Start Building Your Vacation Rental Brand with Alex Husner, Chief Marketing Officer at Casago
In this episode of How We Grow: The Vacation Rental Show, Lynell Gordon is joined by Alex Husner, Chief Marketing Officer at Casago, one of the largest professionally managed vacation rental companies in the U.S. She is also the Co-Host of Alex & Annie, along with previous guest of ours, Annie Holcombe. Alex is an STR expert with over a decade of experience in the industry, passionate about developing strategies that drive sales overnight and brand over time!
Join them as they dive into the importance of brand identity to a new vacation rental business, outline why user generated content is a godsend, and talk about how to get out of the AirBnB hole!
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The Formative Years of Your Vacation Rental Business
When a baby is born, it’s said that the first eight years of their life are the most formative. Every single thing that happens to them, every happy, sad, scary, exciting and learnable moment are all ingrained into their being. They form the foundational personality of who they will become. You have to keep in mind that things you do as a parent early on will likely affect them for the rest of their lives.
Hold on, this isn’t about parenting. This is about vacation rentals…
If you’re starting up your own vacation rental business, you need to take into account the decisions you make during its conception, and unlike raising a baby, you don’t have eight years; you’ve probably got a year at best. Every single decision you make in the beginning will have an impact on your business further down the road and will set you on a certain trajectory. So it’s best to really think about what you want early on; set yourself goals and decide who you want to be.
“You really need to think about what your goal is for this job and career,’ says Alex during her conversation with Lynell.
“If you want to be an entity that manages for a lot of properties, or if you want to stay boutique then there’s nothing wrong with that. But, I think the decisions people make in the early years really end up guiding what will happen later on. Those formative years are really important.”
Your Vacation Rental Brand Identity
So, here’s the thing, most people looking to stay in a vacation rental tend to go onto AirBnB, and who can blame them? It’s a popular and easy way to find somewhere to stay, you can’t fault them for that. But what you can do is reach out to the customers who booked through them and try to make it so, next time they book, they’ll do it directly through you.
Alex tells us:
“If a guest stays with you on AirBnB, you wanna make sure that the next time they come back – if you are in a market that you would get a repeat visitor – that they book directly with you. And that comes down to right at the beginning, the communication that you set forth. What do your confirmation emails look like? What messages are you sending?”
This all falls under the branding umbrella. Your brand’s health and identity relies on your communication and how you come across to the public. Yes, you could provide a wonderful experience in the property itself, but you need to go beyond that. You need to look at more than the actual vacation and think about the overall experience; was it fluid and easy? Are they likely to come again?
“What is your brand? What’s going to be the differentiation from the competition?’ she points out. “If you haven’t established it yet, think about what it is you want to be known for. Do you want to be known as the most luxurious option? Do you want to be the most affordable option?”
Again, this all comes back to the idea of the formative years. Your business is your baby, ready to be molded into something new and unique. Yes, you can set goals and aims, you can figure out what you want, and along the way those objectives will change and transform themselves because plans, very rarely, stay the same. But isn’t that the exciting part? You have a foundation, and that’s great, stick with it and see how it evolves and changes over time, and with any luck you’ll have a vacation rental business you can be proud to call your own.