Archives For Listing Sites

Guest post by Tyann Marcink

It was three weeks ago.

Well, maybe just two weeks—but it seems like an eternity.

No emails. No phone calls. Just a message from “Marie in NY” that was obviously a phishing attempt. Why haven’t the inquiries flooded in? How is it that a scammer found your property, but the legit folk seem to no longer be taking vacations?

"click" on flickr, by inna dee (CC BY 2.0)

After checking the number of views on the brand new listing, the realization hits: nobody is even clicking through to look at your property.

Take a deep breath. The travelers are there. They really, truly do want to find a vacation rental just like yours. But are you giving them a reason to click? 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…

A heron looking out over the lake, Herons View at Mallard Lakes

Herons View at Mallard Lakes

When it comes to taking a critical eye to your vacation rental, whether you’re considering your rates or assessing the best way to market your property, being objective can sometimes be a challenge.

“By far, my favorite feature is the private outside shower,” Pat Luftman enthused about her lakefront vacation home. “When I brought my friends down, however, one of them said ‘You couldn’t pay me to take a shower in this shower!’ She preferred to use the indoor shower instead.”

Luftman owns Herons View, a townhome at Mallard Lakes in Fenwick Island, Delaware. She says the feedback received from friends was valuable as she started her vacation rental, helping her realize that others may feel the same way. Continue Reading…

You have your vacation rental website, Facebook Page, listings on several different sites — and feedback from different people on each one. Your new challenge is to bring reviews from all these disparate sites and link them all together.

Why copy-and-paste is not the answer

Copying a review from a site and adding it to your own website is the easy solution, but it’s not necessarily the most legal option. Your safest bet is to always contact the reviewer directly to get their permission.

Online copyright can be confusing or subjective at the best of times, not least because different websites have different terms and conditions.

HomeAway.com, for example, holds a non-exclusive license over user-generated content on its site — which includes your property information as well as any submitted reviews.

As interpreted by ezine WritersWeekly, a non-exclusive license means “the reviewer can publish their review at any other site they choose and they can also give permission to someone else…to re-publish their review.”

Continue Reading…

"You've Got Mail", by Ron Reiring on FlickrYou put a lot of time and effort into keeping your online reservation calendar up-to-date. And you should: It makes a difference for your vacation rental listings, even impacting your placement in search results. You also don’t want people to waste their time inquiring about dates that aren’t available.

Why, then, do so many people insist on contacting you about days you’ve already blacked out?!  As I said in my last post, I don’t think renters are entirely to blame. Today, I’d like to explain why I’m actually happy to see every one of those inquiries land in my Inbox.

While extra inquiries take extra time and energy — something none of us has in abundance — every inquiry you receive is proof of your hard-earned marketing investment. More importantly, each inquiry has a dollar value attached to it, whether you land a new booking today or not.  Let me walk you through how. Continue Reading…

no vacancy

Photo Credit: taberandrew

I’ve seen a lot of chatter lately from owners who are frustrated by people who send inquiries even when the calendar shows that the property is already booked.

I can understand that frustration. I work hard to keep my calendar up to date — which is easier, since we purposely designed MyVR to sync calendars across all online marketing! However, it still takes time to update and ensure it’s correct.

Sometimes it feels as if potential renters don’t even look at the calendar. And maybe they don’t! However, I feel differently about this additional work than many owners: whether I’m booked or not, I see each inquiry as an opportunity.

I actually believe it’s (usually) not the traveler’s fault; they don’t want to waste your time, they just want to confirm their plans as quickly and easily as possible. Here are four situations I’ve experienced that may help explain the inquiry overflow. Continue Reading…

I often receive emails from concerned subscribers that go something like this:

Mostaza Panama

Photo credit: Matt Landau

Dear Matt,

We don’t know what to do. Our leads from listing sites were going down and more competitor rentals have opening their doors weekly, so we’ve built our own website with great descriptions, professional photos…etc. But the problem is, nothing seems to be happening. We haven’t had an inquiry in days. Please help!!!!

These emails always get two things incorrect.

First, they assume that I am a magic genie (rub my belly twice, pick your ideal occupancy rate, and then *POOF* your wish is my command). I run the Vacation Rental Marketing Blog. I am not a magician.

The second, and clearly more significant assumption, that many owners get wrong is that by building your own website, your bookings will automatically increase. They think that a website is the remedy to all their worries and that once they get set up, tomorrow will begin as a new and entirely more profitable day.

But here’s the thing…it probably wont. Tomorrow will most likely begin precisely how yesterday did (only now you happen to have your own website and some added monthly costs).

I can’t help but draw the false analogy to computers. It’s common in today’s market to consider our bookings like computers: if a computer breaks, we take it to a specialist who’ll fix it for us. It’s so easy for vacation rental owners and managers to just assume that a specialist like me could turn their season around with one convenient fee.

But your bookings are not like broken computers.

Your bookings are like plants.

My rentals are located in Panama and when I first started off, I wanted to grow beautiful and traditional veraneras (aka bougainvillea) on all the balconies. However, with my forgetfulness combined with my busy schedule leaving Panama every few weeks, they began, along a period of about 1 year, to wither away until they resembled ugly brown sticks emerging from dirt. But here’s the thing: they never completely died.

Our bookings are not unlike plants: they need the right conditions to grow. You can’t fix a plant. You can only give it the proper conditions – light, soil, water – and then wait.

So if our bookings are like plants, what are the conditions needed to make them blossom?

Perhaps the most important condition (and one which MyVR solves pretty transparently) is your own website. You must diversify your business (away from solely listing sites) if you ever plan to establish some control and independence. If you’ve got your own website (or are thinking about getting one) you’re on the right track. But remember, your bookings are not fixed with one fell swoop. So you can’t stop here…

You must be involved with your website. Publish posts on your blog consistently, gather guest email addresses for monthly newsletters, upload resounding reviews, build backlinks…etc. You must give your bookings the right conditions to grow, and then wait, just like I did with my flourishing veraneras, which now – after several years – are about as bountiful as the guests inhabiting my very rentals.

 

photo: Matt Landau

 

This is a guest post by Matt Landau, a good friend of MyVR.com and the Founder of the Vacation Rental Marketing Blog and VRLeap, two resources designed to help vacation rental owners and managers establish independence and increase their bookings with bulletproof techniques.

Inbound Links SEOGetting more links to your vacation rental website is critical in helping it get found organically (a.k.a. for free) in the search engines. The more inbound links your website has from higher authority sources, the more authority your own website will earn.

Essentially, there are 2 primary ways to rank higher in Google, Yahoo, and Bing. One is to optimize your website for keyword phrases potential renters might be searching for. This includes things like your website domain name (URLs), page titles, H1 headers, and your meta description. The second, and more important, is getting more inbound links to your website from high authority websites (i.e. The New York Times has a much higher authority than Bob’s Blog).

One way to measure this authority is through Google’s PageRank. It scores a web page out of 10 and it’s logarithmic, meaning it’s much harder to move your website from a 5 to a 6, than it is from a 2 to a 3. You can check out your current PageRank here. Continue Reading…

Vacation Rental Listing Site MistakesWith more and more vacation rental owners turning to major listing sites like HomeAway, VRBO, and Flipkey to advertise their homes, you’ve got to make your listing stand out. Check your listings now to ensure you’re not making these mistakes. Even one mistake could affect the order in which your listing is displayed in search results and could cost you valuable inquiries and bookings.

1. Using all caps in your listing

AVOID ANY WORD IN ALL CAPS because it sounds like you’re shouting at the traveler and comes off as unfriendly and unapproachable. Continue Reading…