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 A blog about the Vacation Rental Industry and the benefits to using Vacation Rental Software

Promised content: Up to date industry trends and some random bad jokes.

Attn: Florida Vacation Rental Managers

Posted September 5, 2014 in Blog Posts, Management Topics

Attn: Florida Vacation Rental Managers

This past week Rental Network Software attended Florida’s newest Vacation Rental Industry event the 2014 VRM Xtravaganza. It was a joint convention put on by the FVRMA (Florida Vacation Rental Manager’s Association) and the CFVRMA (Central Florida Vacation Rental Manager’s Association). As a TRUE Florida Company, this is the type of show we at RNS relish for. We get to hang out with a bunch of our customers and really dive into the happenings of the Vacation Rental World of Florida. And let us tell you, A LOT IS HAPPENING! About 35 billion worth of annual revenue is happening.   So here’s the low on the Florida Vacation Rental need to knows, because who am I kidding being a Floridian is awesome but a little bit confusing! We have the best beaches, seafood and vacation rentals North America has to offer; as well as the craziest news stories , storms and politicians east of the Mississippi. (The homeless man found eating another man’s face, Casey Anthony, Hurricane Andrew, 2000 Presidential Recount – we are talking about you.) Before I start, I need to give kudos out where kudos are deserved; and it is to this state’s Vacation Rental Managers. They are about the hardest working property managers in the country. With an almost year round season, hurricanes to worry about and trying decipher what those Euro, Yank, and Bostonian tourists just said can be a full time job in itself. So Kudos to you Florida Vacation Rental Managers!   Florida Legislation One of the most important topics at the show and the whole year is what is going on with Florida Legislation and how is it affecting the Vacation Rental Industry? FVRMA Lobbyist, Lori Killinger gave a great speech on what has been done since she came on in 2011 and the battle that is yet to come. State Statute defines Vacation rentals as: — A vacation rental is any unit or group of units in a condominium or cooperative or any individually or collectively owned single-family, two-family, three-family, or four-family house or dwelling unit that is also a transient public lodging establishment but that is not a timeshare project. 2011 Bill HB 883 PASSED This prohibited local governments from regulating, restricting, or prohibiting vacation rentals based solely on their classification, use or occupancy. It also barred communities that had prohibited vacation rentals prior to June 1, 2011, from now allowing properties to be used in such a manner. During the proceedings Lori also changed the classifications of vacation rentals from “resort dwellings” to vacation rentals and got the Vacation Rental Industry a seat on the Advisory Council to the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation. Everything was going great! 2014 Everything can’t stay great forever…Senator Bill Thrasher brought Bill SB 356 to the legislature. This bill in it’s original form would overturn HB 883 and give full authority back to local governments to govern and set regulations to their liking. Well, SB 356 passed but in amended form, where in which Local governments are given back authority over vacation rental regulation but can not prohibit vacation rentals outright, or regulate the duration or frequency of rental of vacation rentals. A slight defeat but still good news for Vacation Rental Managers. The fight is never over. Your voice matters. We urge...

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How To Overcome Vacation Rental “Scam” Stigma

Posted July 22, 2014 in Blog Posts, Management Topics

How To Overcome Vacation Rental “Scam” Stigma

The Vacation Rental Industry is growing every day. Businessman and two house owners see it as a sure fire way to make money and travelers see it as a new way to spend a holiday. These are all good things but with good you can always assume bad will rear its head. The reality is when any new product comes about or an industry starts to take off, scam artists and thieves will find a way to exploit the situation. Just look at the diet craze with bogus supplements and experts, the plethora of door knockers selling fake Magazine subscriptions, and then there’s the low life’s who feed on the financially struggling posing as Debt Reducing Gods who hand out false promises to those who have nowhere else to turn. Try as we might, the Vacation Rental Market is not immune to such evil. Vacation rental scammers are set up to succeed in the digital world we live in now. Post a fake listing, feed on happy vacationers looking for the best deal, make sure your price is unforgettable, set up wire transfers and never be seen from again. We have all heard it, Vacation Rental dupe via AirBnB market place, or Vacationing couple fall victim to Craigslist scam. With no one regulating AirBnB and Craigslist listings, it has become a digital feeding ground for scam artists. But these companies don’t care, AirBNB just want to make as much money as possible for as long as possible till too much PR damage is done, while Craigslist is a site for the masses: simple, free and easy. But vacation rental con artists are not just contained at the Vacation Rental By Owner (VRBO) level anymore. This vacation rental “scam” stigma now spreads across the entire professional Industry. Hurting the reputation of Vacation Rentals and affecting the professionals who make a true legal living off this Industry. This is a real headline“Be on alert! Vacation rental scams an ‘epidemic’ – CNBC.com”. CNBC as reputable as a news source as they come has just bashed the entire Vacation Rental Industry for the wrong doings of a couple people and the lack of oversight by online listing companies. We should not and cannot stand for such slander, but in reality we can’t fix the morally corrupt or inspire greedy corporations. We as Vacation Rental Professionals must continue to promote our companies in the highest standards and best light for all travelers and news sources interested in our wonderful industry. We know we are legitimate and caring Vacation Rental Companies but how do we portray this to the wary traveler? Have a Vacation Rental Website that looks and is professional. Show credibility, by posting your BBB accredited and Industry backed on your company website. Make all the necessary social media accounts for your business and be active on them. Post Customer Reviews across all platforms: on your website, on Google and on listing websites. Don’t delete bad reviews. Acknowledge and fix the problem, but a negative review shows that you are a real company with problems like the rest of us. Vacation Rental Manager’s if you are listing on 3rd party travel websites make sure these sites are reputable and are backed by industry associations as well as the BBB. Be available to prospects....

