Kigo Blog

Espai Barcelona : A Spotlight On A VR Business

In this edition of the Kigo blog we are going to feature an in-depth look at what makes a successful vacation rental website and business. We’ve chosen, a business from the city we share; Barcelona. Featuring this business is a way that newcomers to the vacation rental business can get their business started on the best possible footing. Established businesses can also check that they are managing to keep up to date with every innovation.
Espai Barcelona
We’ve taken a look at their site as it is a fantastic example of how vacation rental businesses can establish themselves with a recognisable brand and professional website. Espai Barcelona has used its site to help establish itself as one of the main vacation rental agencies in a very competitive city for tourist accommodation.

We’re going to look at how they have managed to do this:

Their site is clear and easy to use, its photos are clean and bright and they jump at your from the page. The website has a pleasing professional sheen and works with satisfying accuracy. But, these days, these are the basics. We want to know what it is about their business that makes them unique, and how they have managed to cement themselves into the industry of the city

 All information is visible from the first page. Guests can immediately see the key details that they need to know if the property is suitable for them without having to click and delve into the links. Location, size and capacity are things that people are going to want to see immediately. How many property descriptions would you click through to find out if the apartment is even big enough for your group? A sign of a good site is that a user can navigate through to the information they require with as few superfluous clicks as possible.

One of the innovations of Espai Barcelona had that we thought was a great idea, is how they offer block apartments that are grouped together in a certain area. This means that up to 47 people can book these properties and all stay in comfort only a few minutes walk from each other. In some cases, the apartments are in the same building. This is a good way to get bookings from big groups, including people travelling for business or any of the big conferences in the area. It can also appeal to sports team, business trips or students. Either way, it’s way that you can fill calendars in multiple properties from a single booking.
Espai barcelona 2
Even the biggest vacation rental properties cannot offer the level of group accommodation that large hotels and other types of accommodation can. This can be a barrier for people considering a trip with a large group. This is an inventive solution to this problem and could increase revenues for larger agencies that have numerous apartments in a single area.

 The site chooses to feature reviews right on the page where you can book. You don’t have to click away to third party sites to check the reviews. Giving your potential guests the information they require without diverting them away from your site is the best way to ensure that they use your site to book their stay.

 So, if you’re looking for an example of how to set up a professional site for your business that will generate bookings, have a look at the example of Espai Barcelona and see how Kigo can help you create your own site with features like these, and more! 

Exhibitions and Trade Fairs – A Great Way To Expand Your Business!

Trade fairs and exhibitions are a big part of the travel industry. They generate huge amounts of turnover and revenue for the attendees and the industry as a whole. But more than that, they are where real change is affected. The direction in which the industry is headed is steered from events like VRMA, like BIT Milan, and like ITB Berlin.

So, when one of our customers, Fahrettin Cetin, from sent us a photo of his stand at the Emitt Tourism Summit we decided to interview him to find out just way he attends exhibitions like Emitt.
 Evoteli Photo

The Evoteli Team With the Mayor of Bodrum

  • How long have you been in the vacation rental business?
    We have been running a vacation rental business for over 11 years now. In fact, we were the very first professional company who offered vacation rentals in Bodrum/Turkey. We manage over 200 properties exclusively and have many more homes which we share with other vacation rental agencies.

  • What made you decide to attend Emitt?
    We wanted to introduce our new project www.evoteli .com (Turkish version) and (English) to a wider audience. Both websites will be a portal where owners can add their properties very easily. The software was written by our own team completely and we will use the Kigo solution as a channel manager with other portals and agencies.

  • What are the benefits for your business from attending?
    We can already say that our stand was a big success. We were able to introduce our project to many professional agents and owners of apartment and villa complexes all over Turkey. They have already started to add their properties to – even before the fair was over!

  • Do you recommend that other businesses attend trade shows and exhibitions, if so why?
    We strongly recommend them. Although the Internet is a great tool to introduce your company to your target group, nothing compares with meeting them face to face. Having your own stand at a fair gives your company the professional reputation to emphasize the difference between you and your competitors.

  • What would you most like to see happen to the vacation rental industry in 2015?
    In Turkey, we have a problem that many “private agencies” operate in the vacation rental industry without adhering to certain standards. This causes many problems for the owners and guests. We are member of the “Home Hotel Committee” of TÜRSAB (Association of Turkish Travel Agencies) and this committee is in contact with the Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism to push them to establish laws and regulations to prevent private agencies from doing business that jeopardizes the whole industry.

Thank you Fahrettin!

Face to face contact with your customers can be surprisingly rare in this industry. Having an opportunity to meet them, generate new leads and speak to other professionals is too good to ignore. You can instantly expand your business and be one of the first to hear about new trends and opportunities for vacation rental managers.

The next exhibitions that Kigo will be attending are BIT Milan and ITB Berlin, so if you want to meet industry leaders and learn everything you need to know about growing your business, come and see us at Pavilion 14 – Stand H27. Or, beat the queues and book a demo here for Bit Milan. Hall 6.1 – Stand 114 and here for those of you attending ITB Berlin.


