Strategic Mailing Generates 24% Increase in Shoulder Season Vacation Rental Reservations | Contributed by Stacy Carlson


The challenge was to increase fall booking for Sand `N Sea Properties - a vacation rental management company in Galveston, TX with approximately 145 homes. The client defined the fall season as September 15, 2011 – January 15, 2012. In 2010, there were 591 confirmed reservations for this timeframe. The goal for this campaign was to achieve an 18% increase in the number of fall 2011 reservations.

The strategy included a series of five campaigns that involved selected market segmentation, clear demonstration of value proposition and messaging, and testing where appropriate. It began with a broad approach, reaching out to all email subscribers and past guests. Subsequent messages were sent to specific market segments that would find the content highly relevant.

Message 1

  • General fall booking message sent in early August to all members (optins and past guests).
  • Testing –Monday vs. Wednesday. The Wednesday mailing produced a higher click through rate (15.3%), but Monday yielded more conversions.

Message 2

  • Mailed to past fall guests only. Content referenced their past visit (Come Back to Galveston)
  • Testing –A template with a large image was tested against a template with a smaller image. The template with the larger image proved to be more successful in terms of metrics and revenue.

Message 3

  • This segment included people who expressed a preference for fall travel through the contact form and past guests that opened or clicked the previous email but did not book.
  • This mailing was highly relevant to this group with an open rate of 76.8% and a 17.8% click through rate.

Message 4

  • We returned to a broad approach, mailing to all members and highlighting affordable fall rates.

Message 5

  • The final message was sent to all members and included a sense of urgency around fall booking.


By combining a broad approach with more targeted messages, the campaign was successful in exceeding 2010 numbers by 24%. There were 735 confirmed fall reservations for 2011/2012. That’s an increase of 144 bookings over the previous year. Open and click through rates were consistently higher than the industry average. The results indicated that we were reached the right audience with the right message at the right time.

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