Does this sound familiar? You’ve been told to constantly lower your prices and offer discounts to attract more guests to your vacation rental. But despite your efforts, you’re still struggling to fill up your calendar and increase your direct bookings. The pain of constantly lowering your prices and not seeing the desired results can be disheartening. It’s time to discover a more effective approach – destination marketing. By leveraging the power of destination marketing, you can differentiate your business, increase brand visibility, and ultimately achieve long-term success in the vacation rental industry.
In this episode, you will be able to:
- Delve into the significance of destination marketing as a key differentiator in the vacation rental industry, enhancing revenue.
- Decode the blueprint of successful destination marketing strategies, accelerating your brand’s trajectory.
- Leverage the influence of partnerships in unprecedented destination marketing results, strengthening your marketing armour.
- Decipher how backlinks can skyrocket your SEO scores and website authority, revolutionizing your digital footprint.
- Construct an impactful content map for triumphant destination marketing, carving your niche in the digital world.
Destination marketing is like building a spider web of content that Google loves. Create backlinks, share knowledge, and network with locals to attract and engage potential guests. – Jodi Bourne
Meet the dynamic Jodi Bourne! Displaying a deep love for hospitality, she’s made it her mission to help vacation rental owners achieve their success goals. Hailing from scenic Austin, Texas, she brings over a decade’s experience as a dedicated consultant and website designer. Specializing in vacation rentals, Jodi has carved a unique niche, and enjoys devising start-to-finish strategies that are as effective as they are insightful. A true traveller at heart, she has stayed in a staggering 67 vacation rentals (and still counting), providing her unmatched insights into what makes a property truly stand out.
Connect with Jodi:
Instagram Action Plan private audio course: jodibourne.com/instagram
The key moments in this episode are:
00:00:08 – Introduction to Destination Marketing
00:05:34 – Be Your Own Travel Blogger
00:08:59 – The Power of Personal Recommendations
00:11:40 – AI Can’t Write Personal Stories
00:13:51 – The Power of Sharing and Collaboration
00:15:18 – Building Traffic and Following through Networking
00:17:19 – Leading Potential Guests and Showcasing Unique Property Features
00:20:18 – Leveraging Guest Posts for Backlinks
00:21:35 – Understanding the Importance of Backlinks and Website Authority
00:23:20 – Creating a Content Map for Destination Marketing
Sign up to the Free Direct Booking Success Summit 2023: https://directbookingsuccesssummit.com/
Show notes are available at: https://directbookingsuccess.com/podcast/
Follow Jenn on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/directbookingsuccess
Join the Marketing Hub Free Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/marketinghubforholidayrentals
Sign up for the free masterclass – The 4-step framework for a profitable direct booking sales engine: https://directbookingsuccess.com/masterclass
00:00:32 - Jenn Boyles
Hello and welcome to another episode of Direct Booking Success Success podcast. I'm Jenn Boyles, your host, and today I have the amazing Jodi Barne with me today. I am so excited. We have not spoken since episode eight.
00:00:49 - Jodi Bourne
That is crazy.
00:00:51 - Jenn Boyles
And we're now at 59. Jodi, welcome.
00:00:54 - Jodi Bourne
Hello. The other JB.
00:00:56 - Jenn Boyles
That's right. We'll have to start a company, the JBs.
00:01:01 - Jodi Bourne
It's good to see you today.
00:01:03 - Jenn Boyles
It's really great to have you back. So in episode eight, we spoke about guest experience. So if anybody wants to go back, if they missed that episode, please go back and have a listen. But in case anybody doesn't know who you are, maybe we'll do a short little introduction. Can you tell us a bit about who you are, where you are, what you do?
00:01:23 - Jodi Bourne
Yes, ma'am. So I'm Jodi Bourne, and I am a consultant and website designer, specifically with vacation rentals. Way back, I guess, over almost ten years now. Yeah, ten years. Love it, love it, love it. And I help people with marketing strategy, overall strategy, start to finish if they haven't even my latest client hadn't even bought her properties yet. And then website design, book direct websites as well. And I'm in Texas. I live near Austin, Texas, with my hubby and my dog Jenn, and my other dog, Oscar. And I'm just me.
