Marketing for vacation ownership: tips to step up your lead capture

Vacation ownership has evolved over time. It started with the idea of bringing your family to a resort and creating memories together year after year. Hospitality giants like Disney, Hilton, and Marriott took note and quickly helped grow the industry.

Today, the marketplace has an abundance of options, including Airbnb, HomeAway, and VRBO. The internet paved the way for change, and in just a few clicks, travelers have hundreds of choices available to them.

For vacation ownership marketers especially, the task of finding qualified leads and converting them into happy, long-term owners remains a demanding job—one that’s more of a necessity than ever.

Start by considering your advantages and identifying your unique challenges

Ownership can be a ticket to better vacationing and offers a unique experience over traditional resorts. It’s an investment that provides an advantage to families as resorts are often perfectly located and offer spacious, high-quality accommodations and an abundance of amenities.

But even more, ownership gives way to memorable moments that last a lifetime—those your owners and members will want to share with the ones they love. As marketers, you can tap into these special moments to introduce your hotel to more of the people you want to talk to.

But how do you do that? Below are some tips to consider when looking to put these insights into action, and supercharge your lead capture with qualified travelers.

1. Get hyper-targeted: reach & engage the right audience

Travelers are connected to a like-minded audience of friends and family who share the same taste in travel and purchasing habits. For the savvy vacation ownership marketer, it’s easy to see why the friends and family of your owners, members and even renters alike are the perfect demographic for your property.

Get introduced by converting your members and owners into advocates. Research from Nielsen shows people trust the recommendations they receive from friends and family more than any other, making this incredibly targeted reach even more valuable.

Plus, keep in mind that vacation ownership buyers often have a strong emotional attachment to the experience—these are moments with friends and family that they’re eager to share! Encourage introductions, build better relationships, and get rewarded.

2. Use the right calls-to-action

In order to step up lead capture, the right calls-to-action are critical. That’s because not everyone you encounter as a marketer is ready to buy.

This is especially true for high-value purchases where people weigh their options to ensure they’re making the right decision. If the only option is to ‘buy now,’ you’re constantly missing the opportunity to nurture that potential future owner because there is no relevant action for them to take or reason to get in touch.

Start by taking into consideration where a person is in their purchasing journey. Are they a first-time vacation rental visitor, or an old pro? According to ARDA, 42% of new owners first experienced vacation ownership clubs by renting before making a purchase.

With this in mind, it’s apparent as a marketer that the call-to-action for these different travelers also needs to be different.

For the first-timer, instead of offering up a discount, try rekindling their favorite moment after the stay. You’ll begin building a relationship on an emotional level, giving them a reason to return. For the old pro, they may be primed to open the conversation for the long-term purchase.

By delivering the right ask, you’ll not only capture more qualified leads, but you’ll better understand their intent to buy, and know when and how to communicate.

3. Nurture, don’t spam

Once you’ve captured your leads, treat them how you want your inbox treated—with relevant messages that have the right content and context.

Why is this so important? Every time you email someone with content they’re not interested in, you’re eroding your relationship. And these are hard-earned leads we’re talking about!

Sheila's story at Westgate

Instead, inspire them with relevant content.

One way to do this is with storytelling. Your owners and guests capture the widest range of experiences and provide the most candid insights into your property.

Blending these stories throughout your marketing and communications is a great way to replace spam content that is irrelevant to your audience. You’ll deliver high-value content that makes sense. In doing so, you’re more likely to get more shares and tours than simply spamming email campaigns to your database of leads. (Read more on canning spam.)

Once you’ve readied your relevant content, remember timing and context are important, too. Craft messages based on where they may be in the buying journey—especially as the path to purchase is not a single step, and for vacation ownership can be far more complex.

By following these tips, you’ll not only reach the best audience for your property, you’ll save time and be rewarded along the way.

Have tips on marketing for vacation ownership that you want to share? Get in touch! We’re always looking for new ideas in the travel space that help shape hospitality.

