Four “Smart Moves” for Professional Vacation Rental Managers

Today’s professional vacation rental managers are integrating technology into their operations more and more, and reaping all sorts of benefits, from increases in bookings and inventory to greater operational efficiencies and reduced overhead.

One of the newest subsets of technology in the vacation rental industry is smart home technology. And in today’s post (courtesy our friends at PointCentral), we’ll be exploring how making your homes smarter can increase your profitability.

Smart Move No. 1: Ditching Keys

According to HistoryOfKeys.com, the first keys were invented some 6,000 years ago in ancient Babylon and Egypt. So, they’re hardly a technological advancement. But, in all those years, we really haven’t seen a smart alternative, until recently.

The problem with keys for vacation rental managers is they’re hard to keep track of and expensive and time consuming to change out. And, when you have hundreds of different guests sharing the same keys over a period of years, they’re hardly secure either.

But smart locks eliminate a lot of the hassle and security issues associated with keys. You install them once, and they can be changed instantly and dynamically, thanks to new technology and the prevalence of wireless internet service. This is the bread and butter of what PointCentral offers VRMs.

A big advantage with the PointCentral solution is that all of this happens via the cellular network. A smart communications hub installed in every property connects every PointCentral device in the property to the cellular network, thus eliminating the need for a Wi-Fi connection. This architecture, proven in more than 5 million homes in the U.S., is much more reliable than Wi-Fi, which often requires a manual restart.

With LiveRez’s deep integration with PointCentral, not only can you automatically change the lock codes with every new reservation, but you can unlock doors remotely. All a manager has to do is click a button within our RealTimeManager (RTM) dashboard to unlock the door for a guest. No need to get in the car (at whatever hour) and drive a key out to a guest.

LiveRez PointCentral Integration

Smart Move No. 2: Leveraging Real-Time Insights

Another great thing about using codes instead of keys to enter a house is the tracking that comes with it. From LiveRez’s RTM dashboard, users can see the real-time occupancy status of every property based on the arrival and departure lock codes entered by the guest. These lock codes are generated automatically with every new reservation in LiveRez, and are available as a mail merge macro in our CRM system, making it easy to include them in personalized emails to guests (which can also be automated from within LiveRez).

Cleaners, maintenance workers, and inspectors can also be given their own codes to enter the house. And when they input their entrance and exit codes, events are sent to LiveRez, which can then automatically update the home status on the RTM dashboard. This allows managers to have real-time visibility over the status of their operations. These events not only trigger status changes in real time, but also create an audit trail of who entered and exited the house (and when).

LiveRez-PointCentral Integration

Smart Move No. 3: Tapping Into Energy Savings

Another way that smart home technology can save managers (and their home owners) money is by monitoring and optimizing the energy settings in the house. You can program PointCentral’s  smart thermostats to increase or drop the temperature around check-ins and check-outs, and even monitor and control room temperature remotely, allowing you to spot potential issues quickly and address them proactively.

The energy savings are the real deal. In an initial test, one LiveRez partner reported a 38% decrease in its homes’ gas bills and a 14% decrease in its homes’ electricity bills.

Smart Move No. 4: Leveraging Smart Assistants  

Just days ago, PointCentral announced an integration with Amazon Echo and Google Home Voice Assistants. Basically, this allow guests to control smart devices (like locks, thermostats, lighting, etc.) with their voice. Imagine being able to advertise that to prospective guests?

Learn More

From eliminating keys and remotely controlling locks, to real-time property intelligence and automated alerts, VRMs are enjoying significant operational savings from implementing Smart Home technology.

If you want to learn more about how PointCentral and LiveRez can help you improve the guest experience, increase your operational efficiency and offer your owners significant savings on their utility bills, contact us via the information below:

LiveRez Announces VacationRentPayment as its Platinum Sponsor for the 2017 Partner Conference

VRP-Logo

VacationRentPayment, an industry leader in payment processing solutions, will also offer educational sessions at the conference

Eagle, IDLiveRez.com, the most widely used cloud-based software for professional vacation rental managers, today announced VacationRentPayment as its platinum sponsor for the 2017 LiveRez Partner Conference, which runs Oct. 8-11 at the Wigwam Resort and Spa in Phoenix, AZ.

VacationRentPayment, a service of YapStone, is the vacation rental industry’s top provider of payment processing solutions and has been one of LiveRez’s preferred industry partners for many years.

“We’ve worked hand-in-hand with VacationRentPayment for many years to offer our property manager partners real-time payment processing for their bookings,” said LiveRez CEO Tracy Lotz. “They’ve been outstanding industry partners, and we’re thrilled to have them as the featured sponsor for this year’s conference.”

In addition to being the event’s top sponsor, VacationRentPayment will also present educational sessions, including a workshop on how the chargeback process works and a review of rental agreements.

Each year the conference brings together hundreds of professional vacation rental managers from all across the globe. Many of these managers already use VacationRentPayment as their merchant processor, but company representatives said they wanted to make sure their customers knew about all the ways VacationRentPayment could save them money and make their lives easier.

“LiveRez has been a true partner of VacationRentPayment for over five years,” says Tom Villante, CEO of YapStone. “We’re proud to continue our relationship by providing engaging content and sharing industry advancements at their upcoming Partner Conference. Our goal is to help LiveRez partners better run their businesses through integrated payment solutions.”

To learn more about the 2017 LiveRez Partner Conference, visit LiveRez.com/2017Conference.

About LiveRez

LiveRez is the world’s most widely used software platform for marketing and managing vacation rental homes online. The LiveRez solution offers professional property managers all the tools they need to run their business in a single, cloud-based platform. And, the company’s unique “pay-as-you-book” business model creates a mutually beneficial partnership between LiveRez and its vacation rental manager partners. This partnership fuels the company’s mission of continually developing and supporting cutting-edge solutions that empower independent property managers to compete in the rapidly evolving vacation rental space. To learn more about LiveRez, visit LiveRez.com.

About YapStone

YapStone is one of the leading payment providers for large, complicated and under-served markets, including marketplace companies, vacation rental, storage, and property rental industries.  YapStone will process over $18 billion in payment volume this year and, unlike competitors, they facilitate the entire payment transaction from beginning to end. Through robust services, YapStone handles risk, compliance, and fraud, so that marketplaces are free to focus on their core business.

