screen Shot 2021-03-31 at 6.17.04 AM.png

CJ CJ of Southern Comfort Cabin Rentals sends his repeat guests YETI mugs and thermoses.
Note: CJ loves the YETI but they're simply too expensive for him to buy in bulk and so he buys similar ones that cost 1/2 the price.

giftwithpurchase.jpg

2. Take 'About Us' photos that embody interests & attitudes

SScurlock SScurlock and
Scurlock Farms's community of guests who adore farm life is not being created out of thin air: it already exists. So she shows it (along with her team/family) on the About Us page.

Screen Shot 2021-03-31 at 6.25.26 AM.png

3. Curate culture


To adapt the great Rumi quote, "your property is not a drop in the destination: It's the destination in a drop."

Rather than simply being a part of the local community, show your vacation rental business as an active participant and connector in the community. ROster ROster of Oster Golf Houses nails this with his drone video tours of the local golf holes.

Be more than the hotel that people stay in when they visit a location; be the lifestyle portal.
Stephanie Farr does this (as she does with most things lifestyle branding) exceptionally well in the form of Maya Luxe adventure experiences.

Screen Shot 2021-03-31 at 6.32.17 AM.png


4. Ask lifestyle bloggers to do it for you

Kim Kim and
The Houses on Manzanita Beach made an arrangement with the Pretty Life Girls Blog to host in exchange for photos. And as you can see, the photos are less focused on any single property/feature and more on "scenes" or vignettes. Employing the artful eye of influencers and social media influencers with their own esthetic is a great way to hack this process.

Screen Shot 2021-03-31 at 6.40.53 AM.png


5. Ditch age-old design advice for simplicity

LMejias LMejias and
Fixie Lofts in Dominican Republic does this as well as anyone. There’s a reason every product and their sister for sale is utilizing the ultra-simple esthetic.

Screen Shot 2021-03-31 at 6.37.12 AM.png

6. Embrace scenes or vignettes

For Barry Barry of
Carmel Retreats and his newly achieved Instagram Fame, branding is about more than a room or property feature or facade: it's about a scene or vignette: a miniature story with things going on. Instagram (the world’s biggest lifestyle brand marketplace) is perfect for this and you can take the same logic to your own website.

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Questions for the community:
  • Do you have any instances of companies that do the lifestyle branding thing really well?
  • Have you struck a chord in any of your marketing that achieves this lifestyle vibe?
  • Is there another way to describe this style of marketing (lifestyle brand can sound frou frou)?
 

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AFirmani

Counselor
Inner Circle
I would like to reply as a "guest"... you see, we travel a lot and I do believe that we look for homes that do more than give us a place to sleep and eat. We carefully peek at each possibility and look for the vibe that matches our goals. My middle son was just recently planning a trip and I watched him hunt for a "funky, cool vibe" to enjoy with his girlfriend - something two young adults would enjoy. Also, we appreciate the owners who take the time to give a special feeling and point out the interesting things in the home and surrounding areas. As for us, we have the think ITALIAN VILLA vibe going on... all things cozy, family, foodie, etc. and we play a lot on that! Finding that VIBE is the most important for us as travelers... that is for sure!
 

JPrugh

Ambassador
Inner Circle
I'm not the best guy to address "lifestyle brand vibes." In my opinion, Airbnb's markets its "lifestyle brands" with curated destinations, properties and hosts, which is good for them, since they don't really own those properties. They perform this well, as they should, given their depth of expertise in this arena.
  • Piggyback on lifestyle brand like Peleton, Tesla or YETI: My market wouldn't be attracted to the first two, but maybe the third. Peleton is expensive ($1895) but becomes somewhat more affordable at $49 per month for 39 months. Then I'd have to figure out where to put it. Tesla is great for charging Teslas, but perhaps not for other EVs. (The city owns a used Tesla and has its own charging station about a block away from our properties.) General Motors is partnering with EVGo with offer both the CHAdeMO dcfc and SAE Combo (J1772). I'll leave it up to BobG BobG whether his Tesla charging stations will work for other EVs. Here is Yeti's corporate giving site: https://www.yeti.com/en_US/corporate-gifting.html. We sweat the details of providing Voss (Norwegian) water and another treat.
  • We can certainly work on an "About Us"photo, but it wouldn't be on our property. There's a pony-sized Dala horse at one of our small businesses that we could gather around could gather around - just have to get back there soon!
  • While we certainly curate the Swedish culture, we don't really have adventure experiences that other small businesses in the area provide for visitors. Lindsborg's CVB and small businesses direct guests to find these adventures on their own. That said, the CVB is curating a kite flying event at Coronado Heights this month, hosted by a kite company out of Wichita, so that's something.
  • Lindsborg's CVB is curating lifestyle bloggers for the entire city. We are a part of that, but since we're not a destination unto itself, such as SScurlock SScurlock Farm - we have do play the hand that's dealt.
  • We don't seem to have a problem with guests turning down our properties because they aren't designed well. Virtually all of them are so surprised that these properties exist at all in this small town.
  • I'm embracing scenes and vignettes on Instagram by employing photographic editing tips by National Geographic photographer Jim Richardson, using Snapseed (free) primarily. And I'm bringing in more guests into Mailchimp audience with StayFi. I'll never be on par with Barry Barry of Carmel Retreats, but then again, I don't think that I need to do that.
I plan to reach out to a production company behind a new Amazon series who plans to film an episode in Lindsborg later this year.

I know that @Matt is tired of hearing this, but properties with "lifestyle brand vibes" will cater to wealthier guests so that these amenities could be included.
 

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Jefferson

Attaché
Inner Circle
Well said Matt!

The only thing I would add is that you don't have to guess on what vibe to create. Let the guest do it for you.

I'm in the middle of reading "Nail it then scale it" which emphasis the importance of getting on the phone with you customers and talking to them. I have recently started calling every single one of the guests we've had in the last 6 months and learned that we have been accidentally appealing to the "birthday" guest. Over 70% of the guests I've talked to have come for a kids birthday. So now we are honing our experience to be more catered to kids birthday parties and upselling catering, party favors, character visits, etc.
 

Christina

Envoy
Inner Circle
These are fabulous -
1) love the Rumi adaptation, remind me to tell you my Rumi story
2) great ideas about focusing on NOT the property but the STORY (i.e. not a commodity)
3) Thanks Jefferson for the book recommendation - Amazon should have it here by next week
4) we need more story and less commodity in our brand
 

StacyW

Counselor
Inner Circle
Awesome sauce!!! We are trying to get our ducks in a row on operations so we can take on my latest idea of taking our great homes and do a boutique type business with them. Then see if that is sustainable and either grow our others in that direction or drop them.
 

MichelleR

Counselor
Inner Circle
I do love the feelings that the lifestyle brand can evoke. It pulls at the emotional side which is the one that often pulls the trigger to make the booking.

I don't know if others feel this way but I find myself having a hard time narrowing in on who our guests are....We have large houses (3-5 bedrooms) so cater to large groups but that can either be families (ranging from babies to grandparents), groups in traveling together (of all different ages). Therefore when I do our social marketing I find it challenging as I tend to try to cater to both and therefore don't know if I actually nail either.

I am open, excited to receive, any feedback on if I am trying to appeal too broadly to everyone.
 

SScurlock

Envoy
Inner Circle
Yellow Jersey
Wow - I like the way you are thinking! I had to think about it for a minute, and all I can go by are my experiences when renting vacation rental homes and guests reactions to my rentals and their experiences, their comments when here, and their reviews. I will make some comments on the post. And by the way, thanks for including Scurlock Farms in it!!

