Posts Tagged ‘vacation rentals’

Introducing EZ Calling: Getting Vacation Rental Seekers From the Web To Your Phone

Friday, November 13th, 2009

EZ Calling: Gets Vacation Rental Seekers From the Web to Your PhoneRentalo is pleased to introduce EZ Calling, our new cutting edge phone technology service that will get vacation rental seekers from the web to your phone in just one click! You will not only get more calls from vacationers interested on your vacation rental; you will also be able to track these calls and receive automated messages that will guarantee a better service and boost your conversions. Sign Up Here.

Closing the Gap between Property Owners and Travelers

The idea behind EZ Calling is to increase online conversions by closing the communication gap between property owners and travelers. This is possible thanks to EZ Calling’s three powerful tools, Click-to-Call, Inquiry-to-Phone and the Toll Free and Tracking feature.

Click-to-Call: With this tool travelers interested in your vacation rental will have the opportunity to directly connect with you through the click of a button embedded on your property listing. You will:

• Receive INSTANT calls from travelers browsing your listing.
• Get more calls from interested travelers. (Calls from travelers convert 47% more than e-mail inquiries).
• Track your click to call activity. Sign Up Here.

Inquiry-to-Phone: The Inquiry-to-Phone is an optional tool that allows you to receive automated phone messages each time your vacation rental gets an inquiry. Inquiry-to-Phone will allow you to:

• Receive INSTANT automated phone messages each time your property gets an inquiry.
• Reply immediately with an offer to the interested traveler.
• Track your inquiry to phone activity. Sign Up Here.

Toll Free and Call Tracking: This tool makes it easier for travelers to contact you by providing a toll free number. It will allow you to:

• Keep your number private. EZ Calling: Cutting Edge Phone Technology
• Get detailed call activity reports. (Call tracking captures data on missed calls. If a prospective renter calls after hours or hangs up before the call is completed, why let this lead get away? Receive an e-mail with the caller’s phone number and generate additional bookings by returning these calls).

According to a study by TMP Directional Marketing and comScore, the two most common activities following an online local search are a visit or a phone call to a local store; and calls from travelers result in more bookings than e-mail inquiries. By incorporating this easy, cost-effective means to connect with vacation rental seekers you will be able to answer their questions immediately, beat your competition and guide them through a successful booking experience. Don’t miss this opportunity to dramatically increase your online bookings! Sign up now at: http://rentalo.com/ezcalling.html.

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!

Building your Brand – Facebook and Vacation Rentals

Monday, March 9th, 2009

With all the social networking sites emerging, you most likely heard of Facebook. If you are already subscribed and have your network of “friends”, I’m sure you are getting tons of emails daily from SpeedDate, Likeness and other applications you might have installed… Annoying? Yes. Engaging? Also.

I’ve heard that a lot of young people have Facebook applications in their BlackBerries to receive notifications in the real time. They are the first to know who broke up with whom, whose photos have been tagged or what the latest status of somebody they like is. So, what do YOU do on Facebook? Catching up with old friends, sharing your photos with the world or gossiping just for the sake of it? Although we might question Facebook’s usefulness at times, we still check it out and log in occasionally to see “what’s new out there”.

Now, let’s look at Facebook from the other perspective, as marketers. Imagine 175 million online users and more than 8 billion minutes spent on Facebook each day worldwide and you will realize what kind of audience you are dealing with. It’s not only about numbers though. On Facebook we can not only target a specific kind of user by knowing his profile, network behavior and demographic info but we can also interact with him on many levels boosting our brand recognition.

How does that apply to vacation rental business? Facebook claims the majority of its users are people of 25 years old or older and I can bet that a very high percent of $175 million is interested in travel. What matters more than a product or service we offer is our out-of-the-box approach and smart ways to interact with our potential clients. How can you start up? Here are a couple of ideas:

1.    Introduce yourself

-    Create your own profile with pictures – let people see who is the owner of this gorgeous vacation house.

-    Write a note about your vacation property and your offer.

-    Add and share albums with photos of your vacation property where others can post comments.

2.    Create your own community

-    Invite your family and friends. They will share their opinions about your place and recommend you to others within their network. Once word of mouth spreads, friends of your friends will begin to add you and you can add them as well.

3.    Interact with others

-    Create discussion boards or post questions about travel that you think will encourage debates and interactions.

-    Add pages promoting your destination with links to articles you wrote about your beautiful location on your website or blog. People will be able to “join” your page by becoming its “fans”. Once you have some fans, they can post comments and interact between each other.

-    Come up with special offers/promotions/discounts and post them on your profile and pages you created to attract more friends, fans and potential clients.

-    Join groups related to travel and your destinations and contribute to them by posting comments and asking questions. Once people see you brought in some value, they might want to add you as a friend.

When creating your profile, inviting friends and joining new groups as a business person, remember that people are in Facebook for fun and they don’t want to be bombarded by advertisers trying to sell them their product. Just try to create trust and represent value to new people you meet and if they like you, they might become your customer in the future.

See you on Facebook!

Marta

Rentalo.com has been Reviewed!

Tuesday, October 7th, 2008

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

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

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

Marta Olszewska

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

 

Writing a Copy that Sells – How to Create a Good Property Description

Thursday, August 14th, 2008

In the online industry it is all about content. High quality and relevant content that entices readers and makes them visit our website and buy our product. This simple rule also applies to the vacation rental industry where the more captivating description of your property you provide, the more attention you will get.

