Podcast Archive | Villa Marketers
don't sell accommodations sell the problem they solve

Become A Problem Solver! But First Do The Complete Opposite

The Persuasive Power Problems Posses

Today we’ll discuss a highly effective selling approach that’ll get more people to book your property.

It’s a simple psychology technique that all of us can use immediately when responding to inquiries and communicating with guests.

You should also bake this practice into the content of your listings and vacation rental websites, especially when you consider how important your content is in the purchasing process.

  • “57% of the purchase decision is complete before a customer even calls a supplier.” (CEB)

  • “67% of the buyer’s journey is now done digitally.” (SiriusDecisions)

This is why it would behoove you to craft the content of your marketing material in a way that it does the selling for you.

Accomplishing that means you’ll first need to understand buying behaviors and the real reasons why people make purchases.

While the topic being discussed today is a strategy based on psychology and very effective for persuading people, it should not be used to manipulate or con people.

Instead, when used properly this is possibly the most effective way to help people become aware of the problems they’ll face during the booking and travel process.

Let’s face it, travel is riddled with its problems and if we can, we have the responsibility as a hospitality professional to help our customers avoid those problems. That is exactly why I wrote this, to help you help guests and yourself. 

In my research for creating this article, I discovered an interesting study. The findings were eye-opening and shed light on the level of enjoyment a traveler experiences during the travel process.

The study uncovered that the planning process actually brings more joy to travelers than the actual vacation itself.

A group of researchers from the Netherlands interviewed more than 1,500 people and found that people felt most happy BEFORE their trips. 

This is partly because the reality of taking a vacation can be a stressful event. You can probably relate and have heard the saying, “I need a vacation from my vacation.”  

Vacations are definitely filled with their problems and that’s a good thing for you as a host. It’s really the reason you’re in business.

In my last post ‘problems and opportunities, I explained how we all need to embrace problems in our businesses and lives if we want to reach our maximum potential.

In this article, I’ll share the opportunity you have in channeling the power of  “problems” through your vacation rental marketing.

I’ll show you how to use problems to help make vacations more enjoyable, reduce the troubles of traveling and persuade more travelers to book with you.

Become A Problem Solver!

vacation rental solutions

Become A Problem Solver, But First Do The Complete Opposite.

You’ve heard the cliche “be a problem solver,” right? It’s true – well sort of. It’s half-true. On one side people want their problems solved and your product and service should solve them for your customers.

However, being a problem solver is just half the battle. In order for you to become effective at selling yourself and your property, you have to know and understand what your customer’s root problems are. You can’t assume all people have the same problems. 

Each guest is an individual who has specific needs, desires, and objectives for making a purchase. You have to know what those are.

You need to understand what’s important to each guest you’re working with to ensure an excellent experience and glowing reviews.  How do you know what’s really important to a guest?

Discover What People Care About. Get In Their Head!



You have to take your guest through the discovery process of a booking. This is the part of the sale where you’re supposed to be asking questions over the phone and in your emails.

If you don’t go through a discovery process and go straight to making a booking, you’ll lose bookings – period!

With that being said, the discovery process shouldn’t feel like an interrogation. Instead, it should flow more like a conversation where you’re trying to understand how to best help a friend get the most out of their trip.

Done right, potential guests will appreciate the personal attention. They’ll often show their appreciation by rewarding you with their money for the great customer service you’ve given them – before they’ve even booked.

While online booking is all the thing these days, most folks still want to talk with a person before booking a property. This your opportunity to sell yourself!

Questions & Answers


Asking the right questions, more specifically the answers to those questions will help you understand what’s most important to people.

Each answer someone provides you in response to your question, is a tool you can use to better present your product in a light that is most received by that potential customer.

If you don’t know what’s most important to the person you’re communicating with, you won’t present your property in the most effective way for each individual. Not everyone cares about the same things, focus on what people care about.

You do that by asking open-ended questions. These type of questions will help you get in the head of your clients and know what makes them tick. An example of a question that will give you the information you need would be “what’s most important to you on this trip? ”

“What brings you to California?”

Once you know what’s important to your guests put yourself in their shoes and think of the problems that might come their way as a traveler. 

il defining problems quote

Once you know what problems they can face, it’s not enough for just you to know what their problems are. It’s imperative that you clearly define those problems to travelers and tell them how it can negatively affect their vacation. The key to landing this is all in your delivery!

If you want travelers to solve a problem, it has to be clearly defined for the customer what those problems are and how it will affect them, only then will they take action.