Obviously, the property plays into the lifestyle vibes guests get while visiting. I think the farm entry gate and area is inviting and makes people realize they are entering a different world than most are used to. The majority of my guests come from much larger cities, with sirens, people piled on top of each other, and noise. Many, many guests have told me over the years they literally felt their stress melt away as they entered the farm - and they hadn't even stayed yet!

I believe the free tours I give around the farm where I show guests the river, fossils, fishing spots, farm animals and where the feed and horse brushes are, the chickens, the produce gardens, and the boys let the kids play on the tractors and show them how they work - all of these things lend themselves to letting people feel like they are experiencing my lifestyle for a weekend or a month or two.

For those that want to, they can help gather eggs, feed the chickens, feed the animals or bale hay. I will be glad , hopefully in the next few months, when people can again ride on the jump seat in the big, cabbed tractor with David as he bales and picks up 10 square bales at a time with an accumulator. Some guests grew up farming and miss it and love sitting in chairs and just watching the equipment work in the pasture near the houses. Others have never seen anything like it and are fascinated with how everything works, and some families have all wanted to ride while a large, round bale was baled up.

I have found that very few guests put on makeup when they are visiting - they are relaxing! So, I don't get "gussied up" for them either. I am totally myself and dress and act the way I do every day, and I think it comes across as friendly and neighborly.

Once guests know the lay of the land, they are free to come and go about the property as they want. We frequently meet them in the pastures or hiking down the drive on their way somewhere around the farm - to hike the spring-fed creed and look for fossils, or hiking to the bluff and watch the spectacular sunsets, out bird watching, headed to the river with their fishing poles, going to check out the gardens, etc., etc. We let them be the indicator of how much time they would like to spend visiting and chatting. Most guests love visiting and getting their questions answered. Many times we have to cut it off to get on with what we are doing. Again, I think this lets guests feel immersed in the lifestyle we are living.

This is a review posted on Airbnb this week: A charming cottage with stunning views and trails located on a lively family farm. We were in the area for a work event and the pallet pad offered an ideal escape from the throng of activity. We enjoyed the atmosphere and provenance of the cabin itself, but most notable (aside from the gorgeous hill country views) was the experience of walking through the orchard with grazing cows down to the river’s edge. What a treat for us humans as well as our pup! Thank you for sharing such an inspiring place.

They were one of the few that did not want a tour, due to time, and I never met the couple, but Daniel and David saw them out a couple of times and chatted with them and answered questions.

I have found that meeting and visiting with several members of the family during their visits REALLY resonates with guests. The boys are great with taking time to visit with them, and many times they are in similar age groups. Those guests almost always comment in the guest reviews, both online and in the homes, how much they enjoyed our family.

Matt, I think of my tours around the farm kind of like you probably thought of your walking tours with your guests in Panama.

The decor in the homes is somewhat Texas/Western themed with cowhide rugs, etc. But, they are comfortable and relaxed. I did not want them to look or feel like a hotel room or something out of a magazine that they could not relax in and enjoy.

Each of the homes has a notebook that has stories my Mom put together about how they found the farm, gathered the rocks for the homes from the river, hand laid the fireplaces and walls, how she became a well-known Texas landscape artist and one of President Lyndon Johnson's favorites, and how they worked and paid for the farm. Guests LOVE reading them and tell me it makes the home seem so much more alive and they "get it".
 

DMartinez

Ambassador
Inner Circle
Wing Fighter
We have been closed now for over a year 🤦‍♀️ first due to construction and extended due to COVID's impact on that progress. Meanwhile, our community has been on the warpath against STRs, especially as more people booked to escape the infection to work from home or home school in nature.

My goal is to set the stage for an expectation of a "required" lifestyle- one of quiet, one of following the rules. Ultimately I not only want to reveal our remodeled home as it progresses but also to set the stage for not upsetting our neighbors. I've been doing this mostly via our Instagram, linking the photos back to locations on my website for further info.

Without the benefit of influencer models, I have only my family and friends. Thankfully they have given me permission to use them.

Given guests must first travel the edge of the continent, they must really want to get there!
From our Instagram: “He saw nothing except the endless ribbon of road unfolding in twisting narrow curves.”⁠

Screen Shot 2021-03-31 at 9.41.27 AM.png
See IG post
Linked to: Directions: Sea Ranch Road Trip


They have also helped me have insight into how others may use my home (my daughter and grandkids...and yes, for the sofa back jumpers in the world, I purchased a sturdy sofa and placed it this way to survive this exact scene.)

Screen Shot 2021-03-31 at 9.50.11 AM.png
See IG Post

And while I'm closed for now- my goal for those who are visiting other homes is to understand our community's lifestyle and expectations. In that way, we may actually remain open come the next year. Modeling good behavior is our Vizsla, "Ana" Kissed by Rose.

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See IG post
Though this photo is not linked, the photos of baby seals are linked to my experience as a seal docent.
 

StaySavvy

Counselor
Inner Circle
Columnist
I translate the 'lifestyle' aspect of branding as 'experiential' travel... Coming from a dense hospitality background, it's all about the experience which, as Matt pointed out, is a byproduct of the property itself.

One strategy we use to create the 'character' of a property is a unique onboarding process in which we conduct a "sleep-through" as opposed to a walk-through. We spend 2-3 nights staying at the home as typical guests and press hard to find the unique traits of both the property and surrounding area. By the time we leave, we not only have a game plan for how to furnish and design the space, but also a very real sense of the personality we want to create, and the emotions that we want to evoke in our marketing. We then reserve time for 1-2 quality assurance stays throughout the year to continue building on the personality and make adjustments where needed.

For example, we have a property called "Relax House" in Palm Springs, CA which revolves around sun-bathing in the pool area. The captions, copy, and photos all point to this experience, often drawing CA residents who literally book this place for the sole purpose of relaxing (vs. vacationing).

Piggybacking off of Jefferson Jefferson, we've also learned that assumptions are great to have when starting out but it's important to actively challenge those assumptions. When we opened up our first property in Hawaii, we assumed we'd get families and friend groups. After the first 6 months, we found that we completely missed the working professionals niche. We adjusted thereafter and were perfectly positioned to capitalize on the remote WFH trend on the tail-end of COVID.

We also have a process for tagging each reservation with a kind of purpose identifier that lets us know the primary reason for staying (i.e. local event, family, anniversary). We then use this data to find guest patterns at each property and make sure we're not overlooking specific trends.
 

StaySavvy

Counselor
Inner Circle
Columnist
Well said Matt!

The only thing I would add is that you don't have to guess on what vibe to create. Let the guest do it for you.

I'm in the middle of reading "Nail it then scale it" which emphasis the importance of getting on the phone with you customers and talking to them. I have recently started calling every single one of the guests we've had in the last 6 months and learned that we have been accidentally appealing to the "birthday" guest. Over 70% of the guests I've talked to have come for a kids birthday. So now we are honing our experience to be more catered to kids birthday parties and upselling catering, party favors, character visits, etc.
Love this idea! Curious to know how you set the stage for the call and what the flow of conversation sounds like?
 

Toby

Counselor
Inner Circle
When it comes to pictures on Airbnb and VRBO I stick with the house. But with my Instagram account, I tend to go more towards the lifestyle aspect. I have found that it broadens my market and allows me more flexibility in the pictures that I can post.

I have toyed with the idea of doing more lifestyle type pictures for Airbnb and Vrbo, but my calendar is doing good and I’m not sure what the benefit is of messing with something that is working.
 

Sallie

Envoy
Inner Circle
Yellow Jersey
Columnist
We can't ignore the reason why people go to a destination, and, like @JPrugh posed, if we're targeting the Not-Luxury market.

