Vacation Rental Secrets Review: Does the Fully Booked Formula Provide Everything You Need To Get Started With Short-Term Rentals?

November 24, 2023

Vacation Rental Secrets is an educational platform created by Antonio Bortolotti that is aimed at helping owners and managers of vacation homes thrive through direct booking services. It offers interactive courses through the Fully Booked Formula, live events from the yearly Vacation Rental World Summit, website creation services through the Bespoke Vacation Rental Websites, and one-on-one consultancy. Its services focus on flourishing despite listing site non-dependence and becoming updated with industry trends in the vacation rental industry.

According to Statista, in 2023, the market for the vacation rental business is expected to skyrocket up to US$94.34bn. With this optimistic data at hand, does this mean that Vacation Rental Secrets will truly guarantee its promise of 100% booking conversions and increased profits yearly? Despite high projected revenue, it’s worth noting that competition is stiff in the short-term rental space. In fact, as written by David Bitton, CMO of Doorloop, direct booking sites are clashing with apps such as Airbnb, with 6.1 million+ listings and sites like Booking.com with over 17 million downloads in 2022. Moreover, reviews about Vacation Rental Secrets found online tend to be positive but from over 8 years ago.

In this article, I’ll share the pros and cons, costs, content, features, and claims of this platform. You’ll also learn about the founder’s education and background. Additionally, I’ll disclose important statistics about the vacation rental space.

Vacation Rental Secrets Review: Pros and Cons

Pros

Many services available: Vacation Rental Secrets has a total of 4 services to offer rentalprenuers, which include courses, website creation, live events, and personal consultancy.

Detailed feedback from founder: Their blog section is also filled with detailed replies from the founder. However, there are no recent responses as of 2023.

Active in-person event: The Vacation Rental World Summit is a recurring yearly event where owners and managers gather to learn about the trends and changes in the industry.

Cons

Lack of reviews: Despite being founded for almost two decades, there are only a few reviews about the educational platform. They are mostly from their own website.

Out-of-date & unfinished website: Although Vacation Rental Secrets offers website creation services, it’s worth noting that its own website has outdated and unfinished elements.

Insufficient info about course: Their course the Fully Booked Formula doesn’t disclose much information about its content.

Price

The price for Vacation Rental Secrets is €497 or around 540 USD for the Vacation Rental World Summit, $125 to $500 for the one-on-one consultancy, and $197 per module for the Fully Booked Formula. As for the Bespoke Vacation Rental Websites service, customized quotes will be given after contacting support.

Refund Policy

Refund policy for Vacation Rental Secrets is available for the Fully Booked Formula, which is a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Origin

Vacation Rental Secrets was founded in 2013.

Reputation

Vacation Rental Secrets has a good reputation based on comments regarding the Fully Booked Formula. However, these feedbacks are outdated, going back 8 years.

What's Included With Vacation Rentals Secret?

Vacation Rental Secrets includes a 2-day intensive training event called the Vacation Rental World Summit, 1 to 4 hours of personal consultancy by the founder Antonio Bortolotti, website creation and design service called Bespoke Vacation Rental Websites, and the Fully Booked Formula which is a comprehensive and interactive 3-module course. All products and services from the Vacation Rental Secrets are focused on converting through direct bookings and are built for seamless engagement with prospects.

What is the Vacation Rental World Summit?

Vacation Rental World Summit is a yearly 2-day intensive training event for the global vacation rental industry founded by Antonio Bortolotti. Industry experts, rentalpreneurs, hosts, property managers, and service providers gather to exchange ideas and strategies to stay updated and thrive in the short-term rental and vacation industries.

Vacation Rental World Summit content

  • Real statistics & trends: Business insights, innovations, technology, and upcoming trends will be provided in this independent conference
  • Direct engagement with presenters: Participants can ask questions and receive advice from the speakers during face-to-face meetings, hot seats, and panel discussions.
  • Community with fellow peers: Attendees can also share their experiences and solutions with other entrepreneurs in the short-term rental space. They can also use this event as a networking opportunity.
  • Connect with service providers: There will also be companies that provide streamlining services for owners and property managers. 
  • Unlimited access to 2021 recordings: Participants will get lifetime access to all 2021 summit recordings and the audio files in mp3 format.
  • Consecutive sessions + coffee stations: All events in the summit happen consecutively so participants can attend them with certainty. There will also be permanent coffee stations throughout the sessions.

