Archive for the ‘Tools & Tutorials’ Category

How to Use Rentalo’s New Multilingual Messaging Platform to Negotiating with Travelers

Wednesday, December 21st, 2011




 Below are some tips and recommendations when using Rentalo's new messaging platform for negotiating with travelers:

Sending Offers - Please make sure that the 'Offer Price' is for the entire stay requested by the traveler.  We often see owners submitting nightly rates, instead of a quote for the requested dates.
Sending Messages - Travelers expect offers from property managers, therefore, please try sending them offers as soon as possible.  If your property if booked, and you receive an inquiry alert for your property listing, then it is okay to reply with a 'sorry, we are booked' message.  However, if you receive an inquiry alert for the location of your property, then please do not reply with the 'sorry, we are booked' message.  Travelers sending destination-based inquiries are only interested in offers. 
Negotiating with Travelers - Our messaging platform is a great tool for negotiating with travelers.  You can send unlimited messages back and forth until you both agree to the terms. You can also take advantage of our multilingual feature to communicate with potential guests in other languages.

How to handle booking requests -  Travelers can also send 'booking requests' when they are ready to book a listing.  Owners should try to contact these travelers as soon as possible to secure the bookings.  Optionally, you may turn Rentalo's EzBookMe feature to let Rentalo collect the booking fees from the travelers.  To learn more about this feature, please click the 'EzBOokMe' tab when signed in to your account.

Free listings (or expired listings) – If you have a free listing with us, you can still send offers and messages to  travelers via Rentalo’s messaging platform, however, it’s very important to follow our ‘no direct contact’ rules when sending messages and offers to travelers.  Using  Rentalo’s messaging platform you will be able to receive booking requests from travelers, prior to choosing a paid subscription or renewing your listing.  There is no need for you to communicate outside of Rentalo to secure your first booking.  During your ‘free’ listing period, please focus on sending offers to travelers and familiarize yourself with Rentalo’s service.  We are confident that you will soon get a booking request and upgrade your listing to a paid listing subscription to enjoy the following key benefits:

  • - Unlimited private and destination lead alerts
  • - Unlimited bookings
  • - Unrestricted communications with potential guests
  • - Full web page ad with unlimited photos, video, map, and much more!
  • For additional information and FAQs on our Messaging platform, please read FAQs

    Taking Advantage of Rentalo’s Mobile Apps

    Tuesday, October 4th, 2011
    Sales of smartphones and tablets are on the rise, as reported by International Data Corporation (IDC) in 2009-10, more smartphones and tablets were sold than desktop computers. In September 28, 2011, Rentalo finished its initial  implementation of its mobile apps, now available in the top 3 online market places for smartphones; Apple’s iTunes, Google’s Android Market, and Blackberry App World.  With the increasing tendency of consumers going mobile, property owners have a unique opportunity to capitalize on this trend.  Below are some useful tips on how RENTalo can help owners  take advantage of this new consumer trend, and convert mobile hits into bookings.
    
    
    
    Tip 1.  First of all, you need to become familiar with how your listing is viewed by mobile users.  Using Rentalo's mobile site or app, search for your listing from a smartphone or table device.   The best way to learn how our app work is by downloading it unto your own portable device.  If you do not own a smartphone or tablet, you can use your own PC's internet browser to become familiar with m.rentalo.com.  Even though m.rentalo.com was designed for mobile browsers, simply by using the "Search" feature to find your listing's destination will give you a pretty good idea of how your listing is viewed by mobile users.  Please note that the listing ordering in m.rentalo.com is different than on the main site at this time. 
    
    

    Tip 2.  Once you are familiar with how mobile users find your listing, and understand how your listing information is viewed from these devices, you may want to update your listing at RENTalo to take full advantage of the apps.  Adding more pictures and features to your listing in Rentalo can increase the number of  inquiries you receive from mobile users.   Below is a list of the data fields that are available to mobile users:

    
    
    • - Your listing's photos (tip: review your listing pictures and update them regularly)
    • - List of amenities (tip: edit your listing's amenities checkboxes and select as many as applicable)
    • - List of activities (tip: edit your listing and check as many activities as are available in your area)
    • - Map (tip: Make sure your map is working properly in your listing.
    • - Inquire - Mobile users can send inquiries directly from their phones, so, please make sure you maintain your availability calendar up-to-date to avoid getting inquiries on dates that are booked.  Also, update your rates to make it easier for travelers to choose your property.
    