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Managing Pet Friendly Vacation Rentals, the Good and Bad

Posted July 14, 2014 in Blog Posts, Management Topics

Managing Pet Friendly Vacation Rentals, the Good and Bad

The debate is real – Are Pet Friendly Vacation Rentals a match for your Property Management Company? Before we begin I must admit that I am a huge animal lover. This might make my viewpoint slightly bias but it also gives me the advantage of knowing all too well about the amount of time and work it takes to care/clean up after a pet. My intentions are to stay utterly neutral during this blog but if you feel a slight tug towards my dog loving soul, I apologize in advance. The Animal Lovers This is a large market and it keeps on growing with every new cute cat and talking dog YouTube video that goes viral. The increase of pet friendly restaurants and even whole cities that have incorporated water bowls on every street corner are becoming main stream. The animal rights fight to help shelter pets find homes; do you remember the Sochi Winter Olympics? It made national news, people from all walks of life were coming together to help stray dogs escape death and get to safety. Pet Owners are Crazy $$$ Have you ever heard of dog acupuncture or kitty spas? Well they are out there and pet owners are willing to spend ridiculous amounts of money on over the top pet pampering. Then you have the outdoorsy type of pet owners. They take their dogs hiking, swimming, surfing and even sky-diving. They will spend whatever it takes to share these memories with their beloved pooches. Vacation Rentals vs Hotels Vacation Rentals are more equipped to be pet friendly than hotels. The average length of stay at a VR is much longer than at a hotel. One week is a long time to be without your pet, let alone a month or two which many families rent in the summer time. Bringing a pet to a stuffy, hustle and bustle hotel is not relaxing or fun; but Vacation Rentals are spacious, some even have back yards. They are your home away from home and pets are part of an animal lover’s home. The Mess. My mother was not an animal lover, and one of her favorite words of wisdom is “cleaning up after a pet, is like brushing your teeth while eating Oreos.” There is no finish line, a constant battle between Swiffer and dog hair, aka why bother. Pet owners might take care of their own homes but they are on vacation when they use your services and we all know renters, cleaning is not their strong suite. So the extra dirt and dandruff the dog brings makes will be the management company’s problem. The Liability When we get down to it, Pets are animals and animals need authoritative owners but not all pet owners are created equal. Without proper training a dog/cat can become destructive, aggressive, and a nightmare for Vacation Rental Management companies. Obviously special rental agreements must be made for pet friendly rentals that include property damage and all cases involving said animal will be the renter’s responsibility. Conclusions: The market is there and they are willing to spend whatever it takes to have their pet on vacation with them. They will be searching out pet friendly accommodations and deciding that Vacation Rentals are the only way to go if they want...

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Have you tried Vacation Rental Placement Marketing?

Posted July 2, 2014 in Blog Posts, Management Topics

Have you tried Vacation Rental Placement Marketing?