Vacation Rental World Summit cost

One ticket costs €497 or around 540 USD. Early purchases get a 40% discount, which costs €297 or about 323 USD. Tickets bought also enable a 1% donation to the Stripe for Climate initiative for CO2 emission reduction.

Vacation Rental World Summit history

The Vacation Rental Word Summit’s history began in 2013. It started as an online session that was attended by more than 15,000 participants from 5 continents. In 2015, on its third edition, it transitioned to a physical gathering. The locations of its other in-person events are listed below.

  • Barcelona - 2016
  • Florence - 2017
  • Lake Como - 2018 to 2019
  • Virtual - 2020
  • Annecy - 2021
  • Porto - 2022
  • Barcelona - 2023
  • Porto - 2024

In 2024, it will be held from October 3 to 4 in Portugal, specifically in Alfândega do Porto.

What is Vacation Rental Secrets 1-to-1 consultancy?

Vacation Rental Secrets 1-to-1 consultancy is a service provided by Antonio Bortolotti. He helps owners and managers figure out how to improve their short-term rental businesses. These personal sessions focus on regaining independence from listing sites, creating websites that stand out, and maximizing revenue from rental fees. One-on-one consultations can be scheduled according to an individual’s selected time and date. Payment for sessions are listed below.

  • $125 for 1 hour
  • $250 for 2 hours
  • $500 for 4 hours (can be split into multiple sessions)

What are Bespoke Vacation Rental Websites?

Bespoke Vacation Rental Websites is site creation service from Vacation Rental Secrets. The web design mainly prioritizes conversion through direct bookings and engagement with prospects. The portfolio for Vacation Rental Secrets includes Paradisefoundflorida.com, the Mexico-based rental Casa Mar Azul San Pancho, as well as Casa Sitges and Cortijo La Hoya which are both located in Spain. Casa Teulada’s website was also created by Antonio.

What is the Fully Booked Formula?

The Fully Booked Formula is a course on short-term vacation rentals that provides the foundation to attain 5-star status. It is from the educational platform Vacation Rental Secrets, which was created by Antonio Bortolotti. It promises to convert 100% of inquiries into solid bookings. It also guarantees higher yearly revenue. The training contains hours of lessons that are comprehensive, interactive, and step-by-step.

It consists of three modules that are sold separately. Each of them has documents, cheat sheets, downloads, tutorials, videos, and blueprints. They cover topics about the hospitality and tourism industries that include prospect psychology, website design, proper review responses, as well as persuasion and technical skills.

The Fully Booked Formula costs $197 per module. It also has a 30-day trial for the first module. This money-back guarantee can be accessed through emailing the support team.

Module 1: Increase booking conversions

The first module prioritizes how to boost booking conversions, leverage missed bookings, generate extra revenue, and use the right systems and tools for vacation rentals. It also contains the 8-template Outstanding Email Sequence.

Module 2: Build an ironclad reputation

The second module for the Fully Booked Formula is centered on creating an impeccable online reputation. It provides tutorials on customer service tips to improve guest experience. It also teaches the basics of guest reviews, particularly how to request a positive review from selected tenants.

Module 3: Make your website stand out

For the third module, it is focused on how to create a website that stands out from the competition. It also covers how to get a direct booking from a potential guest that visits your site.

What are Fully Booked Formula reviews?

Fully Booked Formula reviews are positive, coming from three feedbacks made 8 years ago. These are from the comment section of a 2016 article on the Vacation Rental Secrets website. The reviews highlighted that the Fully Booked formula was beneficial to their brand, as well as being listing site non-dependent. The Bespoke Reply, Enfold theme, PHP code, and multimedia responses were helpful to them too. Commenters also praised Antonio Bortolotti’s easy-to-understand teaching style and responsiveness.

The first review stated that it was helpful for their brand and business, despite the struggle with market saturation. She also complimented the personal Bespoke Reply and new tips. Additionally, she stated that the founder teaches clearly, with simple steps.

As for the second one, he shared that he was hesitant at first but finally tried it because of the 30-day free trial. He shared that the training included a PHP code that enables users to know when an email was opened. It also had the Enfold theme. The commenter also praised the founder’s quick responses to queries.

The third review shared that it was one of the best courses for becoming listing site independent. She also stated that using what she learned, she was able to craft top-tier multimedia responses to her potential clients.