How to win guests at every step of the traveler journey in upcoming webinar

Collaboration offers a guide to exceeding evolving traveler demands in today’s digital economy

BETHESDA, MD — MARCH 14, 2017StayNTouch, innovators in mobile technology and Property Management Systems, have teamed up with travel industry and direct booking experts Fuel, and hotel advocacy platform pioneers, for a joint webinar—‘The Evolution of Guest Expectations and How Hotels can Exceed the New Demand.’ The event will help hotels exceed their guests’ evolving expectations to build better guest relationships and drive more repeat business.

The trio of hospitality industry experts will reveal insight on navigating each phase of the purchasing decision, from inspiration and discovery until long after their stay.

Key topics include:

  • Your guests’ new demands—Understanding the evolution of traveler expectations
  • Planning travel—Knowing your guests and differentiating your property to gain maximum market share
  • On-property hospitality—Enhancing the experience with refined service elements
  • Rekindling your guests’ favorite moments—Staying in touch, building long term loyalty and repeat business

“Guests today are defining their own standards of service, thanks to the digitally driven world we now live in,” said Dante Sapp, Product Manager at StayNTouch. “Knowing how to adapt and exceed demands at every phase of the traveler journey is vital for attracting and retaining loyal customers. I’m excited for the opportunity to partner with Fuel and and share these valuable insights with hoteliers.”

“Understanding your guest, knowing what factors matter when planning a trip, and digging into how travelers do their research is key for hotels to get more bookings,” added Stuart Butler, Chief Operating Officer at Fuel. “We’re excited to be able to deliver advice on these topics with leaders from StayNTouch and Hotels will better know how to compete and inspire greater conversions.”

Richard Dunbar, Director of Partnerships at echoed the sentiment. “We’re thrilled to help guide this session with our friends at StayNTouch and Fuel. Attendees will walk away from this webinar with ideas they can immediately action. From there, hotels will know how to better enhance the guest experience in every part of the travel journey and build better relationships with their guests in the long term.”

The presentation will be hosted on Thursday, March 23, 2017 at 1 PM EST (10 AM PST, 6 PM GMT).

To save your seat for this free webinar, register here.

StayNTouch Hotel Software provides a fully-featured mobile Property Management System, a PMS-overlay and guest self-service capabilities. Visit to request a demo.

Fuel is a comprehensive digital marketing agency with an emphasis in travel and tourism; services include website development, SEO, PPC, email marketing and more. To get started, visit

Storytelling: how to win travelers at every part of their journey

Hospitality and travel are two of the most experiential industries we’ll ever know. And yet, a survey of the marketing landscape in these two areas reveals a shortage of content that reflects just that—experiences that inspire people through candid moments that they can easily imagine themselves enjoying.

This leaves would-be guests bouncing from site to site trying to piece together a narrative to which they can relate. Google has cleverly termed this “travel snacking” and the comparison couldn’t be more appropriate.

Snacks are great, unless you’re hungry for a meal.

The issue is more pronounced when you look at how this applies to the traveler journey at large. For simplicity’s sake we’ll condense things into three stages: pre-stay, on-property, and post-stay.

As a marketer, you can divide each of these further into micro-moments, but as a whole these experiences are what define the guest’s perception and are an opportunity to shape the guest experience with a meaningful narrative that inspires your guest at every part of their journey.

Storytelling is, without a doubt, the most effective way to do so. Marketing jargon aside, science is on our side with this one. (Take that!) But seriously, research indicates that the brain makes little distinction between reading about and experiencing something. That’s incredibly powerful information.


Long before a stay, stories serve to build the foundation of the guest’s expectations.

Instead of pushing messages about deals and discounts, tell an interesting quip about your hotel’s history, or offer a unique perspective on the destination that may intrigue a prospective traveler.

Remember, people travel to destinations, not buildings. By telling a compelling story about where your property is located, you position yourself as the facilitator of great experiences in your area. This inspires would-be guests to not only consider the destination, but also your hotel.

