Decorated Navy SEAL, Best Selling Author Marcus Luttrell to Headline 2015 Partner Conference!

Luttrell-Newsletter-Cover-New1

Marcus Luttrell Marcus Luttrell LiveRez CEO Tracy Lotz

Decorated Navy SEAL and Best Selling Author Marcus Luttrell with LiveRez CEO Tracy Lotz

LiveRez is thrilled to announce decorated Navy SEAL and New York Times Best Selling author Marcus Luttrell as a keynote speaker at the 2015 LiveRez Partner Conference, Oct. 19-23 at the iconic Sun Valley Resort.

Luttrell always knew that he was born to serve his country and do everything with discipline and commitment. Lone Survivor is his story of the bravery, perseverance, and dedication of four Navy SEALS who fought dozens of Taliban fighters in the mountains of Afghanistan.

“I will never quit. My nation expects me to be physically harder and mentally stronger than my enemies.”
– Lone Survivor

Don’t miss your chance to hear his inspiring story of courage firsthand.

Register-Now

 

 

Learn More About LiveRez
LiveRez is the most widely used software platform for professional vacation rental managers. The company’s cloud-based, end-to-end platform offers fully integrated solutions for reservation and property management, websites with online bookings, trust accounting, CRM, housekeeping and maintenance, reporting, reviews and more. LiveRez is a proud Gold Sponsor of the Vacation Rental Manager’s Association (VRMA).

Visit LiveRez.com to learn more:

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LiveRez SEO/SEM Manager Learns about the Future of Google Search at MozCon 2015

Sam Martin MozCon 2015LiveRez SEO/SEM Manager Sam Martin recently attended MozCon 2015 – one of the largest search engine optimization (SEO) and marketing conferences in the United States.

Moz founder Rand Fiskin is one of the world's foremost experts on SEO.

Moz founder Rand Fiskin is one of the world’s foremost experts on SEO.

While Sam brought back a ton of powerful new information, the highlight of the conference for him was the keynote presentation from Moz founder Rand Fiskin, famous industry wide for not only his powerful SEO software and uber popular White Board Friday videos, but also for his trademark mustache.

In many ways, Rand’s presentation (check it out here) was about the future of Google’s search algorithm. Although Google rarely comes out and says how it’s going to change its algorithm, Rand has done a great job in the past of anticipating and preparing for changes, thus catapulting him to one of the United States’ foremost experts on search engine optimization.

This year, Rand focused on how Google will likely move toward measuring not only the content and structure of your website, but how your website serves your visitors.

He said that in the past Google has looked mostly at the inputs – the content on your site, the structure of your site and the profile of links coming into your site. But, over the years people have tried to game this system, making it necessary for Google to continuously update its algorithm.

The whole purpose of Google search is to provide searchers with the best answer in the least amount of time. In the past, the best way to do this was to measure the site’s authority based on its back link profile and determine relevance to the query based on things like on-site content and the relevancy of linking websites.

An Emerging Algorithm Change? 

But, Rand thinks things are changing (or will change). He anticipates that Google will begin measuring the outputs of the website, if it hasn’t started already. So, what are these outputs? For Rand, outputs are metrics measuring how well your website serves its visitors. Every day Google tracks the performance of your website, measuring things like bounce rate, time on site, pages per visit, etc. It also measures the click-through rate of search engine results and whether or not searchers are returning to the search results to find a better answer or if they’re going back and modifying their searches. Rand expects Google to start using a process called machine learning to detect patterns in searcher behavior and better understand how all this affects a searcher’s satisfaction with the results it returns.

The theory behind all this is that Google will use this information to determine if your website is helping searchers solve their problem. If it is, expect Google to rank your website higher. If it’s not, then expect Google to rank your website lower. Generally speaking, for vacation rental managers ranking higher in Google search results means more free organic traffic and more bookings.

How to Prepare

Are-You-Ready1

So how do you prepare for this?

