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Dear Guests, Don’t Know Who You’re Booking With? Here’s What The T&C’s Say

A 5min read  about the increasing guest confusion because they don’t know who they’re booking with.

How many times have you blithely clicked through and just agreed to terms and conditions on any e-commerce site? You know when you get to this stage of a process, whether it’s buying a bar of soap or making a holiday booking, this most important option is left to the last page.

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I Have Decided To Leave The OTA’s (HomeAway, VRBO, TripAdvisor, Airbnb etc)

Below is a comment left by a manager on our previous blog post (The Results Are In – What Owners & Managers Really Think About OTA’s). They’ve decided to leave OTA’s all together and have kindly given us permission to use their comment as an entirely new blog post.

Enjoy!

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The Results Are In – What Owners & Managers Really Think About OTA’s (HomeAway, VRBO, Airbnb etc)

Two weeks ago we sent out an email to our reader base asking for information on their use of the major OTA’s (Online Travel Agents, such as HomeAway, Airbnb & VRBO).

We were particularly interested in brand opinion, overall attitude, friction points and usage statistics.

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What Does The New Blue Booked Circle Mean On Homeaway?

Nope, we aren’t talking about crop circles but just as mysterious!

One our clients just asked a question of HomeAway’s “Blue Statistics Circle” There is a big blue “Booking Statistic” circle above a search on a destination. This number changes based on dates selected. Read more →

Tablets Play Second Fiddle to Phones In Online Booking Statistics

2min read on how mobiles are surpassing tablets in online traffic / bookings and how they have both reduced desktop for researching  vacation rentals.

In January we posted an article on the use of mobiles and potential for increased conversions via a phone call (yes that’s where people talk to each other).

We thought it might be helpful to show how important this has become and how mobiles (phones) are supplanting that all important tablet which featured so heavily in Christmases past and how both have reduced desktop use for researching rentals.

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Increase Bookings With Practical Immersive 3D Plans And Tours

3min read on how you can increase bookings by using immersive 3D tours for your vacation rental.

Use visual content to convert more bookings

We all want to engage, delight and easily convert visitors browsing our listings and then entice them back year after year. This is getting harder all the time but there is one simple way to help our beautiful holiday properties sell themselves and providing incredible visual content is actually one of the easiest things we can do. Allowing viewers to see, explore and understand your listing is the only way they will form a true connection to win them over.

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REGAIN CONTROL : Why your own vacation rental website matters.

5min read on why having your own vacation rental website matters.

I found myself realising that we don’t have a definitive page explaining why a website isn’t just a luxury for vacation rental professionals, but instead should be seen as a necessity.

Many managers recognise the growing need for a website, and while we may think everyone understands why, the simple matter is that this industry is so complex that often the obvious answers are shrouded behind obtuse reasons.

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3 Reasons VRBO Is Making It More Necessary Than Ever to Work with a Property Manager  

Andrew McConnell discusses 3 reasons why it looks like now is the time to work with a professional vacation rental manager.

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26,000 Clicks Later – The 32 Most Read Vacation Rental Articles From Our Newsletter

Since VR Weekly’s inception before Christmas, the newsletter has received 110,000 opens and over 26,000 clicks to articles we feature.

Our goal has been and is still to “make vacation rental professionals better” by curating useful content every week. The positive response we’ve received from both owners, managers and content providers is overwhelming. Thank you.

Therefore, I thought I’d share with you the 32 most read articles over the last 24 publications and 250 shared links – just incase you missed out.

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Debunking Guest Service Myths & Do We Only Use 10% Of Our Brains?

I was browsing a scientific magazine this weekend and came across a section entitled “Mythbusters”.

It struck me that the repetitive nature of claims or that suggested by trusted people or institutions can carry more weight and makes it all the more believable.  Don’t believe everything you read. What might start as an incorrect observation can become a false “fact” that is widely accepted. This is the evolution of a myth, and our lives are full of things that just aren’t true. Such is the subject of legends and myths, but also carries across to the more mundane facts and can influence our decisions and direction. This even happens in the vacation rental industry.

We have compiled a few fun facts below on myths that have been busted or are in the development stages!

1. A penny dropped from the top of the Eiffel Tower could kill someone!

Apparently it hits terminal velocity after about 15m and would hardly break the skin and would sting somewhat, hurting less than some of the recent changes in this industry!

2. You need to drink eight glasses of water per day.

Research shows that health can be maintained with much lower amounts and your body can absorb the water from all manner of fluids and foods. Plain water is not necessary.

3. All guests are happy to pay a Guest Service Fee and understand why its needed!

Guests when questioned show a definite negative attitude to being charged more than they would if they booked directly with an accommodation provider and saving money. Odd that!

4. You need to eat five portions of food per day.

The WHO recommend 400g of fruit and veg per day, but there is scant evidence that any particular volume is required and many countries have different recommendations as they do for alcohol intake. No doubt we do need some to maintain our strength in the face of adversity!

5. All guests want to book online through OTA’s (HomeAway, Airbnb, OwnersDirect etc).

As hotels are the main sufferers of this myth, their guests may make a good analysis. Despite the mass adoption of internet, social media and media, online travel channels are estimated to represent just 45% of all travel bookings in 2015. (Source: PhoCusWright). Seems like one lot of people not heading off to an OTA to make their bookings. The stats for VR are much higher still.

6. People are more likely to commit suicide in the winter.

Although there are small variations, apparently April and May head the Northern Hemisphere charts. No jokes please about jumping off cliffs this year if you see no more enquiries.

7. All owners and managers are happy to present their vacation rental home with nightly prices, instant payment, standardised terms, not speak to guests, offer easy cancellation terms and have no recourse for damage.

Replies of no more than 500 words can be added to this blog. Please avoid the need to use too much bad language!

8. Sharks don’t get cancer.

Contrary to what you may have heard at your local dietary supplement retail outlet, sharks do get cancer. There is nothing special about their cells and researchers have been studying cancerous tumours on sharks for years.  I think we are talking the aquatic variety here.

9. Guest Service Fees are there to help the guest!  The tiny question mark on VRBO says: “This helps VRBO provide a safer and more secure booking experience, coupled with 24/7 customer support throughout your trip.”

A couple of calls to the service support numbers showed that no staff knew where the dishwasher tablets were or how the french window lock worked or where the TV controls were, let alone were prepared to call me a taxi.

10. A toilet’s flush will change direction depending upon which hemisphere it is in.

Simply not true.  Toilets aren’t affected by the Coriolis Effect but could be handy for some recently proposed changes!

11. The money generated by Guest Service Fees are helping promote the OTA site and assist in the development of more bookings.

Number 9 above says its to help guests, so which myth are we to believe! One suspects that its to actually make more profit, but thats not a myth its a fact!

12. We only use 10% of our brains.

Often stated in self help books, this is not true. Every part of our brain is used and are highly specialised, especially the one that spots the myths that are banded around by certain corporations.