    
    Tip 3. Send us your feedback.  At RENTalo, we acknowledge the valuable feedback of our clients.  We look  forward to receiving your comments about our apps, and will use it to prioritize future enhancements on our upcoming development efforts.
    
    
    
    Related reading:  Article:  How to Ask Expert Advice on Where to Stay
    
    

    Introducing EZ BookMe to Owners

    Thursday, September 1st, 2011
    
    
    EZ BookMe is an intuitive, multi-lingual, message-based online booking facility for travelers and property owners.  EZ BookMe streamlines the booking process via an intuitive and friendly messaging service that allows travelers and owners to easily communicate back and forth prior to booking.  Owners can post unlimited number of offers or quotes during negotiations with potential guests via RENTalo. When ready, travelers can book online securely and receive the value-added of a $5,000 anti-fraud lodging protection; a guarantee designed to protect travelers booking a property via RENTalo from possible scams or frauds.  Owners receive full rental booking payments within 3 business days from traveler’s arrival dates, saving 100% of credit cards and merchant fees.
    
    
    “Our mission for the past 12 years serving the travel lodging  industry has been to facilitate transactions between travelers and  property owners.  EZ BookMe is a powerful and easy to use booking  platform designed to help property owners and travelers to do business  online” says Alfredo Purrinos, former NASA engineer and CEO/founder of RENTalo.com.
    
    
    
    
    By activating EZ BookMe, property owners benefit from more online bookings by allowing travelers to book online, while retaining the “final say” for confirming reservations and/or doing pre-screening on their potential guests prior to accepting reservations.  Property owners can also save on per-booking credit card fees and monthly merchant service fees.  There are no setup fees and no transaction fees for owners, and only a 10% service fee charged to travelers who also receive $5,000 anti-fraud lodging protection guarantee.
    
    
    
    
    - To learn more about EZ BookMe, please see EZ BookME faqs 
    
    
    
    
    - Read article: Introducing EZ BookME to Travelers
    
    
    
    
    - Read press release & watch intro video

    Are you Covered?

    Thursday, June 30th, 2011
    
    
    Below you find some frequently asked questions and answers when purchasing Accidental Rental Damage Insurance (ARDI).
    
    
    
    
    What is the Accidental Rental Damage Insurance Plan (ARDI)?
  • ARDI is an insurance plan that provides coverage for accidental damages to your vacation rental property during a stay as a replacement for a security deposit.
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    Why should vacation property owners purchase ARDI?
  • - With ARDI, owners no longer have to worry about collecting security deposits from guests.
  • - With ARDI, guests do not have to lower their credit card spending balances with a hefty security deposit amount  while they are on vacation.
  • - When claims occur, the payments for repairs of the covered accidental damage will be handled directly between the rental property owner and the insurance company.
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    What is covered by the ARDI plan?
  • - ARDI covers unintentional damage to your vacation rental property during your stay, up to $3,000. Owners commonly use ARDI to cover things like carpet spills, furniture tears, broken lamps, and other damages.
  • - When staying in a pet-friendly vacation home, ARDI can provide coverage for damages caused by pets!
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    What is not covered by the ARDI  plan?
    
  • - Any intentional property damage.
  • - Any pet damage in a non-pet friendly vacation property.
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    How do I include the ARDI plan?
  • Simply purchase ARDI for $45 to cover up to $1,500 in damages or $69 to cover up to $3,000.  You can purchase it online at the time the reservation is made up until 24-hours prior to check-in.
  • Please see the Description of ARDI's Coverage for full terms and conditions.
    
    
    To learn more about Accidental Rental Damage Insurance Plan, click here.
    