VacationRentPayment is a service of YapStone that delivers payment solutions for vacation rental managers, owners and their guests. VacationRentPayment empowers homeowners with a comprehensive, yet easy-to-use electronic payment platform that directly integrates with many of the leading vacation rental softwares. This platform delivers simple, monthly statements for easy reconciliation and flat-rate pricing, giving you transparency into your growing vacation rental business.

VacationRentPayment has over 17 years of deep industry-specific payment processing expertise and a leadership team with sophisticated payments experience that helps deliver their services to more than 400,000 vacation rental properties across the country.

LiveRez Teams Up with Blizzard Internet Marketing to Offer Wider Range of Services to its Property Manager Partners

The partnership will allow the vacation rental software leader to quickly scale services to meet increasing demand

SEO-LiveRezEagle, IDLiveRez.com, the most widely used cloud-based software for professional vacation rental managers, today announced that it has signed an agreement with Blizzard Internet Marketing to provide LiveRez’s customers with a wide range of digital marketing services.

Based in Glenwood Springs, CO, Blizzard is a leading provider of online marketing services for professional vacation rental managers. As a preferred LiveRez industry partner, the company will become LiveRez’s go-to recommendation for online marketing services for its rapidly growing base of customers (called partners).

“We carefully vet every single one of our preferred partners, and over the years we’ve seen Blizzard’s commitment to the long-term, sustainable success of professional managers,” said Tina Upson, LiveRez’s VP of Operations. “As we’ve continued to grow, we’ve had a huge influx of our property manager partners requesting additional online marketing services. Partnering with Blizzard will allow us to provide our users with these services at scale.”

Traditionally, LiveRez has accomodated its partners’ needs with its own in-house professional services team, but due to the increasing interest in additional marketing services Upson said the company knew it would need to find an industry partner to help meet the demand.

“With all the recent changes to the marketing landscape in our industry, we’ve witnessed a fundamental shift in our partners’ marketing strategies, trending toward online marketing services focused on building a manager’s brand and helping them secure more direct bookings,” Upson said. “But, as a company hyper-focused on our users’ long-term success, we had to find a provider that shared our values.”

Upson noted the work that Blizzard has done for some of LiveRez’s current partners as a big factor in the company’s decision, as well as Blizzard’s ability to offer LiveRez partners a wide variety of services, including search engine optimization (“SEO”), paid ad management, email marketing, social media, and content writing.

“LiveRez is committed to the success of the professional managers using their property management software,” said Susan Blizzard, CEO of Blizzard Internet Marketing. “That means having a solid online marketing presence. SEO and all other digital marketing strategies are constantly changing, and they are evolving even more rapidly now because of mobile devices. Blizzard has a team of experts specializing in each major area of online marketing, and we’re excited for the opportunity to help LiveRez’s partners further diversify their marketing portfolios and take their businesses to new levels.”

About LiveRez.com

LiveRez is the world’s most widely used software platform for marketing and managing vacation rental homes online. The LiveRez solution offers professional property managers all the tools they need to run their business in a single, cloud-based platform. And, the company’s unique “pay-as-you-book” business model creates a mutually beneficial partnership between LiveRez and its vacation rental manager partners. This partnership fuels the company’s mission of continually developing and supporting cutting-edge solutions that empower independent property managers to compete in the rapidly evolving vacation rental space.

 

About Blizzard Internet Marketing

Specializing in the Vacation Rental Management industry, Blizzard Internet Marketing provides comprehensive online marketing services, employing a group of in-house experts in all areas of online marketing, including SEO, Pay-Per-Click, Email Marketing, Social Media, Local Search, Analytics, Usability and Website Services. Our experts regularly attend online marketing symposiums, ongoing education courses, and subscribe to all of the most highly relevant blogs for their area of expertise. In addition, we offer training and consultation to our clients through our services as well as holding in person Blizzard University Workshops about digital marketing techniques.

Use These 9 Simple Hacks to Get More Direct Bookings for Your Vacation Rentals

THE FIVE (2)

With more and more listing sites transitioning to a strictly commission-based, online-booking-only model, a lot of property managers are starting to worry about their marketing strategy.

We can’t blame them. It’s a fundamental shift in the world of vacation rental marketing, and it’s poised to have a major impact on the way professional managers generate bookings. In fact, managers are already reporting a slew of challenges resulting from the new policies some listing sites are implementing:

  • Marketing costs are going up
  • Bookings are down
  • Communication with guests is being hindered
  • And managers’ brands are being hidden

And, it’s getting worse and worse every day.

In response, many professional managers are putting a renewed focus on building their own brands and getting more direct bookings.

And it’s working.

For years, we’ve been educating our property manager partners about the dangers of becoming too reliant on listing sites. The good news is that many have listened…and acted. They’ve built their own brands, and they control their own destiny.

If they can do it, so you can you. But how, you say? It’s actually quite simple:

You just have to start.

The problem is, many managers just don’t know where to start. So, in today’s post, we’ll outline 9 proven tactics we’ve seen professional managers use to get more direct bookings.

What We’ll Cover

Here’s a brief teaser of some of tips and tricks we’ll share today:

  • The undeniable facts about why booking direct is superior to booking through an OTA
  • Creative ways to ensure that your listing site guests know who you are, remember you, and book direct the next time they stay with you
  • Low-cost ways to build traffic and brand awareness that have nothing to do with listing sites
  • How to get more mileage out of your website traffic and inbound phone calls

But before we get into the specific tactics, it’s important to understand both how they fit into your strategic master plan for getting more direct bookings and the crucial talking points that should be the centerpiece of your messaging.

First, let’s dive into the four-tier master plan for getting more direct bookings.  

The 4 Fundamental Steps for Getting More Direct Bookings

THE FIVE (1)

Getting more direct bookings really boils down to these four high-level activities.

Step 1: Generate More Traffic and More Brand Awareness.

First, you need to generate more brand awareness and drive traffic to your website. The two work together hand-in-hand. Website traffic begets brand awareness and brand awareness helps drive traffic.

Having a hard time driving traffic? Don’t worry. We’ll go over some low-cost ways to get people to your website later in this post. We’ll also cover some ways to generate brand awareness among your listing site guests, which in turn will help drive future traffic.

Step 2: Build Your Contact Database.

Next, you need to build up your guest database.

In the past, many managers used listing sites like VRBO as a way to generate leads and build their contact database. But, these sites are quickly transitioning from a flat-fee, lead-generation model to a commission-based, eCommerce model. Because of this, you’ll need to find other methods of building your contact database.

The best way to build your database without listing sites is to capture more contact information from the travelers visiting your site and calling you.

