Archive for the ‘Industry News’ Category

New Listing Subscriptions, Benefits & Rates

Wednesday, January 18th, 2012

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:

Features Explained:

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  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!

[pws_video id=1]

Backup Email now available on Rentalo!

Wednesday, January 11th, 2012

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 or  In our experience, these are the among the more reliable email service providers.

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

    Important Changes to Owner’s Sign-in & Contact Information

    Monday, November 28th, 2011
    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.

    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  Even though 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 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
    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

    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; 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.

    Join the Largest Social Network Site for Property Owners and Travelers

    Tuesday, March 24th, 2009

    There are many different kinds of associations out there for vacation rental owners. They usually organize meetings, events, conferences and trade shows for the vacation rental industry as well as promote tourism in their particular location. Not many associations, however, have been able to create an easy accessible community for property owners, an online place where home owners could share ideas and experiences.

    That’s why I find Vacation Rentals Community so unique. This social network site targets not only property owners, but also travelers and business managers, in other words everybody who is interested in vacation rentals. All members can interact between each other using forums, blogs, wikis and more. And most importantly – it’s all free.

    When I first joined this friendly community I was warmly greeted by its founder John, who guided me through the site explaining all the tools and functions. He also answered my every question about the site’s functionality I had while setting up my profile, excellent assistance indeed.

    There are numerous frequent visitors who contribute to discussions and update their blogs quite often. Those are usually successful property owners or managers who have their personal websites and like to share their experience with others. But the community also welcomes new vacation home owners who are just entering the market and are looking for tips and advice. On the discussion forums they can find answers to every question they post, from what kind of linens to use in their vacation rental to quick ways to boost bookings for their rental. On the other hand, travelers can search for vacation homes and find information about destinations they wish to visit.

    Besides useful forums categorized by subjects and audiences, the community also offers blogs. Every member can create his own blog which is pretty simple to customize and manage.  Community blogs include insightful posts for both travelers and property owners with destination guides and trends in travel industry. Every time a member publishes a blog posts, it appears on the community blog page giving an author the homepage exposure.

    Members of the community can also post and share videos, pictures or files through advanced media galleries. This way vacation home owners can showcase their properties to potential renters and travelers can share experience from their recent vacation.

    Every community member has his avatar with a picture and signature which can include a link to his personal website. Just like on other social network sites, you can send friend invitations, instant messages and see your friends’ activity displayed on the “mini feed” in your profile.

    The community not only creates a free channel for property owners to interact and exchange ideas, but also educates travelers and potential renters about benefits of staying at a vacation rental, which can create a positive impact on the whole industry.

    Feel free to visit our community profile and post comments

    Vacation Rentals Forums and Blogs.


    Madrid Plane Crash

    Thursday, August 21st, 2008

    On behalf of the Rentalo team we would like to express our condolences to the family of the victims involved in this tragic accident which has claimed so many innocent lives.

    Surely this is a sad moment for the entire travel industry.

    I find Capt Tom Bunn’s reflections and thoughts on his
    blog during these difficult tragedies always assertive and helpful.

    Our thoughts and prayers are with you.


    New Rentalo 3.0 – Already has many loyal fans

    Thursday, August 7th, 2008

    I wanted to personally thank all the property owners that have emailed and called to thank us and praise us for the new Rentalo 3.0 release.  Thank you.


    In making such powerful changes to Rentalo we took into account many factors that have emerged in the past few years in the behavior of online users.  Content is King.  Today’s online travelers are not the travelers of 10 or even 5 years ago.  Travelers are demanding more relevant content.


    Relevant content is not just text or description.  Online users are becoming accustomed to watching videos and high resolution images of the products they are going to purchase.  With this in mind we wanted to give the property owners the power to display more content and include new technologies like videos, high resolution picture galleries and maps in their property listing.  That is what is at the heart of all these changes, empowering property owners and travelers and make the lodging market a better place for everyone.


    I use every opportunity when I talk to property owners to encourage them to update their information right away.  Have you updated yours yet?


    Stay tuned for even more changes to come!


    Frank Suarez