Thursday, June 28, 2012

It's Time to Gear Up for the Fall

Once again it is the middle of the summer and fall is right around the corner. Football season is a great time for visiting college towns and we have many great listings available for football games. Be sure to check out our event calendars for Charlottesville and other towns to think about making your property available for key events coming up. Making your property available when a number of people want to return to college towns increases your ability to rent your house and it gives you an opportunity to get out of town and avoid all the traffic.

In addition, Craigslist is now offering an option to post pictures in addition to the ads that we develop for you through our site. This new feature would be a great way to get your listing out their in front of the public and make it even more visible than it was before. Seeing more pictures does a lot of work to impress potential renters with the excellent condition of your property from your  account.It's a great way to get the additional, impressive features of your property in front of potential renters.

Be sure to update your availability calendars as you get ready for the fall and if you have any questions don't hesitate to contact us.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

1% for the Planet

We just recently renewed our membership with 1% for the planet. This is a great organization that is doing great things for the environment. Another great company called Felt Soul Media is working on a documentary about 1% and some of the great companies that are involved with it. Travis Rummel is one of the founders of this company and fishing buddy of mine. They have made and continue to make some incredible fishing/conservation movies. Be sure to check them out! Here is a teaser for the documentary for 1% for the planet.

One Percent of the Story | intro/teaser from felt soul media on Vimeo.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Pricing is important! Now more than ever

Recently my fiance and I moved back into our home in Charlottesville, VA and ever since we got back we have been renting our house out through the site. This is great because aside from generating revenue, I actually get to use the service provides which helps me come up with new ideas to improve the service as well as new ideas to share with you guys about owning and operating a vacation rental.

When we first got our house back up on the site we were getting a bunch of inquiries, but very few actual bookings. This went on for at least two months before I decided to consult with some our clients to get a better idea of what their conversion rate was like. I discovered that I was not doing as well as most or seasoned veterans on our site so I started tinkering with my listing in order to try to boost my stats. The first thing I did was drop my peak and standard rates by $25 bucks a night. This helped a little bit but was still not the solution I was looking for.

In looking back at all of the inquiries I was getting I realized that most of the inquires that I was getting that were not leading to bookings were for the big weekends this spring like Graduation and Reunions weekend. On these weekends I was charging the peak rate which at the time was double what my standard rate was. I decided to bump my standard rate back up to the original price and knock my peak rate price down by $50 per night. The results from this little tweak have been overwhelming. I think people felt like they were being gouged when they saw that the peak rates were almost twice as much as standard rates.

There are two lessons to be learned here. The first one is do not be afraid to play around with your listing and try new things if you are not getting the results that you want. We have designed the site so that your accounts would be dynamic for a reason. Secondly, our nation's economic climate is desperate, and consumers (your renters) are feeling the pinch and on the hunt now more than ever for a bargain. This is a great opportunity for us because in most instances we offer them a much better value then hotels. Take a look at your pricing and compare it to the listings in your town that have a bunch of reviews( these people are booking their property a lot). Are you offering renters a good value? Or could they go to a hotel for less? I know your place is much nicer and more spacious then any hotel, but just try to put yourself in your renter's shoes. Maybe offer the third night for free? Anything that makes the renter feel like they are getting a good deal.

As always if you have any questions or comments please post them here on the blog.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Post Your Lisitnig on Craigslist

We have developed a feature that allows you to post professional looking ads like the one you see above on Craig's List. This can be a great way to drive more traffic to your listing. We have been experimenting with this tool over the last couple of months and the results are impressive. Another benefit to posting these ads through your account page is that there are a couple tricks we can show you that greatly reduce the spam and scam messages that are sometimes associated with Craig's List. If you are interested in learning more about this please Contact Us through the site.

In November I blogged about how using relevant keywords in your title is a great way to have your listing start to show up in Google search results which obviously leads to more bookings. Well posting ads on Craig's List is another great avenue for you to do the same thing. For instance, if you are a property owner in Charlottesville, VA and your property is conveniently located to some of the many vineyards in the area, it would be smart to post an Ad on craig's list with a title like, "Albemarle Wine Tour Vacation Rental".

We are more than happy to help with this if you are not familiar with Craig's List. If you have any questions please contact us or leave a comment below on the blog.

Spring is right around the corner and the visitors are about to start flocking to your college town so please be sure your listings and calendars are all updated.

Friday, November 20, 2009

New Calendar Lets You Publish Peak Rates!!

We just launched a new calendar that lets you publish peak rates right along side your availability calendar. Over the last couple months renters have expressed frustration over the fact that there was no way to tell whether or not a certain weekend was considered peak or standard without contacting the owners. We have solved this problem and in the process made several other improvements to the calendar that make it much more user friendly for our property owners. Login to your account today and check it out! Please offer any feedback you have about the calendar right here on our blog.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Using Keywords to Drive More Inquiries

A lot of us are missing out on a very effective and simple way to generate more inquiries for our properties. Search engines love user generated content, and since you the property owner are a user on our site you are in a great position to effectively use keywords so that your property will show up in Google search results.

Let me give you an example. When you are entering a title for your property don't just plug in your address or the name of your property. If I am a potential renter, and I am trying to find a place to stay for graduation weekend or the next big football game chances are I am not going to search for "Three Rivers Cottage" , "Condo near Main St", or "Town Home in Cherry Hills". If you use keywords like graduation, football, team mascots, university names, weddings, vineyards, etc ...... then you greatly increase the chances that somebody out there is going to find your property when searching on Google. Below are two examples in our Charlottesville market where property owners have included relevant keywords in their title and in their short description and it has landed them 1st page results on Google.

In this first example the property owner included the keyword phrase "Graduation Weekend" and as you can see they are the third URL in the list when someone searches for "places to stay uva graduation 2010". Click the following link to see this vacation rental.

An even better example is this property that shows up #1! for the search "uva football house rental" because she put UVA football in her title. Click the following link to see this game day rental

You will notice that these people still used a traditional title but just took advantage of the extra space by entering relevant keywords. You can also do this in your short and long descriptions as well as in the user profile that we blogged about last week.

If you have any questions about this or want some help from us for some good keyword suggestions in your market please comment on this blog post.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Property Owner Profiles Drive More Bookings

We are pleased to announce that we have added an exciting new feature to the website. Now property owners have the ability to load a picture of themselves and tell potential owners a little bit about themselves. Here is an example

This is a great opportunity for our vacation rental owners to make potential renters feel welcome and share their knowledge of the town. We are planning on beefing this feature up in the near future but in the meantime feel free to tell potential guests about your favorite restaurants and hang outs in your town.

Don't miss out on this great opportunity to drive more bookings! All you have to do is login to your account and click on the user profile link on the left.

Please be sure to let us know what you think right here on the blog by leaving comments.