Charlottesville, VA - August 13, 2014 RentalSpot.com®, the online listing site for independent property owners and renters, today announced a distribution partnership with HomeAway Software®, the professional management software arm of HomeAway, Inc. (NASDAQ: AWAY),which brings properties distributed through HomeAway Software to be listed for rent on RentalSpot.com. The partnership is a milestone that further establishes RentalSpot.com as a popular nationwide vacation property listing service in the U.S.
RentalSpot.com will add an estimated 8,000 properties to their quickly growing catalog of vacation rental listings through the partnership with HomeAway Software, giving RentalSpot.com customers access to more prime vacation rental properties in Hawaii, South Carolina, Florida, and the western U.S. RentalSpot.com is adding new properties on a daily basis and anticipates this rate to increase in the coming weeks as owners and renters begin planning for fall and winter vacations.
“RentalSpot.com has grown immensely since we launched the service in 2010,” said RentalSpot Founder, Tobias Dengel. “Our partnership with HomeAway Software is not only exciting because it marks another positive step forward in our growth, but also because of the increasing number of new vacation properties now available to our RentalSpot.com community of users.”
"We are pleased to partner with RentalSpot.com and provide our customers with more distribution opportunities" said Bill Furlong, vice president of HomeAway Software.
Founded in 2010, RentalSpot.com is the only free online vacation property listing service for independent homeowners and renters. Rentalspot.com hosts over 15,000 properties in the US and internationally. Community members and users enjoy RentalSpot.com’s freetolist advertising model, mapbased property searching functionality, and the ability to collaborate with friends and family when choosing their desired vacation destination online. Properties syndicated by HomeAway Software® are subject to a 10% commission.
About HomeAway Software
HomeAway Software is the leading provider of property management software for professional vacation rental managers. HomeAway Software solutions consist of powerful productivity tools that automate key vacation rental management tasks, streamline operations, and help vacation rental managers maximize their online potential through worldclass websites, booking engines, and the industry’s leading distribution programs. HomeAway Software is part of HomeAway, Inc. (NASDAQ:AWAY) the world’s leading online marketplace of vacation rentals.
Admit it. You’re not a photographer. That’s okay - neither are we. However, we need to do the best we can. Even a free vacation rental listing needs to be well presented.
Great photographs of our property are the single most important asset we have to convert Candace (our customer from the previous post) to book our property or at least inquire about booking.
If our photos are sized incorrectly, rotated the wrong way, fuzzy, out of date or dark we’re going to have trouble gaining inquiries. And, as we know, inquiries lead to bookings. Who wants to book a property they’ve never visited if the place looks dark and creepy? Not Candace.
Thankfully we live in a time when taking great, high resolution photos is well within our reach - probably in our pocket.
When marketing your vacation rental, having a great digital camera can save a lot of headaches. If you don’t have a digital camera don’t be afraid to use a smartphone. Any iPhone® or Android® phone or device comes equipped with a camera that can do the trick.
Now that we have a camera, we need to think about what kind of shots we need. To make a great spot we need the following photos:
An exterior shot of the front of the house (best at a slight angle)
Photos of each bedroom
Photos of the kitchen and living areas
Photos of great views or geographic features
Photos of great amenities like pool tables, decks, large TV, etc
Other photos that might attract our target customer
The Best Time Of Year
Great photos take a little bit of planning. Before you take your photos think about when your vacation rental looks the best and, again, what makes it special. Does it look great in the winter? Is it right on the slopes? Have you planted lots of flowers? Maybe Spring and Summer are the best times. This is important. We want to present our rental when it is at it’s very, very best.
We do suggest you take photos in the winter, fall and spring based upon your target customer and peak rental seasons. Doing this gives you the needed assets to keep your vacation rental listing up to date, fresh and inviting to vacation rental seekers.
Now that we know the best time of year, let’s think about the best time of day. Here are some things to think about.
1. When do your bedrooms look the best?
2. What time of day does your house look beautiful?
3. When does your kitchen look most inviting?
4. Does that great view look best in the morning or the afternoon?
In photography there is a concept called “The Golden Hour”. This is the time of day when the sun is at the right angle to cast great light without shadows or harsh glare. The golden hour typically occurs in the morning and late afternoon. Use this site to calculate the golden hour for the desired location.
If this seems like a lot of work - it is. However, a little thought and planning goes a long way. Let’s look at some examples.