00:02:01 - Jenn Boyles
00:02:02 - Jodi Bourne
No, I love it.
00:02:03 - Jenn Boyles
You're real. You're real. Try to be.
00:02:06 - Jodi Bourne
Yes, we all try to be, don't we?
00:02:08 - Jenn Boyles
Well, I'm glad you're here. And we should also mention that you are a professional guest, aren't you? Tell everybody how many vacation rentals you've actually stayed in.
00:02:19 - Jodi Bourne
Well, the last time, I said 100, and I regret saying that so much. Well, because I counted after. I mean, I just kind of was, like, off the cuff. Michael, my husband, and I had talked about it, like, the day before that, and it was off the cuff. But then we actually sat down and counted.
00:02:37 - Jenn Boyles
And so at that point in time.
00:02:39 - Jodi Bourne
It was like, 59. But if you count the multiple times we've been so, like, we've been to one property four times. So at this point, we're at 67 vacation rentals. We've stayed at 67 vacation rentals, and I say 67 vacation rentals and counting because we're going next weekend to another one. Great. Yeah, I love it. And actually, one of the services that I provide in Texas is a Guest Experience stay. I'll do a full stay, and that is a super fun thing to mean.
00:03:12 - Jenn Boyles
I don't think a lot of people understand when they've got their vacation rental. That the experience is so different from them as an owner or manager, as staying. And I ask people, have you stayed in your own property? And people look at me with glassy eyes and just like, why do I do that? Exactly? It's because you need to experience it from a guest perspective. You know, you have to go in there pretending you've never been there before. So having somebody like you as a professional guest who's come in, I have.
00:03:50 - Jodi Bourne
Stayed at places and people have been.
00:03:52 - Jenn Boyles
Nervous that I've been there. And I'm like, well, don't be because I'm here to have a good time as well. I'm here to have a little holiday. But I can also give you some tips from being a guest and being here for the first time.
00:04:07 - Jodi Bourne
Right. We stayed at one last year, just personally, we just stayed. But we were her third guest and they didn't have any knives in the one. Not one knife. And when we called her, she was like, I can't believe we forgot knives. I had a grill to make steaks.
00:04:26 - Jenn Boyles
With, but nothing to cut them with.
00:04:28 - Jodi Bourne
We were literally using Michael's pocket knife.
00:04:33 - Jenn Boyles
Yeah, I could just see with a.
00:04:34 - Jodi Bourne
Big fork and a big steak and just eating.
00:04:38 - Jenn Boyles
Maybe it's an unknown, it's not like you're doing a bad job, but things can just be an oversight or you don't know that something's broken. It's so good to get in there.
00:04:51 - Jodi Bourne
I always tell my clients, either you stay, but if you're not your own demographic, then you need to find a friend or a friend of a friend that's going to be honest with you or pay somebody that knows what they're talking about to come and stay. Because if you're a tea toddler or don't drink, but your target market is 35 year old women that are going to have wine with them, there's a difference there. Or if you don't have toddlers but your demographic has young children, then that's an important one. Definitely. Anyway, we're back on the guest experience thing. Yeah, I know it's great because you're.
00:05:30 - Jenn Boyles
Doing so well with that and I think staying just helps so much. So yeah. If you want to know more about it.
00:05:35 - Jodi Bourne
Guest experience, head back to episode eight.
00:05:38 - Jenn Boyles
Today we're going to be speaking about destination marketing. Okay, so Jodi, tell us, what is destination marketing?
00:05:47 - Jodi Bourne
So destination marketing is, I mean, basically you kind of forget you're marketing your vacation rental. First, you're marketing your destination. Your content is about your destination and the things to do. Now, I don't mean you're never going to talk about your vacation rental, of course you do. But your content, your social media, your blogs, all of those things are really destination focused for multiple reasons. But destination marketing is something that I see so many people really not understand or not doing, forgetting about how important it is if they have a destination blog post on their website. It's like the ten best restaurants to visit in blah, blah, blah. And there's so much more to it that can really be key to getting the search traffic either from Google or Bing or YouTube or Instagram or Pinterest. So that's kind of, in a nutshell, what destination marketing is. Yeah.
