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We have had a busy fall and have launched several new features that you’ve asked for – we hope you love them!

Here’s a brief summary:

Automated check-in & check-out emails – you can now send automated emails triggered by a set number of days before or after check-in date, check-out date, or the midpoint of a renter’s stay.

Inbox improvements- we made a few improvements to our messaging interface, including:

  • attachments – send and receive attachments in your MyVR inbox
  • cc/bcc support – send or receive emails with cc’s and bcc’s
  • subject controls – we give you more control over the subject line of each message you send, including the ability to change the subject during a conversation
  • message delivery & open notifications – we now show you data around whether your message to a renter is known to have been delivered and opened

Multi-property maps – for clients with a multi-property website, you now have the option to add a ‘map view’ to your website to show the locations of your various properties.

Email design controls – we’ve exposed some simple design tools so you can better match the look and feel of emails we send on your behalf, so that they can include your own logo and colors.

Transactional emails controls – we send a number of transactional emails on your behalf (e.g. reservation confirmation emails, payment reminders, etc).  We now expose these templates to you so you can see what’s being sent, we give you the ability to customize these messages, and we warn you when we’re sending them.

Booking & calendar widgets – if you have a 3rd party website managed outside of MyVR, you can now embed your centralized MyVR calendar onto that website, and you can add online bookings to your website with MyVR’s mobile-responsive booking flow widget!

New custom fields – add custom fields to your property data for fields you use often (driving directions, a PDF home manual, etc) and then automatically populate these on your website, automated email communications, and more!  You no longer need to customize certain web pages or automated emails by property!

New channel management offerings – we are excited to announce a significantly revamped channel management offering, providing centralized management of listings on HomeAway, VRBO, VacationRentals.com, TripAdvisor, and Flipkey:

  • HomeAway for Property Managers - we have re-launched our channel management offering with HomeAway (with 5+ properties), and have added support for online booking and pay-per-booking, in addition to our standard inquiry-based subscription listings
  • HomeAway for Owners - we have also added a lighter weight version of channel management with HomeAway for owners (with under 5 properties) so you can also benefit from the automation that channel management can provide!
  • TripAdvisor / FlipKey for Property Managers - we have re-launched our channel management offering with TripAdvisor (with 5+ properties) and can support subscription, pay-per-lead, and pay-per-booking.
  • TripAdvisor / FlipKey for Owners - we have also added a lighter weight version of channel management with TripAdvisor for owners (with under 5 properties) so you can also benefit from the automation that channel management can provide! Our TripAdvisor for Owners offering supports inquiry-based subscription listings (without a booking commission) and you always receive the renter’s contact information.

 

Please let us know what you think, and also what other features you want us to work on by clicking on the “Suggestions” tab at the bottom of the MyVR dashboard when you’re logged in!

Want to save money, save time, be more organized and look more professional when it comes to managing your vacation rental property? The MyVR team has been busy building great new features — it’s like spring cleaning for your property management to do list.

Continue Reading…

Once they decide where they want to go, travelers want to know what they can do when they get there, relying on the Internet and a sense of exploration to serve their needs.

However, new and emerging websites and smartphone applications are popping up all the time, many of them delivering information that’s local, socially curated and—in some cases—highly personalized. And they require little if any extra work from you!

Pointing your guest towards resources like these can help make their travel research much easier. Continue Reading…

Guest post by Madoline Hatter

MyVR on Pinterest

Connect with MyVR on Pinterest.

While sharing interesting content via a blog can support your vacation rental business, adding images—and taking advantage of an image-based social network—can improve the experience exponentially. Like the adage goes, “a picture is worth a thousand words.”

Pinterest is a growing social media hub that can help boost your blog; pairing the two creates a powerful way for you to connect with new visitors.

Draw in new travelers

Even though it’s relatively new, Pinterest drives more traffic to websites than several other social networks combined. It’s easy to direct people back to your blog: add short snippets of information to each picture and link them back to your main blog or website.

Unique and well-developed pictures can spread, generating additional traffic from other sites such as Facebook or Reddit—a strong argument for hiring a professional photographer. The more attention any single image can receive, the better your chances of getting attention from a potential guest.

Boost your marketing efficiently

It’s not just about pointing people back to your website, either. By adding a Pinterest link to your website, it’s easy for visitors to find more images from you or others. Use these photos to showcase your rental property and nearby attractions. This could easily entice visitors to explore further and find out more about your property or the location itself.

