RENTalo.com today announced a partnership with HomeAway Software®, provider of technology solutions for the vacation rental management industry. Vacation rental property managers using HomeAway Software solutions ISILink® and EscapiaNET℠ can now advertise their properties on RENTalo.com to gain access to a broader network of travelers searching for vacation rentals.
Archive for the ‘Industry News’ Category
As part of Rentalo’s commitment to ensure that transactions among travelers and property managers go as smooth as possible, we recently published a new Owner Verified seal.
All listings showing this seal have been verified by our anti-fraud department. As part of our verification procedures, we require new clients to provide Rentalo with solid evidence regarding the authenticity of the ownership of the property as well as the person responsible for the posting of the listing online.
During this process, we reserve the right to collect information from the new owners such as property deeds, utility bills showing actual address of the property, name of other online directories listing their properties, and specific geographical information about the property’s location.
All inventory displaying this seal is covered by our Worry-Free Lodging Guarantee with up to $5,000 anti-fraud protection. For more information about how our guarantee works, please click here.
For FAQs from travelers regarding this seal, click here.
At RENTalo, we make it easy for travelers to find the perfect place to stay when looking to book a place for their vacation or business trips.
Our destination-based inquiry service (also known as wanted ads) allow travelers to quickly and efficiently broadcast inquiries to multiple property listings and receive offers directly from owners that can meet their specific lodging needs.
We also make it easy for property owners to communicate with potential guests via our new messaging system; a multi-lingual, chat-based messaging tool. This friendly interface allows owners to send and receive messages and offers to travelers who are inquiring on their property or destination.
We also created the free listing subscription to allow new prospect clients to communicate with our travelers and assess the quality of Rentalo’s leads prior to paying for a subscription. Via Rentalo’s new messaging platform, free listing owners can send unlimited offers and messages, and get replies and booking requests from travelers.
Below is a table explaining the differences between free listings and paid listings.
Owners can receive inquiry alerts from travelers. Lead alerts contain partial information (no contact info such as email or telephone is provided).
Owners can only reply directly via RENTalo’s messaging platform.
Owners can receive inquiry alerts from travelers with full contact information including reply to emails and phone numbers.
Owners can reply directly via email, phone or via RENTalo’s messaging platform.
Owners can REPLY to inquiry alerts via RENTalo’s messaging service to travelers inquiring on your property or destination. No direct contact information is allowed.
Travelers can reply to messages send by owners, however, they cannot provide any direct contact information to owners via RENTalo.
Owners can send unrestricted messages and offers to travelers inquiring on a property listing or destination.
Travelers can provide direct contact information to owners.
Owners can send restricted offers to travelers inquiring on your property or destination (no direct contact information is allowed).
Travelers can only click on “Request Booking” when receiving offers from owner.
Owners can send unrestricted offers and offers to travelers inquiring on your property or destination.
Travelers can provide direct contact information to owners any time after submitting their inquires.
NO OWNER CONTACT INFORMATION ON LISTING
Listing only shows contact form. It does not show your telephone or website.
FULL OWNER CONTACT INFORMATION ON LISTING
Listing shows contact form, telephone(s), and website (if provided).
Your free listing is only visible in Rentalo. No marketing is done outside of Rentalo.
Your paid listing is visible in Rentalo as well as on Rentalo partner sites.
Please click here to learn more about how free listings work.
To learn more about paid listing options, click here.
RENTalo has teamed up with Campaigner, a leading email service provider, in order to optimize its email marketing practices and ensure the best possible open and click rates on its opted-in database of travelers, currently at 1.3 million email addresses.
In March 9th of 2012, we launched our latest newsletter publication series called Special Offers — See example.
As part of one of the exclusive Sponsor benefits referred as ‘Marketing Boost’, our new Special Offers newsletter series will feature special offers from our Sponsor listings exclusively. We plan to send Special Offers newsletters to various segments of our opted-in database in order to ensure the best possible open and click rates. The smallest segment that any of our Special Offers newsletter publications will reach a minimum of 100,000 highly targeted, opted-in emails.
One significant difference is the size of the distribution and the exposure. The smallest segment for our new Special Offers newsletters will reach at least 5 times more travelers than the old newsletters (referred as “Best Value Accommodations”). For example, Sponsor listings in Orlando reached approximately 18,000 opted-in travelers via the old newsletters. The new Special Offers newsletters reach at least 100,000 travelers, which represents 500% more value!