Well, the good news is that the steps you would need to take to prepare for this are right in line with what you should already be doing (and what LiveRez does actively every day). Simply put, you want to make sure you are giving guests the best experience possible when they come to your website. Here are a few things to consider:

  • Are travelers finding what they need when they come to your website?
  • Do you make it easy for travelers to accomplish their task (i.e. make a booking) when they hit your site?
  • Is the content on your website relevant to what potential guests are searching for?

So, what specifically do you need to worry about? Here are a few tips from Sam (via Rand).

  • Your content doesn’t just need to be good. It needs to be 10x better than what your competitors offer. The quality of your content is measured in engagement:
  • Your content needs to answer questions and solve problems (better than other pages can)
    • Is the information easy to consume?
    • Is it relevant to their needs?
    • Does it use related keywords?
    • Is the information unique or at least better than on other websites?
    • Does it help searchers fulfill their end goal? They may search for “vacation rentals in Tybee Island, GA,” but what they probably want to do is find and book a vacation rental on Tybee Island that meets all of their needs.
  • Make sure your meta titles and descriptions – the snippets Google displays for search results – are amazing. It will help you achieve higher than average click through rates (and help increase your ranking for search terms).
    • Does the meta title summarize the page?
    • Can they trust the URL?
    • Does the meta description get them interested enough to click?
  • While Google says that it doesn’t use social signals in its algorithm, pages that get more shares and social engagement generally perform better.
    • Make your content shareable on social media channels. More shares means more clicks, more traffic and more conversions (more bookings).
    • Google sees influxes in traffic, especially traffic that engages well with the page
    • If the content is good enough for people to share, that’s a sign that the content is engaging

Conclusion: Optimize for Two Algorithms 

In the end, Rand says that marketers need to optimize for two algorithms: one based on inputs (makes Google happy) and one based on outputs (makes searchers happy…which makes Google happy, too). So, don’t just build pages for search engines or just build pages for people. You need to build pages for both.

Questions for Sam 

Have more questions about LiveRez SEO/SEM manager learned at MozCon? Shoot Sam an email at SEO@LiveRez.com.

Learn More About LiveRez
LiveRez is the most widely used software platform for professional vacation rental managers. The company’s cloud-based, end-to-end platform offers fully integrated solutions for reservation and property management, websites with online bookings, trust accounting, CRM, housekeeping and maintenance, reporting, reviews and more. LiveRez is a proud Gold Sponsor of the Vacation Rental Manager’s Association (VRMA).

Visit LiveRez.com to learn more:

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Don’t Be Fooled: How to Spot the Difference Between Responsive Websites and Mobile Optimized Websites

Responsive-versus-mobile
With mobile traffic simply exploding over the last few years, mobile website design has become a huge concern for many businesses, especially those in the travel industry. But, there are so many terms floating around that it is easy to get them mixed up.

In this post, we’re going to explain the difference between some of the major terms that are often used (or misused) to describe different types of websites that cater to guests on mobile devices. In short, today we’re going to talk about the difference between mobile optimized websites and responsive design websites.

Both types of websites attempt to accomplish the same goal of giving visitors to their websites a great experience regardless of the device they’re using. They just accomplish this differently, and with varying degrees of success.

Let’s start by talking about what each is. Then, we’ll talk about the key differences, and finally we’ll show you some side by side examples.

Mobile Optimized Websites

Mobile-Website-2015Mobile optimized websites were the first come on the scene (we started offering mobile websites more than three years ago). These websites are geared primary for smart phones and smaller tablets. They are generally built entirely separate from your traditional website.

The strategy with mobile websites is to use your traditional website for desktops, laptops and larger tablets, and to show your mobile optimized website to people on smart phones and smaller tablets. So, when someone hits your website, your website will determine what type of device they are on and show them either the mobile website or the regular website.

Responsive Websites

Responsive

Responsive websites are much newer and now considered a best practice for all new website designs moving forward. But, they’re much harder to pull off for a web designer than a mobile website. They’re also much tougher to integrate into content management systems. Here’s why. A responsive website is shown to all of your guests no matter what device they are on. It’s the website itself that changes. Elements of the website will dynamically adapt to look perfect no matter what device you are on.