The more you can draw website visitors in with eye-catching photos, the more often those visits will turn into bookings. And Pinterest makes it easy: not only can you integrate it with your blog, it’s also free to use. Continue Reading…

"Travel Swag Bag Contents SXSWi" by Sheila Scarborough on flickr (CC BY 2.0)As a group, the preferences of travelers don’t change much from year to year. But they way they do their research and bookings—and the opportunities you have to connect with them—does.

Following up on a survey conducted last year, Google recently released “The 2013 Traveler“, a report that doesn’t offer shocking revelations but emphasizes that if you’ve held off on taking control of your vacation rental marketing, now is the time to do it. Continue Reading…

What are vacation rental owners talking about, and is there any news that might impact your vacation rental? Here’s a look some recent highlights.

Vacation Rental Marketing Blog || Go Big Or Go Home

"Hotel Kursaal & Ausonia ROOM" by Hotel Kursaal & Ausonia on flickr (CC BY 2.0)If you missed this great discussion on the Vacation Rental Marketing Blog last month, it’s worth reviewing.

Referencing a thread on the HomeAway Community Forum, Matt Landau said:

“You either run a business and treat every guest like the most spectacular VIP in the world. Or you participate in a hobby and worry not about your income or revenue.”

The “hotelization” of vacation rentals is something Tyler Gillespie blogged about in a series of posts for MyVR last month, looking at our need to balance the best of vacation rental travel against increased competition from hotels.

The comments on Landau’s post provide an interesting look at the lack of consensus among owners—and food for thought when it comes to how you want to manage your own rental. Continue Reading…

You know your website is key to attracting bookings and making money. But how do you keep a website fresh and growing?

The more information you provide, the better prepared your visitors will be and the more potential guests you’ll attract. However, it has to be useful and relevant. What do your guests want to know?

"Security Westec" on flickr, by Derek Bridges (CC BY 2.0)You probably already know a lot of the key questions. However, a survey by CNN Travel this spring also helpfully asked people what mattered most to them when choosing a destination. The top results?

  1. security and safety
  2. price
  3. reputation
  4. knowledge and availability of information
  5. diversity of things to do, amenities

Your website can put this information at their fingertips – not just through an easy-to-share local guide, but also through regular updates.

How do you get the right message across? Here are a few ideas. Continue Reading…

"Links by clips" by Keith Ramsey (CC BY-SA 2.0)If you’ve researched how to market your vacation rental online, you’ll be familiar with search-engine optimization (SEO) — the process of influencing the many factors that can impact where your website will show up in search results.

Some of this must happen on your actual website, something called on-page SEO. But SEO also considers how other websites connect to your page, called off-page SEO. One important part of off-page SEO is called link building.

What is link building?

Link building is the progression of having more websites to link back to your page.

“The web was built on links. Links drive traffic and they boost rankings. They are how we tell a story,” Julie Joyce explained on Search Engine Watch. “They are how we point people to things we want them to see and how we navigate through the endlessness of the Internet.”

Getting more websites to point back to your site matters; each link helps signal what your page is about and whether or not it’s credible.

Search engines use complex algorithms to decide which web pages are relevant to which topics. The more credible websites that point back to your property’s website, the higher the potential for your website to rank higher in relevant search results and the more likely that potential guests will visit your site over a competitors. Continue Reading…

"Graveyard lemonade stand" by Nina Frazier on Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)You know you have a good thing going: Your guests are happy, the bookings are coming in.

But you can’t help but feel that you’re not quite there yet; you feel like your vacation rental could be doing better, but something hasn’t clicked yet.

What’s the missing link?

Here’s a look at some of the ideas we’ve shared to help you tackle three common issues: Not enough inquiries, not enough bookings, and not enough income.
Continue Reading…

Guest post by Tyann Marcink

Can just the angle or the way you frame a listing photo for your vacation rental property really make that big of a difference? Absolutely.

There is a massive difference between just taking a shot and composing a photograph.

Let’s take a look at an example…

photo collage comparing two photos of swimming pools (credit: Tyann Marcink)

Here are two photos of the same swimming pool. Both of these photos give us basic information that a traveler would be interested in:

  • the rental property has access to a swimming pool
  • the pool is a decent size
  • there are chairs to sit in
  • there is a playground nearby
  • the area is fenced for safety

However, at which pool would you rather be spending your time? The one in the second photo? Me, too!

Why is that? Let’s take a look at the composition of the photos and the subconscious psychology that is created. Continue Reading…