Many of you may already have an existing database (or at least lists of past guests / inquiries), but you also need to add to that database by collecting emails (and other contact details) on your website and from inbound calls, as well as collecting contact information from all new guests that stay with you.  

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you are using a listing site to store all your lead information (which we don’t recommend), make sure you are downloading that information and storing back-ups. You never know how long the listing site will save that information. How devastating would it be to wake up one morning and see that all your saved leads have disappeared?

Step 3: Leverage Your Contacts.

Leverage this database to communicate directly with potential guests, past guests and, of course, your current guests.  Later in this post, we’ll go over many of the channels that allow you to leverage your existing contact database to reach guests (and most of them are pretty inexpensive).  

Step 4: Communicate the Benefits.

Make sure these travelers know about the benefits of booking direct with a professional manager. In the next section, we’ll go over the major benefits that you’ll want to make sure potential guests understand.    

The 5 Undeniable Benefits of Booking Direct

THE FIVE

As you build up your database of contacts, you’ll need to make sure they know the benefits of booking directly with a professional manager. Here are some of the ones we think will resonate most with potential guests.

FACT 1: Booking Direct Saves Guests (and Managers) Money

Booking direct saves money for both the guest and the manager. The guest doesn’t have to pay a guest fee and it also saves the manager from having to pay a booking fee.  Additionally, the manager might be running specials that aren’t available through the listing site or may be willing to negotiate the price.

FACT 2: Booking Direct Offers a Greater Selection of Professionally Managed Homes

Not all managers list their homes on listing sites, so guests could be missing out on a great home if a listing site is the only place they look. This is especially the case in certain established markets (like the Outer Banks of North Carolina) and for certain types of properties (like super high-end rentals).  Guests can often find homes that are not advertised on listing sites by doing a Google search for vacation rentals + the location and going directly to the managers’ websites.  The only downside is that guests may need to visit more than one website.

FACT 3: Booking Direct Allows for More Open Communication

When guests book direct, they can speak directly to a company representative that really knows the property. Guests can also choose how and when to contact the manager.  Unlike listing sites, there are no restrictions on communication when you book direct. Direct communication is good for both the guest and the manager. Guests may have specific questions that can’t be answered in the home’s listing. And, managers often want to vet the guests to ensure they meet the minimum requirements and are aware of the house rules (these managers have a duty to protect the home from guests who would abuse it and from guests that would cause disturbances to neighbors).  

FACT 4: Booking Direct Means Better Service

Professional managers can often offer guests additional services that aren’t available through listing sites (think grocery delivery, tee times, lift tickets, personal chefs, equipment rentals, discounts at local businesses, etc.). These managers are nearly always on-location and available pretty much around the clock in the case of an emergency. While some RBOs (rent by owners) do live close to their vacation homes and are more available, the majority of RBOs live hundreds of miles from their second homes and have lives (and jobs) outside of managing their home. For professional managers, managing vacation rentals is their only gig, and many are exceptional at what they do.

FACT 5: Booking Direct is More Secure

When booking with an established professional manager, you know the home exists. You can’t expect a large listing site to vet every home that is listed.  In fact, there’s no shortage of news stories out there about people running scams through listing sites. When a guests knows the manager they are dealing with, they can do their own research on that manager’s ratings and reviews online.

Unfortunately, many listing sites hide the brands of professional managers, making it pretty much impossible to do any research on the company you are booking with. They’re also making it much harder to even identify the property if it’s listed somewhere else. All you can really go on is the reviews for the property and hope they’re legitimate.

9 Specific Tactics for Getting More Direct Bookings

THE FIVE (3)

Okay, now that you know the high-level steps you need to focus on, as well as the benefits of booking direct that you’ll be sharing with guests, it’s time to move on to some specific tactics you can implement right away.

Tactic 1: Change Up Your Marketing Budget

If you want to build your own brand and get more direct bookings, you’ll want to dedicate some of your marketing budget to do so. This means pulling some of the money you’re spending on listings sites and instead spending it on things like building out your website and driving traffic to it through online advertising, search engine optimization and email marketing, among other things.

VACATION RENTAL MARKETING TIPS

If you’re looking to learn more about driving traffic to your website, check out some of these other resources:

Tactic 2: Start Collecting Emails on Your Website

Most professional managers are going to see online booking rates of less than 1%. In some markets, half of that is a good conversion rate. But, if you’re looking to really leverage the traffic you’re sending to your website, you need to find a way to gather contact details from a higher percentage of your website visitors.

Because giving out your contact information is a much smaller request than say committing to a 7-day vacation for hundreds or thousands of dollars, you’ll generally be more likely to get a guest to opt-in to receiving your emails or to submit a contact form for more information on a property.

Don’t get me wrong, a completed booking, either online or over the phone, should be your first goal, but make sure your website is also set up to gather contact details from those visitors that aren’t ready to pull the trigger on a booking.

Most email marketing programs make it really easy to link or embed opt-in forms on your website. And if your website has a content management system (like LiveRez offers), then it’s really simple to just paste in a line of code for the opt-in form.

Make sure to sell the benefits of opting in to receiving your emails, either in the form itself or on the page where the form is embedded. Even though you’re not selling guests something, you are asking them to give you something. The value of receiving your emails needs to be greater than the potential pain of their email inbox getting filled with more promotional emails. Try offering them an incentive up front (like a special guide or a discount on their next booking), and make sure you demonstrate the value your emails will deliver.  

Tactic 3: Gather Contact Info over the Phone 

If a guest calls you about one of your properties, you should leave that call with their contact information. Here are a few tactics for doing that without annoying guests:

  • Collecting Phone Numbers – When the call starts, have your reservationist get the potential guest’s name and a good contact phone number, so they can call back if they get disconnected.
  • Collecting Email Addresses – Offer to send the guest more information (like quotes for properties) while you’re on the phone – that way you can get their email address. LiveRez has a feature called instant quotes, where the reservationist can send multiple bookable quotes to a guest within seconds. The great thing about this is that those quotes are automatically saved as a lead in LiveRez’s CRM system.

