Before you know it, February 5th will be here, and do you know what that means? It’s #BookDirect Day! This year marks the 3rd annual campaign to educate travelers about the many benefits of booking direct.
You may be surprised, but most guests don’t realize there is a better way to book than going through OTAs like HomeAway, TripAdvisor, VRBO, and Airbnb. Not only do third-party bookings mean additional fees for both guests and owners alike, but it also means guests are losing out on amazing perks and advantages they might only learn about directly from you.
If you’re wondering how you can participate in #BookDirect Day on February 5th, 2020, Amy Hinote at VRM Intel offers the following suggestions:
Now is the time to talk to your email marketing manager about creating a compelling email campaign for #BookDirect Day that will drive home the importance of skipping the OTAs. Be sure to post your campaign to social media with the hashtag #BookDirect to get it trending and join in this grassroots effort!
Don’t have an email marketing manager? Contact email@example.com today and ask how we can help you get your message out to past and prospective guests!
This is the time to make your rental properties shine and there’s no better way to show their true beauty than by hiring a professional photographer to capture them from every angle. Not only will a professional photographer be able to capture images with the best lighting, but they’ll also be able to focus in on the key features you would like to highlight. If the property features an outdoor jacuzzi, luxurious furnishings or sweeping views, be sure to include images in your photo gallery.
Hiring a professional photographer to capture images of your rental property is important. That being said, staying consistent in the quality of the images matters. Images taken with a professional camera and a cell phone are not the same and may deter a future guest from your properties. Remembering to create consistently high-quality photo galleries on all of your properties will not only give them the best chance of being booked, but will also allow you to showcase one cohesive brand all across the board.
Our final tip for the perfect photo gallery is to keep all of your images either portrait or landscape, do not go back and forth between the two. We recommend landscape because this is also the orientation of your browser window and will allow more of the image to be viewed at once, versus having to scroll down to see more.
If you follow these three important tips, your property photo galleries will look better than ever and will lead to more bookings. Images tell a story, and if you do it right, they will capture more guests looking to go on their next adventure.
Depending on if this is the first time you are adding a map to your site, or if you had a working map in the past that is no longer working, there are two different directions you will need to take to fix them:
If you are adding a dynamic map to your site for the first time, you will need to follow the steps in this video:
If the Google map on your site recently stopped working and is displaying a “Development Use Only” message, then that means you have reached your monthly map load limit. The good news here is that this means you are getting a lot traffic to your site! The unfortunate news is that because of the amount of traffic you’re receiving, Google is going to start charging for per map load for the remainder of this month.
All you will need to do to get your maps back up and running is set a budget inside of Google. Start with this link:
When you open the link, look for a white bar at the top of the page that mentions upgrading your account, then click on the blue button to begin the process of upgrading. If you do not see this white bar, skip to the next step.
After your account is upgraded, go to “Billing” > “Budgets & Alerts” to create a budget for your project. Usually if this is the first time you’re seeing this, a budget of $100 should be enough. Google will also set up alerts when you go through different percentages of your budget so you can keep a sharp eye on it.
Once all that is done, your maps should be up and running! If not, please go to /support/ to have us see what other issues might be causing the disconnect.
Make a set clear of rules for the pet owners to follow. Even though the vacation rental is pet-friendly, it is important for the guest to know some of the rooms or areas are for humans only.
Don’t use carpet in order to avoid stains and other damage. Tile is your best bet. Other floorings such as linoleum and laminate are also great options. Rugs can be added to improve the design and can be thrown away if chewed or ruined by your pet in any way.
Use gates and other child-safety measures to prevent pets from going into restricted areas. Provide such materials for your guests, that way you know your rules are enforced.
Couch covers are suggested because it is easier to clean a cover rather than a whole couch. If you do not use a cover, try to select furniture with patterns or bright colors as they are good at concealing marks and stains.
Show your guest that their pet is truly welcome by adding the pet’s name to the reservation list. You can have dog treats and toys prepared as a welcome package for your furry guests as well.
“Pets are people too! We love pets and celebrate them.” – Kim Hermon (Big Bear Vacations)
Once your property is prepared and your rules are clear, you can start to maximize your bookings by making your vacation rental pet-friendly!
Too much information or a complicated design can and will overwhelm the viewer. There should be a balance between creativity and professionalism.
Making sure your site will be easily viewable on mobile devices is a major key to success. According to Google statistics presented in a VRM Intel article, 94% of smartphone users search for local information on their phone directly.