Based on a recent market analysis conducted internally, we estimated a fair market value of an ad in RENTalo’s new Special Offers newsletter at $750 for reaching 100,000 highly targeted, opted-in emails.
Related reading: Newsletter Guidelines
This article outlines a summary of the most recent changes to Rentalo’s listing features and rates. It also covers relevant information about Rentalo’s newest listing subscription: Standard listing, as well commonly asked questions and answers regarding these changes. Below is a comparison chart showing a summary of our listing benefits and features:
Web Page Listing - A published listing with unique URL, unlimited description, amenities, photos, availability calendar, pricing, YouTube video link, Google map, reciprocal link(s), contact form, unlimited special offers, auto offers, and much more!
Private Leads - Unlimited inquiry alerts from travelers interested on a specific property listing.
Destination Leads - Unlimited inquiry alerts from travelers looking for a place to stay in a destination.
Priority Placement - Display listing ad with top ranking on destination page.
One-Way Link - Re-direct leads and increase SEO value to your own website.
Marketing Boost - A special marketing service designed for those clients who want to maximize their advertising potential through Rentalo.com. We will expose your listing to a monthly audience of 100 million travelers by distributing it via RSS feeds and affiliate partner sites to over 300 highly ranked travel portals (e.g. AOL Travel, Yahoo Travel), traditional media publications (e.g. LA Times Travel), online travel blogs, social media sites (e.g. Facebook, Twitter), networked sites (TravelBB, 1Stop-Rentals, TripLodging, Lodging123), and many others. We may also select your listing to be featured in our bi-weekly and monthly newsletter publications reaching 1.2 million opted-in travelers (as of January 2012). You will also receive complimentary editorial services to boost your listing’s rankings in the search engines via search engine optimization (SEO).
Below is a summary of Rentalo’s 2012 listing subscriptions and rates.
Standard Subscription> $119 per 6-month advertising (~$20/month)> $199 per 12-month advertising (~$17/month)> $359 per 24-month advertising (~$15/month)Premium Subscription> $179 per 6-month advertising (~$28/month)> $299 per 12-month advertising (~$25/month)> $539 per 24-month advertising (~$22/month)Sponsor Subscription> $229 per 6-month advertising (~$38/month)> $399 per 12-month advertising (~$33/month)> $719 per 24-month advertising (~$30/month)
You can find the above subscription listing options by signing into your account and clicking Properties > See & Pay Subscription Options.
Why the Standard Listing subscription?
Over the years we received frequent requests from clients who were only interested in receiving inquiries from travelers who have seen their listings, as they are used to from the other directories. So, this year we decided to launch a listing subscription that would compete “apples-to-apples” with the advertising sold by most of our competitors in the industry.
Destination-based leads is an industry-unique feature offered by Rentalo, and available in Premium and Sponsor listing subscriptions.
Who should choose the Standard Listing subscription?
If you own one or two properties and prefer to receive listing-specific inquiries from potential travelers exclusively, then a Standard listing is the right fix for you. We expect our Standard listings to receive a minimum of x10 (e.g. $2,000 or more) return of their investment, as it is also backed up by our 1000% ROI guarantee.
Who should list (or continue to list) as a Premium or Sponsor listing subscription?
The concept of ‘destination-based’ inquiries has been successfully pioneered by Rentalo since 1999, and has had a very good acceptance across all lodging categories (vacation rentals, hotels, b&bs) over the years. According to our internal stats, about 60% of our existing clients in all lodging categories are happy with our destination-based leads mainly because it broadens their reach of potential guests. At Rentalo, our clients often get to book travelers who started their online search for other types of lodgings. On the other hand, this level of ‘comparison shopping’ experience is only available to travelers in Rentalo, and an increasing number of travelers (now over 1.3 million opted-travelers and counting!) love our site and service (check reviews). So, in conclusion any short-term rental or hospitality business who can benefit from more leads and bookings could benefit from our Premium and Sponsor listings.
However, it is important to have the following tips when answering our destination-based leads:
1. When replying to a traveler who submitted a destination-based inquiry, please do not assume that he/she has seen your specific property listing. Take the time to present your property as if they have never seen it before.