00:06:52 - Jenn Boyles
No. And I tell people to become their local expert. It's the same thing. It's promoting what is local and you know, everything. You want people to come to you and say, okay, this person is in this town and she knows everything, and that's why you want to come. Yeah.
00:07:11 - Jodi Bourne
And that's another point that I see a lot of times, is guests or owners, hosts want to wait and share all their information that they know about their destination till after the booking. That's when they send their guest guide. That's when they send these kinds of chips. And yes, you should send those to your coming guests. But that's great content to be marketing.
00:07:34 - Jenn Boyles
Definitely. I think that is a really good idea to share it beforehand. And can you give us some ideas of what they could be sharing?
00:07:43 - Jodi Bourne
Sure. I think one of the philosophies that I have or the thoughts that I have about people who are doing it or want to start doing it, is to be your own travel blogger. So think about your destination from the perspective of your guest avatar and what they want to know. But instead of, like, list articles, write a story. Whether that story is on your blog or if you don't have a blog, put it on a Facebook page or in an Instagram post. You can write a full story about your day at the park with your kids. I mean, that is maybe not the park, but the kind where you want to go to a place where people are going. Yeah. When I first got started with vacation rentals, one of the things that I was doing is I created a blog, kind of a travel blog, just about the town that I lived in. And the purpose was to market my vacation rental clients on that site and other businesses. But one of my most popular blogs was planning a romantic weekend getaway in Wimberley, Texas. It's still super popular. I wrote that in 2015 or 16, and it's number one on Google when you search for, I think, romantic Hill Country things to do or something like that. But it is basically me talking about the experiences of multiple different things that my husband and I enjoy doing. We go out for a romantic time away, the restaurants we go to, and it's kind of itinerary based. So it's like on day one, we enjoyed a picnic lunch at blah, blah blah, but it's very first person. It's very descriptive. But the cool thing about it is that it's very similar, people want to read it. It's not just letting me read real quick the ten things to do. It's very readable and shareable. And that's really important when you're doing destination marketing.
00:09:53 - Jenn Boyles
Yeah. And you've created that personal connection, haven't you? Writing in the first person and talking about your experience, creating a story.
00:10:02 - Jodi Bourne
Creating a story. And as you and I both know, story is so big when you're marketing anything, no matter what you're marketing, story is really important.
00:10:12 - Jenn Boyles
And this is where we know people. I'm sure people have come to you and said the same thing, how can I compete with Airbnb, booking.com, VRBO? And it's like, well, do they know your local area? The answer is no, they don't. This is how you can say bringing people to your website by a side door. They're coming through your blog. And I think it's a very often overlooked part of your website and a part of your marketing strategy.
00:10:43 - Jodi Bourne
Yes, it is. And very overlooked. And that's a great analogy, the signed door. But you're right. And that's one of the reasons with the websites that I build, I always really encourage the blog part. Because your personal website, your business website, isn't necessarily just a portal to a booking like an Airbnb website is. It is a portal to knowledge. And the best way to get in front of people is to share the knowledge. And like you said with Airbnb, not knowing. Not only do they not know, but like TripAdvisor, they have their list of the things to do and they have nice little snippets, but they don't know it from your perspective. They can't give that personal recommendation. They can't share why this walking trail is perfect for couples. Maybe the shady trees make it a little more intimate. Know all those little things that make or break the story. Yeah, you're laughing.
00:11:43 - Jenn Boyles
I'm just laughing about this intimate trail and the shady trees.
00:11:46 - Jodi Bourne
I'm thinking, where are you going on this? Well, there's a place in Wimberley called Blue Hole, and they have multiple trails. And there's one trail that leads up to a little picnic area, and that's for Michael and I not when it's 109 degrees as it is today here in Central Texas, but we've walked there and had picnics there multiple times. You can park, you walk. It's like half a mile up this really shady trail. And I have a picture of him and I just walking, or a little video that I took. It's very romantic. It overlooks the river when you get to the top. So, yeah, it's totally romantic.
00:12:24 - Jenn Boyles
It sounds lovely.
00:12:25 - Jodi Bourne
It really does.
00:12:26 - Jenn Boyles
And bringing in AI into this chat.
00:12:30 - Jodi Bourne
GPT, they can't write this. Oh, hell no. That's okay. Don't worry. Mark this one. No, they cannot write it. And I hate that people are using it.