More exposure for your business should be the goal and purpose of your site, especially in the vacation rental industry. Your design should provide regional expertise based on the location you are marketing. Make sure people can identify your business with your design.
A graphically complicated design can bog down your loading time and frustrate prospective viewers. Make sure your site has the proper server infrastructure and bandwidth to support your design with ideal site loading speed.
The idea behind a simple yet user-friendly design is to allow your current and potential guests to browse your brand and site with ease. Make sure your navigation menu has no more than 7 items and be descriptive with your labels. The key is to have your viewers use the site and stay there longer than 5 seconds.
Throughout the world of web design, there is an endless number of directions, paths, and routes you can take based on your ultimate business plan and goals. After studying and implementing these tips, the interactions between your site and potential clients will increase.
You obviously want to design your website; however, you need to go into it with a clear direction. The first time a viewer sees your site can be the deciding factor if they become a customer or not. Designing your site should be a growing process. Build your site based on the next steps, not the final steps. Stick to the plan.
You want your site to be as fast as possible. Users won’t stick around or spend much time on your site if it takes them forever to get the information they are looking for. Not only will a faster site interest viewers and potential clients, but search engines also factor your loading speed into their rankings. As your speeds increase, so will the success of your website.
If you get too complicated with your web design, it could hurt the value of your site and your chances of attracting new clients or customers. Complicated graphics and animations should be avoided. When it comes to audience attention spans, it is important to remove things that could be distracting or take the viewers away from the message you are trying to convey.
Make sure the images you select are images that enhance the authenticity of your site and company. Only use high-quality stock photography and hire a professional real estate photographer for your listings. Low-quality images will reflect poorly on your listings and your brand.
In today’s digital world, the majority of people have smartphones. According to Google, around 61% of mobile users are unlikely to return to your site if they had trouble accessing it and navigating through it. Your competitors could acquire the attention of the viewers that recently bounced from your site.
Never stop testing your site. Evaluating the strengths and weakness of your website is always encouraged. You can continue to implement the things that are working well and eliminate the things that are hurting or weakening your site’s performance. Practice makes perfect.
After properly studying these fundamentals of a strong and effective website, you will learn how to focus in on what needs to get done to maximize the power and presence of your website and business.
Do invest in a photographer with a high-quality camera. It will pay off in the long run. Professional pictures of your property will increase interest on the end of the potential guests as well enhances the pictures of your website.
Don’t do it yourself. Pictures taken from a cellphone can look low quality and give off the perception that not a lot of effort was put in to maximize the listing.
(Sub-tip)– A study showed virtual tours can increase bookings by 20% (VRM Intel)
Don’t Name the room simply based on the number of beds. Guests will combine all 3- bedroom properties in the same category not allowing your property to stand out.
Do Make your listing unique. Allowing your property to stand out will get your best chance of reservations.
Don’t Just throw any words in the description to try to enhance the property. Don’t be misleading. Forced wording can take away from the appeal of the listing. Make sure to change up the verbiage and not recycle descriptions. (anyone can claim terms such as “amazing, spectacular, glamorous”)
Do Display the property title. The more information you can give your potential clients will increase bookings. Tell a story that adds to the experience the potential guest will have. (explain how comfy the beds are or how the best nights rest was spent in this spot)
Don’t use the same listing description across all platforms. Google and other algorithms will pick up on the duplicate content
Do Include keywords in your descriptions to make the property stand out. Make sure to vary your content so it resonates with different types of people that are browsing for vacation rentals.
After applying these steps your vacation property will stand out and your bookings will increase!
As we enter the holidays skating into the new year, we want everyone to achieve their Digital Marketing goals. Follow this playbook until you SCORE MORE BOOKINGS:
Perfectly placing keywords throughout your meta titles and descriptions as well as spaced throughout the content will set you up for your best shot and will increase bookings. Bringing you closer to your goal.
When you set up a proper Pay-Per-Click campaign you have positioned yourself for success. Optimizing your pages for conversions is like passing the puck in the right spot for your teammate to score!
After your guests enjoy their vacation, email marketing strategies will allow your team to continue the relationship after the trip ends by having them come back for more vacations and bookings, resulting in scoring more goals and earning more money!
The strength of your team is based on your work ethic, daily practicing and enhancing skills and technique. Overall development of your website will result in increased bookings and extra revenue, as well as prevent your opponents from scoring!