All of your potential guests will have an initial problem. They’ll need accommodations, they know it but they think they can solve this problem fairly easy.

So relying on the accommodation problem alone isn’t going to get you very far, yet owners and managers primarily focus on just renting a place to stay.

Any manager or owner can solve the problem of providing accommodations but in order for you to really encourage guests to book with you, we have to stir up the unseen problems and bring them to the surface like a fart in a bubble bath.

They need to get a whiff of it themselves. They need to find the thought of the problem so “foul” they want to avoid it.

That’s why I suggest you use the “problematic persuasion” technique in your approach. That’s also why I suggest that you talk about your competitors.

Yeah, you should talk about your competitors. Sounds odd that you would create competition by mentioning your competitors, right?

Well, it works! I wrote the article 10 Big Problems With Vacation Rental Website Builders and I listed all of my competitors Kigo, LiveRez, OneRoofTop, Lodgify and MYVR. I shared with customers the issues with using a service like those and how it keeps you dependent on those services, not much different from listing sites.

I shared with customers the issues with using a service like those and how it keeps you dependent on those services, not much different from listing sites.

In that article, I pointed out the big problems with these vacation rental website services and by doing so owners and managers have realized the true downsides of those types of services.

After defining those problems many have decided to own their own vacation rental websites. You can do the same for your business by demonstrating how your product provides a solution.

The 3 D’s of Persuasive Problem Solving 

Discover, Define and Demonstrate!

Now that we’ve discovered the key issues and defined them to our customers, it’s time to demonstrate.

You can achieve this by first mentioning how some advertisers claim their rentals are near a location but are actually much further away. You can demonstrate how close your property is to the main attraction on a map.

Also, explain the benefits of your property being just steps away from the main attraction and how it’ll make their commute easier, while saving them precious time. That’s how you demonstrate your property’s solutions!

If you have a home with a south facing pool and other properties don’t, explain how the lack of sunshine makes the water frigid most of the day and how your pool stays a nice 82 degrees during the day and evening.

Tell travelers about those hidden issues and how your vacation rental property solves those problems for them?

Another example might be, if most travelers want to be near the city – you can demonstrate to them the cost of parking and the inconveniences they can face and why having a property just outside the city (like yours) is a better alternative.

I’ve worked with some owners who say – Their property is “a legal vacation rental” registered with their state. A statement like this makes travelers rethink other properties and creates a problem in their mind.

They have to ask themselves about the legitimacy of other properties, and if they’re OK with booking an “illegal vacation rental.” Work this technique into a format that fits you and your audience.

Two Marketing Maxims You’ll Need To Adopt

Through your conversations and communication with past guests, you should be able to list several of the most common problems people face on their journeys.

After listing these common problems, strategically place that information into your vacation rental websites and listings. Share with

Share with travelers how you have the solutions to their common problems and watch how more of your visitors convert into inquiries.

When using this strategy you will, of course, do it in a helpful and professional way. Never be pushy, that’s a turn-off. If you’re genuine it will come off that way to guests. 

Look – if your product really does solve a problem for a guest, you have the duty to let them know about what problems your property, and you as their host, can solve for them. That’s what professionals do. 

 Not letting them know of these issues is doing them and yourself an injustice.

I am what you call a vacation rental solutionist, you bring me your problems and no matter what it is I’ll figure out a way to help you. It’s what I do and it’s also the attitude you should warmly welcome into your marketing.

I solve people’s problems vacation rental owners and managers specifically. But I know that I first have to bring to surface problems. But why? You see, no one makes decisions without there being a problem.

I mean why do we put gas in our cars? It’s not because we want to have a full tank of gas, what drives us (no pun intended) to pull the car over is the fear of getting stuck without gas and sitting on the side of the road. It’s the emotion of fear that makes us react.

By not putting gas in our vehicle we create a problem for ourselves. That’s why we fill up at the pump and willingly pay for gas to put in our vehicles. It’s all done to avoid a problem. 

Without a problem there is no purchase, problems make the world go-round.

Think about it – nothing to wear (problem) – we buy clothes (solution)

Car breaks down (problem) – we pay for parts and probably a mechanic (solution)- we pay for it even if we really don’t want to.

You’ve upset your wife – (big problem)  buy her a gift (we hope it works) You get what I’m saying, right?

What do you think?


3 Universal Laws Of Vacation Rental Marketing (Podcast)

3 Vacation Rental Marketing Laws

Universal laws are at work in our lives every single day whether we’re aware of them or not.