The photo above is beautiful. The sun is setting in the background. The colors are warm and inviting. Now granted this photo was taken after the golden hour, but illumination provided by the interior lights really makes this property stand out. Also, notice how the perspective of the house is at an angle. Taking the photo from an angle creates asymmetry. Asymmetry is more interesting visually.
This photo is not bad, but it could be better. The owner did a lot of things right. The shrubbery is a lush green and the blooms in front are really nice. Great! However, if this
photo was taken in the morning or late afternoon, the light would NOT be as harsh and the colors in the photo might be more vibrant. Thus creating a more striking visual.
Also, this photo was taken from a “straight-on” perspective. A couple steps to the side could have created more asymmetry.
That is just a great view. It was taken around the golden hour. While there are some shadows, it allows the potential renter to picture themselves sitting and looking at this gorgeous view. Wow. Nice job!
When taking photos of bedrooms, it’s always best to take the photo at an angle. Meaning, don’t shoot a photo of the bed “straight-on”. Also, VERY IMPORTANT, turn on as many accent lights as you can. Avoid using the overhead light. Even if it’s 3:30 in the afternoon, the more lights you turn on the better results you will have.
If you don’t turn on the lights...you might get something like this.
This could be a great photo with just a little more light.
At RentalSpot.com, we love helping you increase your inquiries and bookings and we love doing it for FREE. If you have any questions about taking photos, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Let’s do a quick review:
Buy a good digital camera or use a quality smartphone
Take photos at the right time of year when your house looks great
Take photos during the right time of day
Angles are interesting. Symmetry is boring.
Turn on the accent lighting!
Take photos at different times of the year
Next week, we’re going to talk about writing great descriptions.
At RentalSpot we are devoted to helping you increase the number of bookings and inquiries your vacation rental receives. Most importantly, we want to help you do this for free.
However, before you create your rental listing, there are a number of factors you need to think about and assets you need to organize. A little thought and a little preparation can go a long way to fill up your booking calendar.
1. What makes your rental unique?
You love your vacation rental. We do too. So why do you love your vacation rental? Why do your friends? Is it the location, the decorating, the amenities, the views?
Thinking about all those great things that make your vacation rental unique can lead you to your customer. Sure, we want everyone to book our vacation rentals, but that’s not reality. It’s much easier to focus on potential customers who are mostly likely to enjoy the things that make your rental great.
Maybe your vacation rental is located in a tiny town surrounded by great trails and great restaurants? Fantastic! Therefore it makes sense to focus on customers who love great food and probably like mountain biking - just as an example.
So, as we create our free vacation rental listing, we want to keep this customer in mind.
We’ll call our potential customer Candace.
2. Writing a Great Title.
So we know what makes our spot unique. We also know who we’re trying to target. Now we need to take the first step in getting our customer, Candace, to check out our listing.
The first step is a great title.
Titles should be catchy, brief, but provide enough information to provide a visitor with a good idea as to what they’re likely to find.
We recommend a title no greater than 40 characters (including spaces). A great title should be descriptive, informative and lend itself to action. Think about your listing title like a headline in a magazine. It really has to pop. A title like “Nice House on the Lake” won’t get as many views as “Relax on Beautiful Lake Shores”. A little extra effort, some action and some adjectives can go a long way in transforming the mundane into the exciting.
So let’s think of some titles that might gain Candace’s attention.
Ride Great Trails & Enjoy Great Food
Awesome Trails Outside Your Door
Dinner, Drinks & Awesome Mountain Biking
So far we have the beginnings of a great vacation rental listing. We know who we’re targeting, why our vacation rental is a great fit for them, and we even have a couple of titles that will definitely make Candace click our listing.
In part 2 of this post, we’ll cover taking great photos and why it matters.
As the seasons begin to change, the days get shorter and the weather gets colder, people begin to yearn for a getaway. Something to truly get excited about. A fun experience, dinner and a movie, or even a long walk after a tiring day at the office. These are the days when people look for ideas outside of his or her everyday life. Often times, people will set back and surf the Internet to get inspiration for exciting activities.
The Internet is definitely a major source for generating creative ideas. In fact, it's what most people turn to when bored or craving anything new. For this reason, we believe that RentalSpot should exist for the searchers and the dreamers and the travelers, and most of all for property owners.
If you have a river house, beach house, or a second home, then list it on our website. It's completely free with no hidden charges. So go ahead and list that property and be the source of happiness for a tired set of parents and their energetic children or a newlywed couple. It sure doesn't get any better then that!
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