Note: This is the first in a series of educational blogs written by Robert Gray, VDS Executive Vice President.
Protecting Your Brand Through The Entire Vacation Rental Experience
Your brand…what does that mean to you and to your clients and homeowners? Do you find that your brand and business model is constantly under attack from competitors and 3rd party entities? Do you feel that little by little your brand is not as important to consumers and homeowners as it used to be due to the myriad of online options available to both groups? Do you feel your brand is becoming lost in a sea of options?
If you even hesitated on the answer to any of those questions, then it is time for you and your company to start standing up for your brand and find ways to keep your brand relevant amongst all the noise in your marketplace.
How do you do that? One of the more basic ways is to drive relevant traffic to your website and keep those visitors, especially vacationers, engaged with your brand with the best tools available to a vacation rental manager throughout the entire vacation rental experience. From the shopping & booking phase, through the planning & anticipation phase and continuing into the actual vacation and departure phases, your brand (and hence your company) should be the one-source the entire traveling party goes to for information and satisfying their needs to ensure the best possible vacation experience.
And, yes the vacation experience starts with the search…not check-in and the vacation experience does not end at check-out…it just starts again with you retaining this years guests as loyal customers.
How do you do this? Keeping your brand in front of vacationers boils down to the following items in today’s day and age. Assuming, that you have a great inventory, good pricing, and above average customer service – you want to provide your clients and potential clients with a responsive design website (so it will work on whatever device they choose to view it in) optimized for search engines, a clear call to action and an easy & intuitive booking process that is integrated with your rental management software.
From there you need to provide visitors with the tools they need and want to plan their vacation such as area information, local events, the ability to save searches and build a vacation itinerary. You will also want to give them the ability to do these items behind a secure portal and give them mobile apps (Apple & Android).
Another key is communicating with shoppers and incoming vacationers on a regular and consistent basis based upon their needs and what phase in the vacation process they are currently in. This can be done through regular email, automated emails and even through push notifications on iOS apps.
More progressive vacation rental managers might even want to stand out more from the crowd by offering a loyalty or rewards program to give vacationers an incentive to book again for their next vacation.
Are these things easy? No. But we at VDS can help with all of it and make it easier through our Boomerang Platform. Boomerang is a comprehensive responsive design website package integrated with your software and including exclusive vacation planning tools, seo readiness and mobile apps.
Boomerang was built in order for our clients to protect their brand by attracting and retaining the largest amount of potential clients through the use of the best technology and consulting available. The platform includes:
- A custom responsive design website integrated with the managers rental management software
- iOS (Apple) and Android apps (no extra monthly charges)
- The ability for vacationers to log-in into a secure vacation planning portal to plan their vacation with their whole party
- A variety of booking and planning tools including
- Integrated Booking Engine
- Advanced Specials
- Shopping Cart
- Complex Manager
- Featured Properties
- Homes That Work Together
- Last Minute Bid
- Guest Reviews
- Customizable Vacation Planning Checklist
- Drag and Drop Calendar & Itinerary Builder
- Add Guests for Group Planning
- Current Events Module
- Concierge Module
- Communications Suite
- Pre-launch SEO Readiness
Since all the benefits and features of Boomerang are too much to go over in one blog post, VDS will be posting a series of post focusing on different features and aspects of Boomerang over the next few weeks. Please be on the lookout for these post and if you would like to learn more about Boomerang and the other services VDS offers Vacation Rental Managers – please let us know.