These universal laws are invisible to the naked eye, like the law of gravity for example.

You can’t see gravity but you would definitely feel its power if you fell off a ladder or tripped on your shoelace.

It’s there – much like the air we breathe, but many of us are oblivious to these invisible yet powerful forces all around us, mainly because we don’t see them, therefore, we don’t channel them.

Today I’m bringing our attention to the laws of the universe and I’ll explain to you how to activate them in your life and business.

There are many laws in the universe, in this post I’ll highlight just three of them.

#1 The Law Of Reciprocity




The law of reciprocity is a law of human behavior. It’s an urge people experience to give back to someone, after another person has given him or her something of value.

We’ve been programmed to react to giving and generosity this way. Are we wired to reciprocate, to keep balance in life, in a way many might call Karma?

If so, is there such a thing as – Marketing Karma?

Absolutely! But how exactly can you use the law of reciprocity in your vacation rental marketing?

Reciprocity is all about being helpful. If you help travelers with their questions and needs, you’ll get more travelers who’ll want to reciprocate and pay you back by giving you their business.

Back In the 1960’s, the Hare Krishnas collected millions of dollars in donations using the law of reciprocity.  The Krishnas would give passerbyers a free gift. They handed people a tiny wooden umbrella, in return, they asked for a donation.

People felt an urge to give back and donate, they’d then toss the small wooden umbrella in the next garbage can they passed. A few moments later the Krishnas would retrieve the umbrellas from the garbage and give it to the next person. It worked like magic.

How To Leverage The Law of Reciprocity and Encourage People To Book.

A great way to leverage the law of reciprocity on a vacation rental listing site is to offer a free guide, tell people about out it in the text of your property description.

Share with viewers that you’ll send them an email with a link to a free insider’s guide packed with your best travel tips.

Send it to anyone who sends you an inquiry and simply asks for it. This technique will help you pull in more leads from vacation rental listings sites.

Offer to answer their questions and tell them about things they didn’t know but should definitely know about the area.

Share with them how to save money, maybe you can even give them information on where to find online coupons or discounts.

You can inform them on how to avoid common tourist-traps. Tell them how they can get the most out of their travel time.

Experiment with this strategy in all aspects of your marketing and you’ll see how your generosity will be rewarded. It’s the law.

The truth is we are all givers. You just have to know how to activate this hardwired behavior within your buyers, so they want to give you their business!

# 2 The Law Of Cause and Effect




Sir Isaac Newton discovered the law of cause and effect. Newton’s law states that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.

It’s the reason we can dribble a basketball. The ball is thrown downward using the force of energy and gravity the ball is then equally propelled upward in the opposite direction after hitting the ground.

This law extends past the realm of the laws of motion.

If you work hard you’ll receive the return on that energy. The energy you put into something will determine what will be brought back to you.  Think of it as a transference of energy.

If you give to people, people will give to you. What’s interesting about the law of reciprocity is, we often have a desire to make things “even”, so we’ll give back as much as we were given. In many cases, people will give back more than the original help or gift they received.

That is how the law of cause and effect connects with the law of reciprocity.

When leveraging the law of reciprocity remember that the more value you provide to people the more their inclined to reciprocate.

The law of cause and effect should remind you, if you’re only giving a little time and or money that is what you can expect to receive in return.

The more you’re a blessing the more you will be blessed, and that will lead us into our 3rd law of vacation rental marketing.

#3 The Law Of Probability



Let’s look at a coin, it has two sides – heads and tails. When you flip a coin, it has a 50% chance of it landing on either side of the coin.

Same is true for a pair of dice with the exception that there are many more sides compared to a two-sided coin. There are more potential numbers that can be rolled.

Even so, if you roll the dice enough eventually any given number will come up. The probability of landing on a particular number increases each time the number doesn’t show up.

Haven’t reached your success yet? Haven’t received the marketing results you want yet? Keep going!

If you try enough times your “number” will eventually come up, so don’t ever give up on your dreams and passions.

With each “failure” you’re closer to success.

Failing is not really failure, it is only considered a failure when you give up. Failure is simply success deferred. You just have to keep playing the game and eventually, your number (success) will come up.

Not everyone donated money to the Krishnas some people said no. But that didn’t stop them, they knew it was a numbers game and eventually the law of probability would work in their favor.

Don’t get discouraged if you help people, and they don’t return the favor. The law of probability guarantees us that eventually people will.