What if my property is one of 1,000 similar condos in a popular tourist destination, and competitively priced at a nearly identical rate? When potential guests are searching for a property, are they looking for a lifestyle experience from my condo, or from my location?

We need to assess:
a) what can we profitably afford to provide that's meaningful to guests coming to our destination​
b) will that show up in OTA search filters, and​
c) how can it be captured in photos​

No matter the location or property, we know photos can instantly set a property apart from all others—when the property is thoughtfully and distinctly furnished, and staged for professional photography.

Consider your photos are the story board for the vacation movie playing in your guests' imaginations.

Tell a story showing "This is what you'll wake up to," "Imagine yourself doing this," "Little things can make lasting memories," "Doesn't this look inviting?" and so on. The photos Matt posted do this.

Then caption your photos to enrich the story—Wake up to goats bleating in the pasture, Everyone can relive their day over dinner, Your children will find their favorite cereals in the kitchen, Put your feet up on the coffee table for drinks by the fire.
 

DMartinez

Ambassador
Inner Circle
Wing Fighter
When it comes to pictures on Airbnb and VRBO I stick with the house. But with my Instagram account, I tend to go more towards the lifestyle aspect. I have found that it broadens my market and allows me more flexibility in the pictures that I can post.

I have toyed with the idea of doing more lifestyle type pictures for Airbnb and Vrbo, but my calendar is doing good and I’m not sure what the benefit is of messing with something that is working.
Lifestyle photos are important! It allows the guest to visualize- "This could be you" moments.
 

JStokinger

Counselor
Inner Circle
Something to consider... when emitting "lifestyle vibes" it is important to come authentically.

Be you, show your colors, and showcase your "product"; but also be conscientious that those that actually live that lifestyle will see through fluff.

If you are coming from a place that is just "checking boxes" then you are coming from the wrong place.
 

JeffJ

Counselor
Inner Circle
I use the term "lifestyle brand" to describe a vacation rental business whose marketing leads not with the property, but the vibes (or lifestyle) guests experience when staying there. You can immediately feel a lifestyle vacation rental brand when you come in contact with it.

For instance, Kristi Kristi and Starship Landing Retreat. The property itself is still there. But it's not the centerpiece of the photography: rather a component of the greater "being there" experience.

View attachment 3911

If you were to draw a spectrum, lifestyle branding is polar opposite real estate branding where the property is the product: typically technical/objective/transactional.

With vacation rentals, the product (vacation time with loved ones full of meaning, purpose, and memories) is actually a byproduct of the property itself.
And a vacation rental lifestyle brand is one whose imagery is based on this more evolved definition "product" that our guests are seeking.

Perhaps it evokes emotional connections using staging like Robin Robin with Chateau Mirador of Moving Mountains.

View attachment 3919

While not all of us own/manage opulent ski chalets, we do offer vibes of cozy, warm, elegant, picturesque....etc.

I believe independent vacation rental marketers are ideally positioned to emanate lifestyle vibes because we already curate those vibes for a living. With a little packaging, we evoke aspirations and the reaction: I want that for my vacation!

Here are some ideas to rise above normal vacation rental marketing levels and enter the territory of lifestyle brand vibes featuring a handful of Inner Circle stewards:

1. Piggyback on a lifestyle brand like Peloton, Tesla, or YETI


If you're looking for a quick hack to lifestyle branding vibes, find a company that already does this well and integrate.

Kirsten King of Big Sky Vacation Rentals invested in Peloton bikes for select homes.
View attachment 3912

BobG BobG has a Tesla charging station.

View attachment 3913

CJ CJ of Southern Comfort Cabin Rentals sends his repeat guests YETI mugs and thermoses.
Note: CJ loves the YETI but they're simply too expensive for him to buy in bulk and so he buys similar ones that cost 1/2 the price.

View attachment 3921

2. Take 'About Us' photos that embody interests & attitudes

SScurlock SScurlock and
Scurlock Farms's community of guests who adore farm life is not being created out of thin air: it already exists. So she shows it (along with her team/family) on the About Us page.

View attachment 3914

3. Curate culture


To adapt the great Rumi quote, "your property is not a drop in the destination: It's the destination in a drop."

Rather than simply being a part of the local community, show your vacation rental business as an active participant and connector in the community. ROster ROster of Oster Golf Houses nails this with his drone video tours of the local golf holes.

Be more than the hotel that people stay in when they visit a location; be the lifestyle portal.
Stephanie Farr does this (as she does with most things lifestyle branding) exceptionally well in the form of Maya Luxe adventure experiences.

View attachment 3915


4. Ask lifestyle bloggers to do it for you

Kim Kim and
The Houses on Manzanita Beach made an arrangement with the Pretty Life Girls Blog to host in exchange for photos. And as you can see, the photos are less focused on any single property/feature and more on "scenes" or vignettes. Employing the artful eye of influencers and social media influencers with their own esthetic is a great way to hack this process.

View attachment 3918


5. Ditch age-old design advice for simplicity

LMejias LMejias and
Fixie Lofts in Dominican Republic does this as well as anyone. There’s a reason every product and their sister for sale is utilizing the ultra-simple esthetic.

View attachment 3917

6. Embrace scenes or vignettes

For Barry Barry of
Carmel Retreats and his newly achieved Instagram Fame, branding is about more than a room or property feature or facade: it's about a scene or vignette: a miniature story with things going on. Instagram (the world’s biggest lifestyle brand marketplace) is perfect for this and you can take the same logic to your own website.

View attachment 3920

Questions for the community:
  • Do you have any instances of companies that do the lifestyle branding thing really well?
  • Have you struck a chord in any of your marketing that achieves this lifestyle vibe?
  • Is there another way to describe this style of marketing (lifestyle brand can sound frou frou)?
Last year we made several changes at Opulent Vacations. The first was a new name and brand. It took us two years to transition from Utopian LVH to Opulent Vacations. It is now a brand name we can build upon as we grow.

Second, we have wine that has been private labeled as part of a welcome basket for each guest. We have done the coffee mug gift as well.

With that said, our most important guest is our homeowner and them getting behind our brand has been a big deal. We swag them, as a surprise at least once a year. Recently we have live lucky hats with our logo, we also have gone with artic for our coffee mugs and water glasses and golf shirts for him/her. Last, we have launched a tv series in each of our markets to support our brand, community awareness and the lifestyle we create. Pelotons, we are doing that, in all the high end homes and available upon request for a fee. We have also really taken on the concierge side of the business with YourWelcome.

Most all of our vendors are now signed up and paying referral fees. We hired, as President, the former head of Vegas.com with his experience running 400 concierges to build out the guest services side of our business. We have also developed the OS (operating system or Opulent System) to run dash boards for each department. In essence, no more manual spreadsheets which has been our band aid for years. I was able to save our team somewhere between 30-50% of their time by creating systems for operations, accounting, sales, concierge, etc. The OS will be a product we offer to the industry over the coming years. It is PMS agnostic so it doesn't matter which system you are using it will work to make operating your business much easier.

Last, but certainly not least we have made acquisitions in La Jolla and Lake Tahoe. We are in the process of integrating their brands with Opulent and beginning to seek additional acquisitions. We are raising our first capital make make the next two acquisitions this year. To tie it all together from a marketing perspective, I am a launch ambassador for Scott Miller, franklin covey, called Marketing Mess to Brand Success. There are 30 challenges that are all nuggets that you can implement in your businesses to help create your brand.