    Vacation Rentals That Feel Like Luxury Boutique Hotels

    Thursday, March 10th, 2011
    
    
    
    
    First, lets start with some interesting industry facts and predictions:
    
    
    
    Arthur Frommer's #1 travel prediction for 2011 was that "A Greatly Increased Use of Apartments and Vacation Homes in Place of Standard Hotels". (ref. Arthur Frommer's Blog, Dec 2010)
    
    
    
    
    New York Times foresees vacation rentals piling up on luxuries and advertising as "hotels" (ref. New York Times - Travel, Dec 2010).
    
    
    
    
    So, how can vacation rental businesses take advantage of this magnificent moment in the history of vacation rentals and convert their business into luxury boutique hotels?  Please read below to find some tips and recommendations from Rentalo.com; the leading site for travelers to find short term accommodations. Ideally, the goal of every vacation rental business owner who wants to have their rental booked 52 weeks is to make their guests feel like they are staying in a luxurious hotel rather than a rental place where they have to bring their own pillows and toothbrushes.
    
    
    
    "Going beyond the ordinary and paying attention to the small details is what makes the difference"says Natalia Richards, co-owner of Casa Castellana, a luxurious bed and breakfast in San Juan, Puerto Rico. "Travelers like to be pampered, and feel like they are totally taken care of".
    
    In practical terms, here are some affordable tips and ideas to help you go the extra mile and make your guests feel special:
    
    
    
    #1 - Make yourself available to your guests 24x7.  From the time they pay the deposit, throughout their  stay, and until their departure, be available.  You may not be able to afford paying your staff to provide 24x7 concierge services to your guests, but consider this as a "cost of being in the hospitality business".
    
    
    
    #2 - Think about perks you can offer that would be meaningful to your guests.  Sometimes it takes a $5 dollar bottle of wine to create a life-lasting impression on your guests.  Maybe you can afford more elaborate perks such as a red phone line to a concierge service desk.
    
    
    
    
    #3 - Expand on amenities - Some businesses go around and team up with local restaurants and gyms to facilitate discounts and special services to their guests.  Remember, you are not limited to what your specific property has to offer, you can think out-of-the-box.
    
    
    
    
    #4 - Suggest places to visit and eat - Build a list of your favorite things to do in the area where your rental property is located, print a few copies, and leave them in your unit(s).   You may also offer special tips e.g. If you go to x restaurant, ask for "x" dish, it's my favorite!
    
    
    
    
    #5 - Build a list of local businesses & discounts -- For example, in ski destinations, guests need to rent ski equipment, so  why not go around some shops and get some special deals and  discounts for your guests?  You can do the same with local restaurants, museums, parks, etc. .
    
    
    
    
    The key to providing first-class service in the hospitality business lies in applying a very old yet important principle:  to serve your guests as you would like to be served.  Some business owners excel at this and their guests reviews show it.   Others may need to make some changes to take advantage of 2011's predictions and consumer's expectations.  At Rentalo, we hope that our listing owners can apply these helpful tips to their businesses and contribute to this great year for the hospitality business.  As a service provider in this industry, Rentalo is looking forward to see its clients take their business to a higher level of service and make them successful.
    
    

    Make Vacation Dreams Come True … Create Your SPECIAL OFFER Today!

    Monday, December 20th, 2010

    2010 has been a tough year for many people in the US and abroad!   For some who may be dreaming of a family vacation, renting the movie Cast Away may be the closest they “think” they can get this year to spending time in the warm Caribbean sun or a favorite ski resort.  At Rentalo we are working hard to change that and give as many travelers as possible the opportunity to live their vacation dream!

    Rentalo is giving a special incentive to inventory clients for adding SPECIAL OFFERS on their listings.

    SPECIAL OFFERS are a complimentary feature that allow owners to proactively post discounts consisting of 10% or greater.  These SPECIAL OFFERS are automatically posted in several travel sites and travel blogs, and even social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook.

    As a special incentive, for every traveler that registers a booking through a SPECIAL OFFER via Rentalo during the month of January 2011,  Rentalo is giving each owner one (1) free month of advertising added to their subscription.  Also, the top 3 listings that get the most bookings registered will be featured in one of our upcoming Traveler’s Newsletters sent monthly to 1.3 Million opted-in travelers, worldwide.