Tactic 4: Start Marketing to Your Guest Database

Once you have emails (and even mailing addresses) for people who have stayed with you (or were interested in staying with you), you can start marketing to them directly. Here are a few ways to leverage that information in your marketing efforts:

  • Email Marketing – You can send marketing emails to your database to keep them informed about the area, your properties and your company. LiveRez makes it really easy to export lists of your past guests, leads, and even owners, which you can then upload to an email marketing service like Mail Chimp. Just be careful about blindly adding people to your email lists. Make sure the emails are something they would expect to receive. Consider the level of your relationship with them: Are they past guests? Did they freely opt-in on your website? Are they a lead that never booked? Also consider how long it’s been since you’ve last been in contact. Would they remember who you are?  
  • Facebook Custom Audience Advertising – Not a ton of people know about all of Facebook’s options for advertising. For a basic Facebook ad, you might target people based on their interests or their demographics. But, if you have a large enough list, you can upload it to Facebook and let Facebook match the people on the list with their Facebook profiles. Once that is done, you can create Facebook ads and only show them to people on the list you uploaded.
  • Direct Mail Print Advertising – This one is a little bit more expensive, but it can be a great way to reach guests. Basically, you create some sort of marketing collateral (a letter, a post card, etc.) and then mail it directly to the people on your list. Make sure your offer is strong, and do your best to make it personal and relevant to the guest. 

Tactic 5: Leverage Remarketing

Wouldn’t it be cool if you could show ads only to people that you knew at least visited your site? Well, it’s actually pretty easy to do. There are a lot of different services available, but our two favorites are Google Remarketing and Facebook Remarketing.

  • Google Remarketing – Google really has a corner on online advertising. They show ads in search results, and they can also show ads on millions of web pages across the world, thanks to their Adsense program. With Adsense, Google lets online publishers put a code on their website that dynamically shows relevant ads to a visitor, and once a visitor takes an action on the ad Google pays the publisher some money. How do they do this? Well, as an advertiser, you can opt in to remarketing from Adwords. You just need to put a special piece of code on your website that tracks the visitors to your site, and then when those visitors come to a site that is running Adsense, your ad has a chance to display. Most consumers don’t know about this, so when they see your ads all over, they’ll not only be constantly reminded about you but they’ll also think you’re more credible (because obviously you have to spend a lot of money to advertise on all these sites, right?). In reality, though, remarketing is quite affordable for most managers, and generally cheaper than traditional Adwords ads.
  • Facebook Remarketing – Another similar tactic is to install a Facebook tracking pixel on your website, which will record anyone who visits your website while logged into Facebook. You can then create Facebook ads that are only shown to people who have visited your website. Like Google remarketing ads, these ads are fairly inexpensive when compared to other types of ads.

Tactic 6: Partner with Other Businesses

You aren’t the only person out there who stands to benefit from people booking direct with professional managers. Here are few other people that have a dog in the fight:

  • Other professional managers
  • Service providers that you partner with for those concierge services that you can’t offer through listing sites
  • Local businesses that you work with to negotiate special perks for your guests
  • Local chambers that promote tourism in your area
  • And, if you’re a LiveRez partner, as your software partner, we have a vested interest in helping you get more direct bookings

All these people have incentives to be another voice espousing the benefits of direct bookings. The more you can work together to communicate the value of direct bookings to consumers, the more educated consumers will be about the benefits of booking direct.

LiveRez is even actively developing technology that facilitates managers working together to get each other more bookings. For more information, check out our interview with VRM Intel.

Tactic 7: Make sure your guests know who you are

This may seem really simple, but especially for guests that book on listing sites, they may not be aware of your brand and the people behind it. People like to buy from people, and from the brands (and people) that they trust. You’re missing a huge opportunity if guests go through an entire stay without learning more about you.

Here are a few ways to make sure your guests know who you are:

  • About Us Page  – Create an About Us page on your website that tells the story of your business, shares your values as a company, and highlights the people behind the brand. Consider including a group photo of your team and maybe even individual photos and descriptions of your key team members.
  • Onsite Information – Have printed materials and signage at the property that lets guests know more about your company.
  • Office Signage – Put a sign up in your lobby where guests check in that talks about who you are and also lets them know about the benefits of booking direct.
  • Pre-Stay/Post-Stay Communications – If possible, communicate with your guests before arrival. Make sure to include your branding in those communications (you might even be able to fit in some of the benefits of booking direct, too).
    • LiveRez’s CRM system can help you automate these communications, while making them more personal and more professional looking. Not only do these emails let the guest know who you are, they can greatly enhance the guests’ experience and answer questions before they are asked.  

Tactic 8: Use Branded Giveaway Items

One way to keep your brand top of mind is to give your guests branded items that they actually want to use.  They’ll take these items home with them and be reminded of you every time they use them. Plus, who doesn’t like getting free stuff?

If you’re looking for a good vendor for branded items, check out our friends at BeachHouseLogos.com, who specialize in the vacation rental industry.

Tactic 9: Offer Amazing Guest Experiences

Want your guests to remember you and come back and book with you over and over again?

Make sure their vacation is out of this world!

Go above and beyond in making sure every part of their vacation is perfect. They certainly deserve it after saving up both their limited vacation time and the money for their vacation. As you know, some guests save for years for a big vacation.

Many successful managers strive to offer a “Wow” moment for their guests. Strive to do something that is relevant, personal and unexpected (leave roses and champagne for a couple celebrating an anniversary, decorate the house for a guest celebrating a birthday, etc.).  It will certainly stand out in their minds – not to mention, the famous marketing book Influence says that when you do something personal and unexpected for someone up front, they’re likely to return the favor somehow (in your case, hopefully that’s repeat business).  

Weigh In

These are just a few of the ways we’ve seen managers increase direct bookings. What tactics have you used to increase your own direct bookings? Let us know in the comments below.

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.

At LiveRez, we take our partnership with each and every one of our property managers seriously. We believe in the power of community and teamwork, and, together with our partners, we win as a team.

Visit LiveRez.com to learn more:

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Data-Driven SEO: Estimate Your Returns in Just 4 Steps

Search Engine Optimization is a total mystery to many professional vacation rental managers. You know you need to do it. You’ve been told it will help you get more bookings. But, maybe you don’t know where to start, or even how to judge if what you’re doing is paying off.

The organic traffic you get from search engines is free, but SEO is far from free. You have to consider the time and effort you’re putting in to do the work, or the amount of money you’re paying for someone else to do your SEO.

Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a way to put a value on your SEO efforts and even estimate your potential return on investment? And what if you could do that before you even started? Interested?

Well, today we’re going to show you a method for doing just that.

The Power of Data

We live in a world where it’s easier than ever to track your website’s performance, thanks to a growing number of tools online (most of them free). In this post, we’re going to show you how to use the information from those tools to estimate your potential return on investment from an SEO campaign.