 

RuthM

Envoy
Inner Circle
I love this thread. Matt Landau Matt Landau I think of it as "anima" (which means SOUL in Italian). Italian culture considers things all the time with this perspective: "putting your soul into something" or "does this feed my soul". The examples you give above speak to our emotions, the experience we want to have as vacationers to these beautiful properties and ultimately to the HEART and SOUL that these Inner Circle members are putting into their businesses, from large to small. This type of communication is the ultimate LIMITED EDITION because you can highlight your own properties AND your personalised experience of your destination and invite your guests to make the experiences their own. This thread is a handy guide to the holy grail of vacation rental marketing! Thanks !
 

Catherine

Envoy
Inner Circle
I do love the feelings that the lifestyle brand can evoke. It pulls at the emotional side which is the one that often pulls the trigger to make the booking.

I don't know if others feel this way but I find myself having a hard time narrowing in on who our guests are....We have large houses (3-5 bedrooms) so cater to large groups but that can either be families (ranging from babies to grandparents), groups in traveling together (of all different ages). Therefore when I do our social marketing I find it challenging as I tend to try to cater to both and therefore don't know if I actually nail either.

I am open, excited to receive, any feedback on if I am trying to appeal too broadly to everyone.
Seems like you appeal to "gatherings" ....families and travelers who gather together: meet and stay at your place and enjoy being able to all connect for a unified, fun experience
 

Catherine

Envoy
Inner Circle
Well, as I told Matt, my place is dog-centric. I emphasize my huge, fenced-in yard with deck so guests can chill on the deck, and watch their dogs play.
On my site I have a Dog Gallery, and ask guests to take pics of their dogs so I can put on my site as "furry guests".
 

Robin

Envoy
Inner Circle
Great thread and thanks for including us.

At Moving Mountains, we try to make it about the experience or the memories that are going to be made. So, for us, connecting aspects of our marketing to the moments that every guest is seeking is not rocket science. We want to get away from a reservation conversation purely driven around what "unit" they are renting and rates/discounts you can offer per night.

I use the "u" word because those in the unit business need to know that they are not in the same business we see ourselves in. If you think putting people in a unit is what you do, you are doing it wrong or at least missing a huge opportunity to get people to rent from you for reasons other than the rate or the discount. It should also be about the experiences ahead and you can evoke that reaction through great photography and creative staging far more effectively than any amount of words.
 

ROster

Ambassador
Inner Circle
Yellow Jersey
Wing Fighter
Well said Matt!

The only thing I would add is that you don't have to guess on what vibe to create. Let the guest do it for you.

I'm in the middle of reading "Nail it then scale it" which emphasis the importance of getting on the phone with you customers and talking to them. I have recently started calling every single one of the guests we've had in the last 6 months and learned that we have been accidentally appealing to the "birthday" guest. Over 70% of the guests I've talked to have come for a kids birthday. So now we are honing our experience to be more catered to kids birthday parties and upselling catering, party favors, character visits, etc.
OK Jefferson Jefferson I am so curious! How the heck do you acidentally appeal to birthday guests?
 

ROster

Ambassador
Inner Circle
Yellow Jersey
Wing Fighter
Last year we made several changes at Opulent Vacations. The first was a new name and brand. It took us two years to transition from Utopian LVH to Opulent Vacations. It is now a brand name we can build upon as we grow. Second, we have wine that has been private labeled as part of a welcome basket for each guest. We have done the coffee mug gift as well. With that said, our most important guest is our homeowner and them getting behind our brand has been a big deal. We swag them, as a surprise at least once a year. Recently we have live lucky hats with our logo, we also have gone with artic for our coffee mugs and water glasses and golf shirts for him/her. Last, we have launched a tv series in each of our markets to support our brand, community awareness and the lifestyle we create. Pelotons, we are doing that, in all the high end homes and available upon request for a fee. We have also really taken on the concierge side of the business with yourwelcome. Most all of our vendors are now signed up and paying referral fees. We hired, as President, the former head of Vegas.com with his experience running 400 concierges to build out the guest services side of our business. We have also developed the OS (operating system or Opulent system) to run dash boards for each department. In essence, no more manual spreadsheets which has been our band aid for years. I was able to save our team somewhere between 30-50% of their time by creating systems for operations, accounting, sales, concierge, etc. The OS will be a product we offer to the industry over the coming years. It is PMS agnostic so it doesn't matter which system you are using it will work to make operating your business much easier. Last, but certainly not least we have made acquisitions in La Jolla and Lake Tahoe. We are in the process of integrating their brands with Opulent and beginning to seek additional acquisitions. We are raising our first capital make make the next two acquisitions this year. To tie it all together from a marketing perspective, I am a launch ambassador for Scott Miller, franklin covey, called Marketing Mess to Brand Success. There are 30 challenges that are all nuggets that you can implement in your businesses to help create your brand.

Ahhhh, Franklin Covey. I used a Franklin planner for 25 years. Still feel the need to put a little circle next to each of my "to-do" items and put a small check mark in the circle when I'm done! Souds like you've made a lot of progress in a short period of time JeffJ JeffJ . Congrats!
 

Barry

Counselor
Inner Circle
I'm not the best guy to address "lifestyle brand vibes." In my opinion, Airbnb's markets its "lifestyle brands" with curated destinations, properties and hosts, which is good for them, since they don't really own those properties. They perform this well, as they should, given their depth of expertise in this arena.
  • Piggyback on lifestyle brand like Peleton, Tesla or YETI: My market wouldn't be attracted to the first two, but maybe the third. Peleton is expensive ($1895) but becomes somewhat more affordable at $49 per month for 39 months. Then I'd have to figure out where to put it. Tesla is great for charging Teslas, but perhaps not for other EVs. (The city owns a used Tesla and has its own charging station about a block away from our properties.) General Motors is partnering with EVGo with offer both the CHAdeMO dcfc and SAE Combo (J1772). I'll leave it up to BobG BobG whether his Tesla charging stations will work for other EVs. Here is Yeti's corporate giving site: https://www.yeti.com/en_US/corporate-gifting.html. We sweat the details of providing Voss (Norwegian) water and another treat.
  • We can certainly work on an "About Us"photo, but it wouldn't be on our property. There's a pony-sized Dala horse at one of our small businesses that we could gather around could gather around - just have to get back there soon!
  • While we certainly curate the Swedish culture, we don't really have adventure experiences that other small businesses in the area provide for visitors. Lindsborg's CVB and small businesses direct guests to find these adventures on their own. That said, the CVB is curating a kite flying event at Coronado Heights this month, hosted by a kite company out of Wichita, so that's something.
  • Lindsborg's CVB is curating lifestyle bloggers for the entire city. We are a part of that, but since we're not a destination unto itself, such as SScurlock SScurlock Farm - we have do play the hand that's dealt.
  • We don't seem to have a problem with guests turning down our properties because they aren't designed well. Virtually all of them are so surprised that these properties exist at all in this small town.
  • I'm embracing scenes and vignettes on Instagram by employing photographic editing tips by National Geographic photographer Jim Richardson, using Snapseed (free) primarily. And I'm bringing in more guests into Mailchimp audience with StayFi. I'll never be on par with Barry Barry of Carmel Retreats, but then again, I don't think that I need to do that.
I plan to reach out to a production company behind a new Amazon series who plans to film an episode in Lindsborg later this year.

I know that @Matt is tired of hearing this, but properties with "lifestyle brand vibes" will cater to wealthier guests so that these amenities could be included.
Thanks for the mention, Jim, but I'm quite a newbie at all this, just kind of winging it as I go - likely, many of us here are in the same boat. That said, I feel that authenticity is more important than vibe, and what we offer in our images and messaging should come first from a place of who we really are, what we care about, and what we want our guests to feel when they stay with us. Your whole website is authentically you and most would be hard pressed to match that.
 

