Managing Your Vacation Rental Marketing Your Vacation Rental Vacation Rental News

Record-breaking start to the 2018 C&I booking season – Are you ready?!

Written by Elizabeth Weedon
5/5 - (4 votes)

We’re happy to report exceptionally high numbers this fall in three key areas: vacationer traffic to our site, email inquiries received by homeowners, and actual bookings for 2018. 

Vacationer TRAFFIC to our website

There is, of course, a strong correlation between vacationer traffic and email inquiries and bookings.  So it’s no surprise that we have seen a significant increase in past users returning to our site as well as new vacationers using us for the first time. New vacationers are up nearly 22% over this time last year! Here’s a breakdown of how they’re getting to us:

September 1-November 20 vs. last year

  • 22% increase in the overall number of users on our site
  • 11% increase in traffic from organic search
  • 22% increase in direct traffic (people typing into their browser)
  • 36% increase in the amount of mobile traffic

 Increase in Vacationer email INQUIRIES


’17 v ’16

’17 vs ’15





Actual BOOKINGS recorded for 2018 YTD (As of Nov. 20, 2017):

                              All Regions        Cape Cod         MV             Nantucket

Overall (spring/summer/fall 2018 bookings YTD)






Summer only 2018 bookings YTD






What’s causing this unprecedented growth?

We suspect that the increase in traffic, inquiries, and bookings this fall are a result of a number of factors:

Huge changes in the vacation rental industry: There is little doubt that the recent changes implemented by HomeAway/VRBO are driving vacationers to our site.  We know for a fact that hundreds of homeowners have abandoned their listings on HomeAway/VRBO to market their homes on our site. These homeowners are upset about their loss of control over the booking process, the implementation of vacationer fees, and the lack of communication between them and their prospective guests prior to booking.  Undoubtedly, former vacationer clients of the Big Box companies are now discovering that is a local company geared exclusively to the Cape and Islands, does not charge vacationers a fee, and actually encourages communication between both parties prior to booking.  Read more about the recent changes in the industry from the presentation at our 2017 Homeowner Forum by our CIO, Jim Reese.

Successful marketing efforts:  Our Marketing Team has implemented particularly creative and effective marketing strategies over the past few years. Take a quick look at the excerpt from Tyler Pyburn’s presentation of our recent marketing efforts from the 2017 Homeowner Forum. Some of the exciting content they have recently published includes the Cape League Baseball video and the launch of our exciting vacationer show, EsCape TV, which has already received terrific feedback. Take a look!

The national economy: Regardless of the social and political strife that we’re currently experiencing, the US economy is doing quite well. This gives vacationers the confidence to commit to booking their vacations further in advance for next year.

What can/should you do to take advantage of the activity?

If your listing is dormant right now, activate it! In the 20 years we’ve been in business, our records indicate that the total volume of bookings doesn’t fluctuate as much as you’d think. At the end of the season, roughly the same number of people vacation on the Cape and Islands. What does change, however, is the inventory of available rental homes and the timing of when the bookings take place.

With greater competition from the growing number of vacation rental homes, you need to maximize your listing’s exposure by listing year round. Also, view your listing with fresh eyes to make sure it is adequately marketing your home versus your competition.  Here are some tips:

  • Take a look at your Listing Quality Audit.
  • Replace any old, unseasonal, or small photos. Learn more.
  • Request guest reviews from recent guests if you don’t have any or many reviews. Learn more.
  • Make sure your listing title is catchy and enticing and that your Property Description is really informative and descriptive. Read More.
  • Keep your calendar’s date stamp current. Vacationers are less apt to inquire about a home whose calendar is out of date. Read more.
  • Promote your listing on social media. Read more.

So, take a few minutes to review your listing so you’re sure to ride the wave! And if you have any questions or concerns, give us a call. We’re here to help!

About the author

Elizabeth Weedon

Elizabeth Weedon - Although I’ve worked for since 2008, I’ve been a loyal homeowner on the site since early 1998, just a few months after the website was launched by the Talmadges. I grew up summering on the Vineyard and managed my family's rental home there since the mid-1980’s. I’m passionately devoted to the Vineyard – and to WeNeedaVacation, which I credit with enabling me to hold onto the special property that has been in our family for nearly a century. An enthusiastic member of the WNAV Homeowner Support Team, I endeavor to keep my finger on the pulse of the Cape and Islands vacation rental industry so that I can provide homeowners advice about how to ensure their booking success with us. With owner Joan Talmadge, I am also responsible for editing and writing much of the text on our website, our monthly newsletters, and Homeowner Blog posts.


    • Hi Bruce, organic search means traffic to from people using search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing. When those people click on a link that isn’t paid, it falls under “Organic Search.” Mobile traffic is traffic coming from people on a mobile device like a cell phone. We have seen an enormous amount of growth in the amount of people looking for a vacation rental by way of their cell phone.