It all comes down to understanding how Google works and what tools are available to help you assess how SEO could help you get more traffic and ultimately more bookings and more revenue.

So without further ado, let’s get started.

Where You Rank Correlates to Traffic

The first step in understanding how ranking better can help you get more bookings is to understand not only that where you rank correlates to how much traffic you get, but also being able to estimate how much traffic you can expect to see at different search engine ranking positions.

Using the following tools and formulas, we’ll show you the potential return you can expect for improving your ranking for a single keyword. Ultimately, you’re going to want to repeat this analysis for every keyword you’re considering. In fact, this process can even help you determine which keywords are most worthwhile to rank for.

For the process to work, you need to understand four key metrics per keyword (explained in the sections below)

  • Search volume for the term
  • Average clicks rates at different search positions
  • Your website’s conversion rate for each term
  • The average revenue per conversion

Let’s get started by exploring how you can estimate a keyword’s monthly search volume.

Estimating Search Volume

The first thing you need to do is estimate how many total searches a keyword gets every month. There are a lot of tools you can use to do these estimates.

Google Search Console – If you’ve got Google Search Console (formerly Webmaster Tools) set up and you’re already ranking for some terms, you can go to the Search Traffic > Search Analytics section to see how many total impressions those keywords are getting you each month. You can also get a good estimate from Google of your average position, as well as the click-through rate to your website from search results.

Other Tools – You can use a number of other tools like SEMrush, SpyFu or even the Google Adwords Keyword Planner to estimate how many monthly searches a term gets.

Here’s quick overview of SEMrush’s keyword analytics tool. For this exercise, you’ll be most interested in the Search Volume for the keyword.

Estimating Click Through Rate by Position

The next thing you need to do is look at some of the click-through-rate studies for organic search. Now, every year and with every new Google feature (think local result carousels or rich snippets), this data can change. But, taking these into consideration, you get a rough idea of your click-through-rate at different positions by looking at some of these studies.

This study from AdvancedWebRanking.com does a good job explaining what type of click-through rates you might see at each position. Let’s look at some of the findings:

Position 1 – 28.9%

Position 2 – 14.3%

Position 3 – 10%

Position 4 – 6.47%

Position 5 – 4.58%

Position 6 – 3.29%

Position 7 – 2.43%

Position 8 – 1.87%

Position 9 – 1.41%

Position 10 – 1.06%

As you can see, there is a noticeable drop-off between the top position and the second position, and by the time you get to the end of page one, you’re barely getting 1% of clicks.

But, now that you know how many clicks you stand to get, you can estimate how much traffic you’ll get at different search positions. Just take the total search volume for the term times the click-through rate for the ranking position. For example, if the term got 1,000 monthly searches and you ranked No. 1, you could expect to get about 290 clicks (1000 x .289 = ~290 clicks).

Estimating Traffic Conversion

Now that you have an idea of how much more traffic you can get by ranking higher, you’ll need to understand how that traffic converts to bookings. The problem is that back in about 2011 Google Analytics removed the ability for you to track organic traffic by keyword. However, you can still track conversion by keyword for Adwords terms. This is the next best thing.

So, if you’re advertising for that term on Adwords, take a look at how that keyword is performing in Google Analytics.  

First, head over to Acquisition > All Traffic > Source/Medium.

Anayltics-Acquisition

Then, click on google / cpc in the list.

google cpc

Under the secondary dimension drop-down, click on Advertising > Keyword.

Analytics-Acquisition2keyword

This will show you a breakdown of every keyword you are bidding on. If you have eCommerce set up on your website, it will tell you your conversion rate for the term (and even the revenue that term is bringing in, if that you have that configured in eCommerce). If you’re using LiveRez, all of our websites are set-up for this eCommerce tracking (you just have to enable it).

ecommerce

Not bidding on the term through Adwords? The next best bet is to look at your overall conversion rate for the website, or even your overall conversion rate for organic traffic. This won’t be as accurate, but it will still give you something to go on.

Estimating Revenue Per Transaction  

Now, that you have this data, you can use it to estimate how much more revenue you could expect from the extra traffic.

First, you want to figure out what your average revenue per transaction is for that term (just take the revenue and divide it by the number of transactions). To get a more accurate representation here, you might want to expand your dates to a full year. 

Then, take the amount of traffic you expect to get from Google (covered in the first two sections) and multiply that by the conversion rate for that term. That will give you a rough idea of how many conversions you can expect a month for that term.

Next, take the number of conversions and multiply them by the average revenue per transaction. That will let you estimate the total monthly revenue you can expect from ranking for that term at that position.

Putting it All Together

Here’s a quick example to explain the entire process.

Step 1: You find the search term is getting 1,000 searches a month.

Step 2: You determined based on the CTR studies that if you rank No. 2. for the term you can expect to get about 143 clicks a month from that term.

Step 3: You look at your conversion rate for that term in Adwords and see that it is at 1%. Therefore, you can assume that of those 143 clicks a month, you’re going to get about 1.4 bookings.

Step 4: You look at some historical conversions for that term and find out that the average conversion (or booking) for that term was worth about $2500 dollars. So, those 1.4 extra bookings a month would amount to about $3500 of booking revenue.

BONUS: If you’re a professional manager, you’re probably only going to be getting a certain percentage of that booking revenue. Let’s say between your commission of the booking revenue and your take of the additional fees, you’ll see a net of about 35% of the booking revenue. That means you would essentially earn about $1225 a month from ranking for that term in that position.

How Much Should You Pay for SEO?

Now comes the fun part. First, run the math for where you rank right now. Then, run the math for where you want to rank (or realistically think you can rank). How much more money would you be making if you improved your ranking position?

This is important information to have when you put together your SEO strategy, especially if you’re thinking about outsourcing your SEO efforts. If what you’re paying in SEO is more expensive than the potential return (all keywords improved), you might want to re-evaluate your strategy.

Additional Considerations

If you haven’t already caught this, the method we’ve laid out today isn’t an exact science. It’s just a data-driven way to estimate your results. As such, here are a few things to take into consideration when using this method.