After reviewing these steps, you will have a smoother path to skate towards your goals going into the new year.
One of the best ways to build confidence within your business from the outside world looking in is through Google Reviews. To break it down in simplest terms, Google Reviews is the digital version of word of mouth for your business. Simply put, reviews are one of the avenues to attracting new clients and customers.
Check out these 10 steps to success:
With any client-facing position, the easiest and most direct way to get a review is simply asking one of your clients to write one!
Your clients can’t write a review if they don’t know how. Show them the way!
Adding personality to a message enhances chemistry, increasing the chance of them leaving a review.
Clients will hesitate to leave a review if the process seems confusing. Make it as user-friendly as possible.
If you have multiple locations, 3rd party programs can help you keep extra eyes on your reviews at all times.
Regardless of the way you communicate with your clients, always nicely ask for reviews through any mode of communication and channel you use.
Every now and then it’s okay to offer an incentive for a client to leave a review. Offering a discount or holding a potential contest can help produce new reviews.
Responding to clients’ reviews directly will show other viewers and other potential clients the effort and care you put into your client relationships.
Having a link from your email signature can direct current and potential clients to your review portal.
Leaving a review can be time-consuming and can be seen as a chore if the review process is too basic. Make it fun and interactive so people want to leave a review off entertainment alone.
After these steps are studied and implemented, you will see a close correlation between reviews and revenue!
Email marketing is engaging with your current and potential clients through email. Here are 13 facts about how Email Marketing is so effective, it is freighting:
The return on your investment will be faster than expected!
Email marketing makes the amount of money you pay for a client acquisition shrinks in size!
Your Guests eyes will be constantly glued to their inbox because of the emails you send!
People will take advantage of your special promotions!
Email marketing allows potential guests to see your properties!
Viewers will know about your great location!
Others will learn about your high level of service!
Additional services and amenities you offer will be discovered.
Your guests will stay loyal to you rather than visiting your competitors!
By engaging with your clients every month your relationship with your guests will be at its best!
Email lists that you’ve been building will be productive when resent for another list of viewers or potential clients!
Inquires from potential guests could flood your inbox resulting in increased reservations!
Throughout all ways Email Marketing is effective and productive, after studying and understanding these 13 freighting facts, you will see your guests come back year after year!
Get your website to the top of the search results for all relevant Google searches, making you stand out compared to other sites.
Bid higher for your biggest fans! If a return user visits your site, make sure your ad is front and center. These users are most likely to book and be at your next fight!
Real-time stats coming in LIVE via Google Analytics. This tells you the amount of revenue your ad spend is generating, giving you day to day updates on your progress and growth!
With correct tracking in place, you can know exactly how much you are spending, and exactly what you are generating in terms of leads, revenue, and ROI.
Having the right data and expert in your corner, PPC will be one of your most predictable marketing channels. This will be your best path to a championship!
Keep It brief and effective
Don’t make your users work harder than they need to. Combine similar questions.
Use Visual Aids
Add icons to direct attention and assist in avoiding confusion.
Color coordination and hidden info boxes can assist the efficiency of the form.
Focus on your Goal
Like fitness, everyone has goals. Check to see if your forms are converting.
Include a confirmation message so the user knows their work is complete.
Make it Difficult
Users will not be satisfied if the form is not easy to fill out.
Be Lacking in Direction
Giving people too open of a forum can lead to misunderstanding the questions being asked.
Ask Unnecessary Questions
Avoid extra information that doesn’t seem pertinent to the desired outcome.
Use Incorrect Formatting
Having a reset button too close to the submit button can annoy and discourage users.
Have No Purpose
Users won’t fill out the form if they don’tknow what they will get out of it.
Our CEO Josh Guerra joined the Streamline Third Party Webinar. Josh goes into detail about the process and importance of Search Engine Marketing (SEM). One of the heaviest talking points Josh touched on is how adding property owners to your inventory will be one of the direct steps towards success. Watch the video here:
When it comes to Search Engine Optimization, there are many steps involved. Think of it as making a sandwich: Each ingredient plays an important role in the process and adds more flavor, just like how the steps of SEO enhance the overall functionality and performance of your website. So, what’s the recipe for success? It’s a combination of the following tools, each executed to perfection.
When it comes to building a website, you want it to be interactive, responsive, user-friendly, and attractive. Having a solid developed website as the base—or bread of the sandwich—is the start of solid SEO. Just like a sandwich, no one will eat it if it does not look good. Appearance is everything.
