Kigo Blog

London Calling! Kigo is heading to the WTM

Between the 3rd and 6th of November, Kigo will be attending the WTM World Travel Market 2014. This is a must-attend event for anyone in the travel industry. With over fifty thousand professionals from the travel industry there last year we can’t wait to get to London and get involved at the ExCel, London.London phone box At WTM 2013 £2.2 billion of new business was generated for the global travel industry. 55% of visitors had direct purchasing responsibility. The event itself manages to generate £160 million for the London economy. It drives a sea-change in global tourism. In the age of information being so readily available on the Internet events like this reinforce the inimitable power of genuine human interaction. WTM stats But not just the financial incentives, this is the best place to learn what is happening in our industry. You can find out the latest trends from people not just in the industry, but also holidaymakers and government ministers. It is a superb forum to listen and learn as well as meet buyers.This is not your average conference, real change is affected here, real steps forward are made. Here at Kigo, we want to be a part of this.This year there will be keynote speeches from executives from diverse companies such a Buzzfeed and Sainsburys, awards for innovations in responsible tourism and an interview with a CEO of a charity that prevents rhino poaching. There is an understanding at WTM that a successful market is more than just driving sales. There is a progressive attitude. Tourism and travel do not occur in a vacuum, to improve we have to understand every aspect and realise that development and growth can come from surprising sources. It is this forward thinking that brings the most exciting and creative people and ideas to the WTM.One of the main points of attending this events will be the things that we just can’t expect. You never know who you will meet, or what you will learn. We are looking forward to this being so much more than a sales experience. We will be listening to talks and events by our fellow professionals to find out what direction the industry is moving in. We are so pleased to be part of the excitement and optimism that 2014 has held for the travel sector.Our team in London is going to be looking forward to the events on e-tourism and innovations in the travel sector. Last year held host a great number of ground breakers and innovators so we are very excited to hear their ideas this year. In case this seems a little overwhelming WTM have even created an app in order to make your life easier when you get there. You can find buyers and visitors, exchange messages and make the most of your time at WTM. We are going to be here answering questions and doing demos throughout the three days so if you want some more information about what we can do for you, come and say hello at booth Nº TT579. You can book a demo to beat the queues here. So, we look forward to seeing you all there. And, if you know somewhere good to stay in London, let us know! Photo Credit 

Top 4 “Must See” Vacation Rental Articles This Week

Do you consider yourself a savvy short-term rental manager? Are you ready for VRMA next week? We’ve been doing our best to stay abreast with all the news and changes in the travel industry. We want to make sure that we are completely ready and up to date with everything we need to know. Luckily for us, there is a wealth of blogs and articles that help us do exactly that.

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Here’s a quick look at the top 4 not-to-be-missed vacation rental industry articles that caught our eye this week and got us in the conference-ready mindset:

 

San Francisco Makes Airbnb Legal At Last Business Insider’s quick read on the city’s new “spare room” ruling and how it helps Airbnb but not Vacation Rental Managers and aggregation portals like HomeAway, TripAdvisor, Booking.com, etc.The new law allows San Francisco residents (what Airbnb calls hosts) to share properties for 30 days or less as long as they personally live in these units at least 9 months a year. Read Airbnb’s Statement on Legislation in San Francisco.

 

Interview: HomeAway CEO on Big Players Acquiring Vacation Rental Companies HomeAway’s CEO Brian Sharples provides good insight about the importance of pay-per-booking to its prospects, their partnership with Expedia, and much more. Catch Sharples at Tuesday’s General Session Keynote at VRMA and read more Dennis Schaal CEO Interviews on the future of travel bookings here.

 

FlipKey Partners with TruPlace to Offer Interactive Floor Plans for Listing Pages Flipkey take another step forward in bringing listings to life. Their new feature allows potential guests to get a real feel for your property. Detailed floor plans with interactive features gives them the chance to have a virtual tour and see everything your property has to offer.

 

How to Make the Most of the Annual Conference We’re ready for VRMA, are you? From staying connected to educational sessions and the Vendor Showcase, this article sums up what you need to know to navigate the conference and make the most of your time there.

