Using data to drive the story of your short-term rental business

This article was originally published in the VRMA Arrival, Issue 4, August 2019

Whilst writing the article for this issue of Arrival on Women’s Leadership, I had access to some great information about leadership, the workplace, and the current landscape for women in the wider travel industry. This information came from a variety of sources and all of it was data driven.

It got me thinking about how important data is in telling a story or stating your position. Without data to back up an argument, everything becomes subjective and an article or position is merely an opinion. With data, opinion becomes analysis.

As a public relations specialist, I often urge the businesses I work with to provide us with data, which we can use to build media stories. It’s not enough to say, ”we are the best company in the world at X,Y and Z”. You need to show your audience, and the best way of showing is by backing up your claim with facts. These facts may come from customer data, surveys, analytics, industry studies or employee data. A story can be built on almost anything – as long as it can be backed up.

Stories that are anchored by data are evidence based. The content has substance and therefore helps to build trust. Data storytelling can influence your audience’s behaviour, expand their knowledge and support a shift in perspective in powerful ways.

For instance, if as a property manager in a certain location, you are able to go to your local media or local regulatory body, and produce a report about the impact that your business has on the local economy, then you are in a stronger position for a positive news story or to begin an open dialogue.

Members of VRMA have free access to the VRMA Insights, powered by LSI Tools. These insights support property managers to make better business and operational decisions by providing evidence based information about the state of the vacation rental industry locally, regionally and nationally. The VRMA Insights can also provide you with information that you could use to go to your local press and help to paint a picture of the local vacation rental industry, including how long the average guest stays in the area or what the booking patterns are and therefore what trends might be impacting them.

As a property manager you can also start to build up your own bank of data; through customer surveys, owner surveys and website traffic. Is there anything quirky or unusual about why your guests are booking, that may make an interesting local story? What do your owners say are the key benefits to them for outsourcing the management of their properties to your company? Is there a positive correlation between real estate sales and rental revenue? What do you contribute to the local economy in terms of taxes and staff employment?

In terms of wider industry trends and data, Transparent Intelligence also works with VRMA to provide an industry-wide view of what’s really happening for property managers. In the State of the US Vacation Rental Market survey, Transparent has looked at recent trends impacting property management including occupancy, operations, distribution and supply.

Properly credited, all of this information can be used to support a media story about your property management business locally, as well as the vacation rental industry as a whole.

About Jessica Gillingham

Jessica is the CEO of Abode Worldwide, a specialist PR and content marketing agency partnering with clients operating in the international vacation and short-term rental space. www.abodeworldwide.com

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