LiveRez Announces March Honey Badger Award Winners!

Honey Badger Awards

Each month LiveRez gives out its Honey Badger Awards to highlight team members that always put the team first, make others around them stronger, and exemplify the culture and DNA of LiveRez. This month, we have two new winners, as well as the addition of a Partner winner that’s putting in the extra effort to make an impact in their market.


Partner Winner – New

Great Smokys Logo.png

 

 

This month we’re honoring Great Smokys Cabin Rentals, which manages more than 50 homes in Bryson City, NC.

Great Smokys was an early adopter of LiveRez’s review and survey system. Since turning on the system, they’ve has amassed a whopping 2,654 guest reviews — the vast majority of which are 5 stars.

They said that making the investment in collecting their own reviews has helped them get more bookings and kept guests from searching for reviews on third-party websites like FlipKey, where “they might then select properties from someone else.”


Team Member Winners

Brittney FunkBrittany Funk

Brittany works in our partner success department, helping managers to get the most out of their LiveRez software. She joined LiveRez in 2014 after working for professional management companies.

Brittany says her family, faith and friends are her foundation. When she’s not working, she enjoys playing beach volleyball, going to the gym and traveling.

 

 

Ryan NortonRyan Norton

Ryan is one of the longest-tenured members of our sales team. If you’re one of the 600 or so partners that signed up for LiveRez in the past four to five years, you’ve probably talked to him.

Ryan grew up in Wyoming, helping his parents at their Pizza Parlor and Ice Cream Shop. Outside of work, Ryan likes wood working projects, hiking, camping, playing basketball, and spending time with his wife and four kids.

 

 


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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Year in Review: LiveRez Counts Down its Biggest Moments in 2015

Year-in-Review---2015v800

2015 was a banner year for LiveRez! As we head into 2016, we wanted to look back on all the incredible events that took place in the past 12 months. Check out the list below to re-live our biggest moments in 2015.


LiveRez Partners with 1,000th Professional Manager

On Nov. 23, LiveRez partnered with its 1,000th professional vacation rental manager. What made this milestone so special for us was how it was done. In contrast to many of our main competitors which have grown through mergers, acquisitions and consolidation, LiveRez’s growth has been 100 percent organic.

1000-Partners-Blog


Second Annual Partner Conference   

In its second year, the LiveRez Partner Conference grew by leaps and bounds. Attendance nearly doubled from the first year, as professional managers came in droves to Sun Valley, Idaho from all across North America for five unforgettable days. Check out the video below to see a glimpse of how amazing the conference turned out.


LiveRez Integrates with Airbnb  

In 2015, we pioneered a direct integration with Airbnb. In the video below, Airbnb’s global head of vacation rentals Shaun Stewart explain why Airbnb chose LiveRez from 87 different software providers it researched.


Boise Chambers Awards LiveRez the 2015 Travel Industry Excellence Award

This year LiveRez took home the Boise Metro Chamber’s 2015 Travel Industry Excellence Award. One of the biggest highlights of the day was LiveRez CEO Tracy Lotz’s acceptance speech. We may be a little biased, but we think it was easily the best of the awards banquet (and if the buzz on Twitter was any indication, we think others agreed).


LiveRez Releases Game-Changing New Technology  

2015 was a huge year for new technology at LiveRez, and 2016 is going to be even bigger. At our Partner Conference in October we dedicated a whole session to the new and upcoming technologies at LiveRez. We kicked off the presentation by debuting the video below.


Partners Steal the Show at VRMA 2015

Just days after the Partner Conference, we headed to the 2015 VRMA Annual Conference in New Orleans. But, when it came time for our gold sponsor speech in front of the entire conference, we decided to let out partners do the talking. It resulted in a moment we’ll never forget.


American Flag Profile Photo Creator App Goes Viral

LiveRez CEO Tracy Lotz is one of the most patriotic people you’ll ever meet. His gift to the world this past Fourth of July was a tool that allowed anyone to overlay an American flag over their profile photo on their social media channels. The tool went viral, with hundreds of thousands of people using it in just days. In the video below, Tracy tells a local television reporter the story behind the app.


LiveRez Partners with Full Circle Exchange to Empower Women to Rise Above Poverty

Giving back is a big priority here at LiveRez. So, when we were introduced to Full Circle Exchange – a nonprofit that empowers women to rise above poverty – we were instantly inspired by the work they do and wanted to help.  Multiple LiveRez employees started volunteering hours, and LiveRez become a corporate sponsor. Full Circle Exchange CEO Mark Priddy even spoke at our Partner Conference. If you haven’t seen his speech, check it out below. It’s a moving testament to the incredible work they do.  


LiveRez Adds New Team Members

Legendary UCLA Mens Basketball Coach John Wooden once said: “The star of the team is the team.” And, that couldn’t be truer at LiveRez. This year we added many amazing new members to our team that helped us have one of the best years on record. But 2015 wasn’t all work for the team; we did get out and have a little fun, as you can see in the video below of our recent Christmas party.


LiveRez Holds Workshops at Corporate Headquarters

This year LiveRez really kicked up its education program. A big part of that was offering two different training workshops at its corporate headquarters in Boise. Managers came from all over the US to get hands on training from the LiveRez team. This was in addition to annual Partner Conference and the hundreds of live webinars given throughout the year.  

