Archives For HomeAway

Skift || Here’s a First Look at the Expedia-HomeAway Vacation Rental Experiment

Expedia

After announcing a partnership late last year, Expedia and HomeAway have just launched a beta version of their combined vacation rental search.

The user experience is a little rough, explained Skift’s Dennis Schaal, saying that it “functions more like an advertising relationship would than a tightly integrated booking process.” He also notes, however, that these are only first steps; much will likely change as they gain information and feedback.

Poster for the United States Travel Bureau promoting tourism, showing two cowboys on horseback by stream near desert rock formation. Created for the Works Progress Administration Federal Art Project, by Frank S. Nicholson, between 1936 and 1939. [PD] This picture is in the public domain.

Travel Daily News || Vacation rentals even more popular with U.S. travelers in 2014

A recent survey by TripAdvisor found that 52 percent of American travelers plan to stay at a vacation rental in 2014—up from 44 percent last year.

Where are they planning to go, what are they willing to spend, and what amenities are they looking for? Reporter Theodore Koumelis covers the survey’s highlights. Continue Reading…

Sydney Morning Herald || The hottest travel trend of 2014? We know everything about you

We’ve talked about different ways to connect with your guests and provide truly personal service, something vacation rental owners are in a great position to provide. But hotels are upping their game, too. In this article from Australia, industry executives say they’re focused on detailsfrom remembering a guest’s preferred room temperature to buying personalized gifts inspired by their social media posts.

Vacation Rental Marketing Blog || 4 vacation rental guru predictions for 2014

Will 2014 bring more competition or more opportunity for vacation rental owners? Likely a good dose of both, according to the four vacation rental pros interviewed for this predictions post. From new initiatives by big brands to the need for better systems and more comprehensive marketing, our industry is poised for significant growth and change over the next couple of years. Continue Reading…

"Summer time (Algarve)" by Tiago Fernandes (CC BY 2.0)If you enjoyed a brisk business this summer, you’re not alone; a recent report from HomeAway shows a vast majority of owners (86 percent) enjoyed vacation rental bookings that were the same or better than last summer.

Highlighted in HomeAway Vacation Rental Report: Owner Edition, these numbers reflect the niche that vacation rental properties are carving in the travel industry.

Among owners who see summer as peak season, occupancy rates averaged 77 percent – higher than the 70 percent average occupancy rate reported by U.S. hotels (a slight increase over last year). Continue Reading…

impact vs effort gridWe get it, you’re busy. We’re owners, too, and know there’s only so much you can do in a day. If you could carve out just 10 extra minutes a week to market your vacation rental, what could you do that would make a difference?

There’s a sliding scale when it comes to what works — and what doesn’t — in vacation rental marketing. Some things take little time or effort, but the impact is significant; other things have a high cost, but barely make a dent.

At the 2013 HomeAway Summit, Markus Nordvik and I shared 15 medium-to-high impact and generally low cost/effort marketing ideas to help you maximize your ‘bang for the buck’. Different ideas work for different properties, and these ideas give you something you can test without a significant investment.

Continue Reading…

cat eyesThe average traveler will visit between 3-5 vacation rental websites, and inquire about 7 different properties, according to data from FlipKey. To make the shortlist, you need to do one critical thing: Get their attention!

That doesn’t mean SCREAM AND SHOUT at travelers with all caps, use lots of exclamation marks!! or even post photos of cute little kitties to make them swoon. It means putting together a great listing that speaks directly to your target traveler.

The real competition starts with the search results. If you’re updating an existing listing, take a minute to search for yours and see what kind of “first” impression it makes. If you’re feeling too biased, show a friend and see what they think.

Just yesterday I was asked to look at a great vacation rental in Maui. Their listing title said “true beachfront property” which was compelling to me as a traveler. One time I stayed at a hotel that said “beachfront” only to find a busy, 2-lane street intersecting my room and the beach. But, with their title in place, the first shot that appeared in the search results was a photo of the bedroom. Not exactly the beachfront I was envisioning.

