Archive for October, 2008

Rentalo.com Sponsored the Monthly Meeting of Central Florida Vacation Rental Association

Thursday, October 30th, 2008

Some months ago we decided to join the CFVRMA (Central Florida Vacation Rental Managers Association) to develop our communication channel with property owners and managers from this area of the country and to stay tuned for the industry events and news. The CFVRMA is the biggest association of this type in Central Florida which unites the vacation rental industry by providing valuable information to property managers and by improving travelers’ experience as well.

Once a month CFVRMA organizes a meeting for members and vendors where property managers and owners can share their experience, discuss new industry trends and get advice on how to market their properties more efficiently. Last month we were invited to Sponsor the monthly meeting and on October 16th we had the chance to present Rentalo to CFVRMA members.

The meeting was held in Orlando, Florida where we drove the day before to be able to attend the meeting early in the morning the next day. We received a very warm welcome from the host Jeff Chase, who is the Executive director of CFVRMA and an extremely positive and dynamic person! He also helped us out with all the technical aspects and had our presentation ready for us to run upon our arrival. Great host indeed!

There were about ninety people present on the meeting most of which were property management companies as well as some vendors. During our speech we talked briefly about Rentalo’s history and presented our value proposition for property managers. Our presentation was very well taken and it was such a positive surprise to find out that half of the room already knew Rentalo!

One of the most exciting aspects of the meeting was definitely meeting face to face with some of the property owners we have been working with for many years. Finally we could meet our loyal clients personally, which is always a very positive experience. At the end of the presentation we were able to answer some questions and share tips with property owners looking for ways to increase their bookings this year.

We also had the opportunity to learn about struggles property management companies go through regarding city permits for repairing their units. It seems that the process is quite overwhelming since the city not only requires permits for every small change but also the execution by licensed and bonded contractors. Not very encouraging for property owners!

Overall however, we were happy to learn that most property management companies in Central Florida seem to be doing better this year (in terms of occupancy) comparing to previous years. It is mostly caused by the increasing popularity of vacation rentals which have proven to be an excellent way for cost –effective family getaways!

Marta

Why to Encourage Guest Comments for your Vacation Rental

Friday, October 17th, 2008

Trial and Error or Advice

Recently I was booking a hostel in Barcelona for one weekend of November. I visited many websites, saw countless hostels but after a while they all seemed exactly the same and I still had no idea which one to choose. All I wanted was a clean place in a central location, but all of them stated they were close to the center and extra clean. So which one to choose? Then I noticed one great feature of one of the websites – guest comments! According to others, a hostel I was thinking of choosing was not very clean and located near a very noisy street! Of course, I ended up booking the one which had the highest number of positive guest comments.

They Judge, we Buy

Opinions, comments and reviews have become omnipresent elements of the purchasing process. We prefer to buy products with high ratings and recommendations, the ones other people used and had experience with. It eliminates disappointment and gives us guarantee that a product we just bought will be working perfectly, just like it did for others. What’s more, we don’t need trusted experts to tell us their opinion anymore. We can simply listen to other consumers, real people just like us.

Guest Comments and Vacation Rentals

Today’s marketplace is full of well educated customers, who enjoy comparing products and make informed buying decisions. That’s why opinions and guest comments are essential also in a vacation rental industry. Travelers want to trust property owners when they say their house is perfect, but to be really able to book with confidence, they obviously prefer to relate to experience of others.

Being a Good Listener

So how can you encourage your guests to write a review of your vacation rental? I think there is only one recipe. If you provide your guests with an excellent service and go the extra mile to make them feel at home, you will surely hear about it.  Also, let your guests know that you always strive to meet their needs and value their opinions. It only shows you care and are committed to maintaining high standards. Where can guests write their reviews? Here are some examples:

- Guestbooks. Keep a guestbook book in a visible place in your vacation rental and ask travelers to write about their favorite experiences. If they do so, ask them for a permission to include those on your website or Rentalo listing.

- Internet. Encourage your guests to post comments and feedback on your private website or Rentalo listing. Such real testimonials are very valuable for travelers.

- Welcome letters. Leaving your guests a welcome letter is a nice detail and at the end of such letter you can have a space for comments and feedback.

Two Sides of the Coin – You Always Win

However you gather comments about your vacation home, always listen to what guests have to say and value their feedback. Whether the review you received is positive or negative, either way you can only learn. Good reviews are like a reward for you and only assure you, you are doing your job the best you can. Bad reviews though, are even more useful than the positive ones because a constructive criticism can only help you become a master. If you are afraid of bad reviews, it means there is probably something you should improve.

I really encourage you to gather feedback and include travelers’ comments in your property descriptions in Rentalo. After all, it can only complete information about your rental and create more trust of your potential clients.

Marta Olszewska

Rentalo.com has been Reviewed!

Tuesday, October 7th, 2008

It’s always such a pleasant surprise to see a positive review of your vacation home or website. This time Rentalo.com was reviewed by the owner of a popular blog for vacation rental owners and managers called arrangeyourvacation.com .

We have been referred to as the “site with a lot more information that any other travel site”. The owner of this friendly blog was also positively surprised by the complete and detailed information provided in our property listings saying: “it seemed as if they were hell-bent on getting their site certified on ISO9001!”

This is definitely a great start of the week! Read the full review of Rentalo on arrangeyourvacation.com.

Marta Olszewska