It’s hard to say this when knowing these laws, but do it without the expectation of anything in return, and when it happens it will be special.

A  couple of quick tips.

  • If you want people to “Like” your Facebook page like someone else’s Facebook page.
  • When on Twitter use the retweet function to share other people’s tweets regularly. Retweet more than you tweet.
  • Make it a habit of reaching out and doing something nice for someone once a week. Watch what happens!!!
  • We’re also wired to sense sincerity, so make sure you’re sincere about giving.
  • Always give something free to every guest that stays with you to encourage reciprocity in your guest relationships. Do you currently do this? I’d love to hear about it.

Do you experience trouble soliciting reviews from travelers? Want more engagement on social media?

I’m going to share the video I mentioned in the podcast above later this week. The video is a fun idea to help you do both.

If you’re not already subscribed to my free vacation rental marketing newsletter, make sure you join to check it out.

Did you enjoy this post? Have a question? Leave your comments below.

If you like this post you may like The Law of Harvest.



Vacation Rental Entrepreneur Success Course Episode #1

My last episode was the intro to my Vacation Rental Entrepreneur Success course where I explained what the 3 p’s of a vacation rental business are.

Today I am going to start of with processes because it’s something almost everyone can work on today that will help improve their vacation rental income.

Why is this episode important?

In your vacation rental business, you need to have processes for everything. You need to create email-marketing processes, sales processes, processes on how to collect reviews, blogging systems, system tools to make your life easier, social marketing procedures, a process for responding to inquiries, and quality control checks for housekeeping/property management.

If you don’t think you’re an entrepreneur, you need to read this. The  Vacation Rental Entrepreneur’s #1 business rule

If you prefer to read through the content, I’ve transcribed the podcast for you below:

Create the Matrix

Make 2016 the best year of business for your guests and your vacation rental profits.

This is your guide on how to be a truly successful vacation rental entrepreneur – something I didn’t have the privilege of having when I started.

I will share more this year than ever before! I’ve been hard at work creating colorful, creative, and constructive content that will help you make more bookings, yes, but also help you to do more by doing less!

Ever feel like…

• You’re working too hard?

• You’re not as far ahead in your business as you’d like to be?

• There aren’t enough hours in the day to do all of your work?

• You aren’t making as much money as need or want?

• You don’t have the resources to operate as efficiently as you really want to?

If so, I want to help. If you haven’t yet done so, sign up for my newsletter today. Because 90% of the material I am providing is absolutely free.

Let’s get started.

Create the Matrix

Entrepreneurs are trying to do too much, with too little time, help, resources and money. But nobody wants to talk about that.

Well, I do. How do we deal with this?

One core thing you can work on right now with very little money required for major results is your processes.

Everything you do has a process. Maybe you haven’t orchestrated your process and your processes are more like habits (maybe some bad), but no doubt you still have processes, even if they are unorganized unintentional broken processes.

Why DON’T Businesses Create Their Own Matrix?

Because it takes work. And it takes time. Entrepreneurs are visionaries, not managers or technicians, as I explain in Why 80% Of VR Business Owners Fail so they have a difficult time creating their Matrix.

I will share with you from my first-hand experience that the time that it takes to set up your business process is 100% guaranteed to be worth the effort.

The way I see it, you have 2 choices: You can take the time to implement this strategy into your business now, or you can continue to experience the pains and time sinks that keep you from growing and becoming free from all the work required of you.

Why Do Businesses Create a Matrix?

A Matrix helps new companies understand all the processes involved in running their business.

A Matrix helps existing vacation rental companies better understand how things run so they can correct errors, get new staff or employees trained, and improve their performance across the board.

What Processes Can Vacation Rental Owners and Property Managers Improve?

There are a few common places to look at, such as:

• Guest and Reservation Management

• Booking Processes

• Client Communications

• Marketing Procedures

• Housekeeping

• Accounts Payable

• Property Maintenance

You’ll want to evaluate just about any process that is broken, unproductive, time consuming, confusing, or that needs to be simplified and improved.

It’s amazing how small tweaks to your processes can shave off minutes, hours, or even days from the work you have to do. This piece of advice can be huge for a small vacation rental business.

In addition to saving you both time and money, working on your processes will also benefit you with improved efficiency, allowing you to work smarter not harder. I can hear a sigh of relief from the weight of all that extra work being lifted from your shoulders 🙂

Become More of a Competitor

Optimizing your processes will enable you to trim down costs and help you to become more competitive in the vacation rental market. And with the amount of competition entering the market, this is one way you can ensure you’re able to compete with what comes our way in 2016.