As Frank pointed out in the previous post, the first step to get visitors to your property listing is by uploading high quality and professional pictures. We all judge by the cover, so you should make sure your “cover” sells. After viewing your photo gallery, travelers usually want to find out more about your place by reading your description.

How to make them read it all and how to convince them to book your property? It all starts with a powerful title that just cannot be missed. Take some time to look at the competition in your location and make sure your title is original and stands out. Try to avoid generic titles and think of features that distinguish your vacation rental from others (For ex.: Affordable Beachfront Italy Villa Ideal for Family Getaways).

Now comes the toughest part, writing a compelling description. I gathered some tips that might be useful for you during the process. Remember to aim for 400 words or more, it’s the optimal length for a description.

1. Think of unique features of your place and use them as your most powerful weapon. Is your villa waterfront and offers gorgeous sunsets? Is it spacious and sleeps large parties? Write down all the attributes and elaborate on them in separate paragraphs.

2. Use details. Travelers like to picture their future vacation house and plan what to pack and what to leave behind, so be specific and provide a short description of each bedroom, amenities and extras (ex.: beach towels, bikes, linens).

3. Write about nearby attractions as well. Most travelers like to plan their vacation activities and they greatly appreciate such information. Provide them with a mini guide of things to do in the area. How close it is to the beach/hiking trail? What other great attractions can be found nearby? (Ex.: Amusement Parks, nature trails, museums and art galleries).

4. Add a personal touch to your description. Don’t be afraid to show emotion and inject a little feeling to your text. Let travelers know who you are and how long you own the house. Also, relate to the experience of your previous guests, for ex. “Our guests love watching sunsets from our lakefront deck and watching movies from our wide DVD collection”. Emotion sells.

5. Last but definitely not least. Keywords, keywords, keywords! Think of the keywords that travelers use to search for vacation home in your area. What would you put in search box when looking for a vacation rental? You can also use numerous keyword research tools that are available on the internet for free. Make your list and try to insert keywords to every paragraph of your description. This will help travelers find your property better in search engines. Examples of keywords are: Orlando vacation rentals, Orlando condos, Orlando accommodations.

I hope that you found my mini guide useful. Remember that the bottom line is to convince travelers that your place is the one they are looking for. With this in mind, the creativity will follow.

Marta Olszewska

Below you can see our friendly and easy to use Edition Page.

A picture is worth a thousand dollars $$$

Wednesday, August 13th, 2008

Add to Technorati Favorites

Example of a great vacation rental picture gallery

You”ve heard the old proverb “A picture is worth a thousand words”. Simply put, you can communicate in 1 picture what it would take pages to describe. A picture has the power to communicate large amounts of information in a very short period of time through visualization.

According to online research, the average Google user takes about 7 seconds to decide were to click. Google displays mostly text in its search result. Now lets think about a traveler that searches for vacation rentals in lets say Orlando Florida through Rentalo.com. They are going to be presented with a list of properties to choose from. What do you think it’s the first thing that catches their eyes? Your picture of course.

Too often I speak with property owners that complain that their listing is not getting enough attention. In researching most cases, I find that the problem is not traffic to their location, but traffic to their specific property. 9 out 10 times I”m able to determine the culprit by simply going to their location and comparing their ad to the others they are competing against. Usually the pictures are not too appealing.

Now being married to a professional photographer, I can tell you that not most of us know what it takes to get a great picture taken; however, most of us are sure able to stand in awe when we see a great photograph. Pictures sell. Period!

Great pictures of your property are worth their weight in bookings. Some property owners want to get bookings with scanned pictures taken from a brochure. This is just not going to work for savvy travelers that are accustomed to high resolution images of the products they are about to purchase. This is even more true now that we offer high resolution slide shows to every property owner. The time is now, update your pictures and make sure they are high quality and crisp.

Here are a few tips that we highly recommend:

‘?¢ Hire a professional photographer to take excellent photographs of your property. This may not be the cheapest solution, but you may recuperate the investment in just a few bookings. Look at options before you commit to a photographer. Look at their portfolio and go with the one that has the pictures that impress you the most.

‘?¢ If your budget is restricted at the moment then get a digital camera if you don’t have one already, besides it’s the year 2008! You don’t need to get a fancy and expensive camera. Any camera with a resolution of 3.0 mega pixels or more would be great for the job. With this option you have no time restrictions; you can take as many pictures of the property as you want. Remember Rentalo gives you unlimited space for images and you can upload them yourself.

‘?¢ Look at other properties in your area or in other cities and see which ones catch your eyes first. Try to emulate that in your pictures. Look at the angles from which the pictures were taken, look at the lighting, etc. Small details go a long way.

‘?¢ Use free software to enhance your picture. Nowadays you don’t need to be an expert at Photoshop to retouch your pictures. There is a great free program by Google called Picasa which allows you quickly organize and make simple changes to your images. You can download it at http://picasa.google.com/

‘?¢ Ask other people you trust to tell you what they think of your pictures.

I would recommend to all our property owners to take a few minutes to look at their images and determine if they need to be changed or modified. If you need help with this and are not sure what to do, remember that you can contact us via our help page and we will gladly arrange a time to speak with you and go over the listing with you at no extra cost.

Until next time’?¦ say chee$$e

Frank Suarez

Add to Technorati Favorites

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