Summer time and the livings easy… well not if you’re managing vacation rentals. As you watch your friends, family and dentist make their vacation plans; you should be asking yourself did my Vacation Rental Company initiate the appropriate marketing tactics this summer season? The Vacation Rental Industry has seen huge growth the past couple of years. With growth comes excessive clutter and competition. More people are buying Vacation Homes as investments and the number of property management companies is at a history high. Summertime travelers are looking for their vacation rentals, how does your company get through the clutter, beat the competition and get the booking? – Vacation Rental Placement Marketing and Effort What does your company shine at? What does each property have to offer individually? In such a competitive market differentiating yourself from the masses will help increase bookings and attract new guests. Market each property by its attributes and benefits for the end user. Create a headline and detailed description directed towards the ideal guest. Go through a list of questions a specific group will be looking for, be descriptive, show pictures, and don’t leave anything out. The more detailed it is the better chance of your rental showing up in search results. Try marketing on distributor websites that cater to specific interests or geography. Some travel sites now days don’t charge the property manager anything to post their property, instead they charge the guest the 4% fee. While there are a plethora of travel sites out there, niche sites are continuously gaining in popularity as the industry grows. Rental niches like family friendly, environmentally green, adventure seekers, party goers, and couple retreats all have a market. The hard part is finding the right fit for your management company and vacation rental properties. Marketing takes effort, placement marketing takes more effort. The work you put into these placement details will help bring bookings and attention to your vacation properties. Why not try it...

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Florida Vacation Rental Law Debate

Posted February 27, 2014 in Blog Posts, Management Topics

Florida Vacation Rental Law Debate

Florida has found itself in the middle of another debacle (are you surprised?), but this time it’s more of a catch 22. In 2011 a law was passed that left the state legislation to govern Vacation Rental Industry regulations. The limited State laws created 3 consecutive years of record breaking tourism numbers (sales, taxes, and population influx). You would think everyone would be celebrating the success? Wrong. Success is not gained without cost. Limited laws have lead investors and contractors to build larger than normal vacation rentals on residential streets. Residents in these vacation rental rich towns are fed up with the noise and traffic coming from the tourists staying in these homes. Is there a happy medium? Sen. John Thrasher, R-Augustine supports a change in the current regulations and has imposed bill SB 356, which has already passed senate, and entails returning some regulatory control to local governments over vacation home rentals based on occupancy, classification and use. But SB 356 only benefits one side. What about the Owners of these Vacation rental homes, the managers and their staff that take care of them, and the business that rely on their occupancy. It is a concern that if an full overturn of the 2011 law that many cities will go to full out bans of vacation rentals. Their streets will be quite but many pockets will be empty and the livelihood for more will be in jeopardy. Last year, 2013, Florida attracted an estimated 94.7 million tourists, this is a 3.5 percent increase over 2012. The state Division of Hotels and Restaurants reported that in 2013, of the 37,155 public lodging establishments in Florida, 10,362 are licensed as vacation rental dwellings. Is there any way to keep residents happy, the economy thriving and businesses...

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Love Thy Vacation Rental Management Company

Posted February 12, 2014 in Blog Posts, Management Topics

Love Thy Vacation Rental Management Company

At RNS we love everything about vacation rentals. The beautiful locations, the down to earth people, the extra load of amenities, the growing industry interest and especially those ever important Vacation Rental Management Companies. To show our love, we decided to create a collection of  notes for our special management companies that truly make the vacation rental industry go’round. Without all these wonderful people, vacation rentals would sadly only be left with just their owners… Scary, we know.   Dear Bookkeeper, Numbers are your forte, and the world thanks you for that. RNS wants you to know that through all those owner statements, reservation deposits, and sub-contractor bills you manage, that we’re here and we got your back. RNS Love – Make sure to run the Account Balance Summary Report often, to insure the safety of your bottom line. Learn More   Dear Reservationist, Do the reservations ever seem to cease? A catch 22; profits are high but at times you feel like pulling out your hair. RNS hopes the high season treats your pockets well and our software helps you keep your hair. RNS Love – Book reservations directly from your availability calendar – Let your website lessen your load with online booking connectivity. Learn More   Dear Marketer, Making the world go’round, one new guest at a time. Your main objective: get more bookings (while staying in budget). Competing through today’s online clutter is no easy feat, but we know you can do it. RNS Love – Use RNS’ Free distribution connection to market your units on all of today’s major vacation rental websites. Create specific unit pricing, descriptions and titles per booking website if desired. Learn More   Dear Maintenance and Housekeeping Supervisor, Whether you are shuffling through the endless pile of work orders or staring at the many departure cleans for this weekend’s back-to-back turns, you are the champion that will persevere. RNS Love – Use RNS’ Work Order system to stay organized, and the RNS Advanced Housekeeping module to stay focused. Learn More   Dear Rental Manager, Though you might feel run over, beaten, and bruised by your daily job duties, we’re here to get you through. You’re pulled in so many directions but with one main objective: increase company revenues while making everyone happy. A feat not for the fainthearted. RNS Love – Utilize the 700+ reports RNS offers to track detailed mechanics of your company’s operations. Can’t find a fit? Contact your RNS support staff to create a custom report specifically for you. Learn More   Thank you RNS Customer for making us into the company we are today! If you want to learn more about the RNS Vacation Rental Software please feel free to contact us. We would be happy to spread the love to your vacation rental management company...

