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Vacation Rental

A vacation rental can be anything from a tent to a castle. But it’s not, by my definition, a hotel room.

I’ve been reading reviews around the web on vacation rentals.  Repeatedly, the listing related to those reviews and their guest comments are old.  And you may have guessed by now, the reviews on the listing are great but the reviews elsewhere aren’t.

Here’s an example: http://www.vrbo.com/159287#comments

You’ll see the comments are over two years old.  The bad review site said, among other things: “this is the filthiest place we have ever encountered.”

http://www.vrwd.org/vacation-rentals-complaints/palm-springs-vacation-rental-disaster-216.html

So here’s the learning point: if you are solely basing your decision on reviews on the listing site itself (which is a stupid idea,) make sure the reviews are current.

A site with old reviews can say a lot about the owner or management company.  There are a lot of third party review sites for vacation rentals out there.  I’ll write a post about them soon.

I write extensively about guest comments in The Vacationers Guide to Vacation Rentals.  Go here to get your free copy of Chapter 4: What To Do When You Arrive At Your Vacation Rental.  Based on the feedback we’ve received, it’s the most important chapter in the book.

Make some trails!

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HomeAway Super Bowl Ad Review

I just finished with the entire menu of videos HA posted on their site.  The ad that ran in the super bowl is just a taste of the smorgasbord of videos they now have.  I’m only going to speak to the Super Bowl ad.


First of all, I liked the ad.  I think it could have gone further but, it’s not my dime they are spending and I’m sure they spent a few.

Let me start with the end: “Rent a house for half the cost of a hotel.”  Well… maybe.

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HOLD UP! … ARE YOU SAYING A TV AD IS MIS-LEADING… THE INHUMANITY

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While explicitly saying “half the cost” is accurate in some instances, it’s not for everything offered.  I think this could create push-back from new potential renters.  But what I’m wondering is the pushback from the VR owners.  Especially those that are already discounting prices.

I’ve been watching this Super Bowl ad deal at HA evolve since October and don’t recall anyone from HA reaching out (I get their emails) to the VR Owner community  requesting feedback or suggestions.  If they did and I missed it, please let me know.  My suggestion would have been: “Rent a house for a fraction of the cost of a hotel.”  More accurate; more ability to manage expectations; less “hypie”; creates mental theatre where the viewer defines “fraction.”

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I love the idea of the Griswolds.  Frankly, it’s brilliant.  Where the idea loses water with me is that anyone who has watched any of the Vacation series knows they run into problem after problem.  It’s evident in the 30 second spot.  What is not evident, and maybe this is the gist of the ad I don’t know, is how HA can solve the problem.  But they appear to be solving a “financial” problem, and not an accomodation problem.

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I just looked at the 26 responses to the ad on HA.  One guy hates it as he has to wade through the flash video to get to checking, however, he took the time to write such.  One person said they clicked through to HA off of the add.  Many VR owners pimping their own properties.  Most everyone loves the ad.  So that’s 1 out of 26, just shy of a 4% response REMARKABLE!  From a pure mathematical stance that shows this ad is a 100% winner!

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Back to the critique: I would have liked to have them bash the hotel less and show the benefits of vacation rentals more.  Show them entering the Napolean Suite then cut to the grand kids in their spaceous rooms; show the valet kid then show the personal (and secure) garage; show the guy at the counter, then show the kids/grandkids excitedly coming out of the house to greet the grand parents.  AHHHH hell… this could go on and on.  I’m no Madison Ave. ad exec, I’m just postulating.

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Bottom line: I laughed at the ad; found it compelling and am glad that HA spent the cash to spread the word about vacation rentals.  Good job HA!

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Remember to download your free copy of chapter 4 of The Vacationers Guide to Vacation Rentals and then get the full edition to make your next vacation unbelievable.

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You can see what HomeAway has to offer here:
HomeAway is the vacation rental network with over 115,000 listings

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Make some trails!
Terry

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VRBO.com Improves Vacation Rental Search Functionality

Kudos to vrbo.com for finally improving their search functionality.  Now, we as rental guests can now search by date.

But you wouldn’t know it as they decided it was more important to put a press release out telling the world how they (homeaway) is going to be advertising during the super bowl (how does that benefit ME?… THE GUEST) instead of telling their end users how their site is easier to use… go figure!  Man am I glad I’m not in the corporate world!  (If they did put a press release on this I will stand corrected, but I couldn’t find it anywhere.)

Instead of typing you through it, I’ve posted a video at www.vacation-rental-info.com which walks through the basic functionality.

