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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.

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.

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 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?



  • Joan Roberts says:

    Happy New Year Jay. Simple and easy to put into practice. Never thought about there being a “discovery process.” Interesting stuff.

    • Jay William says:

      And a happy new year to you Joan! This is something we can all work into what we’re doing fairly easy and doesn’t cost a penny. It does however build tremendous value in you as a host and your property.

  • Josh says:

    A fart in a bubble bath, what an analogy Jay.

    • Jay William says:

      Hey Josh.

      It just came out… I was trying to articulate how travelers enjoy the planning process more than the actual vacation because they are sort of daydreaming. They don’t think about or are unaware of the issues during that “dream state”, and how we’ve got to inform travelers even if we’ve got to burst their bubble with a repulsive problem. In the end it’s to help them avoid an issue or inconvenience ) and if you can get them to see that – you win!

  • Andy Meddick says:

    Great article. I’m reminded of the saying that we don’t buy a drill because we need a drill, we need a hole.

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