By operating with this mindset, two things happen. First, a good narrative will help you influence travelers in the early stages of planning, where there is considerably less noise and big opportunity to make an impact. Anywhere from 45-66% of leisure travelers are undecided or have multiple destinations in mind at the start of the travel planning process.

Second, by employing authentic stories, your hotel will differentiate itself within the market early on. Remember, there are a lot of options available to travelers and no hotel wants to become a commodity.


It’s impossible to overstate the importance the hotel plays in actualizing the experience once the guest is on property. It’s the storyboard from which the memory of the trip can take life.

As the operator, the hotel plays a fundamental role in facilitating the experience and ensuring the guest has a great story to share.

This is also the ideal time to get to know the guest. Understanding the audience means it’s easier to meet guests’ needs and provides the necessary context for crafting a unique narrative.

Combining data and storytelling allows you to gain context and present a narrative that’s true to your brand while also effective at inspiring your audience.


After the guest has departed, the industry-standard for communication tends to be a “thank you,” a survey, and then chasing the guest with templated marketing messaging. This typically persists until the guest opts out.

Sadly, there is rarely any effort made to infuse the highly experiential on-property experience into the messaging following the stay—and that’s a real shame. As a marketer, you can use this opportunity to build a stronger relationship and long-term loyalty with that guest.

Not only that, but it’s the perfect time to pass the storytelling torch, letting your guests now become the purveyors of an authentic narrative about your hotel. The benefits of doing so are tremendous.

With the internet being the greatest platform for social connectedness, a single person’s voice can travel farther than ever before. Plus, as there’s a lot of noise competing for fleeting attention, individuals are better able to cut through the racket, becoming a more trusted source of information than brands.

Unleash storytelling at your hotel

Together, brands and guests co-create the best dialog about your hotel. By adapting a storytelling mindset that spans the entire guest journey, hoteliers put their greatest asset to its best possible use.

Armed with this knowledge, hotels can take advantage of their role as facilitators of incredible experiences from the moment the guest discovers the property, to rekindling the highlights of their stay. Storytelling conveys memories that trigger powerful and compelling emotions.

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Stories that inspire: our favorite guest moments from February

Every guest story is an opportunity for a hotel to unveil something new. Stories reach & inspire—they’re truly memorable, sometimes magical, and a lot of times, a bit of fun.

In a way, we’ve fallen in love with guest stories, and every day see firsthand the impact they’re making for hotels. That’s why we’re sharing them with you! Check out a handful of our recent favorites below:

Tanque Verde Ranch —Top February 2017

Tanque Verde Ranch — Tucson, Arizona

“My daughter has always dreamed of being a cowgirl. I brought her to Tanque Verde Ranch this summer to allow her to feel one step closer to that dream. I took this photo on our first day, after she had just completed a cow penning session and wanted to share with me her new skills. It was at this very moment that I realized that she truly felt that she had accomplished her dream. Her pride is overflowing in this shot. My favorite photo. My favorite memory. Thank you TVR️.” — Annie F.

Admire more

This priceless moment captured by Annie, a recent guest of Tanque Verde Ranch, tells a heartening story of her daughter’s dream of being a cowgirl. No stock image comes close to telling such a rich, authentic narrative of Tanque Verde Ranch.

South Seas Island Resort a favorite guest story from February

South Seas Island Resort — Captiva, Florida

“Fishing with the little guy at the world famous Redfish Pass on the northern tip of South Seas. This is a picture and moment I’ll remember for a lifetime” — Jason F.

Experience Captiva

South Seas Island Resort is at the center of a memory that will be cherished for years to come. It’s special moments like this one that resonate with future travelers. In fact, Jason’s story alone has already led to 20 warm leads for the resort in just 2 weeks!

Hotel Wailea a favorite guest story from February

Hotel Wailea — Maui, Hawaii

“Beyond the stunning grounds, the incredible food, the pristine rooms, and the delicious poolside drinks, all of which I’d give 5 stars, I’d find a way to give 6 stars for the staff and customer service.