Who is Vacation Rental Secrets For?

Vacation Rental Secrets is for rental property owners and managers who want to be listing-independent, need website creation services, aim to be updated with industry shifts, or need guidance with their business. The course the Fully Booked Formula is focused on thriving listening non-dependence. Whereas, the Bespoke Vacation Rental Websites is for rentalpreneurs who need websites for their vacation property. Meanwhile, the yearly Vacation Rental World Summit is for individuals who want to be updated with recent changes in the industry. And the one-on-one consultancy service with Antonio Bortolotti is for any vacation rental host who requires help with their listings.

Does the Fully Booked Formula Provide Everything You Need To Get Started With Short-Term Rentals?

No, the Fully Booked Formula does not provide everything you need to get started with shooter-term rentals. This is because it is primarily focused on becoming listing independent. It’s only for vacation rental marketing in the form of direct booking.

Who Is Antonio Bortolotti?

Antonio Bortolotti

Antonio Bortolotti is an educator, speaker, host, course creator, and short-term rental property owner. He is the founder of Vacation Rental Secrets’s Fully Book Formula and the host of the yearly Vacation Rental World Summit. Antonio also owns Casa Teulada, a distinguished villa featured in numerous magazines. Prior to this, he worked for an Italian airline and was a commercial pilot.

Antonio Bortolotti’s educational background

Antonio Bortolotti has a degree in International Law and Legal Studies from the University of Florence or Università degli Studi di Firenze. From 1992 to 1997, he attended advanced German language classes at the Berlitz Language School in Essen Germany. Prior to this, he also obtained a diploma in foreign languages from  I.T.C. A. Volta. He was also an exchange student at Oak Park River Forest High School in the US.

Antonio Bortolotti's tourism experience

Antonio Bortolotti worked for Alitalia, an Italian airline, for about 17 years. In his LinkedIn profile, he shared that he was an airline crew member from 1997 to 2014. As a guest in the No BS Short-Term rental podcast, he revealed that he was a pilot for 4 years. Following the events of the 9/11 attack, he became fearful of flying. He then pivoted to the short-term rental industry. 

In three years, he was able to buy three properties in disrepair. In 2007, he purchased Casa Teulada located in Sardinia, Italy. When he renovated it in 2009, it was highlighted in the Italia! Magazine, La Casa di una Volta, gDa, and CasAntica. In 2010, it was considered one of the best holiday destinations by The Sunday Times Travel, Panorama Travel, The Observer, and Food and Travel Magazine.

Antonio also began creating websites and consulting. He founded the platform HolidayHomesRoundThe World in 2011, which ran for more than 3 years. It featured holiday homes in Europe and Italy. 

In 2012, he created Vacation Rental Secrets, an educational platform for the short-term rental industry. It also offers the exclusive training Fully Booked Formula, which is focused on increasing revenue, occupancy rates, and bookings.

He then began speaking and imparting his wisdom to owners and property managers. At first, it was at HomeAway events. Later, in 2013, he started a 3-day virtual event called Vacation Rental World Summit. It had a total of 15,000+ participants, with attendees from 49 countries. It has transitioned into an in-person event, with virtual meetups in the past due to the pandemic. Currently, it is an anticipated yearly event featuring experts in the short-term rental industry.

What are Antonio's secrets?

Antonio’s secrets is the blog section of the Vacation Rentals Secrets. The page is named Sharing The Secrets and it discloses vacation rental tips. It contains articles, step-by-step, tutorials, videos, and infographics. Topics discussed are industry and technology trends, email sequences, WordPress, search engine optimization, listing sites, payment systems, the Vacation Rental World Summit, strategies, marketing tools, mastermind groups, social media, and web design. Its comment section is also filled with detailed query responses from Antonio. However, its newest post is on July 17, 2017, with the earliest dating back to 2013.

What Are Vacation Rental Secrets Claims?

Vacation Rental Secrets claims to help hosts and property managers have 100% booking conversions, have higher revenue per year, and have exceptional websites.

3 Red Flags of Vacation Rental Secrets Claims

Vacation Rental Secrets Claims

#1 Red Flag: ‘100% booking conversions’

On the homepage of the Vacation Rental Secrets website and on an article written in 2016, Antonio claims that his course The Fully Booked Formula enables 100% booking conversions. However, according to data from Ruler Analytics, even the best performers in the travel and tourism industry only have a 23% conversion rate, with the average being only 4.7%.