2. Make sure your listing contains all the necessary information potential guests need in order to make a booking decision e.g. high quality photos, a decent description including specific details on bedding arrangements, and availability information.
3. Keep in mind that you are competing with other businesses in your destination. Take the time to compare your property with other properties in your location, and stay competitive in rates and overall value.
4. Last but not least, please hit the REPLY button as soon as you can. Your timing is very critical. If you are not near your PC or phone during the day, consider taking advantage of our auto-offer feature to let Rentalo generate an instant offer for potential guests upon submitting their inquiries.
Premium Listing Subscription Increases by 20%
We are not proud of this, but we had no other choice if we wanted to continue generating quantity and quality leads for our clients. Also, we have not increased the cost of our Premium listings since 2009. Unfortunately, the cost of internet marketing and leads continue to increase every year. For example, in Google, the average cost per click for the key phase ‘vacation rentals’ is $1.52 (as of 1-9-2012). Using a click-to-lead conversion factor of 5% (typical conversion factor for pay per click campaigns), each inquiry we generate costs Rentalo roughly $20. On average, our clients need 10 inquiries in order to secure one booking (assuming a 10% conversion from leads to bookings). So, If Google would be Rentalo’s only source of traffic, we would have to invest $200 on average to help each client get a booking. But wait, clients want more than one booking! Typically, they need 2 to 5 bookings per years in order to justify a listing renewal, which means that Rentalo would need to invest up to $1,000 in marketing their listing in Google to justify their renewal.
The above is just an illustration to help you (our client) understand why rates need to go up, and how expensive internet marketing is getting nowadays. Of course, leveraging our 12+ years of experience in the e-commerce and travel industries, at Rentalo, we have developed highly successful business strategies and partnerships to continue generating quality and quantity leads for our clients, allowing us to stay in business and stay profitable.
We understand the economy is still bad for some, but we are very optimistic about 2012. Travel trends are improving, and soon everything will go back to normal. So, let’s keep a positive outlook toward the future!
Backup Email now available on Rentalo!
We know how important is for you to receive inquiry alerts from travelers. Please take a moment to add a backup email to your account with us. We recommend you do this as a safeguard to protect yourself against potential email malfunctions, delays, and interruptions on your current email provider for (email).
Why is this important? Recently we received communication from one of the largest email providers saying “we will deliver enough of your emails, but we cannot guarantee that all your emails will be delivered.” Well, in our opinion, ‘enough’ is not acceptable!, as you (our client) need to receive all our emails from potential guests, not just ‘enough’.
To help resolve these recurrent email problems, we created a backup email facility to be able to send duplicate emails. Simply sign-in, and click the ‘Contact and Sign In Info’ link to add your backup email. While you are here, you may also update your profile, upload photo, add multiple phone numbers, and even enable text messaging to your cell!
Happy new year!
Your friends at
p.s., if you don’t have an alternate email yet, we recommend you register for a free one at Gmail.com or Hotmail.com. In our experience, these are the among the more reliable email service providers.
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:
For additional information and FAQs on our Messaging platform, please read FAQs
RENTalo has made some important upgrades and changes to our owner’s sign-in and contact information page.
Backup Email - We have added a backup email address. This new feature will allow owners to receive duplicate RENTalo’s emails to ensure delivery of traveler’s inquiries and avoid intermittent spam-related issues with some Email Service Providers (ESPs).
Additional land-line telephone numbers, mobile, and fax fields – According to directory stats, a significant percent of the online reservations are completed via phone. We added a secondary telephone field, one field for a mobile number, and a fax number. As part of the mobile number, we added a check box to enable you to receive text messages from travelers. You will also find a new box to add your fax number.
Upload Photo & Tell Us About You Text Box – Now you can upload a personal photo or business logo. We’ve also added the “Tell us about you” text box. Here you can add some additional information about yourself and/or your business. The more information our owners can provide about themselves and their businesses, the better travelers will feel about booking their properties.
Payment Methods (only required for owners activating our ezBookMe feature) – There are some options available for owners to receive their reservation payments from RENTalo; Paypal, Bank checks, and ACH direct deposits.
Please take a few minutes to review and update your profile. This is a very critical milestone in ensuring that potential guests have easy access to you, as well as some relevant information about you and/or your business.
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
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