Visual Data Systems Blog

Are You Ready For GDPR?
Posted by Sally Robbins | Thursday, April 19, 2018


There is a lot of buzz right now about the General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR. This new law goes into effect on May 25, 2018, and all companies that either do business in the European Union, or service customers residing in the European Union, are subject to the new regulation.

What is GDPR?

According to Microsoft, the GDPR imposes a wide range of requirements on organizations that collect or process personal data, including a requirement to comply with six key principles:

  • Transparency, fairness, and lawfulness in the handling and use of personal data. You will need to be clear with individuals about how you are using personal data and will also need a “lawful basis” to process that data.
  • Limiting the processing of personal data to specified, explicit, and legitimate purposes. You will not be able to re-use or disclose personal data for purposes that are not “compatible” with the purpose for which the data was originally collected.
  • Minimizing the collection and storage of personal data to that which is adequate and relevant for the intended purpose.
  • Ensuring the accuracy of personal data and enabling it to be erased or rectified. You will need to take steps to ensure that the personal data you hold is accurate and can be corrected if errors occur.
  • Limiting the storage of personal data. You will need to ensure that you retain personal data only for as long as necessary to achieve the purposes for which the data was collected.
  • Ensuring security, integrity, and confidentiality of personal data. Your organization must take steps to keep personal data secure through technical and organizational security measures.

The GDPR regulates the collection, storage, use, and sharing of “personal data.” Personal data is defined very broadly under the GDPR as any data that relates to an identified or identifiable natural person.

Types of Data Protected 

  • Basic identity information such as name, address and ID numbers 
  • Web data such as location, IP address, cookie data and RFID tags 
  • Health and genetic data 
  • Biometric data 
  • Racial or ethnic data 
  • Political opinions 
  • Sexual orientation 

You will need to have a legal basis, like consent, to process an EU citizen’s personal data. Consumers will also have the right to be “forgotten”, meaning if they choose, they can ask a company to delete their personal data. GDPR also mandates that the consumer has the right to transfer the data to another company.

In addition, there is a mandatory 72-hour reporting clause that says that if data is breached, the company must report it to their data protection authority within 72 hours of first becoming aware of it, and immediately afterwards to the consumer.

Finally, if the regulations are not followed, significant fines can be levied against a company.

If your company is not quite ready for GDPR, we can help. Contact us for a free consultation today.




Long & Foster Vacations Up 305% In Mobile Bookings
Posted by Sally Robbins | Friday, March 30, 2018


With mobile usage accounting for an increasing number of web searches and bookings in the vacation rental industry, Long & Foster Vacations’ new website is serving its clientele well. Mobile transactions are up a whopping 305% since this time last year. Designed and created by VDS, the new responsive website features rentals in 17 communities on the East Coast. In addition, the visitors who come to the website are staying and converting – Long and Foster’s mobile conversion rate increased by 225%.

“We cannot be more pleased with our new LFVacations.com website,” stated Tracey Espada, Vice President of Long & Foster Vacation Rental Division. “The collaboration between VDS and our team was incredible. We have worked with VDS for many years and when we started this project, they took the time to listen to our thoughts and ideas and helped us realize our vision of  our new site. This business and our site are complicated, and they did a remarkable job with the finished product.”

It’s important to note that the rise in mobile numbers did not cannibalize the desktop numbers, as is usually the case. Desktop numbers for Long & Foster were also up almost 3%, instead of the typical drop of almost 7.68%. Transactions from Google also increased by 38%.

Long & Foster is the nation’s number one independent brand (by sales volume), and their vacation rental division is built upon the same bedrock values of its parent company: integrity, innovation, and good old-fashioned customer service. The new website was created with these values in mind, and ease of use was a top priority. “We have had excellent feedback from owners, guests and our team members about the new site,” Espada shared. “They love the clean and refreshing look and the ease of use of the new site.”

Having the right online marketing partner is critical to the success of Long & Foster Vacations., according to Espada.  “We absolutely value the relationship with VDS. When you are working on the most important, visible aspect of your business, it can only work with a  true partnership and that is what we have the VDS,” she concluded.

Would you like to see how VDS can partner with you to help you create more online visibility and conversions? Contact us today for a free consultation.



Long Foster Website Tracey Espada Web Design Website Development

Mobile Bookings Up 117% For Garden City Realty's New Website
Posted by Sally Robbins | Tuesday, March 13, 2018


With a stylish “coastal chic” look, Garden City Realty recently launched its new responsive website, and is already seeing dramatic results. Designed and built by VDS, Garden City both upgraded the site, making it secure and responsive, as well as streamlined the navigation and usability.

In the short time since the new site was launched, mobile bookings are already up 117% over this time last year, and their mobile traffic is up 21%.

Launching this site was the final step in a branding campaign that included upgrading another website (www.condotels.com) in the Garden City Realty family, as well as six microsites. “I am pleased with the job the VDS design team did with converting our site to responsive. We had already laid the groundwork with Condotels and our six microsites, but updating GardenCityRealty.com to accommodate our audience, regardless of the device they are using, was an important step forward for our brand,” stated Kimberly Raley-Kimes, Communications and Marketing Manager.