  • Search volume estimates may vary by tool.
  • Click-through rates can vary, especially if the search results for the term are leveraging a newer Google feature, like a local results breakout or a featured rich-snippet answer.
  • Your Adwords conversion rate by keyword might vary from your organic conversion rate (but it’s the closest metric we can use to compare).  
  • You’re going to get the most traffic from terms where you can rank in the top few results. So, instead of trying to rank for a really competitive term, you might try ranking for multiple long-tail keywords (these generally have lower search volume, but less competition – and because they’re more specific, the traffic to your website generally converts better).
  • Also, remember that sometimes the guests that find you for the search term choose to book over the phone instead of online. It’s much harder to track this, so you’ll want to take this into consideration. In most cases, you’ll probably end up getting even more return than you can estimate because you can’t track the offline bookings as well.
  • Many times the SEO work on your website will have additional benefits. Sometimes it helps your website conversion. The additional content created through SEO efforts can be valuable to guests and help you attract more back links. And back links don’t just help you rank higher, but also get traffic from the sites linking to you.

Want to Learn More about SEO?

If you’ve interesting in learning all about vacation rental SEO, check out our whitepaper: “The Ultimate Guide to Vacation Rental SEO.”

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.

At LiveRez, we take our partnership with each and every one of our property managers seriously. We believe in the power of community and teamwork, and, together with our partners, we win as a team.

Visit LiveRez.com to learn more:

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7 Deadly Sins of Evaluating Vacation Rental Software

7 Deadly Sins

If you’re shopping for vacation rental software, don’t commit these common sins of omission during the process (including sin #8 – not reading this post).

Let’s face it, when most people shop for vacation rental software, the top things on their checklist are features and price. And, sure, price and functionality are vital considerations, but if these are the only things you evaluate during the buying process, you could be setting yourself up to fail.

At LiveRez, we’ve been around long enough to see some of the biggest mistakes people make when evaluating software. That’s why we put together the list below (which we’ll get to here shortly).

But first, it’s critical to understand the consequences of not doing your research.

For us, it’s always a bittersweet moment when, six months to a year after losing to a competitor, you see a familiar face in the lead queue. It’s a manager that didn’t do their homework and now they’re scrambling to pick up the pieces and looking for help fast.

The same goes for someone who you thought had communicated everything they wanted, you overcame all their obstacles, and identified them as a great fit for your product – just to find out they failed to communicate a major need. And now, after you both have dedicated a lot of time and effort to the implementation process, they discover they have an immediate need for something new you can’t develop overnight. It’s not great for either party.

While there will normally be a few minor issues to work out with any new software, you can avoid the major ones by doing your homework upfront.

Do your due diligence, and you’ll be in heaven. Commit one or more of these common, deadly sins of software evaluation, and you could end up somewhere else.

Deadly Sin #1

Not Doing Your Homework on the Company’s Background

When you’re shopping for vacation rental software, you need to look at more than just the product itself, but also the company that makes it and supports it. Here are a few good question to ask:

Who owns the company?

There’s a big difference between a company that is privately owned and one that is owned by a parent corporation or that is partially owned by a venture capital firm. Why?

Parent corporations (especially if they’re public companies) are going to be highly focused on profit margins. They have shareholders to please after all. If the software they are selling is just a small fraction of their overall business, they’re going to be less likely to pump resources into it. Many times they’re buying the company because of how it fits into their main line of business, and will most likely focus on using their new asset to enhance that side of their business.

Venture capital firms are going to be focusing on growth first, and then profitability. And eventually, they’ll be looking for an “exit” of some sort, either selling to a larger corporation or, in some instances, going public. In this situation, you’ll likely see some sort of promotional introductory pricing to help the company spur its growth initially, but over time you’ll see the strategy evolve to implanting tactics that drive profit. These firms need their winners to win big, to subsidize the bets they make that don’t pan out. As a company, when you take money from venture capitalists, you are in many ways beholden to them. And, if they’re good at what they do, they’ll want you to take actions that drive growth and profits – but that’s not always in the best interest of the people using the software.

LiveRez CEO Tracy Lotz talks about the value of funding your business with revenue. 

Privately owned companies follow their own path. It allows them to make decisions independently, based on what they think is best for their long-term success. The drawback to privately owned companies is that they may lack the resources of a larger organization. Early on, there’s a chance they could fail. But, once they establish themselves, become profitable and lower/eliminate any debt they are carrying, they can be a dependable long-term choice.

Is the company stable?

This is another great question to ask. It’s important to find out how many years the company has been in business. Are they brand new and in the “make it or break it” phase? Are they an established company but stagnating in terms of growth, happy just to cut overhead costs and milk their current client base? Or, are they established and still growing?

How big is their team?

If you’re depending on this company to offer ongoing product support and continual development, it’s good to know how many resources they have at their disposal. Are they running a bare bones operation? Or, do they have the manpower and talent to not only be sustainable but continue to grow?

Deadly Sin #2

Failing to Understand Support and Implementation Processes

One of the biggest x-factors in choosing a software is how the company supports its product and the people using it. Before you enter into an agreement with a company, you need to take the time to understand this. Here are a few good questions to ask:

How does the implementation process work?

Making the transition from your current software to your new software is always challenging. The best way to make this process less challenging is by working with a good implementation team with a solid track record, and by clearly understanding the timeframe and each party’s responsibilities. You may want to ask the software company one of more of these questions to get a better idea about how the implementation process works at their company:  

  • What is my responsibility during implementation?
  • What will you do for me?
  • What data can you transfer for me?
  • How long does a typical implementation take for a company of my size?
  • Will I have a dedicated project manager throughout the process?

How does customer support work?

Switching to a new software is going to come with a learning curve. And, while you’ll probably get a good amount of training during the implementation process, you’ll most likely have a few issues pop up over time. That’s why it’s really important to understand how the company’s customer support works.

LiveRez-Partner-Support-Team

LiveRez invests in hiring the best people for its partner support teams. Seen here is our core support team. We also have a team of implementation project managers and a partner success department staffed with team members that previously worked as professional managers themselves.

 

 

Here’s a few question you should ask the software company before you sign up:

  • Which types of support do you offer (phone, email, chat, online)?
  • Do you have a help center with training and troubleshooting articles and videos?
  • What are your regular hours for phone and email support?
  • How can I get ahold of someone after hours in the case of an emergency?
  • Do you cap your support hours?
  • How responsive are your support agents? What is the typical call back time? Solution time?
  • How many people do you have on your support team?
  • Are your support specialists in-house or do you outsource them?

Deadly Sin #3

Forgetting to Check the Foundation

You wouldn’t want to build a house on a faulty foundation, would you? Then, why would you want to build the future of your company on a piece of technology whose core foundation is old and outdated?

Now, when it gets into software backend technology, it can get really confusing, really quick. Not all of us speak “nerd” fluently, others not at all. But, it’s important to beef up on your knowledge here, because the technology a company builds with can make a big impact on their future.

