We are beginning a new year, a year of many changes, full of excitement and challenges for most of us. On the one hand, travel experts forecast that the demand for travel will be higher than the supply this year, driving increases in rates across air, hotel, and car rental suppliers. Hotel rates are projected to increase significantly in most top destinations across the U.S., Europe and Asia, exceeding 100% in some cities. On the other hand, the crisis in the U.S. real estate market is expected to increase the competition in the vacation rental market, as more second home owners rely on vacation rental income to pay their mortgages and taxes. In some destinations, the vacation rental market is getting really tough as more and more new properties are competing in the market.
It is Rentalo’s mission this year to assist travelers cope with these rate increases by promoting vacation homes and other lodging alternatives. We believe Rentalo has a unique advantage over many other vacation rental directories and hotel reservation sites, since our comprehensive inventory appeals to both leisure and business travelers. Typically, vacation rentals do very well serving lodging requests from 3+ persons and stays of 5+ nights, while hotels and B&Bs do well accommodating traveler’s lodging requests involving 1 to 2 persons, staying up to 4 days.
In 2008 we will also focus on expanding to new traveler markets, with emphasis on multilingual global reach. We are planning to introduce new tools for our international property owners and travelers such as translations services and multilingual property pages and inquiry forms.
Our commitment to our audiences will drive our online marketing and technological efforts this year. We will deliver valuable traffic to our users, improving continuously as we introduce new technology and tools. We greatly value your trust and business during the past years and hope for your ongoing growth and well-being in this exciting industry in the year to come.
President and CEO