All of the items that typically appear in the search results are pulled from your listing (you can’t customize them separately), so be sure to keep these in mind when creating your listing.

  • A small photo of the property (approx 1.5” wide x 1” tall)
  • The headline
  • Basic details (i.e. number of rooms, max occupancy, rates)
  • The number of reviews received, maybe including star rating
  • A very brief summary (i.e. the first sentence of your description)

Continue Reading…

flipkey listing modern tahoeFor the seventh day of MyVR Marketing Tips, take a tour of vacation rental websites where you’re listed and either add or revise your listing information with your newly-updated description.

Armed with the information about which sites have more or less value to you, you may want to adjust your plan for these sites too. If a paid site did not bring you any bookings in the last year, considering changing your subscription to a different level or canceling it altogether. This is a great time to upgrade or downgrade your account.

As you check each listing:

  • Tweak your headline to ensure it includes attention-grabbing keywords.
  • Update the description to match what you wrote earlier.
  • Ensure all other information (i.e. contact details) is up-to-date.
  • If you intend to increase rates, add a notice to the page.
  • Evaluate the rest of your listing. Have you used the best photos? Are there any comments you need to respond to?
  • Make sure there are no typos or grammatical mistakes!

Vacation home renters like to browse around; a survey by FlipKey found that the average traveler looks at four different sites before finally inquiring about seven different properties.

Some listing sites give you an opportunity to connect with a more focused group of potential renters. If you target a particular group of travelers, a bit of online research may help you find a directory that’s dedicated to that particular audience.

Reference:

 

This post is part of our 12 Days of Vacation Rental Marketing series. Subscribe to the blog and we’ll send you an email each day with a new post.

MyVR WebinarIn case you missed the recent HomeAway Community webinar I hosted on how to give your listings more firepower with a website for your vacation rental, you can watch the recording here. As promised, there were a couple of questions asked that I have answered here.

How do I generate more links to my website?

I’ve written a few articles on link building for your website here on the MyVR blog. The first is what to do after you’ve launched your website and the other is 10 free vacation rental listing sites to boost your SEO. You can also get a few easy links by posting your website on all of your social media profiles (i.e. Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter) and getting listed on local directories like Google, Yahoo!, and Bing. Continue Reading…

For many vacation rental owners, the major listing sites like HomeAway, VRBO, and FlipKey are essential to your business. It’s no doubt that these sites are generating inquiries for owners all over the world – attracting hundreds of thousands of travelers to their sites every month. But as more and more homes are being advertised there, it’s harder for individual vacation rental owners to make their homes stand out.

One thing you can do is place a link to your vacation rental website within your listing. This is your opportunity to showcase your brand – your home’s unique characteristics and personality. Your website should have tons of photos, detailed information on the local area, restaurant and activity recommendations, and upcoming events. Every listing has the same template, so your website should be unique, give you a professional presence, and help you convert more visitors into bookings!

Here’s how to get a link on HomeAway and VRBO:

You can add up to 4 links, but all are subject to review and they must be appropriate for family viewing. To add a URL link to your listing:

  1. Log into your HomeAway or VRBO account.
  2. If you have more than one listing, navigate to the appropriate listing.
  3. Click the “Edit Listing” link on the left side and open the “Links & Video” tab at the top.
  4. Scroll down and enter the URL of your website.
  5. Click “Save.”
  6. Wait for HomeAway to review and approve your listing.

Read the full instructions on their help site.

HomeAway Listing Link

Your link will appear below the amenities and above your reviews on HomeAway.

VRBO Listing Link

Your link will appear below your rates and above the map on VRBO.

Here’s how to get a link on FlipKey:

  1. Log into your account.
  2. Click on “Account” on the upper left hand side.
  3. Click on “Edit Profile” and enter the URL of your website.

Read the full instructions on their help site.

FlipKey Listing Link

Your link will appear on your Owner Profile page after you click the Contact link on your listing in FlipKey.