Nancy

Ambassador
Inner Circle
Yellow Jersey
Columnist
I wholeheartedly agree that it is the experience that we are offering to our guests, including setting up the vibes.

It's not really about the brick and mortar of the home in terms of real estate values and terms like bedroom types and square footage.

Story telling about how guests will experience the home is the best approach in both the text and visual formats.
It's really the ABC's of how to attract your ideal avatar isn't it?
Set the stage and they will come!

We just loaded up this little cute cottage for a new host yesterday on FLARBO.
The owner has done and incredible job of staging, and ensuring the photography is really creating an emotional reaction.

You can tell they've really thought out the design and created spaces and moments where the guest can delight in relaxation.
The cost was probably pretty minimal with the choice of materials and furnishings but WOW what an impact.

We can't wait to rush these out on Instagram and social to start marketing and advsertising it!
 

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Matt Landau

Ambassador
Staff member
I feel that authenticity is more important than vibe, and what we offer in our images and messaging should come first from a place of who we really are, what we care about, and what we want our guests to feel when they stay with us. Your whole website is authentically you and most would be hard pressed to match that.
Gabor Gabor would you mind sharing with the community the importance of this statement in branding a lodging business? (For those who don’t know him, Gabor is a renowned hospitality professor at Ryerson’s Ted Rogers School of Hospitality and has been researching and teaching this subject for many years.)
 

Matt Landau

Ambassador
Staff member
I wholeheartedly agree that it is the experience that we are offering to our guests, including setting up the vibes.

It's not really about the brick and mortar of the home in terms of real estate values and terms like bedroom types and square footage.

Story telling about how guests will experience the home is the best approach in both the text and visual formats.
It's really the ABC's of how to attract your ideal avatar isn't it?
Set the stage and they will come!

We just loaded up this little cute cottage for a new host yesterday on FLARBO.
The owner has done and incredible job of staging, and ensuring the photography is really creating an emotional reaction.

You can tell they've really thought out the design and created spaces and moments where the guest can delight in relaxation.
The cost was probably pretty minimal with the choice of materials and furnishings but WOW what an impact.

We can't wait to rush these out on Instagram and social to start marketing and advsertising it!
Nancy Nancy I absolutely love the cottage lifestyle vibes!

I use the "u" word because those in the unit business need to know that they are not in the same business we see ourselves in. If you think putting people in a unit is what you do, you are doing it wrong or at least missing a huge opportunity to get people to rent from you for reasons other than the rate or the discount.
Robin Robin this is such a great point. "The U Word" might be part of my next presentation. It reminds me of Amy Amy and LindaS LindaS comment at minute 2:43 in the video below:

I'm not the best guy to address "lifestyle brand vibes."
JPrugh JPrugh I know you like to downplay your achievements but Lindsborg is a lifestyle designer's dream. For anyone who wants to see what I mean, a snapshot here:

One strategy we use to create the 'character' of a property is a unique onboarding process in which we conduct a "sleep-through"
StaySavvy StaySavvy Michael I absolutely love this sleep-through idea. It's one way a larger manager can achieve the effect of a single property owner: by actually placing themselves in the shoes of guests, realizing what THEY WOULD WANT when they stay, and then equipping accordingly. Looking forward to learning from your dense hotel background.

we have wine that has been private labeled
JeffJ JeffJ thanks for this awesome update! You're like a bear. You hibernate on us for a while, then you come out and unleash that beautiful roar. For anyone who wants to see Jeff in action, here's an episode we did on his operations in Park City. I got to taste the private label wine -- the ultimate lifestyle branding swag to me (and simultaneously, just an excuse to have your own private label wine).

when emitting "lifestyle vibes" it is important to come authentically.
So well put JStokinger JStokinger -- I think Barry Barry hits on this in his post later in the thread. If you're being authentically YOU then the lifestyle vibes can flow. If not, you're left trying to copy someone else's vibes. I have been some more prelim research with Gabor Gabor on how exactly to make our branding more authentic. Please stay tuned.

Consider your photos are the story board for the vacation movie playing in your guests' imaginations.
BINGO! Imagine you had no text and the ONLY communication was a string of photos that showed what your vacation would be like (not just the property, the vacation!) Such a great way to describe this Sallie Sallie
 

Filipa

Envoy
Inner Circle
Hello!

Tourism is dead in Portugal, so I'm diving into social media these weeks. :D

I decided first to follow the Thibault Thibault idea you can read here https://www.rentalscaleup.com/vrma-facebook-marketing/ and started to upload my guest list (since 2010) to Facebook (I thought it would be better than upload it to Mailchimp as I didn't use to ask permission).

To check if this would work, I created a 4€ paid campaign with beach photos and only target this guest list; I only spend 1,65€ and already receive 1 message from previous guests saying they missed Portugal. :D

I will continue to study more about social media and Instagram. I loved Barry Barry idea of reposting local business, and I need to learn how to do that.

Thank you all for this :D

I'm following all your IG accounts for ideas, if you know a good place to learn let me know! :giggle: my IG is @rent4rest
 

Susanne

Counselor
There is so much practical "nut and bolt" business that must be tackled to set up a vacation rental. Often this visionary, foundational planning stage is missed entirely. Plus, some people are intuitively good at it, and others find this type of brand-voice work more of a struggle.

Tying a property entirely to location and destination is a recipe to be, well, exactly like everyone else. Some vibes probably evolve over time but I am a proponent of doing the work upfront, if possible. The more you can drill down to capture the essence and then define it, the easier everything else will fall into place.

Matt Landau Matt Landau, this is a wish list item for the Inner Circle. Is it possible to set up a VIBE INSPIRATION section with categories? vintage, western, boho, rustic, fishing cabin, inland lake, ocean beach, middle of the big city, romance, luxury, family, farm, zen/minimalist, villa, musical, chalet, family reunions, and more? This is not a complete list and needs to be polished, but you get the idea. Maybe the IC members who resonate with a category could share their top tips for creating that vibe? There is nothing to say you cannot take the info and then mix and match to get more specific. Romantic Western? Boho Big City?

I would love to see the websites of vibe-inspired vacation rentals. I know many on this group have their own websites but there are some Airbnb-only hosts hitting it out of the park too. In the category of super-budget (which the world needs now) Here is one I stumbled across last year and concluded "Oh Peggy Sue, I love you!"
 
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Mark

Envoy
Inner Circle
Wing Fighter
I'm a bit late to the party here. What a fantastic thread with so many great thoughts!
Matt Landau Matt Landau - as a 'Lifestyler' my mind wants to go in so many different directions at once! :)

Of the categories you highlighted, I have focused most on "6 - 'Embracing scenes or vignettes". I've tried to VR-ify (new word!) the approach of one of the masters of Experience in the boutique luxury resort world - Rosewood.

Before the wonderful VRMB 'Sense of Place' season, I had become a big fan of Rosewood Resorts 'Sense of Place' campaign that continues today.

Rosewood does an amazing job of communicating a feeling, or vibe, long before guests have set foot on the property. From their opening webpage (https://www.rosewoodhotels.com/en/default), to their location/property photography, it's a feeling of "Ahhhhhhhh"!! They somehow capture the feeling they want to convey through photos.

Each of their major properties tend to have an awesome video focused on experience and the Sense of Place at that location. Besides their own website, there are more videos at their production company's website at: https://www.picturefarmproduction.com/rosewood-hotels-a-sense-of-place-series/ . I think it's worth checking out from the perspective of successfully communicating Limited Edition and Experience in an amorphous, intangible way.

