Google’s Mobile Algorithm vs Your Vacation Rental Website

Posted on May 6, 2015

Google’s Mobile Algorithm vs Your Vacation Rental Website

Google’s new mobile-friendly ranking algorithm launched April 21, 2015. Meaning: your vacation rental website will now be partially ranked by how well your website pages can be navigated and read on mobile devices.This is your website’s “mobile-friendliness”. The algorithm is quite simple, your website pages are either mobile friendly or they are not. No partial points you are in or you are out. The algorithm ranks on a page by page basis. How can you find out if your website pages are up to Google’s standard of Mobile Friendly The easiest way to find out if your website pages are up to Google’s Mobile Friendly standards by google searching your site on a mobile device and seeing if your site results come back with the label like the one to the right. On the slim chance you don’t have your mobile device nearby for search purposes (come on man), you can utilize Google’s Mobile Friendly Tester. A nifty tool that lets you paste in page urls, Google combs the site and comes back with a pass or fail response. What makes a website mobile friendly? Using a font size that is readable without zooming. Making sure your tap targets/links are large and spread out enough to be pressed without error. Size content to the screen size so the viewer is not scrolling horizontally or having to zoom in or out. And avoiding using software like Flash that is not widely recognized by mobile devices. How can you get your vacation rental website passing Google’s Mobile Friendly test? The good news is that you have a couple options on how to get your site mobile ready. The bad news unless you are able to code, you will have to spend some $$ to get the results Google is looking for. Option 1. Hire a web designer to create either an entirely new responsive website or a mobile version of your site (usually accessed via a m.yourwebsiteurl.com). There are plenty of website companies capable of doing this but I would suggest going to a company familiar with the vacation rental industry. They already have all the technology to connect to your Management Software and know the ins and outs of multiple rental pages, bookings and checkouts. The following website companies already have APIs that connect directly to the RNS Vacation Rental Software Option 2. Start using RNS Mobile Pages. RNS’ quick and easy mobile optimized sites are designed with user friendly interfaces that promote fast and easy bookings. Your company is given all the tools and technologies necessary to capitalize on this current mobile market and pass all of Google’s Mobile Friendly parameters. Optimized Mobile Recognition Simplified User Interface Full Search capability Mobile Optimized Rental Photos One-Click Call Now Options Mobile Contact Forms Fast Loading Pages Easy Booking Process To learn more about RNS mobile pages CLICK HERE   Check out...

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Vacation Rental Marketing on a Budget

Posted on January 2, 2014

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....

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Groupon and Vacation Rental Marketing, A Good Idea?

Posted on November 18, 2013

Groupon and Vacation Rental Marketing, A Good Idea?

 Groupon – Groupon – Groupon. How tempting can you be. But how beneficial are you actually? Groupon is a deal-of-the-day website that features discounted gift certificates usable at local or national companies. Local deals can be as varied as discounts for Japanese restaurants too pet grooming too sky diving. Most deals are segmented by geography, but Groupon also has a section called Groupon Goods, which consists of online retailers selling discounted products like computers, mattresses, or event back scratchers. And last but certainly not least Groupon created Groupon Getaways! Groupon Getaways is a section where shoppers can purchase discounted travel vacations. Deals can include but are not limited too travel packages to Europe, all inclusive resorts in Mexico, posh nights in Miami Hotels and YES, even VACATION RENTALS. Many times getaway deals are only available for certain days in the calendar year and eventually expire if purchase is never redeemed. Groupon and Vacation Rental Marketing Should Vacation Rental Managers consider advertising with Groupon? What follows are some factors Vacation Rental Business Owners might want to consider before deciding on adding Groupon to their marketing strategy. But in the end, every company is different – to each his own. What Makes Groupon Deals Different Buy Now, Book Later: Many people buy groupon vouchers without a trip already preplanned, but more on the perception that the voucher is a good deal now and they will use it someday. The limited time allotted for deals Expiration Dates: Most deals come with the expiration date of a Year. Managers should note that some buyers might not ever seek their reimbursement after expiration but all purchasers are entitled to it through Groupon Policy. Limited Amount Option: The company presenting the coupon sets up a minimum amount clause. Where say 10 people must buy the deal, if not the deal is cancelled. Is it For Your Vacation Rental Company? Internet Presence: A presentable website and readily available reviews on your own website or around the internet are almost mandated items your company will need before advertising on a world wide outlet like Groupon. Deal buyers are researchers, the web existence of your business makes you reputable in this day and age. Reservation Dates: Off season months will be the best time to run a Groupon deal. Make sure that during the weeks the deal is good for that your company is fully staffed and ready to assistant a larger number of guests than normal during those days. Processing Power: Groupon is a pre-bought voucher. At a later date, guests will then take this groupon promo code and book via your website or by phone call. Seeing it’s 2013, your website should be able to handle online bookings, have unit images, show availability dates and amenities available. Contact numbers and email addresses should be visible and responses need to be timely. Your first contact impression contributes a lot...

