Home Archives 2014 February

Monthly Archives: February 2014

Screen Shot 2014-02-25 at 6.13.45 PMA dose of reality: outside of location and price – reviews are the single most important part of your vacation rental listing. Sometimes, people will go the extra mile for price if the reviews are stellar. There will always be a negative review here or there for reasons beyond your control, but what you can control is earning your listing a steady stream of positive reviews that push your vacation rental over the top. Here are a few suggestions to accomplish this important task:

Identify your Advocates

If you’ve taken great care in taking great care of your visitors from Day 1 – you likely have a handful of advocates already. These are the travelers that have “told their friends and family” about their amazing time at your place. Reach back out to them for one more favor, to kick start your online reviews. If you can get a few high-quality, 5-star reviews right from the start, you’ll be in good shape.

Guest Book

Keep a guest book in the vacation rental. Encourage visitors to keep a diary or itinerary of their stay listing their favorite attributes. Ask your guests afterwards if you can include their messages as a review on your vacation rental listing. Most will be more than happy to permit you to do this. Keeping a guest book is also a great way for travelers to give each other tips on what to do in the area, or little quirks about the home. Win-win for everyone.


December holidays, Valentine’s Day, the start of Spring – love is in the air and an engagement may have taken place in your life. The question was asked, you said yes… now the craziness planning begins! Below is a list of top wedding blogs that we think will assist with all your wedding planning needs from, floral arrangements, invitation designs, wedding dress ideas, DIY tips and tricks and of course a blog for your guy – can’t leave him out! In some ways, every wedding is a destination wedding – so don’t forget to get some inspiration from our best wedding destinations.

A Practical Wedding

A Practical Wedding is the ultimate destination for planning a wedding while retaining your sanity. With over 2,000 posts in our archives, we (literally) wrote the book on planning a wedding without going into debt and without losing your mind. Plus, we think marriage matters too (because that’s what you’re here for anyway, right?) – Meg Keene, A Practical Wedding @PracticalWed


Calling all road-trippers, foodies, and adventurers of the great American territory – we’ve got your next favorite itinerary right here! Most people need little else besides great food to get them up out of their seats and ready to travel, so if you’re looking for that boost of motivation, look no further. We’ve searched through every state in the union to find the 50 most loved, most talked about, and most delicious restaurants worth traveling for. The competition was fierce, but the traveler love for these spots just could not be denied. From upscale, white tablecloth dining to the humble barbecue joint, this list has a little something for taste buds of all kinds. Each establishment has its own special charm, that perfect balance of cuisine, atmosphere, and service that makes them stand out among the rest. So gas up the sedan and make your reservations – the ultimate gastronomy tour is on!

Alabama (Birmingham): Highlands Bar and Grill

Some view vacation as a time to let loose and let themselves go. They throw their inhibitions out the window and revel in all those poor eating habits they deny themselves every other week of the year. No judgement here, they’re on vacation after all! Saying that though, you may have dieted before a beach trip, and you’ve been working hard all year to live a healthier lifestyle and lose/maintain weight. You want to enjoy your time away, but don’t want to completely ruin all the personal progress you’ve made so far. We surveyed a panel of experts on how to avoid gaining pounds on vacation to provide some helpful hints for those who want to watch their waist abroad.

1) What is your best advice for those who want to stay healthy while traveling?

Find a grocery store and stock up on healthy food. This might mean bananas and Larabars for snacks, yogurt for a mini fridge for breakfast or dinner from the salad bar. Food in the grocery store is generally more fresh than getting take out and less calories than eating in a restaurant. Less expensive too! — Kath RD, Kath Eats

My best advice before I say anything is to make sure you are NOT stressing about eating/exercising while traveling, remember life is all about balance and moderation! — Katie Gagliano, Healthy Diva Eats

Pack healthy snacks. Here are a few great ideas: fresh fruit like bananas, apples, and oranges (they’re super fruitBrittany Mullins, Eating Bird Food

Don’t forget to hydrate! Drinking enough water will give you more energy and help keep sickness at bay. For road trips, pack a flat of water bottles or a few reusable water bottles. Nalgene makes durable + fun water bottles for children in an assortment of colors. — Stephanie Sheaffer, Metropolitan Mama

There are a few easy ways to stay healthy while traveling. My first tip is to pack mini-meals for days you’ll be on the go all day. I always like to pack food and take it with me to the airport – that way I’m not searching for something healthy amongst the random fast food options, and I’m never hungry and stranded on an airplane either (oh and for the budget conscious, this is a much cheaper option). It takes a bit of prep work before you leave, but it’s so worth it! — Anjali Shah, The Picky Eater

