Just Say “No” to Security Deposits

May 31st, 2011

Say No to Security Deposits

One of the main friction points for travelers when booking a vacation rental is the high costs and logistics associated with security deposits.  As compared to the simplicity of making a hotel reservation with no security deposit and 1-day cancellation policy, security deposits are a huge friction point and may result in significant revenue losses for vacation rental businesses.

According to recent survey stats, “security deposit” related complaints are among the most common complaints received from travelers after their vacation rental stay.  On one side, travelers complaining about not getting their security deposits back on time, or not getting it back at all.  On the other hand, it’s common to see property owners having to withhold deposits due to a wide variety of property damages done by the guests during their stay. Also, many times owners incur in larger repair costs than the money collected from security deposits.

In general, security deposits, although they provide certain “peace of mind” for property owners when renting their second homes to strangers, they can also result in loss of business revenues and unnecessary complaints on both sides.

One alternative to security deposits is for owners to consider purchasing accidental rental damage (ARD) insurance; an inexpensive way for property owners to protect their properties up to $3,000 for accidental property damages by renters during their stay.  In the past, these types of insurances were not available for vacation rentals, however, last year RENTalo partnered with TravelGuard, a leading travel insurance company.  TravelGuard offers vacation rental property owners the opportunity to purchase ARD insurance for as little as $45 to $69, and protect their homes for $1,500 to $3,000 from any accidental damages caused by guests during their stay.  This fee is usually paid by the owner and added to the rental fees paid by the traveler as part of the reservation.  Here are some key reasons why you should consider replacing the old-fashion “security deposits” business practice with the purchase of the ARD insurance:

-  When given the choice, 99% of the travelers prefer to pay a non-refundable fee of $45 or $69 instead of a refundable fee $1,500 or $3,000 as a security deposit.  You can still offer ADR insurance as an option, although most owners prefer to bundle it as part of the rental cost in order to secure a reservation.

- Generally, vacation rental businesses get less than $1,500 in security deposit, and when “accidents” happen, they end up paying a lot more out-of-pocket.

- Each accidental rental damage insurance fee can cover up to 6 months of rental.

- According to recently TravelGuard’s stats, insurance claims are processed immediately and payments are usually sent within 30 days from the date of the original claim.
Click here to learn more about Accidental Rental Damage Insurance.

RentALO Reaches Travelers with iTunes Appl, iPhones & More!

May 3rd, 2011

According to industry trends, mobile internet usage is excelling faster than desktop PCs. With this fact in hand, on December 31, 2010, Rentalo.com announced its strategy to launch apps for mobile users via smartphones such as AT&T's iPhones and Verizon's Droid phones. A few months later, Rentalo.com launches its RENTalo app in iTunes to reach millions od iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad users. Please click here to learn more details and download Rentalo's app.

With millions of travel planners using smartphones to plan their next vacation, Rentalo plans are to continue expanding its reach by investing in mobile technologies in 2011 and beyond. In just a few more weeks, we will be launching our app in Google's market for droids, and also for backberry phones. Rentalo will conitnue to focusing in the development of new user friendly applications to facilitate comparison shopping and vacation planning for millions of travelers in years to come.

Mobile gadgets provide easy access to the Internet. Rentalo's marketing strategy is to penetrate the mobile industry is part of our commitment to the travel industry in making the vacation planning experience as pleasant as possible, to as many people as possible.
Also read:  RentALO Mobile Appl Now in iTunes - Try it Today!

Rentalo Makes it Easier for Owners to Manage Rates

April 6th, 2011

On April 5, 2011, Rentalo released a new and improved interface for owners to enter their property rates.  In this new interface owners are given 2 options:

Option 1 (Default - also referred as our new rates table) - This is a new convenient option to allow owners to enter nightly, weekly and/or monthly rates that do not expire.  Now owners can simply enter their rates without having to worry about dates, and update their rates only when their rates change.  The rates entered in this table can also be used in addition to the seasonal rates entered.  Rentalo will give preference to the seasonal rates but will use these rates for future dates when requested by the travelers.

Option 1 - New Rates - No Dates Required

Option 2 - Seasonal Rates -- In this form (as shown below), owners can continue to specify rates that are  subjected to specific date range(s).  The rates entered in this table (also referred as our existing rates table), take priority over the rates entered under option 1 above.  In other words, the rates specified in this table will be quoted to travelers for the specified dates.  Only when travelers request dates that are not available in this seasonal rates table, the rates on option 1 above will be used.

Option 2 - Seasonal Rates

To make it easier for many of our clients, during the release on April 5th, whenever possible we copied the rates from the existing rate tables into the new rates tables, therefore making the existing rates available to travelers beyond the specified dates.  We were able to do this for listings that had only one set of rates entered. If your listing has multiple seasonal rates specified, we highly recommend you take advantage of this new feature and enter rates that will never expire!