When we arrived after a whirlwind wedding week in South Carolina, we were exhausted and ready to relax. Thanks to a helpful tailwind and minimal traffic, we showed up a little earlier than expected, and were greeted with leis and huge, warm smiles.

When someone loves their job, you can tell in their demeanor, and it was clear from the start that everyone at Hotel Wailea loved their job. That says a lot about a place right off the bat. The staff suggested we head to the pool for a quite bite and a drink while they finished up with our room.

As we looked over the edge of the lobby at the 180 degree views of the ocean, we were in heaven, and as the cool breeze off the ocean hit our face, so did a wave of complete relaxation. We had just gotten here, but it already felt like home.” — Meredith A.

Explore Maui

A stunning balcony view, and even more stunning service from an all-star staff is what true hospitality is all about. No wonder Meredith and her fellow guests have introduced over 81,000 friends and relatives to the property, generating an astounding 1,305 warm leads in just 2 weeks!

Essex Resort & Spa a favorite guest story from February

Essex Resort & Spa — Essex Junction, Vermont

“We’ve celebrated my birthday at the Essex since I turned 35 and since my daughter now shares my birthday, we thought it only fitting to keep the tradition alive. Girl gotta celebrate!” — Robin V.

Show some love

The family tradition continues with a birthday celebration at Essex Resort & Spa. Not only did Robin help the resort tell a richer story, but this moment has been shared to 344 friends and relatives, leading to 15 leads in just 10 days.

One Ocean Resort & Spa a favorite guest story from February

One Ocean Resort & Spa — Atlantic Beach, Florida

“We love watching the sunrise from our balcony at One Ocean!” — Dr. Gary K.

Take in the view

Gary, a recent guest of One Ocean Resort & Spa, took a moment to enjoy the brilliant view, later sharing this special moment with 475 friends and relatives. In just a month he’s brought 327 to the resort’s site and generated 73 warm leads.

Hotel El Ganzo a favorite guest story from February

Hotel El Ganzo — Los Cabos, Baja California Sur, Mexico

“I enjoyed the pool and beach club very much! All of the employees were very nice. Our room was totally clean and we really appreciated the turn-down service.” — Hillary D.

Soak it in

Hotel El Ganzo is enhancing their marketing with rich, authentic content thanks to Melanie and fellow guests.

The Pines Resort a favorite guest story from February

The Pines Resort — Bass Lake, California

“One of my greatest memories at Bass was rounding up everyone I could to play hide-and-seek all around the pines. We’d wait until it got dark, make teams, set boundaries and run all over the place!” — Melanie H.

Enjoy the view

The Pines Resort is at the heart of many memories for Melanie, who shared this moment from a recent getaway with friends and family. Her story has captured the hearts and minds of 1,200 future travelers and driven 387 site visitors back to a personal experience on the resort’s site—impressions more powerful than any ad.

Shawnee Inn a favorite guest story from February

Shawnee Inn — Delaware, Pennsylvania

“Groomed slopes! Nighttime Smore’s over a fire pit! A beautiful clear sky to see constellations! Our knowledgeable and enthusiastic guide who took us on a hike on the Appalachian Trail! So many exclamation points because we love Shawnee!” — Cheryl M.

Discover more

Shawnee Inn is boosting revenue and telling a richer story, all while amplifying their brand with an incredible library of content.

La Casa Del Zorro a favorite guest story from February

La Casa Del Zorro — Borrego Springs, California

“Zorro never disappoints. From the amazing drinks at the Fox Den to the yoga classes to the starry nights and swims in the private casita pool, we can’t get enough of Zorro and it’s beautiful atmosphere. The perfect getaway!” — Tricia P.

Jump in

This candid poolside memory shared by Tricia gives future travelers a glimpse into all of the fun that La Casa Del Zorro has to offer. It’s stories like these that attract new audiences and capture the attention of new travelers worldwide.

Check back next month for even more. See any stories that stand out? Let us know!

Adventure back to January’s stories