Now none of us have multi-million dollar production budgets, but there are still great take-aways for us VR folks.

Mine was - show the property, but somehow convey a feeling of the experience the property delivers to draw attention away from all the other similar properties in my market. So right from the start I focused on the guest experience to differentiate above and beyond the built-in uniqueness of the property itself.

For instance, 32 of the 50 photos on my listings are more to set a mood and feeling than put a check in the box for one room after another. I'm definitely no master and will always be trying to do better, but many guests have commented that they chose my home because of the feeling they had when looking at the photos. They could mentally put themselves there relaxing and they just knew it was the one.

It's time for me to break through my mental barrier on going to video, because there's no better medium (with accompanying music) to capture scenes or vignettes that communicate a feeling!
 

JPrugh

Ambassador
Inner Circle
Thanks for the comments from Matt Landau Matt Landau Barry Barry Sallie Sallie and ROster ROster! Matt was generous enough to provide some footage for the Lindsborg Life video to attract new residents to town (see below). So rather than compete in the "lifestyle" space, we can certainly be in the "enjoy your life here" space. Many visitors, even daytrippers, consistently remark how pleasant and welcoming our downtown small business merchants can be. So I'll continue to encourage our guests to jump in and participate in the city's goings-on. That's why I copy and paste the CVB's monthly newsletter and include it on my Google My Business webpages for each property. As vaccination opportunities are plentiful, COVID restrictions are beginning to lift. Three new businesses are gestating now: reopening Farley's, ice cream store, soda fountain. New bakery opened a month ago.
 
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BobG

Ambassador
Inner Circle
Wing Fighter
I think this is a really cool topic. I believe what many guests are seeking from a stay is not a uniform standard approach that makes them feel like they could be anywhere. They want to feel special, they want to feel appreciated and they want to feel that they have chosen well in finding a place that is in tune with their vibe.

Of course this vibe can be expressed and shown in so many ways as we can see from all the great comments and perspectives on this thread. Let me add my two themes that seem to work for us.

The first theme is one of belonging. We want people to feel like they are staying in their second home, so it is relaxed, familiar and welcoming. Maybe our last review of 2020 says it best
'A sort of homecoming!
2020 was different for all of us except for that week in July at Casal dei Fichi. It felt like a sort of homecoming! In the past we stayed several times at this lovely place, though the last time was in 2014. We left home without clear destination, after a couple of hours the entire family agreed to call Bob and Ian. ..... Decision taken. And indeed, it was not a sort of homecoming, it felt like being home. The four of us (11 years older than the first visit) were still amazed of the breath taking views, the garden with the pool and more importantly the hospitality of the two young owners!' ****

And the second theme for us is definitely our eco approach. One of the initivies that Matt Landau Matt Landau and JPrugh JPrugh mention is the electric car chargers. We have them for both Tesla and other electric cars and they certainly attract visitors who might not otherwise stay with us. Drivers of EV are obviously looking for a place with an EV charger and so they cross reference the public databases of EV chargers with other sources for great places to stay. They always message us to check that the charger will work for them before they book. So we end up chatting and then of course they book with us direct.

*** he was being somewhat creative with the use of the word 'young' :LOL::LOL:
 

Jefferson

Attaché
Inner Circle
Love this idea! Curious to know how you set the stage for the call and what the flow of conversation sounds like?
Sure! I just tried to keep it informal is possible. Just called and said “hi Jessica my name is Jeff and I’m the founder of Loma homes. We hosted your stay back in December and I was wondering if you be willing to give us your feedback”. Almost all of them really appreciated the call and ask for a quote to come back. Another hidden benefit of the call.
 

Matt Landau

Ambassador
Staff member
SScurlock SScurlock was kind enough to introduce me to Bill Lee of Yonder.com. In looking through their website, I came upon "Yonder Films" which are short little documentaries (3-4 mins) that tell the story of the experience or "lifestyle" you will get when you visit. If you notice, the focus is less on the properties and more on the vibes:





And if you want to go ultra simple, this one is merely 30 seconds of "spring morning"...


Not to be confused with MarkB MarkB Yonder :)
 

Tarkan and Julia

Istanbul Place Apartments
Inner Circle
These are fabulous -
1) love the Rumi adaptation, remind me to tell you my Rumi story
2) great ideas about focusing on NOT the property but the STORY (i.e. not a commodity)
3) Thanks Jefferson for the book recommendation - Amazon should have it here by next week
4) we need more story and less commodity in our brand
Please tell us all your Rumi story!
 

CCapalbo

Ambassador
Inner Circle
Wing Fighter
My target audiences are; 1. Families 2. Group of Friends 3. Mancation
The vacation rental /villa rental in Jamaica is very saturated, so, as an owner, I need to find something other than our building /villa to differentiate us from our competitors. My staff and I focus on how we can make our prospective guests feel when they stay at the vacation rental.

Focusing on the interest of my target audience and try to cultivate their interest, feeling of togetherness, relaxation, and adventure in my marketing. We aim to provide a feeling of belonging, That is where I want to be (self-actualization)

1. For adventure seekers, we partner with tour operators offering fun adrenaline activities, onsite DJ once per week. Adventure seekers are also looking to spend time with friends or loved ones. They may be celebrating a milestone event, such as a bachelorette, milestone birthday, etc.

Togetherness/families with children, family reunion:

This group is primarily looking to relax and spend time with loved ones or reconnect. We offer full-time staff, including chef, butler, bartender, housekeepers, on-site massage therapist.
We also provide an on-site bar lounge area, serving premium alcohols, and space where adults can have fun, enjoy their favorite cocktails. We are more than just a vacation rental.
There is a kid's game room where kids of all ages can enjoy.
Outdoor poolside dining and event night. We have had an anniversary, bachelorette, birthday celebration by the pool, move to the bar lounge if raining
We just create an outdoor kitchen with a gas grill and Jamaican jerk pan Plus seating for dining or cocktails
On-site dedicated spa for guests who need to be pampered & Gym for those who want to continue fitness activities while on vacation.
Everyone loves food, I work with our chefs to ensure we are providing great meals that can be raved about.
We work with a transportation company to ensure our guests travel together, from arrival to departure.
I also set up a personalized chat group with guests and the house manager to ensure staff is aware of guests' requests, for example, what time they require breakfast, what time is the bus to pick up the group to take them to activities, etc.
 

LMejias

I make films
Inner Circle
I use the term "lifestyle brand" to describe a vacation rental business whose marketing leads not with the property, but the vibes (or lifestyle) guests experience when staying there. You can immediately feel a lifestyle vacation rental brand when you come in contact with it.

For instance, Kristi Kristi and Starship Landing Retreat. The property itself is still there. But it's not the centerpiece of the photography: rather a component of the greater "being there" experience.

View attachment 3911

If you were to draw a spectrum, lifestyle branding is polar opposite real estate branding where the property is the product: typically technical/objective/transactional.

With vacation rentals, the product (vacation time with loved ones full of meaning, purpose, and memories) is actually a byproduct of the property itself.
And a vacation rental lifestyle brand is one whose imagery is based on this more evolved definition "product" that our guests are seeking.

Perhaps it evokes emotional connections using staging like Robin Robin with Chateau Mirador of Moving Mountains.

View attachment 3919

While not all of us own/manage opulent ski chalets, we do offer vibes of cozy, warm, elegant, picturesque....etc.

I believe independent vacation rental marketers are ideally positioned to emanate lifestyle vibes because we already curate those vibes for a living. With a little packaging, we evoke aspirations and the reaction: I want that for my vacation!