Schedule two hours a day to take care of yourself. That can mean an hour run and having an extra half hour each to find a healthy lunch and dinner rather than impulsively eat the junk staring you in the face when you get hungry. — Bryon Powell, iRunFar

With South By Southwest starting in just a few weeks, we think it’s time to offer our seasoned wisdom on surviving another year of blockbuster events. Whether you’re a big-time music fan attending your first festival, or a schedule nut looking to maximize your conference agenda, we’ve got the tips to get you through it.

Dress for the weather
Yes, you might have planned on wearing your favorite ironic T-shirt or those new strappy sandals, but neither will do you any good if the forecast calls for atypical festival weather. Keep an eye on that hourly forecast, and plan accordingly. An extra layer will be a lifesaver should the skies turn gray, and it’s helpful indoors too—conference halls and screening rooms are notoriously chilly, no matter what’s going on outside.

Being the leader of the free world is stressful. Do you pick up the red phone and make a continent-altering decision? Or do you fight off the dozen or so candidates gunning for your job next November? When things are getting too intense in the oval office, our fearless leaders really know how to kick back and relax. Some of these destinations are famous, others infamous, but all of them helped our Presidents wash their worries away.

New York City, New York
Who: John F. Kennedy
When: 1960s

Fact: In the sixties, JFK made his second home in an apartment on the 34th floor of the Carlyle Hotel. Rumor has it that Kennedy used the many tunnels underneath the Carlyle to sneak Marilyn Monroe up to his bedroom.

Here’s your guide to response rates:

How it’s calculated

  • It’s based on the number of inquiries and booking requests responded to out of the last 20 inquiries, and will not appear on your listing page until you’ve received at least 4 inquiries
  • You must respond within 48 hours in order to receive credit for it

How to get credit

Check out our Help Center for more information on your specific plan.

How to stay on top of inquiries

We cannot stress enough how important it is to respond quickly to all inquiries, and in order to create a better experience for travelers we’ve started to deactivate listings with poor response rates. This creates more refined search results and more visibility for your listing.

Happy Bookings!


There is a lot involved when it comes to owning your own vacation rental and what makes all of the effort worth it are real, simple, and secure bookings. Now that we’ve come into a new year, make it a goal for yourself to book more inquiries and help more happy travelers in 2014. Need help getting a game plan together? We’ll get you started! Here is a list of our best suggestions for turning more inquiries into more bookings this year.

Accept Online Payments

Allowing online payments is a great way to avoid fraud and to also boost your overall bookings. Travelers are much more apt to book a rental with a credit card over the web rather than send a check in the mail. If you want to increase your bookings, the way that you accept online payments is also important. Using FlipKey Payments is, of course, our best suggestion because travelers may feel more comfortable using our Payment Protection Guarantee, which covers bookings up to $10,000 should it necessitate refund. If a traveler sees that you do not accept FlipKey secure payments, they may become suspicious and decide not to book your rental.

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wwypWhen you operate in the vacation rental space either as an employee or an owner, you hear a lot of false claims. Many of these quotes below would come from someone who simply has never tried a vacation rental (and if you haven’t, see the GIF to the left.) Vacation rentals are cost effective, private, safe, and clean. Most importantly, they are EVERYWHERE so no matter where you’re planning to go, you have the option of staying in one. Here are phrases that upset me the most from travelers unsure about staying in a vacation rental…

By: Matt Landau

Vacation rentals are taking the travel industry by storm of late with a new PhoCusWright study proclaiming that they will account for up to 30% of the entire US travel market before the end of 2014.

But with so much growth and success, and many new owners rushing to cash in on this booming trend, experienced veterans of the industry are taking advantage of their time-tested efforts to capitalize on monthly bookings.

Here are 10 signs that you’re operating your vacation rental business like a savvy pro: 

1. You operate your calendar like Tetris

If you shuffle around bookings, offer special discounts/upgrades, or are successful in convincing guests to reserve specific nights – all in search of the almighty flush booked calendar – you’re probably a savvy vacation rental pro.

2. You are suspicious of any renter under the age of 25

If you raise an eyebrow when a potential guest asks about the minimum age requirement or inquires about staying with “their colleagues” during Spring Break-like vacation weeks, you’re probably a savvy vacation rental pro.