How To Monitor Your Competition

Part of what I preach in maintaining high occupancy rates is an owner’s commitment to the cause. Owners that are vigilant, hard-working, and creative always book more nights than nonchalant marketers who think with an hour here or there, travelers will come knocking at their door. Suffice it to say, whatever type of owner you can afford to be, keeping an eye on the competition is a universal trait of success.

Just about every vacation rental owner has, at least once or twice, taken a peek at his competition’s availability calendar to see how they are doing. Knowing the amount of business nearby vacation rentals are getting can be helpful in a number of ways; it’s a real-world thermometer that allows you to gauge where your rental fits in the overall micro-market.

Keeping tabs on individuals, businesses or themes has never been so simple...

In order to stay up-to-date on my marketplace I like to use an online tool that’s both free and effortless in setting up. It keeps me plugged in to my rental’s online reputation as well as that of my competition. And its name is Google Alerts.

At the crossroads of technology and journalism, keeping tabs on individuals, businesses or themes has never been as simple as it is now with Google Alerts. No more are large property management agencies the only ones who can afford to churn up information. You too can be your own intelligence gatherer and here is how in 4 simple steps:


  1. Visit Google Alerts:
  2. Enter your search query: I like to put a Google Alert on my three biggest vacation rental competitors as well as the names of their owners. I also like to set it up with broader trigger phrases like “Panama vacation” and “Panama travel.”
  3. Select your settings in terms of result type (Everything), frequency (once a week), and your desired email address.
  4. Then create the alert.


Depending on how your alert is configured, Google Alerts will trigger an email notification whenever your target topic is mentioned online, whether it be a blog, a newspaper article, YouTube video…etc. If you’re like me, you may even start seeing guest reviews about your rental that you never knew existed!

Google Alerts is a tool every vigilant vacation rental marketer should have in his/her arsenal. It’s a way to quickly stay abreast of your industry and region, and considering it takes about 30 seconds to set up, the investment isn’t a hard one to cough up.

Matt is a vacation rental marketing guru and author of the Vacation Rental Advertising blog. Subscribe to his free newsletter or purchase his $77 report guaranteed to help you increase your vacation rental occupancy in less than 1 month.