I just changed the title I’d planned for this article. The title I started out with didn’t say ‘Share Your Passion & Promote Your Rental’. It was ‘Easy Networking Ideas To Promote Your Rental’. The latter would have probably been much more search engine-friendly but it quickly occurred to me that networking to promote your business is simply sharing your passion.
You love your business of course. You love pleasing your guests. (It’s very likely that you love looking at the bank balance that these two things create but we’ll leave that for now). So all you have to do (“all!”, you say) is share your passion with others. Remember the old adage – selling is simply the transference of enthusiasm.
There was a fashion at one time – it wasn’t fun – for so-called networking events. If the mention of networking made you think of those then, believe me, networking to promote your rental is much easier. As and someone who never really found networking events to be much cop, it much more pleasant too.
Of course, you transfer your enthusiasm to your guests during the house tour and just that alone is a great way to get repeats and referrals but to increase your business, who else should you be sharing your passion with?
Below are some of the contacts I have used over the years – and still do. Of course, it depends a lot on where you’re located but the list below is sure to spark ideas for you. In no particular order:
- Your local tourist/visitor bureau. Most places, not just tourist havens, have visitor info organisations. Be sure that they know about your place. You can call them or email them. With all networking, face-to-face chats are preferable, any passing pandemics permitting, but make contact and stay in contact
- The organisers of local events; events that bring people into town who are looking for a great place to stay. Again, pandemics permitting, invite your contacts to a realtor-style open house at your rental
- Hospitals in your area. I once ran a reasonably lucrative B & B operation with, I’m guessing, about one-third of guests being in the area because of the local hospital. There are medical staff on temporary contracts, travelling nurses, professors, people attending outpatients departments (particularly if the hospital specialises in specific conditions) and their spouse or companion
- If you have theatres in your city, then they might have visiting shows. Here, our local performing arts centre has visiting Broadway shows and members of the cast and crew are great guests. I have them regularly and they are out working most of the time so there’s little wear and tear on the rentals
- Colleges and schools have visiting lecturers and often, students’ parents visit the college either to scope out the place before their child starts there or to visit their offspring once they are in residence
- Realtors are a great source. They have people coming into town often to look at properties and it helps to add to their image as the perfect realtor if they can assure their clients that they know the perfect place for them to stay during their house-hunting
- Although at first, it might seem counter-intuitive, I have networking relationships with other hospitality providers in hotels and other rentals. If they are contacted by someone looking for dates that they don’t have available, then they refer those potential guests to me. And vice versa of course
- I have contacts with a handful of local businesses that have locations in other areas. (In one notable instance, on another continent altogether). Staff members from those other locations visit the local branch from time to time and the human resources manager invariably contacts me to see if I have availability
- In the UK, my B & B was in an area that wasn’t even remotely classed as a tourist area. But there was a military training facility nearby and I had many guests who were visiting regularly
- When you’re offering short term rentals, your best allies can be your neighbours for various reasons. One of those reasons is that they have friends and family coming into town who need a place to stay. And they know people who have friends and family, who know people…
- Do you have festivals and fairs in your area? We have art fairs, the boat show, music festivals and more. If you have events like these too, make sure that the organisers and key staff know all about your rental and how to contact you. Festival guests are great in that there’s a good chance that they’ll be attending the event next year so they become repeat customers
These are just a few ideas to get you started. Remember that you don’t have to be a great salesperson or an extrovert in order to share your enthusiasm and passion for your place.
Rather than have a willy-nilly approach to networking, create an action plan. Make a couple of lists.
- A list of businesses and organisations in your area that knows about people who are coming into the area needing a short term rental
- A list of the wonderful advantages your place can offer to those people. Remind yourself, on the list, of just why your place is so fantastic
A little research will enable you to find out who you should contact in each organisation. In some cases, the name of, say, the human resources manager of a business or the concierge of a hotel will be right there on their website.
Remember when you’re contacting the people on your list that you’re not cold-calling in the way that telesales people used to. (I say ‘used to’ because the ones that call me are invariably recordings). You’re not trying to ‘persuade’ them or used any ‘clever’ sales techniques. You are, in fact, doing them a favour.
You’re helping them do their job effectively.
Arm yourself with material that you can leave with your contact – something that shows your phone number and your email address. A business card is all that’s needed.
Show your new contact your listing or website on your phone when you’re with them so that they understand the quality and the features. Invite them to come to see the place, remembering that you’re not a salesperson, just be casual “what evening would be good for you to call around and see the place? We can sit on the dock with a glass of wine…”
All you’re doing is making new friends and sharing with them your passion for your place … but it will pay dividends.
JJ is originally from the UK and has lived in South Florida since 1994. She is the founder and editor of JAQUO Magazine. You can connect with her using the social media icons below.