They work by querying what size your screen is and then displaying the website to fit that screen. To accomplish this, web designers have to style for four different ranges of screen size to make sure the website displays perfectly on all devices. Essentially, instead of building four different websites to accommodate four different screen size ranges, responsive websites handle every device with one website.

The Advantages of Responsive Design

While most mobile optimized websites will work just fine for many people, there are some strong advantages of responsive websites that make them better. These advantages become more and more important as mobile device usage become more prolific. Here are just a few of those advantages:

  • Responsive websites look better across all devices because they offer a higher range of adaptability. It’s the difference between one website with styles for four screen sizes or the option of just seeing a regular website or a separate mobile optimized site.
  • For the most part, responsive websites will keep all of your content and pages. Many mobile optimized websites will exclude content (and even entire pages) that are found on your regular site. This raised concerns with Google, which until recently indexed only the main websites. In some cases Google would serve up a page in search results that had valuable information on the main site, but that page or that information was not available to the searcher when they clicked through the search result to the page on their smart phone.
  • Consequently, Google favors responsive websites to mobile optimized websites. But, they still highly favor and reward mobile optimized websites over websites that are not mobile friendly at all. In Google’s eye, responsive is best, but mobile optimized still meets its requirement and is way better than websites that aren’t mobile friendly.
  • Responsive websites also save you time because you are only managing content on one website. Because a mobile optimized website is actually an entirely different website than your regular website, albeit with very similar content, you actually have to manage and host two separate websites. Now, if both your regular website and your mobile optimized website are connected to a central content management system (like LiveRez’s are), management of content becomes much easier.

Spotting the Differences

Because responsive design is the newer, hotter trend (and a best practice), a number of technology companies in the vacation rental industry want to claim that their mobile optimized websites are really responsive. Rather than just taking their word for it, you should learn to spot the differences. The great thing is that if you know what you’re looking for, the differences are pretty easy to spot.

Here’s a side-by-side comparison of a mobile optimized set-up (regular site + mobile site) and a responsive design set-up. We’ll show you both the home page and a search results page at different sizes and then what they actually look like on a smart phone (in this example, we’re using a Samsung Galaxy S6).

Side-by-Side Comparison

Full Sized

Here are two websites — one responsive and one mobile optimized — at full width on a desktop. As you can tell, they both look good. But, they were both designed to look good at this size.

Full-Sized-Mobile

Half Sized (about Tablet Size) 

Here they are with the browser shrunk to about the size of a tablet. The responsive site still looks great, but the mobile optimized site is starting to display weird in spots. See how the booking box is moving over the navigation bar and the smaller images below? The properties still display okay in search results, but look at how much smaller they are than in the responsive website.

Just click on the image to view it full size.

Smart Phone Sized

Since you don’t always have time to check out a website on your phone (and you need to do this to really tell if a website is responsive), here are both of the websites with the browser shrunk down to about the size of a smart phone.  On the mobile optimized website, things are really starting to go wrong. The booking box is way out of place, and big parts of the page are missing, like most of the navigation bar and most of the text. And, on the search results page, you can’t even see the search results.

In comparison, the responsive website still looks great. The elements are now re-arranged to look great on the smaller page, and all the information on both pages is still there. The nav bar is still there, too. Everything is the same. The display of the content has just adapted to respond to the screen size.

Now, to be fair to the maker of the mobile optimized site, they were never intending for people with devices this small to actually get this version of the website. As you’ll see in the next section, people actually accessing this site on a smart phone are shown a different, mobile-optimized site.

However (and here’s the sticking point), to call the website below on the right a responsive website just simply wouldn’t be true. 

Mobile-Small

On Actual Smart Phone

Here are the websites side by side on the new Samsung Galaxy S6.  You’ll notice that the mobile optimized site has now switched to its mobile version, where the responsive website is showing pretty much the same content as when you shrunk down the browser. The big difference here is that the mobile optimized site is now missing a lot of the content it was showing on the home page.