A company’s backend technology can affect a number of areas, including:

  • What types of functionality they can build in the future
  • How fast they can build that technology
  • What pieces of existing technology they can integrate with
  • What browsers and devices the technology can be accessed with
  • The performance of the functionality
  • And, most importantly, the scalability and stability of the technology

Here are a few questions to ask:

What technology is their system built upon? And what version do you utilize?

Newer companies may be built on newer technology, but have had less time to build features. Older companies may have more features, but haven’t taken the time to update their back-end technology, essentially hindering their ability to adapt to new needs and leverage newer forms of technology.

Updating the framework of your software is not easy. It’s almost akin to updating the foundation of a house. When you have a lot of code sitting on top of it, there are risks involved in making the update. But, forward-thinking companies that want to be relevant and cutting edge will see past the struggles.

Is the software cloud-based?

Anymore, there is virtually no excuse to switch to a software that isn’t cloud-based. All the newest and greatest software systems in the industry are cloud-based. But, as you move to the cloud, you want to understand the reliability of the software and the care the company takes in securing your data.  

Going back to the previous question, you also need to understand that even though cloud-based software is a newer concept that’s evolved over the past 10 to 15 years or more, not all SaaS technologies are equal. If the company is still utilizing the same framework they built the software on 10 or even 15 years ago, there’s a strong chance it could limit them down the line.

Does the software work across all browsers?

Surprisingly we’ve seen certain softwares in our industry not work on certain browsers. In fact, until recently one of LiveRez’s biggest competitors was selling a cloud-based product that only worked on Internet Explorer (which is a big problem if you’re a Mac OS user).  Before you buy a software, make sure it works correctly on all the browsers you use.  In some cases, you may need to upgrade to the latest version of your browser (which is something you should be doing anyway, and it’s nearly always a free update).

Is the software accessible on mobile devices?

The trend in cloud-based software design is mobile-first, meaning that designers ensure that if they are going to design something new it works on even the smallest of smart phones. Most of the new software systems will build mobile responsive technology that dynamically adjusts to display correctly on any device, or throw in a have a companion native app you can download from the iTunes store or the Android Market.

Some software systems are partially mobile responsive, meaning some of the newer features they’ve built work well and display correctly on mobile devices. In the end, it’s up to you to decide which parts of the system are most important to you to be mobile. For example, any guest facing technology will probably need to be mobile responsive, as well as any technology your team will need to use in the field.   

Are they re-investing in their own technology?

This should be another big consideration for you. It’s extremely important that the company you choose is reinvesting in building out their technology. The last thing you want to do is partner with a company that is stagnant, and happy just to “milk their base.” These are the companies that merely support their current offerings without investing much, if anything, into building new functionality or expanding existing functionality.

This also relates back to the first question posed in this section. Is the company investing in keeping their framework up to the existing standards? Are they investing in learning new types of technology, like Angular or NodeJS? Are they paying to provide continuing education to their development teams?

Who is building the software? How many developers do you have in house?

This is something a lot of people overlook. You’ll want to know how many, if any, in-house developers the company has on staff. It may sound crazy that a software company wouldn’t employ any software developers, but with the proliferation of outsourcing nowadays you’d be surprised at how much work gets sent overseas.

LiveRez-Developers

LiveRez employs a large team of in-house developers. Every year, they stand up in front of our partners at our annual conference and represent the work they’ve done. Seen here is just a few of our engineers at our 2015 Partner Conference in Sun Valley, ID. 

Outsourcing can be a great way to save money, but having people in-house allows you to be responsive during emergencies and gives you a team that has intimate knowledge of your code base.

Not to mention, if you plan on partnering with another company through an API there could be communication issues. And, maybe it’s just us, but we wouldn’t feel comfortable sending potentially sensitive information to countries like Russia or China (given all the security breaches we’ve seen recently). That’s why 100% of our developers are full-time, in-house employees that are US Citizens, with the rare exception of allowing an amazing developer to work remotely if extenuating circumstances dictate that they need to move away from Boise.  

Deadly Sin #4

Not Picking a Company You Can Grow With

Just as the needs of your guests and owners change with the times, your needs will also change with the times. In fact, the changing needs of your guests and owners are probably a big factor in your decision to switch software. And, similar to how you are adjusting to their needs, you’ll want to find a software company that can adjust to your changing needs.

That’s why it’s paramount that you partner with a software provider that’s committed to staying ahead of the curve. You don’t want to get stuck with a company that’s stagnant and keeps you from staying competitive.

So, in evaluating the software company, you’ll want to ask one or more of the following questions:

How often does the company update its software?

Any growing software company will update its software often. You should be seeing at least a few updates every month and some big initiatives finished every year.

What are their big initiatives?

Every good software company will have a few big projects on their roadmap. While some companies will undoubtedly want to keep these project close to their chest, others may be more transparent on what they have on the roadmap. One way to understand how active a company is when it comes to releasing major (or even minor) pieces of new functionality is to look into their past development patterns. How many big ticket items did they release last year? The last two years?

How responsive are they to fixing issues?

No software company is perfect. Every company is going to have issues. A good software company will be responsive in fixing bugs that keep their customers from accomplishing their goals. If the company is working on a number of big projects, they may not have time to deal with every little enhancement request, but a good company will know how to prioritize which issues are most important.

Are they involving their customers in the development process?

The end goal of any software is to solve problems for its users. If a company develops a new piece of functionality that doesn’t accomplish that goal, they’ve essentially wasted valuable resources. One way to mitigate that problem is to keep your users tethered to the development process.

Now, when you have hundreds or even thousands of users you won’t be able to involve everyone. But, you can involve certain segments of that group. And, you should be able to gather ideas from the larger group as well.

Sevy-All-Star1

LiveRez VP of Product Brian Sevy whiteboards ideas with one of our partners. LiveRez regularly involves its partners in the development process. 

At LiveRez, we have multiple advisory boards of our current partners that serve two-year terms. They help us prioritize what to develop and give us feedback on our major initiatives through all stages of development. We also have an online community where our partners can not only make suggestions but also talk with each other about how they use the software or run their businesses.  

Deadly Sin #5

Buying on Promises

If a software company is still growing, they probably have a roadmap of what they’ll be developing the next quarter, next year or even next 18 to 24 months. But, a roadmap is only valuable if the company can execute it.