#2 Red Flag: ‘Higher revenue per year’

Another claim that the founder makes is that the training program can generate increased revenue on a yearly basis. However, it’s worth considering that there are many factors that affect annual income which include price, preference, maintenance cost, legislation, and market saturation.

Based on a statistics article written by Doorloop CMO David Bitton, 53.82% of men think that price is the most important factor for vacation rentals. Meanwhile, 64.84% of women shared that it’s a crucial factor when booking.

In terms of preference, 82% of adults from the US choose eco-friendly options and 93.06% select sustainable travel. Since 2021, there was also been an increase in stays in unique and unconventional rentals by about 28%.

Then, there’s also the matter of ongoing maintenance costs which amounts to 13% of overall earnings. This depends on the size of the vacation rental unit, which can range from $47 for a private room to $333 for a house with more than 5 rooms. This factor is important because units with high cleanliness have 2.3% more occupancy rates.

There are also upcoming and ongoing legislation that will affect the profitability of vacation rental units. In San Diego alone, a new ordinance is limiting the number of shooter-term rental permits to only 5,400 in the city, from the current count of 12,300. There are also strict regulations implemented in major cities in the U.S. such as Atlanta, New York, and San Francisco.

Perhaps one of the most recent issues that entrepreneurs have to face is the market saturation. In the U.S., there are 1.5 million listings for vacation rentals. Despite the massive supply, occupancy rates are declining.  According to a 2022 Time Magazine article, occupancy rates are lower because there are many wealthy investors who listed short-term rentals in the U.S. for Airbnb units alone.

#3 Red Flag: ‘Websites that stand out’

Vacation Rental Secrets also claims that they can help create stunning websites. However, looking at their own site shows that there are some elements that need to be refined. This includes the missing descriptions under the modules section of the Fully Booked Formula. There are also websites in their portfolio that are no longer available.

What Are Vacation Rentals?

Vacation rentals are furnished and private residences where travelers temporarily stay. Every short-term rental is unique when it comes to amenities, costs, and sizes. It can be a house, townhome, villa, yurt, nature lodge, RV and camper, resort-condominium complex, or a multi-bedroom apartment. These accommodations are prime for real estate investing for an entrepreneur if their locations are near cities, tourist destinations, and popular attractions.

How do you know if a vacation rental is a good investment?

A vacation rental is a good investment if the property has a good location, high demand, and desirable attractions nearby. Having a vacation rental investment that is located in a pleasant area is crucial. For instance, according to Doorloop, locations like Florida have a 70% expected occupancy rate, followed by +37.5% in Washington D.C., +24.1% in Boston, and +19.7% in New York. When a short-term rental has a good location, demand follows, evident in coastal areas where there’s a +40% occupancy rate. Attractions also play a part. As seen in 2023 data from Custom Marketing Insights, Europe’s sights and scenes make its short-term rentals one of the most popular in the world.

Do vacation rental properties make money?

Yes, vacation rental properties make money. Based on a statement by John Banczak, TurnKey Vacation Rentals executive chairman, an annual income of $10,000 should be the goal for every $100,000 paid for a vacation rental business.

Are Vacation Rentals the Best Real Estate Investment Out There?

No, vacation rentals are not the best real estate investment out there. One significant downside to this kind of real estate investment is its seasonal demand. Unlike traditional short-term rental properties, vacation homes can expect peak occupancy during certain times of the year like holidays. Because of this, it also makes it vulnerable to changes in traveler behaviors due to economic changes. For instance, according to Custom Marketing Insights, during the pandemic, occupancy fell by 10% in vacation rentals, which drastically impacted many businesses.

If you’re searching for evergreen revenue, which is also a source of passive income, try digital real estate. It’s a much better alternative than a vacation home and only requires $300 to $500 initial investment. There’s no upkeep needed, and once your site is up and ranking, very little maintenance is needed. To top it off, there’s a 95% profit margin. Here’s a website I started back in 2015.

Are Vacation Rentals the Best Real Estate Investment Out There

A client has been renting it ever since and it’s making me $2,000 per month. In 7 years alone, it has profited me over $168,000. I’ve only spent 15 hours building and ranking it. If you’re curious about digital real estate, feel free to check out my local lead gen training program.

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