Home Archives 2012

Yearly Archives: 2012

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For many of us, Thanksgiving is the best holiday of the season, if not the year. After months of working hard and adapting to the bitter cold, Thanksgiving is a welcome and much-needed break from our day-to-day. When it comes to the food, football, and subsequent naps, those few days off leave no room for regret. So, why not go all out and bring the family to one of our most peaceful, quaint, and cozy rentals? Get away from the noise and the crowded grocery stores. Buy your turkey early and enjoy true relaxation in the country, mountains, or even by the beach…

1. Lake Winnipesaukee, New Hampshire
This beautiful lake cottage sleeps 7 (enough room for the kids and then some) and is close enough to town for those last minute grocery stops while remaining in quiet country.

2. Shaver Lake, California
This New England style home is beautifully maintained by its owners. With an open floor plan, the cooks aren’t stuck in just one room. The property sleeps 8 comfortably and  has a perfect dining room table for Thanksgiving dinner.

3. Charlemont, Massachusetts
For families with pets, this country cottage is a perfect choice. The property even includes access to Netflix and DirectTV. Football anyone?

4. Rockport, Massachusetts
 This stylish home by the sea comes with a fully-equipped gourmet kitchen as well as satellite TV.

5. Chester, Connecticut
Situated on 10 wooded acres and surrounded by 1000 acres of forest. Chester is A perfect location for absolute serenity and privacy.

6. Trenton, Maine
If you want to walk off the food, just take a 15 minute drive and Acadia National Park awaits.

7. Dolores, Colorado
A perfect retreat for outdoor enthusiasts – this property is close to several hiking trails and archaeological sites. Or, you could always sit and soak in the hot tub…

8. Ashburnham, Massachusetts
Located on 100 acres of rolling farm, a vacation here would be a true country getaway. Filled with orchards, blueberries, and plenty of wildlife, this rental is match made in heaven for that Thanksgiving dinner.

9. Ivanhoe, California
Nestled among orange and mandarin groves, all guests are provided with a well-stocked kitchen. The cottage even includes a continental breakfast made from scratch.

10. Santa Barbara, California
Centrally located, this rental is perfect for a Thanksgiving by the beach. Amenities included? Try a 42″ flat-screen TV, a private 2-car driveway, and even a Nintendo Wii console.

11. Indian Rocks Beach, Florida
A charming property between the beach and Disney World. Why not knock down two vacations in one?

12. Alden, Michigan
A romantic lakefront cabin perfect for couples or families. During the fall season the area is filled with activities like skiing and snowmobiling in case you decide to venture outside.

 

We are excited to be attending the inaugural Holiday Rental Professionals Seminar hosted by the Vacation Rental Managers Association (VRMA) on 4-5 December 2012, in Barcelona, Spain.

The event promises to offer unmatched business and educational tools to help vacation rental managers deliver superior guest and homeowner experiences and features sessions by Javier Delgado Muerza of Google Travel on “Internet & the Digital Era” and by Jordi Schoenenberger of Deloitte on the outlook of the European travel industry. Concurrent session speakers from a half-dozen countries will cover:

  • Additional Revenue Sources
  • Dealing with Complaints in the Age of Internet Reviews
  • Converting Leads to Optimize Your Marketing Dollars
  • International Visitors: Assess, Attract and Serve Them Effectively
  • Online Payments in a Global Holiday Industry
  • Anatomy of an Online Booking
  • Impact of Cloud Computing on Vacation Rentals
  • Vacation Rental Industry: Present & Future
  • How Guest Reviews Can Double Your Business
  • Worldwide Distribution for Vacation Rentals

FlipKey’s own Jeremy Gall, COO and Co-Founder, will present on Converting Leads to Optimize Your Marketing Dollars Tuesday afternoon. Additionally, FlipKey’s Koryn Okey will be presenting on How Guest Reviews Can Double Your Business Wednesday morning. More information on these and all sessions is available here.

Just one tip, one new resource, or a single connection during this event can make or save your company money. For more details click on the links that follow:

Don’t delay! Register NOW for the Holiday Rental Professionals Seminar. Your industry peers will be in Barcelona this December. We encourage you to be there, too!

For more information visit www.vrma.com or contact Jill Curtis, Director of Membership in the U.S. by phone at +1 (317) 454-8315 or email membership@vrma.com.

