Archives For Listing Sites

For many vacation rental owners, the major listing sites like HomeAway, VRBO, and FlipKey are essential to your business. It’s no doubt that these sites are generating inquiries for owners all over the world – attracting hundreds of thousands of travelers to their sites every month. But as more and more homes are being advertised there, it’s harder for individual vacation rental owners to make their homes stand out.

One thing you can do is place a link to your vacation rental website within your listing. This is your opportunity to showcase your brand – your home’s unique characteristics and personality. Your website should have tons of photos, detailed information on the local area, restaurant and activity recommendations, and upcoming events. Every listing has the same template, so your website should be unique, give you a professional presence, and help you convert more visitors into bookings!

Here’s how to get a link on HomeAway and VRBO:

You can add up to 4 links, but all are subject to review and they must be appropriate for family viewing. To add a URL link to your listing:

  1. Log into your HomeAway or VRBO account.
  2. If you have more than one listing, navigate to the appropriate listing.
  3. Click the “Edit Listing” link on the left side and open the “Links & Video” tab at the top.
  4. Scroll down and enter the URL of your website.
  5. Click “Save.”
  6. Wait for HomeAway to review and approve your listing.

Read the full instructions on their help site.

HomeAway Listing Link

Your link will appear below the amenities and above your reviews on HomeAway.

VRBO Listing Link

Your link will appear below your rates and above the map on VRBO.

Here’s how to get a link on FlipKey:

  1. Log into your account.
  2. Click on “Account” on the upper left hand side.
  3. Click on “Edit Profile” and enter the URL of your website.

Read the full instructions on their help site.

FlipKey Listing Link

Your link will appear on your Owner Profile page after you click the Contact link on your listing in FlipKey.

 

MyVR Free Trial

Firepower ExplosionReady to give your website an overhaul? Thinking about creating a new website for your vacation rental? Then this session is for you.

Owners who, in addition to using listings sites, use their own website to participate in further marketing efforts (such as social media) experience 40% greater occupancy rates than those who use listing sites as their sole form of marketing, according to a recent survey by Matt Landau.

These days, a website is essential for your vacation rental, yet many owners still don’t have one. Or, worse yet, haven’t updated their website since they stopped accessing the internet through a dial-up modem.

We’ll review the critical elements every website needs to be successful, looking at live examples from owners. Topics we’ll cover include:

  • Search engine optimization
  • Photos and videos
  • Comprehensive local guides
  • Integrating your HomeAway calendar
  • Inquiry forms and booking engines
  • Social media shareability
  • Keeping content fresh

Your website should be a living, breathing entity that showcases the personality of you and your home. A great website paints the picture of a dream vacation for the traveler, not just list features and frequently asked questions.

Join me October 25, 2012 at 12 noon PT for a free webinar hosted by HomeAway.

UPDATE: You can now watch a recording of the webinar online.

__________

Title: Give Your Listings Firepower with a Personal Website
Speaker: Erin Colbert
Audience: Vacation Rental Owners & Managers
Date & Time: October 25, 2012 at 2pm CST

photo credit: gunjan

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…

You don’t have to live in a big city like Austin or San Francisco to take advantage of renting your home during local events. Homeowners in Ardmore, PA, a small town of 12,500 residents, are already starting to talk about how to rent out their homes for the 2013 US Open golf tournament just under a year away. But, in order to rent your home, you need to stay abreast of local events and get up-to-speed quickly on your local rules and regulations.

Lake Tahoe Local Event GuideWhether you’re renting your home for a one-off event, or marketing your existing vacation rental, it’s important to set up an informative website with plenty of photos, including rooms, amenities, and the surrounding area. Maintain your website with a local area guide, like this one in Tahoe, and list upcoming local events, happening now and months in the future.

Find out about local events in your area

  • Contact your visitor’s bureau. In larger cities, this might be a convention and visitor’s bureau (CVB). They should have a list of major events and conferences happening in your area.
  • Check out local event directories like Eventful.
  • Subscribe to your city or neighborhood newspapers and magazines.
  • Search for press releases or news. Set up a Google alert to get notified by email when new items are published to the web.
  • Contact local entertainment centers, theaters, and concert venues to obtain a copy of their calendar.
  • Follow event companies on social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, or Plancast as they are most likely to promote their events through these channels.

While you may find renting your home during an event very lucrative and enjoyable, there are many things you should do before starting to advertise, especially if you’re renting out your primary home or new to managing a vacation rental. Continue Reading…

5 Ways to Avoid Phishing

Jason Gruhl —  August 20, 2012

No PhishingWhat is phishing?

Phishing is an attempt by criminals to steal your online identity, typically by gaining access to your email account. Today, the losses due to phishing are relatively small, but stories like Sonia Guillaume, a traveler who unknowingly wired money to a scammer, are making headlines and bringing into question the security of the vacation rental industry.

In a recent post by Tom Hale, Chief Product Officer at HomeAway, he outlines why scammers and criminals target the vacation rental industry for phishing schemes:

  • It’s standard practice for travelers to pay large sums of money long before they stay, sight unseen
  • Not everyone understands safe and secure payment methods
  • Many people conduct business from email providers that have been repeatedly compromised
  • Cyber criminals are good at exploiting communities that rely on trust and a personal connection

How does it happen?

Usually the scammer will send you an inquiry posing as a renter in order to learn your personal email address. Now they send you a separate email pretending to be an official organization (i.e. your email provider) to induce you to enter your personal information into their fake website. With access to your email, the criminal can now intercept your inquiries and renters think they are communicating with the owner or manager. The impostor has access to your inquiry list and carries on with your business, attempting to charge potential renters, then steals the money. Continue Reading…

Craigslist for Vacation RentalsCraigslist is the 8th most trafficked website in the US right now, trumping Twitter, LinkedIn, and Bing. Needless to say, that’s a lot of visitors to the website made famous by offering free classified posts to the masses.

From the forum fodder it’s clear that owners have a pretty mixed view of Craigslist as a marketing channel – citing spam and fraud as reasons not to use it. But, there are plenty of owners (ourselves included) that have been actively using the site with great success. If you’re ready to give it a shot, these are the 7 steps to get you started. Continue Reading…

First, congratulations! Setting up a website for your vacation rental is one of the best things you can do to market your property. A recent survey shows that owners who utilize listing sites and a have a personal website for marketing their vacation rental have a 12% higher occupancy rate than those who solely use listing sites.

Unfortunately, the saying “if you build it, they will come” doesn’t hold much weight in the world of online marketing. Here’s a few tips to help you start generating traffic to your new vacation rental website.

Add a link on your paid listings

Add Link to Your Listing SiteIf you’re already advertising on HomeAway, VRBO, or FlipKey, add the link to your listing. It allows you to showcase additional photos and information not featured in your paid listing and adds credibility to your ad.

Add a link in your auto-responder

Auto-responders or auto-reply messages are triggered when a new inquiry is received on your listing. Because it’s important to reply promptly to new inquiries, auto-reply messages let you send valuable information to the guest when you are not available to respond personally. If you’re not using auto-responders yet, here’s why you should set up an auto-reply.

Adding a link to your website gives the potential renter more information about your property and keeps them engaged until you’ve had a chance to respond. Continue Reading…