Bottom line… THANK YOU VRBO!  You just saved your guests a ton of time and in the end, money.

Make some trails!

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The Vacationers Guide To Vacation Rentals Guarantee Extended

I’ve extended my guarantee.   It use to be an unconditional 30 day money back guarantee.  NOT ANYMORE!

WHY?  Not because people asked for their money back, NO-ONE HAS EVER ASKED FOR THEIR MONEY BACK, but, because I know this guide will help you beyond any expectation you have.

WHY ELSE? Because I know that planning is a key to having a great vacation and giving a 30 day guarantee, well, you may not even be back from your vacation in 30 days.

SO HERE IT IS… THE NEW GUARANTEE…

I will give you six months… that’s 180 DAYS to use the guide.

If there is anything that doesn’t meet your expectations just email me and I will promptly refund your money.

No questions asked and you can keep The Guide.

YOU CAN GET A FREE COPY OF CHAPTER FOUR OF THE GUIDE BY JUST ENTERING YOUR NAME AND EMAIL ADDRESS IN THE FORM AT htttp://www.vacation-rental-info.com/vrib

The Vacationers Guide to Vacation Rentals, What to do Before, During and After Your Vacation

Table of Contents

* INTRODUCTION
* DISCLAIMER
* WHAT TO DO BEFORE YOU LEAVE FOR VACATION
* Start Your Search
* Vacation Rental Sites
* Retail Locater Guides
* Reservation Procedure
* Reviewing pictures of Vacation Rental
* What to look for in reviews
* Email inquiry
* Questions to ask the VR Owner/Agent ( VR O/A)
* Things that need to be in a Rental Agreement
* Sample Rental Agreement
* Vacation Packing List
* Sample House Rules
* Getting the Keys
* WHAT IF YOU GET LOCKED OUT?
* What to do during your vacation
* WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU ARRIVE AT YOUR VACATION RENTAL
* WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU ARE LEAVING THE YOUR VACATION RENTAL
* WHAT TO DO AFTER YOUR VACATION
* Things to remember when you get home.
* Writing Reviews
* The Bad Review
* EXPERT INTERVIEWS
* Vacation Rental Insurance Interview with Lee Hughes of CSA Travel Protection
* A View from the other side.  An interview with Bill Hubbard, Vacation Rental Home Owner
* The Big Dog in the fight.  An interview with John Romano of VRWD.com and VRWD.org.  Our watchdog!
* Letter From Eileen Barish – author of VACATIONING WITH YOUR PET
* Final, err, ALMOST final thoughts.
* Thank Yous

REMEMBER:

YOU CAN GET A FREE COPY OF CHAPTER FOUR OF THE GUIDE BY JUST ENTERING YOUR NAME AND EMAIL ADDRESS IN THE FORM AT htttp://www.vacation-rental-info.com/vrib

THERE IS A DISCOUNT CODE IN THE FOOTER OF EACH OF THE PAGES OF THE DOWNLOAD.  SO DOWNLOAD THE CHAPTER FIRST THEN COME BACK vacation-rental-info.com/vrib ADD TO CART, THEN ENTER THE DISCOUNT CODE ON THE NEXT PAGE!

Make some trails!

Terry

Here’s the video of this post:

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A strange thing happened during our latest trip. I found myself in conversations, both online and offline (that would be in person) talking about with vacation rental owners and agents about what renters are looking for in a vacation rental. I’ve got my opinion, I’ll share it, and would like yours as well.

We are a family of five made up of mom and dad (that would be me) a 13 year old, a 12 year old, and a 10 year old that, among other things, eat us out of house and home. NEED: A minimum of two bedrooms, prefer three; decent kitchen with all basic supplies. Close to decent super market with a liquor section. If you’re wondering why the liquor reference than you don’t have a 13, 12 and 10 year old running around your house!

We prefer to drive to vacation rental destinations but have not eschewed flying when the time budget is short. We live in IL so the idea of driving anywhere in the US and Canada is not that big a deal (our last trip was 5122 miles round trip – driving.) NEED: on-site parking with a garage preferred.

We prefer to travel with our two dogs, Reggie and Marty. NEED: pet friendly.

We’re a pretty active family and that means at the end of the day it is great to jump in to a spa. NEED: spa, a real spa, not one in the bathroom.

I enjoy grilling. NEED: grill, preferably, gas grill. Not that it tastes better, they are just easier to get up and running.

Okay… so there you go, a not so long list of pretty basic family requirements.

What are yours?

Make some trails!

Terry

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