 

If you are going to be attending VRMA 2014, make you come and talk with us at booth 308/310. You can schedule a live demo here so you can skip the queues and make the most of your time in San Diego!

 

And finally, check out this Smart-Suitcase that we’d love to be taking on board when we set off to San Diego.

 

Have you read anything we should know about? Let us know in the comments below.

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Top 5 perks you can add to your VR today!

Quick and easy ways to pleasantly surprise your guests.Everyone loves unexpected perks. In the days of various extra charges being applied by airlines and hotels, travellers can sometimes feel like they are at the mercy of companies and hotels. That any extra services or amenities come with costs to be endured. So imagine being given something extra, that you weren’t expecting, and don’t have to pay extra for. Not only can you improve your guests’ holidays but you will also see your reputation and on-line ratings improve as your guests are more than just pleasantly surprised by your property and service.fish eyes Vacation rentals have managed to garner a reputation for providing excellent value for money. They offer spacious properties in great areas. But more than that, they offer a great chance to experience life in that area. They are removed from the cosseted environments of traditional tourist accommodation. You can live as a local and enjoy the personal touch and recommendations of the owners of the property.As well as these advantages you can continue to provide special and personal experiences by making additions and improvements wherever possible. You have the opportunity to find new ways to make your property stand out and be an even more enjoyable place to stay.Today we discuss some quick and easy additions you can make to give your property a few extra perks.Bikes A great way to get around an unfamiliar city. No licenses or paperwork required, all you need is a couple of strong locks and some helmets. Include some maps of good routes and cycle lanes or places of interest to visit.Sports Equipment If you have some outdoor space, let your guests enjoy it. Sports equipment will be great for kids and adults that like the outdoors. The more parts of your property that can be enjoyed, the better.Games Perfect for families. Scrabble, or Monopoly can cause some heated arguments at times, but a rainy afternoon can be saved by having a few options for things to do indoors. Even just a pack of cards could keep children occupied or could be the start of a whiskey and cigars poker night.Music / Instruments Although there is the potential to annoy the neighbours, providing speakers or instruments for your more musically inclined guests would be a wonderful perk. This could be just leaving instructions and cables for people to play music from their phones through speakers.Remember to remind your guests of the noise limits of your flat and if you live in a shared building, it may not be wise to install a drum kit.Books and Films This is also a way to inject some of your personality into your business. If you left a few personal favourites for your guests to enjoy in quieter moments it can add a special touch to their trip.It also shows a little bit of who you are behind your business.  This will help to create a relationship between your brand and your customers. You could even theme some of these titles to fit in with your property. Imagine reading Captain Corelli’s Mandolin for the first time on the shores of a Greek island, or Sherlock Holmes in a Baker Street flat.These are relatively inexpensive ways to add a little extra to your property. You can list them on your website or leave them as a small extra to go above and beyond the expectations of your guests. Think about what you enjoy doing on holiday and see if you can offer the same experience to your guests. Even if they are not used, the thought and the planning will always be appreciated. They will see that you have done things to make your property individual, personal and fun. Photo Credit 

The 30 minute Blog Post Challenge!