Here are some ideas to rise above normal vacation rental marketing levels and enter the territory of lifestyle brand vibes featuring a handful of Inner Circle stewards:

1. Piggyback on a lifestyle brand like Peloton, Tesla, or YETI


If you're looking for a quick hack to lifestyle branding vibes, find a company that already does this well and integrate.
KirstenK KirstenK (Kirsten King) of Big Sky Vacation Rentals invested in Peloton bikes for select homes.
View attachment 3912

BobG BobG has a Tesla charging station.

View attachment 3913

CJ CJ of Southern Comfort Cabin Rentals sends his repeat guests YETI mugs and thermoses.
Note: CJ loves the YETI but they're simply too expensive for him to buy in bulk and so he buys similar ones that cost 1/2 the price.

View attachment 3921

2. Take 'About Us' photos that embody interests & attitudes

SScurlock SScurlock and
Scurlock Farms's community of guests who adore farm life is not being created out of thin air: it already exists. So she shows it (along with her team/family) on the About Us page.

View attachment 3914

3. Curate culture


To adapt the great Rumi quote, "your property is not a drop in the destination: It's the destination in a drop."

Rather than simply being a part of the local community, show your vacation rental business as an active participant and connector in the community. ROster ROster of Oster Golf Houses nails this with his drone video tours of the local golf holes.

Be more than the hotel that people stay in when they visit a location; be the lifestyle portal.
Stephanie Farr does this (as she does with most things lifestyle branding) exceptionally well in the form of Maya Luxe adventure experiences.

View attachment 3915


4. Ask lifestyle bloggers to do it for you

Kim Kim and
The Houses on Manzanita Beach made an arrangement with the Pretty Life Girls Blog to host in exchange for photos. And as you can see, the photos are less focused on any single property/feature and more on "scenes" or vignettes. Employing the artful eye of influencers and social media influencers with their own esthetic is a great way to hack this process.

View attachment 3918


5. Ditch age-old design advice for simplicity

LMejias LMejias and
Fixie Lofts in Dominican Republic does this as well as anyone. There’s a reason every product and their sister for sale is utilizing the ultra-simple esthetic.

View attachment 3917

6. Embrace scenes or vignettes

For Barry Barry of
Carmel Retreats and his newly achieved Instagram Fame, branding is about more than a room or property feature or facade: it's about a scene or vignette: a miniature story with things going on. Instagram (the world’s biggest lifestyle brand marketplace) is perfect for this and you can take the same logic to your own website.

View attachment 3920

Questions for the community:
  • Do you have any instances of companies that do the lifestyle branding thing really well?
  • Have you struck a chord in any of your marketing that achieves this lifestyle vibe?
  • Is there another way to describe this style of marketing (lifestyle brand can sound frou frou)?

I ABSOLUTELY agree.

Your website (and Instagram) allows you to show "ROMANCE" (mood, vibe, emotion), while room photos on Booking.com and other OTAS are just showing "EXPLICIT SEX". You want people to fall in love with your place, not just people who need a bed to sleep.

We have also reached magazine editors and sent them our MOOD mix (words, images... and Instagram @fixielofts).

Managed so far to be featured on FORBES (last week), AD SPAIN, CN TRAVELLER, and Casa Vogue!.
 

Matt Landau

Ambassador
Staff member
We recently created a video to use in YouTube advertising highlighting our Lake Norman lifestyle and it's starting to gain some traction. (Sidenote: This was actually done before the VRBO commercials showing family time at a vacation rental). Click the link below if you'd like to see!

Lake Norman Lifestyle
Shari! Fanatic job! I don’t know the name for these kinds of “no words” videos but they achieve a great effect.
 

Barry

Counselor
Inner Circle
Hello!

Tourism is dead in Portugal, so I'm diving into social media these weeks. :D

I decided first to follow the Thibault Thibault idea you can read here https://www.rentalscaleup.com/vrma-facebook-marketing/ and started to upload my guest list (since 2010) to Facebook (I thought it would be better than upload it to Mailchimp as I didn't use to ask permission).

To check if this would work, I created a 4€ paid campaign with beach photos and only target this guest list; I only spend 1,65€ and already receive 1 message from previous guests saying they missed Portugal. :D

I will continue to study more about social media and Instagram. I loved Barry Barry idea of reposting local business, and I need to learn how to do that.

Thank you all for this :D

I'm following all your IG accounts for ideas, if you know a good place to learn let me know! :giggle: my IG is @rent4rest
Hi there Filipa. Here's what I've been doing on Instagram, but others may have a better method:

- Find an IG pic from a local biz that would fit your brand well
- Message the business and ask permission, eg. "I'd love to recommend your xyz to our guests. Do I have your permission to repost this pic on our IG profile with credit? (they'll say yes)
- Do a command-save (on mac) and choose to save the complete webpage (with image assets)
- Find the image you want in the asset folder and save it to your files/desktop to repost in a minute
- Post the pic on your IG profile with a shout out to the local biz and give photo credit to the biz/photographer where it originated
- Tag the local biz in your pic and add a hashtag for them
- Now you get to...
- Pat yourself on the back
- Take a bow
- Maybe eat a cookie if you're REALLY proud of yourself ;)
 

DMartinez

Ambassador
Inner Circle
Wing Fighter
Hi there Filipa. Here's what I've been doing on Instagram, but others may have a better method:

- Find an IG pic from a local biz that would fit your brand well
- Message the business and ask permission, eg. "I'd love to recommend your xyz to our guests. Do I have your permission to repost this pic on our IG profile with credit? (they'll say yes)
- Do a command-save (on mac) and choose to save the complete webpage (with image assets)
- Find the image you want in the asset folder and save it to your files/desktop to repost in a minute
- Post the pic on your IG profile with a shout out to the local biz and give photo credit to the biz/photographer where it originated
- Tag the local biz in your pic and add a hashtag for them
- Now you get to...
- Pat yourself on the back
- Take a bow
- Maybe eat a cookie if you're REALLY proud of yourself ;)
There are a few free reposting apps that cut out some of those steps-

 
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Toby

Counselor
Inner Circle
There are so many different routes to go with advertising and promoting our homes. Lifestyle branding is a legitimate option. I have slowly expanded beyond my comfort zones but it is still a challenge. Change is happening whether we embrace it or not. But what change to embrace? So many ways to improve and optimize.
 

DMartinez

Ambassador
Inner Circle
Wing Fighter
We recently created a video to use in YouTube advertising highlighting our Lake Norman lifestyle and it's starting to gain some traction. (Sidenote: This was actually done before the VRBO commercials showing family time at a vacation rental). Click the link below if you'd like to see!

Lake Norman Lifestyle
Lovely video! What was your process to accomplish it- storyboarding, "actors," filming/processing?
 

DMartinez

Ambassador
Inner Circle
Wing Fighter
There are so many different routes to go with advertising and promoting our homes. Lifestyle branding is a legitimate option. I have slowly expanded beyond my comfort zones but it is still a challenge. Change is happening whether we embrace it or not. But what change to embrace? So many ways to improve and optimize.
It can be mind-numbing and send you spinning trying to decide which nifty and new thing to apply towards your marketing plan.

I approached it as a complete newbie by listing my wish list predicated on return on investment - no matter if that investment was in time or dollars. For the most part, for me, it was in time in learning how. After reviewing all the STR models here and elsewhere that I wanted to grow up to become, I took note of what they had that I didn't and added those items to my wish list (again taking note of its ROI). Bit by bit I was able to cross items off that list. Of course, there always seemed to be another item to take its place which can make you want to pull your hair, but deep breathing exercises- especially exhaling- help there.