Please take a minute to sign-in and review your rates to make sure they are update.

Vacation Rentals That Feel Like Luxury Boutique Hotels

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.

Introduction to Scams & Frauds

March 9th, 2011

Rentalo.com is highly committed to prevent frauds and scams.  This blog category has been created to post information on recent scams and frauds detected by our team.  Rentalo is also working together with other sites and clients to fight fraud.

For additional information on this subject, please refer to our Tips to Avoid Scams and Fraud.

If you have been a victim of a scam, please report a scam so that other owners become aware of it as soon as possible.  Thanks!

Taking Advantage of Where U R!

February 3rd, 2011

Welcome to snowy, cold February! We want to send a warm hello to all our family of Rentalo owners and property managers from Breckenridge and Copper Mt. out West, to Mt. Snow in beautiful Vermont, Beech Mt. in wonderful N.C., and everywhere else.

We are in the process of sending out our February Travelers Newsletter, and it is packed with great information for our travelers on what places to visit and where to stay during their next getaway or vacation.  One thing we’ve learned over the years is that travelers tastes on accommodations vary as much as the weather in February.  Some love the cold and the snow, others prefer warm places, therefore we have included a great assortment of destinations and places to visit during this time of the year in our Traveler Newsletters.

Some travelers want to escape the cold weather and just go to the sun and fun of the beach.  They would like to go close to those warm latitudes in the Caribbean. With them in mind, we tried to include some great warm weather location links, such as Western Puerto Rico, in our February Newsletter.

As a property owner, the goal is to TAKE ADVANTAGE OF WHERE YOUR PROPERTY IS LOCATED. Understanding that travelers’ tastes vary, it is important for owners to always find a way to promote their great locations, no matter what time of year it is.

Rentalo wants to highlight and promote different locations every month in our Newsletters to give our family of property owners that extra advertizing push for their properties free of charge.   We have received many calls from property owners expressing their gratitude for advertising their property in our Travelers Newsletter publications.  They share with us that they have received more inquires for their area and specific property as a result of this extra and free advertising.

We look forward to a wonderful and successful year.  Take advantage and promote your location.   During the winter, if it snows in your area, put up winter pictures on your listing.   During the summer, add some summer shots and tailor your description to include season specific activities.  Just like you have different pricing for summer and winter, consider having something special to offer your clients anytime of the year,and we will make sure our travelers know that! Remember that the Rentalo staff is always available to help you be successful.  Let’s do it together!.

Rentalo.com Targets Mobile Users in 2011

December 31st, 2010

According to industry trends, mobile internet usage is excelling faster than desktop PCs. USA Today reported that 16% of shoppers will use their smart phones to do holiday shopping this year, and 39% of people ages 18 to 29 reported using their phones to do all of their online shopping.  These are clear indications that smart phones and other mobile devices are changing the way the world is surfing the net, shop, and do business.

In 2011, mobile marketing will expand far beyond mobile messaging, now with 300K Apple’s applications available in iTunes and 200K in the Google’s Android market.   Rentalo.com’s marketing goal for 2111 is to continue expanding its reach by investing in mobile technologies, focusing in the development of new user friendly applications to facilitate comparison shopping for lodging.

“Mobile gadgets provide easy access to the Internet. Similarly, Rentalo.com provides easy access to compare lodging options” says Alfredo Purrinos, “Rentalo’s strategy to penetrate the mobile industry is part of our commitment to the travel industry in making the vacation planning experience as pleasant as possible, to as many people as possible.”

Related Reading(s):
PRWeb/Vocus Press Release: Rentalo.com Reaches Mobile Users to Facilitate Comparison Shopping for Vacation Rentals and Hotels
SF Gate/ San Francisco’s Chronicles

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

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


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

Happy Holidays Message from Rentalo.com

December 15th, 2010

New EZ Reserve videos – Understand New Powerful Rentalo Booking Engine

June 18th, 2010


Streamline your booking process with a tool that allows you to manage your reservations, invoices and payments.

We put a lot of work and thought into EZ Reserve, to come up with a tool that was easy enough for any property owner to use, yet safe and robust to manage your booking workflow.

To help property owners understand how they can take advantage of EZ Reserve we have made 3 videos.

Watch them today and start using EZ Reserve to simplify your vacation rental booking process.

EZ Reserve Tutorial 1
Configure EZ Reserve to receive online and offline payments.

Setup invoice preferences and rental agreement.
EZ Reserve Tutorial 2
Become familiar with the EZ Reserve interface.
Create and manage reservations, invoices and payments.

EZ Reserve Tutorial 3
Know the EZ Reserve reporting interface.
Export and download reports.