Workshop-0202


2015 was a great year. 2016 is going to be even better!


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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Why Vacation Rental Managers Need a Mobile Website Before April 21

Mobile Websites for Vacation Rental Managers - Infographic

Click on the image above to learn how our mobile websites have helped our vacation rental manager partners.

They’re calling it the mobile apocalypse.

In February, Google, the world’s top search engine and No. 1 trafficked site, announced a ground-breaking update to their search algorithm that will go into effect April 21, 2015. And, if you don’t have a mobile friendly website, you need to pay attention.

Google’s goal is to provide the best experience to its users. When people do a search for something on their mobile phone, they don’t just need the best results, but the best results displayed and accessible in the most convenient way. And, if you’ve ever tried to access a website that isn’t mobile friendly on your smart phone, you know how frustrating it can be.

So, while the first part of Google’s algorithm uses a variety of signals to reward relevant, quality content, the second part of the algorithm is about the presentation of this content. So, if you have great content but people are having a hard time viewing it and interacting with it, you are underserving the user. And if the goal of Google’s algorithm is to connect people to websites offering the best user experience, it makes sense for them to send people to websites that satisfy both of these goals.

This being said, on April 21 Google will start labeling websites as mobile friendly or mobile unfriendly and using this rating as signal for ranking these websites in mobile search results.

The Jist: If you don’t have a mobile friendly website, don’t expect Google to send many mobile searchers to it.

Check out this short video from LiveRez VP of Sales and Marketing Tyler Hurst to learn more.

So What’s the Big Deal?

Right now you might be asking what the fuss is all about. It’s just mobile traffic.

Well, in the last few years mobile traffic has absolutely exploded, and the experts don’t expect it to slow down any time soon. At LiveRez, over the past few years we’ve seen our property manager partners’ mobile traffic increase from as little as 5% to as high as 35 or 40%, and it goes up every year. We’ve also found that partners that have a mobile website are more than 270% more likely to get a booking when someone accesses their site on a mobile device than if they didn’t have a mobile website.

Mobile websites are no long just something nice to have, they’re now expected by your guests. And, as you can tell by its most recent update, Google now expects it too.

What Can I Do?

Well, the first thing you need to do is determine whether or not your website is mobile-friendly in Google’s eyes. And with their mobile friendly testing tool, Google’s made it extremely simple. All you need to do is enter in your URL and hit analyze. Google will let you know within seconds if your website is mobile friendly or not.

Click here to test you website >

The next step would be to implement a mobile website, if you haven’t already. LiveRez partners will have it easier than other managers. While many of our partners have already adopted mobile websites, we can help those that haven’t very quickly. Just give our professional services team a call at (800) 343-2891 Option 4.

If you’re not using LiveRez, your software or website provider might have a solution. Surprisingly, though, we’ve found that many don’t have a solution in place for their users. In that case, give us a call at (800) 343-2891 Option 1 and we’d be happy to talk with you about the benefits of our all-in-one solution. Our implementation team is the fastest and most thorough in the industry, and we can get you up and running in no time at all.

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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Introducing Whiteboard Wednesday: Weekly Videos Packed with Tips and Tricks for Vacation Rental Managers

For the past few weeks here at LiveRez, we’ve been working on (and testing) a series of short videos packed with powerful marketing tips and tricks for vacation rental managers. Today, we want to highlight that new series on our blog.

Each week we’ll be bringing you a new short (think 3-5 minute) video loaded with tips, tricks and stats on certain aspects of vacation rental marketing. We’ll be posting these videos on our social media (Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Twitter….and, of course, YouTube). So, make sure to tune into these channels every Wednesday for a new video.

Here are a few of the videos we’ve produced so far. Feel free to share these with all your friends in the industry!


Niche Marketing


Long-Tail SEO


Meta Tags


Calls to Action


Guest Reviews


Images


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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Video: 7 Elements of Stunning Property Listings

1PNGLast week, we had another amazing webinar with LiveRez Director of Sales and Marketing Tyler Hurst. In the webinar, Hurst discussed seven key elements of property listings that help you increase conversion and get more bookings.

If you were unable to attend, don’t sweat. You can watch the entire webinar embedded below. And, don’t forget to like and share.

Also, don’t forget to register for one of our upcoming industry webinars. Once again, this year we’ll be offering a new addition to our vacation rental webinar series every month. You can find and register for our upcoming webinars (and watch recorded ones) at LiveRez.com/webinars.

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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Watch Now: The LiveRez Tools That Will Boost Your Bottom Line

LiveRez-Tools-WebinarLiveRez’s webinar from Nov. 19 on “The LiveRez Tools That Will Boost Your Bottom Line” is now available to watch online.

The LiveRez software is packed with a wide variety of tools to accelerate your bookings, increase your operational efficiency and ultimately boost your bottom line. And in this webinar, LiveRez Director of Sales and Marketing Tyler Hurst goes over a number of ways LiveRez helps you achieve success.

The full webinar is embedded below.

To see more LiveRez webinars and register for upcoming live webinars, make sure to check out our Webinars Page.

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?

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