Another selection factor popped up over time- that which gave me pleasure as I tackled it. And that which didn't- I found another to do it for me. Again, keeping an eye on ROI- in both time and cost.

Throughout this whole process be Nemo-like: Just keep exhaling, Just keep exhaling.
 

Debra

Casale Prato delle Coccinelle
Inner Circle
Thank you Matt Landau Matt Landau for including me in this thread (albeit quite some time ago) and sorry for the late response.
I absolutely agree with RuthM RuthM when she wrote:
I think of it as "anima" (which means SOUL in Italian). Italian culture considers things all the time with this perspective: "putting your soul into something" or "does this feed my soul"
Since our Guests choose to visit us in this 'off the beaten path' RURAL Italy, I assume they already expect an 'Italian experience" which includes our lifestyle; the food, wine and of course extra virgin olive oil (which we produce) already have to do with 'experience'.
While they may not be interested in the history of our Casale or all our suggested day trips and they may never want to leave the pool side
(like @Matt, Stuart and Tami ) either way, they can't escape and experience no matter how hard they try!
We make sure they'll have plenty of Italian wine, Italian EVOO (extra virgin olive oil) fresh vegetables from the garden as a base.
When we put our 'anima' into the preps, 98% of the time we get 'anima' in return.

Debra.
Casale Prato delle Coccinelle
Historic Organic Olive Farm
Umbria, Italy
 

Alex

Vacation Toolbox
Inner Circle
I feel the larger conversation here is about the shift from commoditization towards monopolization. The way I define it, commodities are infinitely replaceable. This is where most VR's (and most businesses really) trend towards. When you scan listings in most markets, they look similar. Pictures, even professional ones are similar, the presentation & marketing is similar. The listing sites are the same. Price becomes the main distinction.

Commoditization is death, but not in the obvious way. Commoditization turns you from a business owner (with profits) to a market employee (where you're only compensated for time).

Monopolies are the theme of lifestyle branding. Monopolies are irreplaceable. It's not Rockefeller I-own-everything monopoly, but an organic only-I-can-make -this craftsman type monopoly. Lifestyle branding means monopolizing an experience or feeling.

From the perspective of long term survival, monopolizing isn't a nice-to-have. It's a must-have.

The quick way to think about how you can monopolize is by figuring how you can become "the only....." in a many categories as possible.

From what i've seen on this thread that includes

...the only VR with a tesla charging station
...the only desert starlight retreat (notice calling it a retreat rather than a vacation rental)
...the only family farm vacation rental
...the only one the area with a professional blog/instagram page.
...the only one with golf course drone videos.

etc.
 

AlexC

Envoy
Inner Circle
Columnist
We need to assess:
a) what can we profitably afford to provide that's meaningful to guests coming to our destinationb) will that show up in OTA search filters, andc) how can it be captured in photos

Love this! As its very similar to how our company thinks about this.

I will say that we have some pretty compelling data suggesting that showing up in OTA filters and photos is actually less important than the guest reviews/ratings that usually come from a SUPRISE customization or amenity/feature in the house. We sort of discovered this by accident, but basically, if you add amenities or lean into guest experience customizations, the OTAs actually pickup very quickly that guests are happier and are having expectations exceeded even without advertising anything different!

I think it speaks to the greatest advertising method we have, which is guests leaving reviews and feedback that indicates they had an exceptional time staying at your property!

With that said, we have done some really cool work on figuring out high ROI spends that are meaningful to guests, I don't think I could have worded "a" any better myself!
 

Sallie

Envoy
Inner Circle
Yellow Jersey
Columnist
This Vrbo listing photo—and the hosting it implies—is a lesson in how our properties can stand out with professional photography that tells a story to attract quality guests. This is a seafront house in the Bahamas.

Perhaps these hosts wanted to showcase "Make yourself at home."

My staging and art direction would include:
  • Shoot during the daytime
  • Show the view outside the window
  • Get rid of the crap
  • Stage countertop with wood cutting board, slices of papaya and lime
  • Add vase with croton greens and fresh flowers
  • Add a colorful rug in front of the sink
  • Place conch shells on top of the upper cabinets
  • Place a colorful tea kettle on the stove
How would you stage this?

Screen Shot 2021-04-14 at 10.08.02 AM.png
 
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AlexC

Envoy
Inner Circle
Columnist
This Vrbo listing photo—and the hosting it implies—is a lesson in how our properties can stand out with professional photography that tells a story to attract quality guests.

Perhaps these hosts wanted to showcase "Make yourself at home."

My staging and art direction would include:
  • Shoot during the daytime
  • Show the view outside the window
  • Get rid of the crap
  • Stage countertop with wood cutting board, slices of papaya and lime
  • Add vase with croton greens and fresh flowers
  • Add a colorful rug in front of the sink
  • Place conch shells on top of the upper cabinets
  • Place a colorful tea kettle on the stove
How would you stage this?

View attachment 3978
Haha. Wow, I would have thought VRBO listings were a little higher standard than this, Airbnb by a individual owner host? I could see it, but VRBO?? Comeon now lol.

Ok, so on kitchens, I’ve found that demonstrating your kitchen as a stand out feature pays dividends. I’m not sure how big this house is, but kitchen size indicates at least 3 bedroom...maybe 4? Either way, I’ll assume it’s in my market as I don’t know where this is or what dynamics are line there.

I would ask this owner to invest in making the kitchen A REASON to book, not just an amenity. The kitchen is large, that’s a huge plus, but there’s not enough counter space to prep/prepare. I’d say get an island, probably one of the stainless steel cart ones, then create a display of your cookware above/on it. Bakers racks are great for that, but not sure that works in the space here.

either way, the key to kitchens to me is to show off investment in the cookware with a display that holds your cookware. You can have all sorts of great cookware, but if you don’t display it to ppl, it’s not getting the ROI it could.

here’s an example of a display we set up for certain houses where cooking’s is of high importance or highly value added to guests. If you see this on a listing, you don’t need to even see the kitchen to know you want to cook there is the goal.

1618516188543.jpeg
 

Pdisla02

Attaché
Mile High Hosts
Well, as I told Matt, my place is dog-centric. I emphasize my huge, fenced-in yard with deck so guests can chill on the deck, and watch their dogs play.
On my site I have a Dog Gallery, and ask guests to take pics of their dogs so I can put on my site as "furry guests".
How do you deal with the dog hair?

We allow dogs in our place with a rule the dogs must stay away from our linens, and people have to pickup after theirs dogs even if they go in the yard. Some people have not follow the rules so we are thinking about changing to not allow pets.
 

DMartinez

Ambassador
Inner Circle
Wing Fighter
How do you deal with the dog hair?

We allow dogs in our place with a rule the dogs must stay away from our linens, and people have to pickup after theirs dogs even if they go in the yard. Some people have not follow the rules so we are thinking about changing to not allow pets.
Check out this thread for tips for a dog-friendly home. Included is what we use for carpets: https://community.vrmb.com/threads/how-to-create-“pet-friendly”-homes.5775/#post-55684

Also, the search field on the top of the site is wonderful. I suggest you use the keyword dog. You'll find many resources. It appears from your bio you're in Colorado. Do be aware that you may encounter dogs, nonetheless, if someone uses them to help accommodate their disability.
 

CarlaC

Vacation Rental Content Marketer
Inner Circle
I think this is thanks to the shift of getting "more" out of our vacations. Time has always been of the essence, but now more than ever. Guests are looking to do more than just disconnect. They want to experience (something lifestyle brands have heavily tapped into). I think you nailed it on the advice of how to emulate this and any hosts who don't pick up on this trend might miss the boat and lose out on reservations.
 
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