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Lodging Update July 31st 2017

By Wm. May
Published: 07/31/17 Topics: Comments: -

The hard working, stick to it, never give up, burn the midnight oil, all hands on deck, never say die, practice what you preach, people who work in our organization are amazing.

Most vacation rental markets are not year round. Some have some great winter seasons or may have an influx of visitors for festivals and events, but summer is the 24/7 season as guests flock to popular places. The work is overwhelming but everyone here rises to the occasion.

And it's fun (if you like that kinda thing).

When guests come they expect clean and well maintained properties where everything works, and works well. Hospitality clean linens and towels, fully equipped kitchens, comfy furniture and the absolute requirement is a good internet connection. Everything must work.

So thanks to everyone who has made this a great season for guests, for owners and yes, even for all the rest of us here.

This month, we are lifting the curtain to reveal the magic that gains us more bookings than the competition. Just like in the Wizard of Oz it's not really magic, but even the Wizard needed all the right tools.

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LODGING MEDIA

No other lodging manager can claim to be as fully advertising tech-enabled as we are. That is how we produce the highest net income for owners. That means putting properties on hundreds of websites, referred to as Online Travel Agencies (OTA's), using the secret technology we developed in ways no one else can match. Here are just a few:

GROUPON.COM: This online coupon website is overly expensive and demands hefty discounts so it is only used for new Inns and Resorts expecting unsold inventory. Surprisingly, these shoppers have strong financial qualifications. Although expensive, Groupon increases owner net income.

AIRBNB.COM: As the current news darling, AirBnB sends guests who are picky but the two-way review system qualifies guests other than just financially. Advertising commissions are lower, but AirBnB invented the idea of charging guests a surcharge, on top of rental rates.

HOMEAWAY.COM: Still a giant, with its dominant VRBO.com, Homeaway was sold to Expedia 18 months ago, and they changed all the rules. Limiting pre-booking guest contact, and adopting a commission system like AirBnB has peeved property mangers. Yet they still provide a steady flow of bookings, even though it actually increases our labor.

TRIPADVISOR.COM: After buying FlipKey.com years ago, this website started posting vacation rentals. They have altered their prices over time but still produce a good inquiry flow. Rumor has it big tech changes are coming and we hope so.

BOOKING.COM: Operated differently than other OTA's, Booking.com shoves bookings down the electronic pipeline to us without much intervention. Their constant promotion of "Easy to cancel" confounds vacation rentals but it can be avoided.

EXPEDIA.COM: Many properties qualify to be put directly on this giant where the cost is high but the demand is great. We are fully integrated and use Expedia tools to bump up orders. Plus they are testing integration of HomeAway listings. Time will tell.

VRMLS: We helped start the Vacation Rental Association, a not-for-profit group, which can build localized websites to attract guests. They don’t match the big boys but do produce leads at a lower commission. This is a secret advertising weapon.

INTEGRATED: Counting affiliates, our properties are electronically distributed to about 100 websites, so that descriptions, photos, rates and dates are updated daily and orders are delivered into our secret software for handling.

SECONDARY: Hundreds of other websites do not offer integration, but we are nudging them to do so. In the meantime, we manually upload content to them, and some offer date synching to avoid double bookings. Far too much labor, but it reduces reliance on expensive media.

Thinking of all the changes in the vacation rental industry over the past years is, well, mind boggling.

Ten years ago we saw it coming and built our own software and web technology to manipulate advertising to get the highest booking while controlling costs. That produces greater net income for owners.

Author: Wm. May, Vortex Managers
Blog #: 0548 – 07/31/17
Sponsor: Vortex Organization – We train quality people to help run unique Inns, Resorts and Vacation Rental Management companies, in an industry that has been a webby net of technology combined with good old fashioned property, guest and owner services. – VortexManagers.com

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