Webinar Recap: Email Marketing For Vacation Rentals With Switchback & StayFi


In the competitive world of short-term rentals, achieving a vibrant, independent, and more profitable brand is the ultimate goal for vacation rental operators. Relying on third-party Online Travel Agencies (OTAs) like Airbnb and Vrbo for most bookings can be unreliable and costly. One of the most important channels to succeed independently and increase direct booking is email marketing to your guests.   

We have teamed up with the leading email marketing agency for vacation rentals, Switchback, to offer a powerful email marketing tool built specifically to help short-term rental operators gain independence from OTAs and increase direct bookings.

To explain how to get the most use out of our platform and how you cam most effectively utilize email marketing to target your guests, we co-hosted a webinar which you can find summarized below, or you can view in its entirety HERE, or simply watch below. 

State of the STR Market

As the short-term rental market returns to pre-2020 levels of occupancy and nightly rates, vacation rental operators need effective strategies to stay ahead. Email marketing emerges as a powerful tool for building relationships with guests, increasing repeat bookings, and driving direct revenue.

Why Email Marketing?

Email marketing holds numerous advantages for vacation rental operators:

  1. Increase Bookings & Revenue: By reducing reliance on costly OTAs, STROs can keep more revenue in their pockets.
  2. Build Brand Awareness: Engage guests with direct booking messaging to establish your brand independently.
  3. Filling Last-Minute Cancellations: Utilize email marketing to fill vacancies and reduce lost revenue.
  4. ROI Outside of E-commerce: Email marketing contributes to guest engagement and retention, providing a valuable return on investment.
  5. Timely, Personalized, and Measurable: Email campaigns offer personalized communication that can be easily tracked for performance evaluation.
  6. Cost-Effective: Email marketing is an affordable and highly effective marketing channel for short-term rental operators.

Selecting & Setting Up An Email Marketing Tool

Switchback’s StayFi Email Marketing Tool stands out as an ideal solution for vacation rental operators:

  • Reputation: Switchback partnered with StayFi to create a groundbreaking email marketing tool, leveraging Campaign Monitor’s reliable platform to deliver effectiveness through a dependable platform.
  • Cost: StayFi’s Email marketing starts at just $15/month for unlimited sends, ensuring cost-effectiveness for short-term rental operators.
  • Integration: StayFi integrates with top Property Management Systems (PMS) and is continually expanding integrations for seamless data transfer.

Strategies to Grow Your Email List

To leverage the full potential of email marketing, it is important that short-term rental operators continuously grow their email lists. Here are a few ways StayFi and Switchback recommend increasing your contact list:

  • Reservation Data: Integrate existing PMS guest data into StayFi email marketing.
  • WiFi: Collect email and data from every vacation rental guest, not just the booker, using StayFi’s WiFi & guest marketing platform.
  • Website: Implement signup forms and pop-up strategies to capture email subscribers directly from your website.
  • Partnerships: Collaborate with local businesses or associations to reach new audiences and grow your subscriber list.

Types of Email Marketing Campaigns

Effective email marketing campaigns are essential for maintaining consistent communication with guests. Remember, emails you collect lose their value if you don’t establish a line of consistent communication. 

There are two main types of email marketing campaigns:

  • Marketing Automation & Customer Journeys: Automate emails to drive revenue and engage with guests personally throughout their journey.
  • One-Time Campaigns: Use newsletters, promotions, and alerts to connect with subscribers effectively.

Start by understanding the different stages of the guest journey, and defining your goals.

Setting up Marketing Automation & Customer Journeys

When setting out to create your first automated campaign, you might wonder where to start and what to prioritize. While this depends on your size and situation, there are a few main types of automated campaigns that can be extremely powerful for increasing direct bookings:

  1. Guest WiFi Welcome Journey Series: Automate an email after WiFi login to introduce your brand and improve the overall guest experience.
  2. Newsletter Signup: Welcome subscriber emails have on average 4x the open rate and 5x the click-through rate of a standard email marketing campaign.
  3. Booking Anniversary: Trigger an email based booking date and past reservation data.
  4. A Post Departure Drip: Thank guests (WiFi and PMS) and encourage them to book direct for their next stay. Also include a survey encouraging feedback or reviews.
  5. Booking Abandonment Campaign: These email should include a CTA that instantly allows potential guess to click back into their reservation details to finish booking.
  6. Re-Engagement Campaign: Isolated inactive subscribers with segmentation and send an email to reconfirm their interest.