Garden City Realty serves three business segments – vacation rentals, real estate sales and property management. The new website offers clear navigation that easily helps the guest locate the segment that they need, along with other features:

  • MLS Integration for real estate listings
  • Concierge listings with local businesses, area info and local calendar of events
  • Owner portal and tips on how to maximize revenue
  • Vacation rentals with short term and winter rentals over 30 days

Ease of use with the new responsive site was important to Garden City Realty. “Visitors can now easily access the information they need without using a separate mobile site,” shared Raley-Kimes. “Our new easy to navigate website will not only make vacation planning and booking a simple pleasure for guests, it will undoubtedly turn into more bookings for us,” she concluded.

Can we help you bring more traffic and bookings to your website? Contact us for a free consultation today.



Garden City Realty Mobile Marketing New Website Launch Real Estate Sales Vacation Rental Industry Vacation Rental Marketing Web Design

Dunes New Website Launch Increases Online Bookings 450%
Posted by Sally Robbins | Wednesday, February 21, 2018


Dunes Realty recently launched its new responsive website, and their guests have been positively responding with accelerated bookings for the new year. “Our season is already off to a wonderful start, especially when it comes to online bookings,” stated Ryan Swaim, General Manager of Dunes Vacation Rentals. “In fact, our mobile bookings alone have increased more than 450% over this same period last year, almost entirely due to the new site's responsive design.”

Created and developed by VDS, the new website features three distinct sections of the company’s business: vacation rentals, homeowner services, and real estate sales. Each section has a fully-functioning platform to support that portion of the business, and offers cutting-edge and real-time solutions. Some of the features in the new site include:

·      More simplified navigation for the guest

·      Panoramic videos in the masthead

·      Scrolling featured properties

·      Split views on the search results show both a gallery view and a map, and the guest can change the view if desired

·      Split cost calculator allows multiple guests and/or families to split the rental costs

·      Sticky quick search keeps guests’ choices at the bottom of the screen

·      “Agent On Duty” feature allows Dunes to change the realtor at any time in their admin

·      Secure website

·      “Featured Property” feature can be changed by Dunes at any time

Consistently named “Best of the Beach” by the Sun News, Dunes Realty is a favorite of regional and national vacationers. The new website allows them to utilize technology’s best tools in both creating and maintaining high visibility online, as well as providing a seamless booking experience for its guests.

Interested in how VDS can help you create a stronger online presence? Contact us today for a free consultation.



Dunes Realty New Website Launch Online Marketing Web Design Website Development

Make Your Reviews Count; See Our New Website Launches
Posted by Sally Robbins | Wednesday, November 1, 2017


In this newsletter, we’ll share how our clients generated 5-star reviews with an email request to their guests, show you our latest website launches, and explain why you need a secure website. Enjoy!

More 5-Star Reviews, Please!

One of the best marketing tools for a vacation rental can be great reviews. Guests love to know that others have had a good experience in the rental, and good reviews can positively sway the decision-making process. Conversely, if guests leave negative reviews, whether they are deserved or not, those reviews can discourage guests from booking.

We partnered with our client CENTURY 21 New Horizon in Ocean City, Maryland, to increase their amount of Google My Business reviews. Within the first 24 hours after sending out an email to qualified past guests asking for feedback on their recent stay, they received over 40 reviews, with most of them in the 4-5 star range. In addition to the great reviews, Director of Marketing Laurie Murray reported that another benefit was “not just for the positive reflection of our business, but also for the confirmation that our team really deserves to see that all their hard work, dedication, and determination truly is appreciated by our guests.

Julia Filo, one of our stellar Online Marketing Consultants, has worked with other clients to bolster real and positive reviews. One of the campaigns garnered over 20 reviews in two days, and more importantly, the new positive reviews launched them from the worst star rating to the best in local listings. “This is important because there is evidence that Google ranks business in the local pack by their reviews. After all, Google wouldn’t want to actively recommend a 1- star company over a 5-star,” Julia said.

If you and your company would like to improve your reviews and ranking, contact us today to schedule a free consultation with our online marketing team.

Our Latest Website Launches

The developers and designers at VDS have been busy creating exciting new websites, and we can’t wait for you to see them!

·      Ski Country – check out their new vacation planner

·      Luxury Rentals Oahu – this brand-new site gives you the best of Hawaii

·      VR 365 – see how this Escapia partner redesigned their look and became mobile-friendly

·      Budaugraphy – create your own personal journal

Why Do I Need A Secure Website?

There’s been a lot of talk about secure websites this year. VDS has been leading the charge on helping our clients making the move to secure websites for several reasons:

1.     It will help your SEO ranking. Google recognizes secure sites and uses it as a ranking factor. You want to do everything you can to increase your ranking.

2.     Visitors can trust your site. Your website needs to be a place where visitors can trust that their privacy and security are being protected as much as possible. If they see your site as non-secure, they’ll likely go to your competitors.

3.     Many web browsers now require it. Browsers such as Chrome now indicate whether a website is secure, which means non-secure sites stand out like a sore thumb.

Clients like Ali’i Beach Rentals made the switch to a secure site. “We want to stay on top of every technological advantage we can, and ensure our website visitors’ safety and security,” stated Kai Jack, owner of Ali’i. “It was a no-brainer to make our site secure,” Kai concluded.

Making your site secure is a small investment compared to the huge ramifications if your site is hacked. Don’t wait for that to happen! Contact us today to see how easy it is to make your site secure.



Google Reviews Secure Website Vacation Rental Marketing

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