    Activating a SPECIAL OFFER is free and easy, the only catch is the SPECIAL OFFER must be truly special — which means that you must offer at least 10% off the published rates for those dates.  To learn how to activate your SPECIAL OFFER today, click here to watch a step by step tutorial.

    You must hurry and activate your SPECIAL OFFER today to be ready for our upcoming January 2011 Traveler’s Newsletter publication.  In this publication we will be promoting SPECIAL OFFERS to 1.3 Million opted-in travelers, worldwide.  Also, as soon as a SPECIAL OFFER becomes active, Rentalo will automatically post it in several travel sites and also in Rentalo’s index page for SPECIAL OFFERS at http://rentalo.com/Special-Offers.html, now featuring more than 500 offers.

    So, what are you waiting for?  POST YOUR SPECIAL OFFER today!  > Sign-in

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    Related article:  Traveler’s Blog > Make Your Vacation Dream a Reality with Rentalo’s Special Offers

    Rentalo Announces Branded Satellite Sites

    Friday, August 7th, 2009
    Triplodgings-site-logo

    At Rentalo.com, we want every traveler to find the perfect accommodation. We are also committed to the online lodging industry by providing more effective and targeted marketing tools. As such, over a week ago, we introduced three branded “satellite” web sites: TripLodgings.com for hotel reservations, 1Stop-Rentals.com for short-term rentals and TravelBB.com for B&Bs. If you have a subscription with Rentalo, you will get a complimentary listing in the corresponding branded satellite site; yes, completely free.

    The site: http://TripLodgings.com, links travelers with hotel owners and managers. Here, travelers will find specialized ads for hotel reservations, lodges and holiday resorts online. Hotels that have published listings on Rentalo.com will automatically be included in the lodgings directory.

    1Stop-Rentals

     

    Equally efficient is http://1Stop-Rentals.com, which directly connects travelers with private homeowners in order to find short term rentals, furnished apartments, vacation villas and other vacation properties owned and managed independently.

     Not to forget B&Bs, in http://TravelBB.com travelers may browse or search classified ads for bed and breakfast accommodations, discount inns and private B&B guesthouses. “Rentalo is committed to providing the most comprehensive worldwide network of specialized lodging sites on the Internet,” says president Alfredo Purrinos. “These three satellite sites are attractive and user-friendly, with powerful search capabilities that allow travelers to find the kind of accommodation they prefer, in the location they want, for a price they like.”

    B&Bs and Inns

    If you want to read more about the launch of these satellite sites, please visit our Vacation Rental Press Page or see what Arthur Frommer is saying about this on his travel blog.

    No More Security Deposit Requirements with Rentalo and Travel Guard

    Wednesday, June 17th, 2009

    Are you tired of losing travelers due to your security deposit requirements? We know that deposits are an essential part of the travel business; but they may stop travelers from booking your property. Thinking in how to make life easier to our property owners and travelers we have teamed up with Travel Guard (one of the nation’s leading providers of travel insurance) and we are the first vacation rental website to offer travelers a specially designed Accidental Rental Damage Insurance Protection Plan that will help reduce property damage concerns.

    How Can Property Owners Benefit from the Accidental Rental Damage Insurance?

    • You can offer it to your guests as an added value in lieu of requiring a deposit.
    • Your guests will no longer need to worry about how much or when their security deposit will be returned, which may result in more bookings.
    • You will no longer need to go through the hassle of collecting security deposits, managing the money or spending time and resources refunding these fees.

    Insurance Costs and Coverage

    There are two Accidental Rental Damage Insurance options for your guests (You may also opt to include this cost as part of the rental agreement):

    Base Premium $45USD:
    Up to $1,500 coverage if the property or its contents are damaged during their stay. To learn more about this Travel Insurance Plan visit: http://rentalo.com/docs/insurance.html.

    Base Premium $69USD: Up to $3,000 coverage if the property or its contents are damaged during their stay. For more information about this Travel Insurance Plan visit: http://rentalo.com/docs/insurance.html.

    We continue working hard to make your Rentalo experience as rewarding as possible!