Just click on the image to view it full sized.

Conclusion
Now that you know the difference between responsive design and mobile optimized, you’ll know for sure what you are getting when someone is trying to sell you a new site. But, if you have any further questions on the differences between responsive design and mobile optimized sites, feel free to give us a call at (800) 343-2891. We’d be happy to help.

Learn More About LiveRez
LiveRez is the most widely used software platform for professional vacation rental managers. The company’s cloud-based, end-to-end platform offers fully integrated solutions for reservation and property management, websites with online bookings, trust accounting, CRM, housekeeping and maintenance, reporting, reviews and more. LiveRez is a proud Gold Sponsor of the Vacation Rental Manager’s Association (VRMA).

Visit LiveRez.com to learn more:

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LiveRez’s American Flag Profile Photo Creator Goes Viral

Tracy Lotz - TV Interview

LiveRez CEO Tracy Lotz is interviewed by a local television station.

This past week LiveRez’s American Flag profile photo creator went viral. The most recent count this morning shows that nearly 150,000 photos have been created through this tool, and it’s received more than 38,000 likes on Facebook.

The media also took notice last week. LiveRez CEO Tracy Lotz was interviewed by multiple news outlets about the tool, from local TV stations to nationally syndicated talk radio shows. Here are a few links to some of the stories have come out:

Thanks again to everyone who used our profile photo creator. We are proud to live and do business in the greatest country in the world, and were happy to build this free tool, so that everyone could show their patriotism over the Fourth of July holiday.

Learn More About LiveRez
LiveRez is the most widely used software platform for professional vacation rental managers. The company’s cloud-based, end-to-end platform offers fully integrated solutions for reservation and property management, websites with online bookings, trust accounting, CRM, housekeeping and maintenance, reporting, reviews and more. LiveRez is a proud Gold Sponsor of the Vacation Rental Manager’s Association (VRMA).

Visit LiveRez.com to learn more:

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LiveRez Creates American Flag Facebook Profile Photo Creator

American Flag Profile Photo Creator

In honor of the upcoming national holiday, LiveRez created a new Facebook profile photo creator. The tool allows people to overlay an American flag over their profile photo, so they can show their Fourth of July Spirit. And, it’s incredibly easy to use!

  1. Go to Happy4thOfJuly.LiveRez.com.
  2. Upload a photo.
  3. Download the new photo.
  4. Use it as your profile photo on social media channels.

Update

Our CEO was just featured on a local news cast last night. Check out the story behind this tool.

Learn More About LiveRez
LiveRez is the most widely used software platform for professional vacation rental managers. The company’s cloud-based, end-to-end platform offers fully integrated solutions for reservation and property management, websites with online bookings, trust accounting, CRM, housekeeping and maintenance, reporting, reviews and more. LiveRez is a proud Gold Sponsor of the Vacation Rental Manager’s Association (VRMA).

Visit LiveRez.com to learn more:

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Sun Valley Lodge Re-Opens after $51 Million Renovation

2014.09.04_LODGE-Pool-View
The world-renowned Sun Valley Resort – home to the upcoming 2015 LiveRez Partner Conference – just completed its massive $51 million renovation of the iconic Sun Valley Lodge.

After a 10-month hiatus, the Lodge re-opened on June 16 – bigger, better and more luxurious than ever, but with the same aura of historical significance.

“In the 37 years I’ve worked for Sun Valley, this is the most exciting thing I’ve ever seen,” Sun Valley Marketing Director Jack Sibbach told the Twin Falls’ Times-News. “It’s a complete rebirth—not just a remodel. We took the lodge down to its 13-inch pillars and everything is new while keeping the Sun Valley feel. The design of the re-imagined lodge respects the history of this iconic building while being very contemporary.”

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The 80-year lodge has played host to some of the world’s biggest celebrities for decades. Prolific writer Ernest Hemingway completed “For Whom the Bell Tolls” while staying at the lodge. His typewriter is on display in one of the Lodge’s new celebrity suites – which also include rooms celebrating regular guests such as Marilyn Monroe, Gary Cooper, Sonja Henie, Averell Harriman and Clint Eastwood.