In the world of software development, all sorts of things can come up that affect when (and if) a roadmap item gets completed. Maybe an earlier roadmap item took extra time to complete. Maybe there was a new business need the company needed to prioritize. Maybe the company’s clients’ needs changed. If the item depended on a partnership between two companies (like an API integration), perhaps the partner company faced a roadblock during the process, needed to re-prioritize their own roadmap, or couldn’t come to a solid business agreement.

Thursday-0731

LiveRez VP of Operations Tina Upson trains partners on our new trust accounting system during the 2016 Partner Conference. Even though she’s busy running the day-to-day operations of LiveRez, Tina personally goes the extra mile to make sure partners are successful. 

So, while understanding what a company has planned is always an important consideration, it shouldn’t be the primary reason you make a switch. The proof is in the pudding, not in the promise.

One way you can evaluate a promise is to look at how quickly (and how accurately) the software company delivered on past promises. Was the feature done on schedule and did it work as intended? You might not be able to gather this from the sales person you’re working with, but you could likely learn more by speaking with current and former users of the software.  

Deadly Sin #6

Failure to Read Reviews, Talk to Current Users

When you’re looking at switching something as critical as the software you run your business with, you don’t want to just take the company’s word for it. Just because the salesperson tells you something or the company has something listed on their website, it doesn’t mean it’s always the case. This is especially true with more subjective items like support, implementation and success metrics.

That’s why it’s important to talk to current users of the software. They’ll be able to tell you how responsive the company is to customer’s needs, how they deliver on their promises, and how well the software solves the customers’ problems. While you’ll never have time to talk to every client of every software you’re looking at, you should probably talk with at least a few clients from every one of the companies on your short list.

PC-2Day-2Noon-3738

LiveRez partner Joan Bird of Snow Escape Holidays in Australia speaks out at recent partner event. Our partners’ input is extremely important at LiveRez, as it helps us guide the direction of the company. 

You can also learn a lot from online reviews. These can give you an at-a-glance view at how actual users of a software feel about the system and the company behind it. You’ll need to take these with a grain of salt, too. Some of the great reviews could have been solicited. Some of the really bad reviews could only tell part of the story (as many of you already know with your own experience with online reviews from guests and owners). The important thing here is to familiarize yourself with the company’s reputation among its current and past clients.

Deadly Sin #7

Skimming the Contract  

Always, always, always read the contract carefully. You should never expect a software company to make an exception or let you out of a contract that you supposedly read and have already signed.

If there’s not some sort of a money-back guarantee, don’t expect a refund if you’re unhappy (although many good companies will give you one if they truly failed to deliver on the contractual items).

Make sure you understand their pricing in and out. Are there hidden fees? Are additional services required to be able to utilize the system? Are there service plans that are optional (but really crucial) for you to be successful? Do they cap your support hours or charge you for simple updates? Additional fees can add up quick, and should be evaluated as part of the total price of the software.

All of these details should be outlined in the contract. And, it’s up to you to read it thoroughly, ask questions, get answers, and, in some cases, even seek the advice of your legal team to thoroughly vet the contract.

Closing Thoughts

Remember, no matter how much you trust the salesperson you are dealing with, it’s up to you to clearly communicate your needs and ensure the software (in its current state) can meet those needs. Most salespeople are trained to not identify the downsides to their system unless you specifically ask about a feature they are lacking.

So, when you’re doing your research it’s important to remember the famous adage of former President Ronald Reagan: “Trust, but verify.”

Looking to Upgrade Your Vacation Rental Software?

Since 2008, more than 1200 professional management companies have chosen to partner with LiveRez for their technology needs. If you’re looking to upgrade your vacation rental software and are interested in LiveRez’s all-in-one platform, give our team a call at (800) 343-2891. We’ll take the time to walk you through every step of the process and answer your questions. And, if for some reason you don’t seem like a great fit for LiveRez, we’ll let you know and can even recommend a system that may be a better fit for your needs.

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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2017 LiveRez Partner Conference Kicks Off October 8 at the Wigwam Resort and Spa in Phoenix, AZ

The Vacation Rental Software Leader’s Fourth Annual Conference Will Feature New Format and Nearly Twice as Many Classes

Eagle, IDLiveRez.com, the most widely used cloud-based software for professional vacation rental managers, will hold its fourth annual Partner Conference October 8 through October 11 at the Wigwam Resort and Spa in Phoenix, AZ.

LiveRez-Daymond-John-2016

Each year the conference brings together hundreds of professional vacation rental managers from all across the globe – all of whom run their businesses with LiveRez’s cloud-based platform – making the event the largest gathering of industry professionals using the same software.

This year – thanks to a growing number of industry expert instructors and a new format that allows attendees to build their own schedule – event organizers expect to see yet another huge increase in attendance.

“Our goal is to make this the most robust educational offering available anywhere in the vacation rental industry,” said LiveRez CEO Tracy Lotz.

In 2017, the conference will offer nearly twice as many classes as it has in previous years. In addition to in-depth training on the LiveRez software, the conference will also feature classes on business management and customer service, as well as a wider range of marketing sessions. Additionally, many of the classes include options for different skill levels.

The last day of the conference will also include a series of semi-private workshops, so attendees can get hands-on help from expert instructors.

In additional to LiveRez’s in-house software experts, the company has secured some big-name industry professionals to teach classes, including VRMB’s Matt Landau and the co-founders of SmokyMountains.com, David Angotti and Wes Melton, both of whom consulted with Fortune 500 companies before entering the vacation rental space. More special instructors, as well as conference keynotes speakers, will be announced in the coming months.

But it’s not just the classes that are getting upgraded. LiveRez is also expected to showcase a number of new products at its “LiveRez Live” technology showcase, a perennial conference favorite. The conference will feature its regular array of fun activities, like its famous evening parties, but this year the LiveRez family will have even more space to hold events, as the company has rented out the entire 440-acre resort.

“This year’s conference will undoubtedly be the biggest and best event we’ve ever hosted,” Lotz said. “I can’t wait for the LiveRez family to see what we have in store for them this year!”

To learn more about the 2017 LiveRez Partner Conference, visit LiveRez.com/2017Conference.

About LiveRez

LiveRez is the world’s most widely used software platform for marketing and managing vacation rental homes online. The LiveRez solution offers professional property managers all the tools they need to run their business in a single, cloud-based platform. And, the company’s unique “pay-as-you-book” business model creates a mutually beneficial partnership between LiveRez and its vacation rental manager partners. This partnership fuels the company’s mission of continually developing and supporting cutting-edge solutions that empower independent property managers to compete in the rapidly evolving vacation rental space.