00:12:48 - Jenn Boyles
Chat GPT so much.
00:12:49 - Jodi Bourne
There's definitely uses for it. It can definitely clean up the language, but it can't provide you with the details that you need to really tell that story and to connect with who you're wanting to connect with. Another thing about telling this information and sharing it in this way is that, for example, I wrote this article about the romantic things to do and mentioned a couple of restaurants in the article. Not just as a side note, but here's a great place to have a romantic dinner, here's some of the food we asked to sit on the balcony overlooking the blah, blah, blah, and all of that. Well, when I shared the article to them on social media, I just sent it to them. They loved it and they shared it with everybody. And that's another great thing about destination marketing and really getting in there and getting juicy with your content is that other people want to share it because now it doesn't feel like just a sales plug. No, about you.
00:13:51 - Jenn Boyles
Exactly. And there's a couple of things there. One, it's easier to write about other people than it is to write about yourself and promote those in your local area. It's a win-win because they are going to be so happy. I have clients come up with these strategies of what we want to do. And with these clients, they did exactly what you were saying. They went to a stately home in England near their place where their guests could go, and they had a day out. They wrote this blog first person. What they did, they later sent it to the stately home thinking, I pushed them, go do it. And they're like, well, are they really going to care? Yes, they loved it. They ended up giving them a discount code to share with their guests.
00:14:40 - Jodi Bourne
Yeah, awesome. And what it can get also for you are backlinks. They will put their content on their website and share it on their website. And that can be extremely beneficial for your search engine optimization to get those backlinks. If you share it on, let's say, Instagram and tag them and mention them, they'll share it in their stories. I mean, it's just such an amazing way to get people, I say, come back into your fold. So they've come back to you and now they're interested in who you are. So again, you're your own travel blogger or travel influencer, if you want to think of it that way.
00:15:18 - Jenn Boyles
Yeah, no. And it's a great thing. You can even partner up with somebody and say, I'm going to write about you, you write about me, and let's swap. You can do other strategic things, but even just writing a blog of somewhere that you love from your perspective and sharing it and sharing it with them, people have egos. They get really touched when you're writing about them or saying kind things about them. And of course they're going to share it.
00:15:46 - Jodi Bourne
Of course they're going to share it. And it's just such a great way to build your own traffic and your own following when you are networking in that way. With locals. It's like going to by sharing this content, it's like going to a networking event, really, because especially if you do it with multiple people within one article. And then I also encourage so instead of making a list of things to do, I encourage having a page just about a particular business itself rather than your article. And I call this like a spider web concept, is what I call it. So you have your article about your thing, your first person article, but you can actually link to an article on your website. It's just about that restaurant. Here's where the restaurant is. Here's their opening hours. Here's a few photos of our favorite foods. I'm a foodie, so I'm always snapping shots of photos. But you can also get something from their Facebook page. They'll gladly share it with you if they know you're using it to market them. And then you have back and forth content. You have content interlinking links on your website, interlinking links from that page to their website, send it to them, and hopefully you get a backlink back. And that builds this spider web of content, which Google loves. Google loves it.
00:17:16 - Jenn Boyles
And the potential guests love too, don't they?
00:17:19 - Jodi Bourne
Potential guests really love it. And it really shows that you know your destination. It shows that you are the person to ask if now someone reading this article would know, well, I want to plan a romantic getaway for my wife. Maybe you have some other ideas for me, or maybe you can help me plan an evening out. Or how do I get reservations? Or could you leave flowers in the room for us? Or whatever it is. People will start to really realize and if you have a lead magnet on your website, they'll want to connect with you. And that is one of the caveats to destination marketing that I think keeps people from wanting to do it if it doesn't lead to an immediate booking. It's not that somebody is going to read this wonderful article and go, heck yeah, I'm going to book that property right now. Because they weren't looking to book that property. They weren't looking for a property. They were looking to learn more about an area. So you do have to lead them, but you have to lead them to make a connection with you. You have to lead them. I tell my clients, don't forget, part of this great day out is what can they do in your property that's unique to this situation? Can they enjoy a glass of wine on the deck after they get home in the evening? Can they throw the kids in the bed and watch a movie on the couch or have a family night? What is it that they can do that works within your article so that you can remind people reading, oh, by the way, I also have a vacation rental. We'd love for you to stay. You can book it now, or you can sign up for an email and learn more about it or whatever that is.