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Inbound Marketing for Vacation Rental Management Companies

Posted on September 6, 2013

Inbound Marketing for Vacation Rental Management Companies

Last week we talked about Inbound Marketing as a whole. We got to know the “ins” of the inbound “funnel”. If you haven’t read the previous blog you can do so HERE. To recap a bit, the funnel is as follows: Attract Strangers Convert Visitors Close Leads Delight Customers Praise Promoters Now since this is a blog about the Vacation Rental Industry let’s go through the inbound process again and put a Vacation Rental Management Company at the center of it. Example: Island Life Rentals – a Key West, FL Vacation Rental Company, with 100 units and their season is all year round. (I’m sorry if the name crosses any copyright, but this is a fictional example) How do you Attract Strangers What is Needed What to Do Now A Website Content people are searching to read/view. Locale information. Unit pages, making sure to have the city name or location best known as on every page. Corresponding keywords and backlinks from your local city council or team up with locale retail shops to give and receive links. Social Media Accounts: all the platforms Relevant eye catching posts. Everyone loves pictures – Your Home – the desirable vacation destination that so many visit – is your canvas. Post often. A Blog What sets you apart? Have a concise view point. Again Location is your biggest attribute. Mix location and current events. Keep it fresh and not too long. No one is looking to read a novel. Be Listed on all Online Directories i.e. Google Places, Bing Places etc. PLEASE if anything do this (and a website). A vacation rental prospect will google “Key West Vacation Rentals” Homeaway and Tripadvisor will always beat out the little guy in SEO rank, I’m sorry but it’s a fact you have to face. BUT Google sets aside a front page section for geographic listings owners have added. This is where your company will be found. How do you Convert Visitors What is Needed How to Make it Count Call-To-Actions Bold Eye Catching Buttons. Contact Us, Featured Properties, White Papers i.e. “Local Key West Guide for the true Parrot Head DOWNLOAD” Landing Pages A prospect is brought to this page after clicking on a call to action. Tell them what they are getting and tell them how to do it. That’s it. A Thank You landing Page should come up after a form is submitted. This should have another corresponding Call to Action On It. Forms Your form questions should fit what the visitor is receiving. Name and email are always a good starting point. Online Unit Info & Inquiry/Book Now Online unit descriptions and an Inquire/ Book Now section for every unit is a must! The more your website gives the less the visitor has to assume. It builds excitement and gives your visitor an act now opportunity. Plus your competitors do it so you...

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Understand Inbound Marketing Today

Posted on August 29, 2013

Understand Inbound Marketing Today

Your first thought, “What is inbound marketing?” Inbound marketing starts with the internet. You create and post content to the web to attract prospects to your brand/website. The inbound funnel follows a buyer’s lifecycle from stranger > visitor > lead > customer > promoters. Attract Strangers SEO is the biggest part in inbound marketing. Many people will tell you it is the Blog but in all reality Blogging and creating meaningful content is SEO. Google’s new algorithm has placed more importance on content with context when ranking rather than backlinks, keywords, and tags. Don’t get me wrong, your content with context must have the correct search term keywords and you still need tags and backlinks, but keep in mind that all of it must be cohesive with what that specific page is saying. Oh and there is always social media but we already knew that. Inbound doesn’t exist if no one visits your website. Convert Visitors Calls-to-Actions are offers on your website that give visitors something desirable (i.e. an e-book, or a demo offer) in return for their generic personal/company information. The information is filled out on forms which are inserted on landing pages. Landing pages are meant to be short and concise, clearly stating what the visitor will be receiving after filling out their information. A rule of thumb is that your form questions should be equal to what the prospect is getting in return. Perception reigns king; A/B testing will help you figure out what works and what doesn’t. Close Leads You close leads by Building Relationships. Any good salesman will tell you that creating trust is one of your top priorities while dealing with a possible sale. Create worthwhile emails that that do not seem spammy. Marketing and Sales Departments must have cohesiveness. Track your relationship management, to know when and what interaction is needed. The biggest part is that you begin treating the lead as a human being rather than $$. Delight Customers Customer Relationship Management is more complex today than ever. But then maybe it is easier we aren’t just utilizing it correctly. The internet has created many more channels to connect with your current or past customers. The content of Blogs, Social Media posts, and Emails are crucial. CRM is more than phone calls every 3 months, or a generic newsletter every month. Connect on a personal level. Praise Promoters Thank your Biggest Fans. They spread the word; they go out of their way to write a review. Give them credit. As you can see the Job is never done in inbound marketing. Companies that want to succeed at inbound marketing should not think in terms of a Customer’s Lifetime Value but rather a Person’s Lifetime Value. Find out Next Week: An indepth look at, How Inbound Marketing can work specifically for your Vacation Rental Management...

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