Making your site well-known and popular across the internet is a must. Reaching out to familiar or local businesses in your area is the process of external linking. You want your site to be located on already established websites. This extends your reach to a larger audience, and your digital visibility will get stronger, too. Ultimately, you want your site seen often and by a like-minded audience.
Just like the pickles on a sandwich, properly researched keywords add that extra bite to your site! The key is to use words that are popular, but also relevant to the topic at hand.
Giving an overall description of each page is a strong way to be placed higher on search engines. Including keywords and tags that are popular also gives a good push to the page’s visibility. Metadata is the unique flavor and all-around description of your content.
Once you have viewers on your site, you want them to stay there. Adding links to other pages of your site is a strong and effective way to assist users in navigating to the rest of your site. Make sure the links are relative. For example, if they are reading about a property that is currently listed, link your viewers to a page of reviews left by previous guests. Get people to your site and keep them there!
At the end of the day, what really makes a sandwich taste great is the meat. Think of the content of your site as the meat of your sandwich: If its low quality, your site will be, too. Our writers produce content that is engaging and includes the most accurate verbiage for the best user experience. People love to learn and be entertained. Find a balance between fun and quality content and you are set.
Every sandwich has its own style, flavor, and overall concept. This is very relatable when it comes to SEO. When thinking about using the ingredients of the SEO Sandwich, make sure to apply your team and company’s overall personality. That is the secret in the sauce!
The BIZCOR® SEO Sandwich is always made fresh and ready to order.
NOW TAKE A BITE!
BIZCOR® presented in the 2017 Streamline Summit. The team explained how we acquire leverage for homeowners throughout the use of online marketing.
The foundation of your conversion elements is going to start with your landing page, also known as the home page. Some of the questions that are often asked when trying to optimize your page are: Is your content too heavy? Is your content easily broken down to relate to your audience? Is it visually appealing? Most importantly, does it contain trust factors? An example of a poor landing page would be one with just a basic block or wall of content—no appealing images or any attraction to catch the readers eye. It is important to not only have audience land on your page, but stay there as well.
A strong landing page has key components that enhance the look of your site as well as the consumer or audience experience. An introduction banner gains the audience’s attention and explains the concept of the page. A call to action form is something on the site that creates an opportunity for the clients or audience to interact with the site; an example of that would be a live chat function. Trust logos are ways to show your credentials and qualifications, such as achievements or well-known affiliates that support your business or product. A breakdown of the value points is a really good way to explain the homeowner transparency. Real revenue is a strong way to present the actual numbers and return on investment.
Make sure your page is filled with great, readable, engaging content; you want the audience to come to your page, but like previously mentioned, give them good reasons to stay on the page often and frequently. Finally, it is crucial to have pictures of your team on your page to give that real-life interaction feel to whoever is searching your site.
When it comes to the content to focus on the most, here is the order:
1. Lead Generation
2. Home Care
3. Owner Transparency/Reporting
For more examples, please visit: Bizcor.com/manager
1. Local SEO – Start with the basics: The Google My Business Page
• Set up visiting https://www.google.com/business/
• Configure it 100%
• Congruent with your business info on your website
• Correct categories – Vacation Home Rental Agency, Condo Rental Agency, Property Management Company
2. Local Schema Code Markup
• Setup by visiting http://microdatagenerator.org/
• Configure it 100%
• Copy/paste this code into your website
3. Citation Data Directories
• What is a citation?
• Easy configuration Yext.com ($500-$1,000 annually)
• Manually verify directories
• Local citation (BBB/Chamber of Commerce)
• Brand mentions or backlinks
• Install SEO Plugin like Yoast
• Menu structure
• Title tags/meta description
• Compelling content with keywords
• Image Optimizations
1. Paid Search – Starting with the Basics: Visit Google Adwords
• Setup by visiting https://adwords.google.com/home/
• Enter CC Data
• Walk through your campaign
• New users should use Adwords Express or target exact phrases
• A professional is highly recommended
• Types of keywords to target- (Destination) Property Management, Vacation Rental Management
The cycle of a website visitor is usually in a similar cycle, as in they visit your website, then they leave the website. However, the ads of your site on other websites brings returning viewers or new viewers back to your site.
When it comes to tracking your goals and managing your leads, there are plenty of tools and tricks in order to achieve that. Some of the suggestions we support are:
• Goal Tracking in analytics
• CRM – Customer Relationship Management
• Recommended tools – Salesforce and Infusionsoft
For more information on the 2017 summit or any other questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us at our site. Let’s chat!