00:19:02 - Jenn Boyles
Yeah, no, I think that's really important because marketing does take some time and I think, yeah, a blog, destination marketing, you're building that rapport, that trust, that connection with people, and they might be Googling your local area to find out what there is to do, and then we'll be booking. So you're sitting there in the back of their mind going, oh yeah, there was this great place that I went to on their website and they'll come back.
00:19:35 - Jodi Bourne
Yes, that's exactly right. And then another important part of destination marketing is that you can do that on other people's websites as well. For example, I had a client that was near a state park and they had hiking trails immediately across from their property. They had two of the bigger trails. So what they did was they went out to one of those trail websites that just talks about hiking trails. They did an article just about this hiking trail and they mentioned their property in passing within the article and linked that. Now, they didn't tell this trail website that they were doing the guest post. They asked the people if they could do the guest post, but they didn't necessarily say, oh, by the way, I'm the owner of this guest cottage. They just worked it into the article. Naturally. Naturally, yes, very naturally. Oh, by the way, this property is right across and they had several little cabins, so it was a larger property. So what happened is that gave them the backlink back from this huge website that has a lot of website authority and that linked back to their website. Now, did they get any bookings from that article? Maybe not. That wasn't their strategy. That wasn't their point. Their point was getting that backlink, back to them and back to where people were learning more about everything that they knew about the destination. Yeah.
00:21:04 - Jenn Boyles
And I think it's all these backlinks and how your website needs to have authority on the internet, right. And that's how SEO works, is the.
00:21:15 - Jodi Bourne
Authority you have with your website.
00:21:17 - Jenn Boyles
So all these backlinks, they all contribute to this, which means that when somebody is then looking for somewhere to stay, your website will be higher up. Isn't that right? How it works.
00:21:28 - Jodi Bourne
That's exactly how it works. And it's a shame that people don't understand that authority a little bit better. I think people who have done a little bit of research on SEO understand backlinks are important, but they may not understand why, because it's basically kind of like stealing authority. So if a website has been around longer, has more content, and Google sees it as a more authoritative website, or it's been around, or it has more traffic to it, and you get a little bit of their traffic, it's basically like putting a stamp on you and saying, yep, she's yep. So then Google's like, OK, well, she's cool. Yeah, this website says yeah, exactly. This website says so. And that can work backwards. You're if you get on a website that ends up being a spam site or something like that, it can hurt your authority. So you definitely want to be careful that you're not paying one of those backlink companies to give you all the backlinks from every website. I'm sure you get those emails all the time. Can I pay you $10 for a backlink to no?
00:22:45 - Jenn Boyles
Yeah, no, but I haven't had my prince in Nigeria asking me to look after his millions in a while, which that's the one that I love.
00:22:55 - Jodi Bourne
That is hilarious.
00:22:57 - Jenn Boyles
Yeah, no, that's my favorite spam email. So let's think about somebody who's coming. They've started this vacation rental and they're learning from us about destination marketing. They're like, okay, I want to do this. I love what you're saying, and I want to market my local area, my destination. How should they start? What's the best way for them to start? That would make the most sense.
00:23:23 - Jodi Bourne
So they should create a content map, which is what I'm going to be speaking about in your stomach. But the first step, I believe, is to go to Pinterest, go to YouTube, go to Google, type in your destination, and go down the rabbit hole of what are people talking about now? And then keep that list. I mean, just sit there and make a list. You really have to go down the rabbit hole. But then you want to create a list of what you know about as well and how it fits into the list. So if you find an article on Google that some travel blogger wrote about things to do in your destination, or let's say hiking trails, the best hiking trails, then how can you make that article better? How can you relate it more to an experience? And how can you share your own first person kind of idea of what that day would be like on that hiking trail? How can you relate it back to your target market? So that's how I would say to get started is to really dig in and do some research.
00:24:33 - Jenn Boyles
I love it. Yeah, it's a great idea. And I'm someone who forgets about Pinterest, I really do. And that is a great treasure trove.
