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!
The phrase “a picture is worth a thousand words” has never been more applicable than when pertaining to vacation rentals. The images your potential guests view on your website are more than likely going to be one of the major determining factors for whether or not they click the “book” button. Follow our tips for the best possible photo gallery:
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.
Do you have broken maps that say “Development Purposes Only”? Then you’re in the right place!
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.
When it comes to maximizing your bookings, there are some ways to make your vacation rental welcoming to all members of the guest’s family, including pets. Here are some tips and tricks to consider when making your property pet-friendly:
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!
When it comes to creating the design of your website there are many factors to consider. It can be hard to pick out the truly useful tips and advice when doing your own research. We’ve narrowed down some key factors and focus areas for your next web design:
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.
When developing a website or trying to enhance an existing one, there are steps to take and important fundamentals to practice. Similar to a sports mindsight, you need to outwork and outplay your competitors. Follow this game plan below to increase and maximize the performance of your site.
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.
When it comes time to display, promote and list your vacation property for potential guests there are a couple of guidelines to follow that will increase your bookings and overall appeal to what you have to offer. Read about the Do’s and Don’ts of property listings below:
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!