How to create content in record time.By now you will have heard that having a blog is an essential part of running your website. It helps your SEO efforts, it attracts people to your site and shows your customers that you understand and care about your industry and your service. But how can you keep up with your blog when you have a full time business to run? Today we are taking the challenge of writing a blog post in 30 minutes and showing you how. blog post 1410 Whilst a 30 minute blog post is probably not going to be perfect but what it will do is give you experience in creating. It will help you find your own style, the things you like to write about and your own individual style.Choose your subject The best posts will be something you care about personally. Your blog is not a place to report the news or provide facts. It is somewhere for you to give your thoughts on things that affect or concern your business and your customers. As soon as you find something that fits this criteria and interests you, try and write for 10 minutes on this subject. As you write you may find that your post takes shape as you create. It’s always better to write down ideas you can delete or edit later rather than forgetting them. Bookmark pages and links, have a notebook for sudden flashes of inspiration. You will soon have a hearty bank of content ideas that you can look to in a rush.Keep it relevant Remember that the people that will be reading your blog will be people that have an interest in your business or site. This should be your primary focus. You may have a great interest in certain subjects and can write engaging content about it but people will not be on your site for this. Your content may even be so good that it attracts others to your site, but if these are people that have no interest in your business then there will be no point.Keep it short. Posts between 300-700 words in length tend to be the most read. People don’t have a lot of time for reading online content so consider that people may be reading your posts in a short break or perhaps on their phone. Lengthy posts are not just unlikely to be read entirely but may even put people off as they are pressed for time. Once you have chosen a good subject and have practised you will be able to craft a 500 word first draft in 10 minutes or so!Write Drunk; Revise sober This mantra is often attributed to Hemingway and whether he said it or not, the point remains valid. Write without care, get all of your ideas down, try to write in your own voice. You may not have to actually get drunk but don’t try to write perfectly first time, every time. It may read like a garbled stream of consciousness at first but you can then return to it with a level head later. A break and a heavy edit will help turn your raw material into an interesting and considered post. Once you have got your content, spend as long reading and rewriting.Pictures and LinksSpend 5 minutes choosing a good picture and making sure all your links are working and go to the right page. These pictures are what will draw people into your blog. Your links make your content rich and worthwhile. Good content will be interesting enough for people to read as it is, the links are there for people that want to read more in-depth.This leaves you with 5 minutes to think up a title and a snappy header for your text. This needs to be intriguing as possible as this is what needs to make people stop and take notice. Try to write as many different options as you can and go with what you think sounds best. 5 minutes should be enough time to come up with 10 or so titles.So, 30 minutes, a few times a week and you can have a great page of content for your website. You can start a discourse with your readers and customers, and when the subject is fitting, find the time to create a longer a more detailed post.

Concierge Services Could be the Secret Ingredient for Vacation Rentals

Processed with VSCOcam with a5 preset Vacation rentals managed to capitalise on their current market share by offering experiences rather than amenities. They have been able to give people the chance to stay in remarkable and individual properties that allow guests to enjoy a stay on their own terms. This worked so well that many managers have not yet had to consider what else they can do. The next question is whether vacation rentals can start to offer the level of service that traditional holiday accommodation offer. Is there an option for vacation rentals to consider a concierge service for their properties?Whether a dedicated service or an online feature, there is the chance to offer a brand new dimension to your business with a concierge. For larger businesses, with lots of properties in one city or location providing a concierge that all guests can contact with questions and requests could be the extra touch that helps convert bookings. You can decide on the level of service offered. It could just be a question and answer service, providing local knowledge and recommendations. Or, if you want, you could provide the sort of concierge that can bring a brandy glass, filled with 1000 brown M&Ms to an apartment in Sri Lanka at 3am. You have the choice. The only thing to consider is that a large number of leisure travellers don’t even consider vacation rentals as an option because they don’t offer this kind of exacting service.Airbnb are currently beta-testing an online service, at the moment available in San Francisco that uses the power of the local community to provide unique and insightful advice and recommendations for guests staying in the city. Harnessing the knowledge of the community is a key part of this section of the industry and Airbnb have used it to their advantage. There is an underlying assumption that vacation rentals leave their guests all at sea in a new town. There is no-one to ask about the local area and how can you enjoy your holiday if you don’t know where to go. Hotels have staff, organised tours and years of experience in the area. They make a living in making sure their guests have a good time, in a rental property you are on your own. There is definitely a market for this extra service but you will have to decide if you are willing to be one of the pioneers. You don’t have to be on hand 24/7 to do this but if you can highlight that you do offer some level service then you may see a whole new section of bookings.One Spanish hotelier thinks there is an opportunity for hotels and vacation rentals to work together to provide a middle ground in the Venn diagram between holiday rentals and high quality hotels. Vacation rentals are partnering with these hotels to offer their guests use of the facilities in selected hotels. It gives guests a choice of which of the services to use and charges them accordingly. Do you think this sort of partnership could become widespread?The travel industry seems to be moving towards providing guests with as many options as possible but only charging for the parts they want. They are no longer bound by package deals or one agent deciding all elements of their trip. There are also dedicated apps that can provide concierge services. What seems clear is that people want to tailor their holidays to their specific needs.Do you think your business would benefit from a concierge service? Are you ready to take the plunge? Photo Credit