Setting up One-time Campaigns

Automated campaigns have the massive benefit of running autonomously once set up, but in many cases it will benefit you to send out a single campaign to make announcements or highlight a key piece of information. Here are a few examples of ways to maximize your email marketing efforts with one-off campaigns:

  1. The Standard Promotional Campaign: These campaigns typically include a main CTA with the possibility of a secondary CTA such as featured properties. 
  2. A Themed Newsletter: These should be sent with consistency (once a month on the same day) and also have a consistent theme. Give it a name!
  3. New Property Announcements: Send them when you get one! Great for owners and guests and can have the highest engagement.
  4. Seasonal Focused Campaigns: These campaigns resonate with travelers seeking the perfect seasonal escape. Highlight tailored experiences and accommodations.
  5. Open Availability Focused Campaigns: These are perfect for flexible travelers, allowing you to spotlight select properties with open availability, enticing guests to seize the opportunity for a deal and for you to increase your occupancy rate.

Email Marketing Demo and Walkthrough

Click here to see StayFi’s CEO, Arthur Colker, walkthrough how to set up an automated campaign on StayFi’s WiFi and guest marketing platform. For this specific example, Arthur walks you through creating a welcome journey campaign for anyone who signs into your vacation rental’s WiFi network.

A welcome journey campaign is a powerful automation that ensures every guest who connects to your WiFi receives a warm and personalized welcome message. This automated email can be the first point of contact with your guests, setting the tone for their stay and establishing a positive impression of your vacation rental brand.

How to Create Compelling Content for Direct Bookings

Engaging content is crucial in driving direct bookings and building relationships with guests:

  • Showcase What Makes You Unique: Humanize your brand and highlight your unique qualities to stand out.
  • Showcase What Makes Your Property Unique: Emphasize the distinct features that set your rental apart.
  • Showcase What Makes Your Location Unique: Leverage the appeal of your vacation location to attract guests.
  • Make Content Visually Appealing: Utilize compelling visuals to enhance the overall guest experience.

Strategies for Growth and Maximizing ROI

There are many strategies for optimizing your campaigns and ensuring you have proper returns, but here are a few of our most highly recommended tips:

  • Tailor email marketing strategies based on your property size and budget to maximize your return on investment:
  • Leverage PMS Integrations and Automation: Streamline data transfer and increase efficiency.
  • ROI Analysis and Identifying Growth Opportunities: Measure campaign performance and discover areas for improvement.

Switchback Services: Onboarding Options

Switchback offers different onboarding options to meet the diverse needs of STROs:

  • Lite Onboarding: Perfect for those seeking a DIY option with initial configuration and training.
  • Premium Onboarding: Receive custom templates and WiFi welcome automation created by the Switchback team, and access managed email marketing services.
  • Ongoing Managed Email Marketing: Pair with Premium Onboarding to benefit from monthly or on-demand email marketing production, strategy, and consulting.


StayFi’s Switchback email marketing empowers vacation rental operators with the technology and strategies to achieve a vibrant, independent, and more profitable brand. By utilizing the powerful tools and expert guidance provided by Switchback, short-term rental operators can break free from the reliance on OTAs, increase direct bookings, and build lasting relationships with their guests.

Not a Customer Yet? Schedule your personalized, 1-on-1 demo with StayFi now.

Book a demo today and access StayFi’s email marketing tools and more today. Our expert team is here to show you all of the benefits and tools of the platform so we can get you set up to increase your direct bookings. Book using our calendar link below:

Troy Ibarra

Troy Ibarra

Marketing Manager for StayFi

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