Today we are featuring a guest post from Sarah Brubaker of WebChalet, a site dedicated to helping vacation rental owners and managers create high-impact, easy-to-maintain websites to promote their vacation rentals.

As you may have noticed, competition for renting out vacation homes is heating up. More people are listing their houses, which is a good thing for travelers looking to have choices when they plan the perfect vacation. Yet if you are a vacation rental owner, then you need to find ways to make your vacation rental stand out from the crowd.

A no-brainer is to launch a personal website for you vacation rental. These days, a website is essential for your vacation rental marketing, yet many owners still don’t have one. And if they do, many owners haven’t touched it since 2003 because they have to ask their second cousin’s cousin to update it. Believe it or not, there’s no need to ask relatives for help: it’s now easier than ever to launch an affordable website that looks professional and allows you to edit and manage content with no technical knowledge.

A personal vacation rental website with your own domain name can become the hub of your marketing efforts. You can link your website to your directory listings, on sites like FlipKey, as well as any of your social media campaigns to increase your chances of booking more guests. A personal website also helps you seal the deal with potential renters by giving them all of the info they need and emphasizes that your place is the best option for their vacation rental needs.

Here are five ways that a personal website will help you boost your vacation rental marketing:

There’s something about live music that strikes a music lover’s soul. No matter what your taste may be, listening to your favorite musician or your favorite song live has the power to affect people on an emotional level. Just being in the same room as the musician and watching the music being created without auto-tune or editing is unlike any experience you can get at home.

Now imagine having that experience in a town that is known for its musical talents. Being around people who appreciate that music as much as you do takes it to another level. Strangers can become friends by the end of the night when you share a passion for the same music. And if the first venue you try isn’t for you, then there are plenty more down the street in music-invested towns.

What if your passion is for a particular style? Whether you’re a die-hard country cowboy or a jazz aficionado, we have good news for you: Across the U.S. are a myriad of towns that will fill your need to hear country, jazz, indie-rock or whatever genre suits your fancy. We took the liberty of compiling America’s top music destinations, along with rentals in close proximity to popular venues. Take a sneak peak at some of those properties below!

 

1. Philadelphia
Philly’s local music scene has exploded over the past years, most notably starting in the 80’s. From classical to R&B and Hip Hop, Philly has vibrant and diverse music tastes. Some well-known Philly musicians? Try Will Smith, Lisa Lopes of TLC, Chiddy Bang, and The Roots.

2. Nashville
Named by Rolling Stone as having the country’s “Best Music Scene”, Nashville is a must-visit. From the venues, to bars, to record and clothing stores, Nashville has it all for music lovers. Sleep, eat, shop, and listen in true rocker style.

3. Austin
Aside from having a great entertainment scene, Austin is home to many of the best music festivals. South by Southwest, Urban Music Festival,  and Fun, Fun, Funfest are just a few of them. And with nearly 200 venues to choose from, you might have a hard time finding places without musicians.

4. New York
New York’s music scene, much like the city itself, is a “melting pot” of music genres and styles. It also is the birthplace of salsa, hip hop, and disco. The city hosts numerous festivals, has hundreds of venues, and has some of the best musical theatre in the country. With this many options, it might be awhile before you get to sort through it all.

FlipKey CEO TJ Mahony and COO Jeremy Gall recently returned from speaking at this year’s Vacation Rental Managers’ Association’s Annual Conference in Phoenix. In case you missed their sessions or are hoping for more background, a copy of each’s presentation is below.

Defining (and Redefining) Your Guest Experience, presented by Jeremy Gall

As Google notes in its e-book, Zero Moment of Truth, the average consumer researches a product on more than five sites before making a purchasing decision. With so many options and so little time to make an impression, it is increasingly important to differentiate your company’s service. This talk discusses how defining your company’s guest experience can achieve that goal.

The Conversion Experience: Getting Your Foot in the Door and Your Customers Through It, presented by TJ Mahony

Research by the White House Office of Consumer Affairs shows that it costs five to six times as much to acquire a first-time customer as it does to keep a current one. Starting with an overview of what makes conversion so important, this session shows how rental managers can improve conversion rates throughout the guest shopping process to lower their CPAs while raising their return on marketing and operational investment.