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13 Awesome Home Designs For A Vacation Rental

Posted February 3, 2014 in Blog Posts

13 Awesome Home Designs For A Vacation Rental

Vacations are supposed to be about freedom, relaxation, and extraordinary experiences. No one wants a mundane vacation, we could go to Aunt Susan’s house for that (and ain’t nobody got vacation days for that). So how can Vacation Rental Managers and Owners make their properties anything but ordinary? I would suggest implementing one of these AWESOME design aspects to their holiday home. And if you don’t own or manage a vacation rental, just imagine staying in a home that has this stuff?! COOL! (now we got time for that!) Stair Case Slide source – unknown Backyard Cinema source – fancymaterial.com Indoor Table Fire source – moma-design.it Gradual Ocean Style Pools source – houzz.com Kitchen & Pool Table source – amazon.com Backyard Beach Fire-pit source – unknown Fish Tank Headboard source – acrylicaquariums.com Peaceful Outdoor Shower source – urrutiaarchitects.com Hammock Beds source – unknown Hot Tub with a Fireplace source – unknown Home Theater source – unknown Sunken Bath Tub source – coatesdesign.com Dog Abode Under Stairs source –...

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Reasons To Rent A Vacation Rental Now

Posted January 17, 2014 in Blog Posts

Reasons To Rent A Vacation Rental Now

The Year of the Vacation Rental Now, I like the sound of that! Renting a vacation rental right now is comparable to using Facebook back when your grandmother wasn’t on it yet. Yea, let that one set in… It’s fun, fresh and now! The following list is only for the special few. Are you special enough to rent a vacation rental? 1. Live Like a Local I live in a tourist beach town and I can safely say that, “there is nothing more annoying as an obnoxious, ‘rules don’t apply to me’, out-of-towner.” As a guest at a vacation rental you become one with the locals. Your neighbors might be the teacher at the elementary school up the street, or the owner of the local ice cream shop. You understand the lifestyle and adapt accordingly to your surroundings. 2. Comfortable Environment In the comforts of your “not so” own home, you are able to cook a 5 star meal, sleep in without the cleaning lady barging in and even wash your dirty clothes after a long day of mountain biking. A vacation rental is a home with actual air circulation, not a stuffy cramped hotel. 3. Explore New Places Have you ever visited the rural country of china or meet the one of a kind people that live in the mountains of West Virginia. Hotels don’t locate themselves where just a handful of people travel too, but these are the best places to visit and explore. The diamond in the rough. These are where you will find vacation rentals. 4. Take Your Pets I will admit, that I like animals more than I like people. That being said, the opportunity to take a trip for a couple weeks and leave my dog child at home would be a hard decision. Luckily many vacation rentals are very pet friendly. You will even find Vacation rental management companies that solely promote animal friendly accommodations. Two paws up for the pets! 5. Save $$ For the price of a hotel room, you can get double the space, more amenities, better quality and all around more options in a vacation rental. Your able to save money by cooking meals which comes in great for families. Vacation rentals come in all different sizes and prices, the options are endless. Hotels the options are pretty standard. 6. Do ANTI Tourist Things This is another favorite perk of mine for those “special” people reading this list. This is what we want when going on a vacation. Let’s ride our bikes to the secret surf spot down the street. Or maybe find the perfect farmers market and make an awesome seasonal salad. Traveling gives you the chance to experience a new culture and vacation rentals are more open to that cause. 7. Travel with Large Parties Travel in a party of 8 and actually stay in the same location! Unheard of, I know. Vacation Rental Managers might not be to happy with this feature but, it is a very special convenience that hotels will never posses. Waking up together, have a barbecue in the backyard together, then all get ready for a night on the town together. Explaining that just got me excited for my next vacation! 8. Safe and Secure Just like a home, doors are...