Thinking about going on a new vacation, but you can’t decide between a hotel and a vacation rental? Well, there is a huge change that is going to make a significant impact on the vacation rental market as well as the way you choose where to stay and for how long. Travelers often weigh the options between staying in a hotel or renting someone’s home for the time they are in the area. Both have pros and cons, based on the person traveling and spending the money for the play to stay.
Previously when you searched “hotels” on Google, it would bring up choices of the names of hotels and only really give the customer the option to choose from a corporate hotel listing. Now, things are looking up for the people that rather choose vacation rentals for their resting spot. Traditionally, in order to view vacation rentals, one would have to look at third party spots—especially if they were looking for a wider variety of selection. Now Google has made it as easy as clicking the “vacation rentals” link. When clicking that link, the search changes from hotels to listing vacation rentals instead.
This will enhance the vacation rental experience from both ends. People looking for a spot to stay now have an easier route by simply checking Google, which is the tool they most likely were using for hotel searches previously. As for people looking to rent their homes, they now have an easier way to find potential prospects, as Google is picking up interested customers for them. The page even gives you details such as rates and “Accommodation Type,” which allows you to browse vacation rentals of all types.
This new push seems to be available to everyone; however, it is still limited to some destinations. Google could be testing the waters with this or simply rolling it out to a new specific area as time goes on. From now on, the vacation industry will be shaken up, as potential travelers now have more information to use when considering their next place to call “home” for the length of their trip.
Email marketing is an effective way to generate business for your company. Email allows you to reach a large number of potential customers at once, including both new and old customers alike. Generating a large mailing list is important for the continued success of your business, but once you have a customer list, how do you improve the effectiveness of your email marketing?
AB testing is one way to improve the click-through rate of your marketing emails and generate more positive responses. Through AB testing, you can refine your email design based on statistical analysis. At BIZCOR®, we have used AB testing to single out more effective email designs and boost click-through rates for our clients.
AB testing works by making a small change to a single variable—in this case a design choice in one of our marketing emails—and then observing the results across a large sample size. For example, we can send out an email with differences in the subject line, but no changes to the content. Some recipients will see a long subject line, some see a short subject line, and some see a long subject line that includes an emoji. Based on the total percentage of recipients who open and click-through the email to reach the client’s website for each style of subject line, we can determine which method is the most effective.
In the subject line length AB test discussed above, we found that although slightly less emails with a long subject line containing an emoji were opened, with 1.2% more opened with just a long subject, and 3% more with a short subject, interestingly, .3% more emails with a long subject line and emoji received click-throughs over short subject emails. Some of our other AB test results can be seen below:
If you have any questions regarding AB testing, our findings, or email marketing in general, or if you have any ideas for future AB testing models, feel free to contact us at BIZCOR®. AB testing is just one method we use to help our clients improve their marketing strategies. We are proud to deliver creative marketing solutions to many clients around the country.
Using Email Marketing To Increase Bookings
In the digital age, email has fast become one of the most important forms of communication. Used for everything from quick chats between friends and family to professional business interactions, email helps keep individuals across the globe connected. Email also helps businesses reach potential customers; in fact, email marketing is one of the best ways for vacation rental companies to drive up their booking rates—by convincing guests on the fence to vacation in your properties! How, then, do we properly utilize email marketing?
Emailing specials to potential guests is a great way to convince them to book a stay in one of your properties. A great deal often gives someone the final motivation they need to commit to a purchase; after all, if they don’t act now, the price will be higher if they decide to book at a later date.
Another great use of email marketing is to highlight specific properties in your portfolio—whether they are new additions, past guests’ favorites, or great homes that just deserve to be in the spotlight. Email marketing provides a convenient way to show guests the luxurious type of property they can enjoy if they book a stay with your company. Many people will be reassured by seeing a property before their stay, so make sure to include as many details and pictures as possible!
Remind Guests Why Vacations Are Fun in the First Place
Vacation properties are only possible because the activities and attractions in the surrounding area draw visitors. Remind guests why your area is a prime vacation destination! Hiking, biking, beach fun, skiing—whatever your location has to offer, show guests that your homes are close to the action.
Email marketing can do all of these things and more! Making use of email to reach out to old guests is one of the easiest ways of gaining a repeat customer, and acquiring new potential business is as easy as someone entering their email address. Start building your guest email list today!