We’re completing our TripAdvisor reviews from the conference, and thanks to those who stopped by our “ReCharge” booth. We look forward to seeing you for the next round!

At this week’s gathering of vacation rental managers at the Annual VRMA conference in Phoeniz, AZ, FlipKey COO Jeremy Gall discussed Google’s “Zero Moment of Truth” and how to win it in the context of optimizing a vacation rental guest’s experience throughout the entire booking process. You can learn more about his presentation here.

In the meantime, we’ve been learning more about ZMOT’s concept to “Manage With Bids, Not With Budget.” Essentially, it calls for suppliers to “open your budget” by figuring out your profit point and so you can “uncap your budget.”

This concept recalls how we often advise clients to consider their ROI when evaluating their monthly BookingSense pay-per-lead budget. In response, many clients have chosen to remove their budget limit altogether; with it, we’ve seen that these clients are also removing the limit on how many interested travelers can contact them and can then be converted to “heads in beds.”

We’re happy to run a quick analysis to help you determine you “profit point” to see if this kind of budgeting will benefit your business. For now, a bit more information from ZMOT:

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When we think of the Fall season, we think football, Thanksgiving, and, you guessed it, Halloween. For many, Halloween isn’t just spooky, it’s an exciting and fun holiday! Putting the finishing touches on a costume is always the best part of the celebrating the day known as “All Hallows Eve.” And for the kids, the biggest reward is coming home with a full bag of candy.

So, are you a little Halloween-obsessed? Love the idea of getting into costume or taking the family to collect candy around the block? For those of you who pick this holiday over a more cozy Thanksgiving, we here at FlipKey suggest you take your plans up a notch — why not stay at an actual haunted house or city? From Savannah, Georgia to Oaxaca, Mexico, we have plenty of rentals to choose from. Just take a look at our ten best Halloween Hot Spots:

1. OK Street Jailhouse
This former jail was built back in 1904 and stayed active until 1915. According the listing, management will not enter the premises until you leave – assuring complete privacy. As the only inmate allowed, don’t get too scared of the large John Wayne statue looming somewhere in the background…

2. Haunted Savannah Cottage
Savannah, Georgia is considered by many to be one of the most haunted cities in America. Filled with stories of pirates and violent battles, this city is full of spirits and Laura’s cottage is no exception – it’s even part of the district’s walking ghost tour! Luckily for guests, the cottage’s ghost is considered “friendly.”

3. The Witch’s Condo
If you’re looking for a Halloween vacation, Salem is one of your best bets for a scary getaway. Besides the well-known witch trials, Salem is filled with haunted houses and spooky museums. This condo is right in the middle of it all and incredibly convenient for taking short walks around the city at night.

4. The Haywood House
This second Savannah rental was home to an ice merchant known as Alfred Haywood, who later became Mayor of Savannah. Now a beautifully restored apartment, this rental sits on top of the Colonial Park Cemetery. If you like being scared, perhaps a ghost tour and then a walk through the cemetery would add a little excitement during the Halloween season.

5. Transylvanian Villa
This luxury Romanian villa comes with everything from a fireplace to a terrace to a barbecue grill. But, only a few miles away lies the home of Count Dracula himself. If you dare, take a visit, walk home through the dark forest, and sleep with one eye open…

Thanks to all who joined us for last week’s webinar “ZMOT & Defining Your Guest Experience,” presented by FlipKey COO Jeremy Gall. Below, please find a copy of Jeremy’s presentation deck.

As always, we’re happy to answer your questions about FlipKey and TripAdvisor: +1.617.849.7010; pmaccounts@flipkey.com.

Click here to access: ZMOT and Defining Your Guest Experience, Presented by J. Gall, Fall 2012.

With less than a month to go before America heads to the polls, we keep thinking about the candidates hitting the road. After all, for those of us here at FlipKey, visiting over 25 towns across the country in a month sounds like a dream job – but who can afford it? Over the past four months, President Obama’s campaign travel expenses have totaled a cool $3 million, which may have factored into his decision to skip this year’s summer vacation. Meanwhile, challenger Mitt Romney has shown that the first step to becoming president is traveling like one: the former governor has poured close to $10 million into travel for himself and his staff. Looking at these price tags, we decided to go to work and find out exactly what it takes to travel like a president…

Presidential Campaign Travel Comparison
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