Tag Archives: mobile

Vacation Rental & Travel News & Trends – May 15th 2015

Travel & Tech News
Travel & Tech News

Amazon is getting into the travel business. Right now it’s limited to the same type of offerings that Groupon and Living Social offer, but could a day be coming where you can book flights, lodging, activities, and rent a car all on Amazon? You can get everything else there, why not a vacation package?

One of the ways you can help your guests have a great vacation, and also stay top of mind with them, is to send them tips like these prior to their stay, and in your monthly/quarterly newsletter to them. Part of your brand should be that you’re looking out for your guests to ensure that they have a fantastic stay. (If you are not currently marketing to your past guests, contact me via the Contact tab and I can help you put a plan in place.)

Concierge via txt messaging is already here. This is something that I think will be commonplace in the next 5 years or so. The cool thing about this app is that it starts the guest experience 72 hours before they arrive. If they need fresh towels, they can just touch the “Towels” button and it will send a txt to the housekeeping staff to replace towels for their room.

You can already start doing this for your guests, and you don’t need a fancy app to do it. Buy a smartphone that guests can text day or night if they have a request or issue, and pass it around to different staff members each week to be the one “on call”. Give them $50 for each week they are on call as an added incentive. Your guests will love you for it.

Here’s an interesting article from Tripping.com about the amenities in your homes that add the most value. These are the amenities that should be front and center in your unit descriptions, pictures, and marketing material.

Until next week…

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Travel & Tech News You Can’t Miss – May 8th 2015

Travel & Tech News
Travel & Tech News

Disappointing news this week about vacation rentals’ performance on Expedia. Here’s the kicker to the whole story, “I think vacation rentals are an important market,” Expedia Inc. CEO Dara Khosrowshahi told financial analysts during the company’s first quarter of 2015 earnings call last week. “It’s an important product in many, many markets. As to whether it’s important for Expedia to be in, that remains to be determined.

Some of this is just growing pains for our industry, and some of this is failure to find that middle ground that will allow the square peg to fit into the round hole. Expedia wants quite a bit of control over the inventory, pricing and payments for vacation rentals (like they have with hotels) and many vacation rental companies can’t give up that much control. Particularly with a 15%-20% commission attached.

Everyone involved has their work cut out for them. Ultimately it has to be easy for the guests to book, lucrative enough for Expedia to make the right investment, and allow the vacation rentals companies (or owners) to continue to provide the personal touch that makes vacation rentals unique.

Did you survive “Mobilegeddon“? If your website isn’t mobile friendly, then you likely suffered in your Google search rankings as of April 21st.

Even if you still get the majority of your bookings over the phone or e-mail, 20% of searches are done on a mobile device, and it was recently reported that 25% of all digital transactions in the US were generated from a mobile device.

Speaking of mobile transactions, I have often said that virtual wallets and online currency are going to become the norm in the not too distant future. So it was interesting to read that Google Wallet funds are now FDIC insured.

There is still a ways to go before this becomes mainstream, but the writing is on the wall. Here’s something to think about; will your business be ready when this becomes the preferred method of payment?

The airlines are trying to be the first to integrate mobile payments into their guest experience. Here’s an article on how a few of them are making this happen. JetBlue will let you make in-flight purchases through their app on your iOS device ,and KLM is experimenting with booking flights on Facebook and Twitter.

Lots of change coming. Are you ready for it?

Until next week…

(PS – Sign up for the Newsletter in the sidebar and these News segments will be delivered to your inbox. You won’t get spammed with junk and sales pitches. Promise!)

Travel & Tech News – Social Media, Mobile, and More

Travel & Tech News
Travel & Tech News

Do you use social media to market your rentals and interact with prospects and guests? Here is a great article on how to make Twitter work for you.  “65% of leisure travelers start researching online before they’ve decided where or how to travel.” This is a huge opportunity for engagement.

Ever wonder if your audience is seeing the tweets, posts, and articles that you put out through your socials media accounts? This article tells you the best times to post to social media.

While aimed at hotels, this article provides a great lesson in online engagement that can be applied to vacation rentals. “Hotels that responded to more than 50% of social reviews grew occupancy rates by 6.4%, more than twice the rate of properties that largely ignored social media reviews.” The same goes for your Guest Reviews. A company that responds to its customers (whether it be a complaint or praise) communicates that it’s paying attention and that it cares.

Are you ready for the “mobile mind shift“? Mobile commerce is forecasted to hit $75 billion by 2018. Here’s the kicker, “… no matter where they are or what device they are using, they expect a personalized, fast, rich and no-hassle online experience.”

Do you need a mobile app to stay competitive in this new mobile-centric world? Research from Phocuswright suggests that you don’t. Airline apps are by far the most widely used at 42%, follow by OTAs at 13%, a pretty steep drop off. The research finds that mobile friendly websites are where most travelers to look for places to stay and things to do, however.

And finally, just for the fun of it, if you are ever in Rome you can go to Roman Gladiator school, for about $140. I’m totally doing this if I ever get to Rome.

Until next week!