00:24:42 - Jodi Bourne
Of ideas, isn't it? Pinterest is great for research about destinations and about your area and about what people are looking for. I even recommend going broader. So if you're in a small town or in an area, let's say you're in well, I'll just use Central Texas as an example. If you're in Wimberley, Texas, which is 30 miles outside of Austin, you can also search Pinterest and Google for Austin ideas. Or you can search Pinterest for Hill Country ideas, central Texas ideas, things to do near San Antonio get broader and broader and broader because you can fit into that as well. You can fit into, however broad the category is. If you're near Asheville, North Carolina, which is one of my dream next places I want to go, but if you're near Asheville, North Carolina, which is a huge wedding venue, there's wedding venues everywhere. There maybe your articles could be very geared to planning a wedding in Asheville, planning an outing or planning a Bachelorete party in Asheville. And you just happen to have a property in Asheville that's perfect for a Bachelorete. You know, it's different. I mean, you just have to think of these different angles and how you can fit what you do and who you are into that. Love it. So what Jodi's talking about?
00:26:08 - Jenn Boyles
Creating a content map. She's going to be coming to Direct Booking Success Success to speak about this in more detail. And it is October 3 to the fifth, so you can head to the website to sign up to Direct Booking Success, and you'll be the first ones to know about when the tickets are released. And it is free, it's accessible, it's sustainable, it's everything you need. An online summit. Jodi, can you give us any other ideas about what you're going to be.
00:26:42 - Jodi Bourne
Talking about or any little what my presentation is going to be about is mapping your content from idea to repurposing. So by the end of it, hopefully, you'll have kind of a strategy for taking an article and turning it into perhaps an email newsletter, perhaps an Instagram post. So repurposing this content in ways that are going to really build out a nice content strategy for you.
00:27:14 - Jenn Boyles
00:27:15 - Jodi Bourne
Yeah, of course. Or you may just laugh because. I try to have fun in my presentations and so sometimes people just have fun.
00:27:25 - Jenn Boyles
Well, as long as there's picture and audio, we're good.
00:27:32 - Jodi Bourne
That was so bad. That was what, three years ago?
00:27:36 - Jenn Boyles
00:27:40 - Jodi Bourne
My presentation, and all of a sudden there was no sound, no anything. And what did I do? I just redid it within an hour.
00:27:48 - Jenn Boyles
I think, something like that. And we had to redo the time slot. But it was fine. It worked out. But it is good, funny to look back on.
00:27:57 - Jodi Bourne
Yes. Okay, so I can't let you go.
00:27:59 - Jenn Boyles
Without asking, what does Direct Booking Success Success mean to you?
00:28:04 - Jodi Bourne
Well, obviously Direct Booking Success Success means getting more Direct Booking Success from your website, but to me, it also means being able to build out strategies and build out a network so that you just don't have to worry anymore. You're always going to worry, you're always going to need bookings. But it is so nice when I see my clients just kind of relax and know that the bookings are coming in and that they're going to get the repeat bookings and that they don't have to stress about it anymore. And that's a huge goal, but it is attainable. I think people do it and I know you have too. So it's definitely an attainable goal, and I think that that should be everybody's ultimate Direct Booking Success Success.
00:28:53 - Jenn Boyles
Thank you, Jodi. Thank you so much for coming on now. I always learn more from you every time we speak, and I love it because we are always on the same page of what we're doing with clients. It's really brilliant. So if people want to hear more from you, where is the best place?
00:29:15 - Jodi Bourne
My website is Jodiborn.com, but I think Instagram is the best place to connect with me. I am not on LinkedIn, as you know, very much. So Instagram at hey, Jodiborn is my Instagram and I have a podcast that I love on episode 13, and it is called the Savvy Host Podcast. That's savvyhostpodcast.com or there's a link on my Instagram. I'm really enjoying doing that. And I have an Instagram action plan if anybody wants to sign up for that. It's Jodiborn.com Backslash Instagram. And it is an audio guide to Instagram. It comes with a workbook, so you're going to get six audio lessons really short, and it's just a podcast, so you can download that to your Apple podcast or wherever you listen to podcasts at.
00:30:02 - Jenn Boyles
Great. Thanks Jodi. And we will see you at Direct Booking Success Success.