How To Create Your Own Insider's Guide

Most vacation rental owners look far and wide for inexpensive ways to get a leg up on  competitor rentals just down the street. Some build their own websites. Others upgrade their HomeAway listing for several hundred dollars. But what few fail to realize, is that the biggest, most influential vacation rental marketing weapon is sitting right under your nose.


As vacation rental proprietors, what almost all of us have going for us is that we know our geographic region inside and out. Whether we’ve owned in the neighborhood (or vacationed there) for years, we know the inside tips because we’ve lived them!

For owners in winter ski destinations, this may mean knowing the area’s most secluded or challenging slopes.

For owners in beach towns, this might mean knowing where to get the freshest seafood or individuals who rent out the best valued charter boats.

Whatever the region or specifics, vacation rental owners are a wealth of local knowledge for vacationers and learning to leverage it means generating substantially more bookings than you have ever had before. Why? Because getting the best advice significantly enhances a vacation! Think about the last time you visited a friend in a foreign place: you ate at all the best restaurants, you saw only the best sights, and you met some amazing people. Simply because you had a friend helping out.

Perhaps the perfect way to showcase your regional expertise to your vacation rental guests is in the form of an Insider’s Guide, or a simple PDF document that reveals inside secrets for vacationing in your neighborhood.

An Insider’s Guide with a punchy title can be a short as a few pages, while still managing to accomplish two goals:


1) Does it convey expertise? If written properly, an Insider’s Guide that’s given away for free to prospective guests manages to add value to the traveler’s experience. It’s no secret that travelers tend to migrate to rentals owned by expert owners. So by creating a guide that is valuable and accurate, owners are solidifying their position of authority and thus generating more leads.

2) Does it build trust? Just about everyone can explain, in person, the many intricate travel tips of a given destination. But only seasoned writers can create prose that leaps off the page. A good Insider’s Guide manages to transform helpful information into an actual relationship. A good Insider’s Guide should prompt a reader to say, “wow, this owner is the real deal, I need to stay at his/her rental.”


Here are some examples of successful Insider's Guides being used today by rental owners:

  • Cheapest and most reliable transportation services
  • 6 Things You Can’t Leave Without Eating/Drinking
  • 12 of the best happy hours in town
  • The most unusual restaurants in town you never knew you craved
  • Hawaii's 8 Top Secret Beaches
  • The most knowledgable tour guides in town
  • 6 insider's hikes for hiking enthusiasts
  • The neighborhood's TOP underground bars

In fact, you can check the Insider's Guide we use at my rentals, "5 Crackheads You MUST Meet In Casco Viejo."

Creating an Insider’s Guide is really as simple as sitting down for a few hours and documenting all your best, most influential travel tips, then formatting your content nicely in the form of a PDF document. By keeping the information private (and not just published somewhere on the web), owners wield a professional weapon in the process of generating more bookings. Here are some ideas for use:

  • Attach your secret Insider's Guide for free along with your email inquiry responses
  • Offer your awesome Insider's Guide in your VRBO description to anyone who inquires
  • Send your influential Insider's Guide to local bloggers and journalists to get your rental featured in major publications

Matt Landau is the founder of Vacation Rental Marketing Blog and VRLeap, two free resources designed to help vacation rental owners and managers increase their bookings. Pick up a copy of his latest book, The Eureka Effect: How Good Vacation Rentals Become Great for free while supplies still lasts.

Starting today, owners can commission a professional travel writer to Create Their Own Custom Insider's Guide: the offer includes a 30-minute consultation, up to 5 pages of custom-written text (and a snazzy cover) in the form of a PDF document for easy distribution. It also includes unlimited revisions. This deal is on sale now on