This post began as a presentation given at two recent Vacation Rental Manager Association conferences.
The goal was to create a list of great online marketing examples to help other vacation rental managers plan their next great website or marketing effort.
So without further ado…
A Showcase of our favorite Online Marketing examples by VRMA Members
Your Website matters, especially your booking engine.
We looked at 10 vacation rental websites and found that 73.4% of the guest’s website interaction happened in the booking engine (measured by pageviews).
Certainly it is worth it for the average VR manager to pay close attention to the usability and overall effectiveness of their booking engine.
Next we used BlizzardTracker to determine that in March 2011, 68 vacation rental manager websites averaged a 36% bounce rate:
Of those websites, 29 were engaged in eCommerce with a .42% conversion rate on average. In other words, they got 1 online booking for every 233 visitors to their website.
Anything you can do to get that bounce rate down and that conversion rate UP is good.
Here is a sample sales funnel where you can see, for this particular VRM, a .68% conversion rate, with the sales funnels starting at the property page. (At bottom of the chart it shows a .63% funnel, but that is starting from the search results page, which was cropped from this image.)
All these fancy graphics just lead to the conclusion that better websites may just cause better results.
Let’s test your gut with Which Test Won
WhichTestWon.com is an office favorite. Take the following three tests and see if you can get all three correct:
- Which hotel booking page converted more bookings?
Which Test Won #8213
- Which product picture got more sales: products with models, or without?
Which Test Won #8250
- Which homepage generated more sales: a search by location map or feature/benefit/sales copy?
Which Test Won #9683
Best of VRMA Website Marketing Examples
The following list of sites is far from complete… but it represents about 50 of the best examples of online marketing we saw while spending hours going through hundreds of member websites.
Once we got up to 4 or 5 examples (sideshows for instance) we stopped looking for more… so please, don’t be offended if you don’t see yourself here… in fact, leave a comment.
Note: we may update this with additions or removals!
Unique Website Designs
This list could be a lot longer, but here are some that really stood out.
Best Call To Action
- DiscoverSunRiver.com – good use of left column for range of call to actions and a membership area.
Best Use of Guest Reviews
Best Property Page Slideshows
Best Use of Video
Favorite Facebook Company Pages
- facebook.com/SummitCove.Keystone The Summit Cove Yeti shows up everywhere, and is a pretty good skier. They make funny videos: youtube.comSummitCove.com has an ongoing series of *Guest of the Day* comments, for example:
Caller: I want to log a complaint. SC: Ok, we would be happy to help you. Caller: I was there last week and the fire alarm went off early in the morning. SC: I’m so sorry, we will get it replaced. Caller: Well, I was making bacon and smoked the place up. But it was your fault because you don’t have a grill there, so I had to use the stove. SC: O.K., well, I’m sorry about that.
- facebook.com/OceanDriveBeachRentals Nice welcome page that reflects their brand.
- facebook.com/ResortRealty Lots of updates and great employee spotlights posts.
- facebook.com/OBXVacations Nice variety of pictures, not just homes. Creative contest page and promo of pet week!
- facebook.com/BrindleyBeach 40,000 likes!
Favorite VRMA Twitter Accounts
- twitter.com/BlackButteRanch Updated often with interesting news, not just things about themselves.
- twitter.com/SkiSunRiver Relevant RT’s of ski conditions, meal deals on the mountain, nice wallpaper.
- twitter.com/AtwoodVacations They initiate conversation with good questions and quotes.
- twitter.com/TLuxP Weather channel worthy forecast updates and links to high quality Facebook pictures.
Best Contest Name
Whales, Waves & Wine Ocean-Odyssey.com
Coolest House for a Trekky
Best Facebook Logo Integration into Branding
Best Aerial Cam
Most Angels Per Page
If you want to seek inspiration outside of the VRM industry, check out our best hotel and tourism design links.