    What to Do and What to Avoid – Your Vacation Rental Pictures Guide

    Wednesday, January 7th, 2009

    Although we already had a similar post in the past, the topic of vacation rental pictures is never off the table. I’ve been looking at our Rentalo vacation homes lately wanting to select high quality pictures to show as examples but unfortunately I ran into hundreds of very low quality photos. It only assured me that I should write about this subject again and try to include more tips this time.

    When browsing through our inventory I saw really bad pictures and I’m not only talking about low quality, pixeled and scanned old photographs, but also pictures of a messy kitchen with dirty dishes, pools with towels and guest stuff lying around, dark hallways and many others. Only one question always popped to my mind. How do owners of these properties think they will book their homes?

    I have a suspicion that many owners take things for granted. They think that their properties will rent just because they have great attributes, such as oceanfront or mountain views and because they’ve had many guests over the last few years. Well, the times have slightly changed and facing the economic crisis we all have to try a little harder. The competition is fiercer than ever and we have to fight for customers more than before.

    I would like to encourage you to take a look at your property listings as if you were a traveler looking for a perfect place. Try to get into their shoes and think what you would like to see if you were the one looking for accommodation. I think everyone will agree with me that pictures are one of the most important elements of a good property listing. High quality and attractive photos represent your property and help travelers picture it. Remember that in Rentalo you can upload unlimited amount of photos. You can also describe them so that travelers know what can be seen on a particular picture.

    I also gathered some tips on what to do and what to avoid when taking pictures of your property. It’s never a bad time to change your listing photos. Even though it’s cold and snowy where some of you have their properties, seasonal pictures appeal even better to travelers. You should always try to change your pictures when the season changes and emphasize different property attributes. For example hot tub and fireplace in the winter and pool or a large deck in the summer.

    Here is what you SHOULD do:

    -    Take photographs of all parts of your property, not only bedrooms

    -    Turn on all the lights in your vacation property. It gives your house a special warm atmosphere

    -    Wait for a sunny weather or a nice sunset to take pictures of your property from the outside

    -    Put flowers, candles, nice sheets and fresh fruit in your house. Those look lovely on pictures!

    -    Try to use a tripod to avoid blurry pictures

    Here is what you should NOT do:

    -    Do not use scanned and low resolution (pixeled) photographs

    -    Try not to include people in your pictures

    -    Clean your property before taking pictures not to capture a messy kitchen or swimming pool with guest stuff by it

    -    Do not take pictures of dark rooms against the light

    -    Avoid uploading pictures of hallways, narrow spaces and nothing specific

    -    Try not to include badly cropped or zoomed photographs

    -    Do not place pictures of nearby activities as your main photo. Travelers want to see your property first

    Happy editing,

    Marta

    Mark your calendars… its time to book!

    Wednesday, September 24th, 2008

    As we have previously posted here, travelers need information in order to make an informed decision about what vacation rental to book.  Not providing important data upfront may discourage travelers from even contacting you.

    One very important tool that many vacation property owners overlook is their availability calendar.

    Travelers in Rentalo have the option to enter their travel dates right from the home page.  Properties that don’t have this information updated wont benefit from being displayed as one of the first options for the traveler.  Travelers NEED to know if you are available or not, otherwise, many won’t even take the time to contact you.

    Over the years I have spoken to many property owners that have given me similar reasons for not updating their calendar.  Here are the top ones, and my thoughts on them.

    1. I don’t have time to update my calendar every time someone books my property.  I understand we are all busy, but owners should create a habit of updating their calendar online immediately after a booking has occurred.  In Rentalo this takes no more than 2 minutes, and will help you get better inquiries and avoid inquiries for booked dates.
    2.  I don’t want to show travelers that my property has very little bookings.  Again, I understand the reasoning behind this; however, travelers value information more than ambiguity.  Leaving your calendar open with no booked dates, looks worst, than having at least a few days booked.
    3. I don’t want thieves to know when my property is empty.  I have heard this from more than one property owner in the past.  If you don’t have homeowners insurance, you shouldn’t be renting your house in the first place!

    Owners that have their information up to date have higher chances of booking their vacation rental, bed and breakfast or hotel.

    Update your calendar today and make a habit of keeping it updated.

    Frank