I am an avid podcast listener particularly in relation to the Short Term Accommodation Rental Industry with the majority of the content coming from the US. I spent sometime over the festive break to work on my growth strategies for Australian Luxury Stays for this year and sharing the ideas with you will make me more accountable to follow through.
Being in the Short Term Accommodation business becomes more challenging every year with increased competition, rising guest expectations, the need to keep abreast of technology and the rate of disruption is not going to go away.
1. CONTENT IS KING
Create more content – this is one thing the OTAs (online travel agencies such as Airbnb, Stayz, HomeAway, Trip Advisor etc.) cannot do. This provides us with a uniqueness by focussing on content. Guest usually focus on location before making abooking so why not attract them to your website with your content which will encourage them to make a booking directly with you.
So I am up and running creating content adding blogs to my website, www.australianluxurystays.com.au, creating a Youtube channel, pushing content through LinkedIn, sharing on Facebook groups, and utilising Instagram more. Content can be really about anything but needs to be relevant and current, well optimised to drive traffic back to your website.
2. INCREASE SOCIAL MEDIA ACTIVITY
Choose a site a become really active on it. Depending on the target audience you are trying to attract, you may prefer Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and so on. As I am trying to target property owners, investors, mortgage brokers, real estate agents, to name but a few, I am choosing LinkedIn as my preference as I am looking for high end properties to grow the Australian Luxury Stays portfolio.
3. MAKE VIDEOS and MORE VIDEOS
I am determined to make 2018 the year of starting to do videos. I hesitated due to fear – what will I look like on camera, what will I sound like. Apparently I will have to put all this aside and just do it, no more excuses as it supposedly works.
A good place to start is with something that you are familiar with, so I plan to do a short video of each property we have on our website and an introduction video introducing myself as the owner of Australian Luxury Stays. Other suggestions can be ‘how to videos’, interviewing owner’s with their stories and tips for choosing the best property management company for short term accommodation.
4. MAKE NETWORKING AN OBSESSION
I am to committing to a least two networking meetups per week in 2018. Yes, you can do it via social media however ‘face to face’ is so much better, so take every opportunity to do this. I plan to a coffee with other short term Property Manager’s and individual Accommodation Operators as it is amazing what you can learn by sharing knowledge particularly on how to tackle the growing challenge of regulations.
I already attend local business breakfasts on a regular basis but I will endeavour to join more associations. Attending industry workshops and at least one conference this year is also high on my agenda. The cost to attend can be claimed as a business expense and the value can be measured by the growth in your business after the event.
5. PUSH EMAIL MARKETING
Receiving more emails in my inbox almost puts me into overwhelm! Automation of emails seems to be the trend however this is difficult to do without losing a personal touch. Emailing the owners on a regular basis with an interesting article just keeps them in touch with you and similarly emailing past guests with just a brief on a new property keeps you on their radar. Encouraging guests to come back and book directly with you rather that through the OTAs is a financial saving to them. Email marketing is definitely on my radar for 2018.
6. MEASURE TRAFFIC TO YOUR WEBSITE
Google Analytics is an amazing tool and it is free. It registers the traffic to your website, how your content is really doing, measures page views and provides simple statistics which can assist in the management of your website. My key focus will be on the listing pages, where prospective owners visit to find out information about joining Australian Luxury Stays. To date it has not been a priority however to grow my portfolio of properties it needs to be monitored, reviewed and adjusted accordingly.
7. USE VIRTUAL STAFF
Running a small short term accommodation business is labour intensive with the owner on many occasions left to do many tasks even after staff leave for the day. I realise that at times I am not the best person to do the job and my time could be better spent on work in my areas of expertise and interest. Outsourcing is going to be on my agenda this year as my time and staff time can be better spent on the tasks that are best done in the office and use outsourcing services such as Fiverr where tasks are performed in a fraction of the time, response is within 24 hours and is very cost effective.
So there it is for this year – I could add more to the list but I think I would put everyone including myself into overwhelm. I hope some of these strategies will help you compile your list for 2018.