Improve Your Vacation Rental Profits

You may choose to offer some of the savings you’ve created by offering more competitive pricing. Or you can add it to your bottom line. Either way, it’s a good thing for more bookings and higher profits.

Create Consistency & Brand Loyalty

Think about the best brands out there. Take Coca Cola, for example. They have a formula and a way they do things. Every time you open up that can of Coke, you know what it’s gonna taste like, right?

That’s consistency, and it’s crucial to your brand’s development. There is no better way to achieve consistency than by setting up proper business systems and processes to act as your guiding light.

With more vacation rental companies and hotel agencies like Wyndham moving more into the vacation rental marketplace and partnering with the major distribution channels like Booking.com and Expedia, brand predictability or brand consistency will affect travelers’ purchasing behavior in our market like it has never done before.

All the big hotel chains have processes in place to help them run a streamlined hospitality business. We should, too. Just because you are a small business owner or a “one man band,” it doesn’t mean that you’re too small for these best business practices.

Reduce the Amount of Helping Hands Needed

Because you are short-handed and maybe don’t have the resources of these larger vacation rental brands, that is exactly why you have to implement a highly optimized business process: so your vacation rental company can run more like a well-oiled machine.

Step Up Your Game

Have your bookings declined? Are you not getting as many as you’d like? The problem might just be that you do not have a proper vacation rental business plan/system.

If you’re a vacation rental owner with just one or two properties, you’ll need to step up your game. Why?

Vacation rental owners need to consider the travel and technology trends happening around us.

Today, the consumer is in just about total control of the market and they’re pretty demanding folks. Technology is empowering consumers, proving to shape the new world of business, which is geared toward consumer wants more than ever before.

Both consumer preferences and technology are breaking down some of the oldest business models, forcing entire industries to comply with their wants and needs.

Look at Uber, for example. They’ve totally changed the game for taxi services and the transportation industry. Why? Because the service Uber offers is what people really want!

Provide Guests Professional Customer Experience – or Else!

Customer Relations. Professional brands do it better and travelers know they do!

The statistics reveal that up to 31% of guests are now wanting to deal with professional vacation rental managers, but why?

The research tells us that the word-of-mouth factor is the reason for the increased awareness of the benefits of professional hospitality services and organizations. This is the type of stuff you’ll be up against. Be prepared, and become a true professional!

Setting up a system on how you’ll operate your vacation rental business will aid you in providing your guests with a better, more professional customer service experience.
And in today’s consumer focused market, this is especially important to your success in the future of the world of travel.

This means it’s no longer okay to treat your vacation rental business like a second home and expect to pay the bills. You’re going to have to develop a professional business model and hospitality practices.

Tips for Creating Your Matrix

Setting up your systems may seem overwhelming for you, but it doesn’t have to be a marathon.

• Start with some small changes.

• Taking it slow is okay, especially for businesses that have already established systems and considerable workloads.

• No improvement is too small. Small changes implemented over a period will result in big improvements

• Do not seek perfection.

• Make continued improvements to the system every so often to evaluate areas for further progress.

• Keep things simple! Don’t over complicate the process.

• Concentrate first on the parts of your system that will have the greatest impact on your business.

• Understand it’s a process! Be patient with the process and people, including yourself.

• Don’t be too rigid. Know that there will be instances where you will have to come out of your process to get the job done or satisfy a guest. Get an idea upfront of when that might be and how you’ll handle it.

• It’ll be hard to create a system if you don’t know ALL the ins and outs. If you have employees or staff, get them involved in helping you to understand the process they go through on a daily basis.

For example if you would like to create a better system for your housekeepers, ask them for feedback.

Getting your team involved early and allowing them to participate, will not only help you create better systems for each area or department of your business it will also make your people less resistant to the change when it comes into effect.

Are Your Systems Working?

You should begin to feel these changes in the form of less handling, smoother transactions, and lighter workloads. And it is a truly gratifying feeling to know you’ve made a substantial improvement, be it financial or other for your business.

If the process or procedure seems difficult, than you’ve gone too far. The changes should be to make the overall process easier, not harder. Be realistic of what you can provide and contribute reliably to your system.

So where do you start? You’ll have to wait til next week for that one!

In my next podcast, I’ll begin to shed light on where to start and share some tools and resources that will help you set up your profit-churning processes.


Have questions or comments? Please share them below.



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