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Vacation Rental Marketing on a Budget

Posted January 2, 2014 in Blog Posts, Marketing Topics

Vacation Rental Marketing on a Budget

Budgets… Some are BIG and some are small… Your Vacation Rental Business must budget for fixed and variable costs like payroll, utilities, rent, maintenance, and most importantly MARKETING. I like to think the latter is the most important because I am a marketer, but in the end we always need the lights on, and I am rather fond of my paycheck too. As responsible business executives we decide that a Superbowl ad is not in the budget this year due to recent roof leaks and we find ourselves with a marketing budget that got the short end of the stick. Now we’re left wondering what can you do with the nickels and dimes that are available. Ah lucky for us, we live in 2013 and we have the holy grail of small budget marketing – THE INTERNET.   Social Media In my opinion Social Media marketing is the easiest, cheapest and most beneficial type of Marketing for the Vacation Rental Sector. This is because Vacation Rental Managers sell experiences.  Think about it. What do most of your friends on Facebook post to their walls or what pictures are posted on Instagram?— Pictures and stories of their life experiences. No one posts pictures of their morning cereal; they post pictures of their vacation at the beach with the girls or their awesome ski vacation with their cousins. Why do consumers feel the need to show the world what they do?  Simply put,  humans like to brag. Vacations take a lot to execute, One must save money, take off work,  find house sitters/dog sitters, and plan months ahead of time. And all that effort is finally validated by the vacationers experience while staying in your wonderful property. Posting on social media outlets help humans rationalize the spending of money and the time off work.  This is done through the positive responses they get from coworkers, family and friends through likes and comments. Lucky for us that pictures aren’t just kept in albums under our beds anymore, we get to share them on the INTERNET. View another blog on vacation rental social media tactics here Capitalize on this momentum of sharing, have profiles, get tagged in pictures taken while on your costumers trips, get those likes, and take recognition of those awesome vacations. Friends are the best references. So let them brag, let them brag about you!   Local Search Profiles Local, Local, Local. Have you seen the trend lately? Eat Local, Shop Local, SEARCH LOCAL.The idea of localized search queries gives prospective vacationers a chance to compare local listings, i.e. Vacation rentals, by location, reviews and online presence. 97% of consumers search for local businesses online (Google statistic). To get people to notice your listing over the other listings will be the amount of positive reviews you have as well as the pictures and information you give in your profile. The more the better. Profiles link to your website so make sure your website is consumer friendly, booking compatible and with the times. There are plenty of different local profiles your company should be taking advantage of. Some local listings sites are paid for but here are the free most noted ones. Google + Business Profiles: Your Google+ page connects you with customers, whether they’re looking for you on Search, Maps, Google+ (social media) or...

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Reasons Why You Need a REAL Vacation.

Posted November 22, 2013 in Blog Posts

Reasons Why You Need a REAL Vacation.

The need to travel is inside everyone. Vacations are pretty much mandated by the human brain so we can continue to be happy, productive people of society. Why was leisure time ever created? Because WE NEED IT. But It takes a lot of courage to take off work. Many people save their vacation days in case of emergencies, some think their bosses will get mad, and others are just work-a-holics. But right now, I am here to remind you that vacations days are meant for Vacations… REAL VACATIONS. Real Vacation are: Truly being able to feel the sunshine Snow becomes a blessing rather a burden Laughing so hard, that you pee your pants Having no sense of time Dreams are Reality This is NOT a REAL Vacation: You Travel to Florida because Great Aunt Helen dies Playing hookie because the child is sick Being Snowed in with a Law & Order Marathon on That being said all vacations are not created equal and subsequently neither are the results of such time off. Sometimes you can’t help the latter and that’s just life. But life is also about being happy. I truly believe that taking time for yourself in the form of traveling and real vacationing will benefit you, your work, and everyone else your surrounded by as well. What will you gain from a taking REAL Vacation Perspective on Life: Getting back to what life is really all about. Asking and answering the most simple questions about our existence. Limitless Creativity: Worries and agendas are on the back burner, leaving limitless space for new ideas to flow freely. Increase of appreciation: Being away will make you appreciate just about all aspects of your life – the people you love, the nature that surrounds you, and even your job. Real Rest: Without the worry of menial Daily routines your mind, body, and soul are able to rest and realign themselves. Less Regrets: No one says the day the die, “I wish I would of stayed at the office more.” Now is the time to live. You Time: Live a life true to yourself, and not let others expectations affect your lifestyle. Be you. Happiness: Like Gandhi said “There is no path to happiness, happiness is the path” A true vacation will help you realize that. Now I don’t just want you to take my word on it. No, I want you to experience a Real Vacation and it’s...

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