These new celebrity suites only break the ice of what was accomplished in the renovation. Also included in the remodel were:

  • The addition of a 20,000 square foot spa and salon
  • An expanded lobby
  • Bigger rooms
  • A larger, re-designed bowling alley
  • And much more!

 
But, it’s not just what they added, it’s how they added it that makes this renovation so special. No detail was spared in elevating this already iconic building. Materials were brought in from around the world.  Granites were imported from India, Brazil, Italy and Jerusalem, and gold limestone was secured from Portugal. The new rugs are custom designed and handwoven. And, the new heated pool is salt water, to be gentler on the skin than chorine.

All this was done with a commitment to preserve the look and feel of the legendary building. The history of the building is highlighted by 250 classic photographs that adorn the walls of the resort, showcasing its famous visitors throughout the years.

A short list of famous guests include: Clark Gable, Errol Flynn, Lucille Ball, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Mark Zuckerberg, Mats Wilander, Warren Buffett, Walter Annenberg, Adam West, Tom Hanks, Oprah Winfrey, Steve Miller, Demi Moore, Peter Cetera, Clint Eastwood, Bruce Willis, Ashton Kutcher, Richard Dreyfuss, Jamie Lee Curtis, Steve Wynn, Justin Timberlake, Mohamed al-Fayed, Barbara Kent, Bill Gates, and Tony Robbins.

The lodge was originally designed by Stanley Underwood in 1935 and was built in just nine months, opening in December 1936 as America’s first destination ski resort. The renovation, however, took even longer than the original construction, with an estimated 150 to 250 workers on hand every day for 10 months. The resort even got a special noise permit, so it could work late into the evening hours.

LiveRez partners will be one of the first groups of guests to experience the historic re-birth of the lodge, when they attend the 2015 LiveRez Partner Conference, Oct. 19-23 at the Sun Valley Resort.

To learn more about the conference and register online, visit Conference.LiveRez.com.

Learn More About LiveRez
LiveRez is the most widely used software platform for professional vacation rental managers. The company’s cloud-based, end-to-end platform offers fully integrated solutions for reservation and property management, websites with online bookings, trust accounting, CRM, housekeeping and maintenance, reporting, reviews and more. LiveRez is a proud Gold Sponsor of the Vacation Rental Manager’s Association (VRMA).

Visit LiveRez.com to learn more:

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Win $1,000 with LiveRez’s “Best View” Facebook Photo Contest

Newsletter-Cover-Photo-Contest

As vacation rental managers in some of the most beautiful locations in the world, you certainly have properties with breathtaking views. And, if you have a picture of that view, you can win our latest Facebook photo contest.

We’re asking managers to upload a photo of one of their properties, highlighting its amazing view. Once you upload it, you can get your friends to vote for it. On July 1, we’ll select one lucky winner from the most popular photos, and they’ll take home a $1,000 Amazon Gift Card. Learn more below.


How to Play:

1. Enter the contest via the link below.
2. Upload your photo.
3. Get your friends to vote.
4. The winner gets a $1,000 Amazon gift card.

Enter-Now-Button

 
 
 


No purchase necessary. All professional vacation rental managers and their staff are invited to enter. The contest runs through June 30, and we’ll announce the winner shortly after on Facebook.

Learn More About LiveRez

LiveRez is the most widely used software platform for professional vacation rental managers. The company’s cloud-based, end-to-end platform offers fully integrated solutions for reservation and property management, websites with online bookings, trust accounting, CRM, housekeeping and maintenance, reporting, reviews and more. LiveRez is a proud Gold Sponsor of the Vacation Rental Manager’s Association (VRMA).

Visit LiveRez.com to learn more:

Did you like this post?

Please consider “liking” it and sharing it on your social media channels via the buttons below. You can also follow us and get notifications of all new posts via the “Follow” button Follow Us in the bottom right-hand part of the screen.