Facebook Is Not Dead For Vacation Rentals

Does it matter if Facebook is too ad-ridden and filled with spam? Are the only people you are reaching just other marketers, scouring the site for content? There are still 1.23 billion people on Facebook but where is the next step? We are reaching critical mass with social media. It’s growth and popularity can surely only last so long, can it?
Might some businesses abandon some social media just for the exclusive cultural cache that it may provide, ‘Company A – oh, they’re not on Facebook’. If you jumped ship, would you land in the icy, Arctic waters, or in the lifeboat, rowing to safety?

 There is a new social media network, called Ello. It is currently attracting 35000 new sign ups an hour. The emphasis of the site is the users and content. Its main attraction is that it is free from adverts and has a sparse, minimalist design. Does this exodus mean that people still require social media but want an alternative to the stream of adverts? More choice could mean that we start to resent the companies that continue to push adverts and marketing on social media. Are adverts on Facebook becoming so ineffectual and disliked that they will become obsolete?

Currently, Facebook and social media are too big to ignore but that doesn’t mean it will be here forever. We watched Myspace crash into oblivion and AskJeeves follow suit. They first rose like Pacific islands, steaming from the depths. Then sank under their own weight, leaving us with only an online atoll as a reminder of their existence. However, neither was as big as the social media giants of Facebook and Twitter. Neither had the reach or the power of the big two sites we have today. Each is now big enough to weather the storm of public opinion and maintain an active presence despite fluctuations in popularity.

 But stories of insidious data retention and calculated, targeted marketing have alienated users. Generally, where marketing becomes ubiquitous, people leave. Facebook could become a ghost-directory of abandoned profiles. A virtual mausoleum to how adverts suffocated content. As George Orwell said, ‘Advertising is the rattling of a stick inside a swill bucket’. Has the social media bucket run dry?

 We would say the answer is NO. What we are seeing is not a death but a shift. There is a shift from Facebook being a bastion of youth culture to it being adopted by more and more older people. Whilst this is certainly tarnishing the initial element of ‘cool’ it once had, it is not necessarily bad news. Older people will have more disposable income and are far more likely to be able to commit to renting a property after connecting with one of your posts.

The key takeaway of this is that Facebook and social media are always changing. It will most likely be around for a long time yet but that is no reason not to consider other options when you see them. If you are trying to appeal to an exclusive youth market then perhaps there are better places than Facebook to market your properties. But, if you are aiming at the mass market then Facebook and Twitter are still important marketing options. It is as simple as just not being able to ignore the sheer numbers. With more than a billion active users, it really is a worldwide force. If you are unsure how to utilise social media for your business, have a look at how our social media package can manage this for you.

 Photo Credit 

Easy Ways To Secure Last Minute Bookings

How many days before travelling would you start looking for a vacation rental? Forward planning is required. Last minute bookings are not generally an option for people that want to book a vacation rental for their trip. For many, it’s a complicated process that demands a lot of research, emails back and forth and then finally, confirmation and payment. You can’t just roll up to the lobby of a vacation rental and slap a credit card down. There are processes, bureaucracy that must be endured first. Last minute bookings are not something that are traditionally associated with vacation rentals.

There are now stand-alone apps such as HotelTonight that just offer last-minute bookings for hotels, is now launching an app to rival it. It is easy to let last minute slip past but as we operate in an age where the Internet is everywhere, we now the chance to book accommodation from wherever we are and  irrespective of the time. Today we’re outlining the ways vacation rentals can start to capitalise on this.
Having A Dedicated Page
This will be the best way to generate interest in last-minute bookings for vacation rentals. A page set aside where people can view the last minute deals you are currently offering on your website. They will know that these properties need to be booked soon and will be the perfect place to look if they are booking a trip at short notice. If you have a dedicated page, last minute customers will be more likely to head to your site first rather than your competitors as they know they can quickly find accommodation, at short notice.

Of course, last minute bookings do not have to mean the literal last minute. It doesn’t even have to mean the last week. Bookings within 30 days are generally considered to be fairly short notice for vacation rentals and can feature in your last minute promotions.

Reducing The Price
One of the expectations of last minute bookings is that the customer will be able to book at a more attractive price. Reducing the price and using bright, attractive images to highlight your offers will help to attract guests to your offers. Social media and email campaigns can also be used to bring people to this page. This will be a good way to encourage last minute spontaneous bookings from people that were not planning on renting a vacation rental until they saw your page. When reducing your price remember that whilst bringing in revenue is always preferable to empty calendars, your price should still be competitive and profitable. If you reduce your price too far you may deflect business away from your regular rentals.

Fill Your Calendar
A promotion can allow you to book up the awkward stray few days between larger bookings. These are often mid-week and for shorter stays so are naturally harder to sell. When advertising last minute bookings a good practice is to offer set stays that fall between dates when your property is already full. This is a great way to have a complete calendar in peak season and fill up your property during slower months.

Guaranteed Service and Response Time
This will be one of the most important factors when starting to secure last minute bookings. You need to be able to guarantee that your customers will get a response and be able to complete the transaction plenty of time before they have to set off.

 The benefits are clear; starting to capture last minute bookings will reduce empty calendars and increase public confidence in the service of vacation rentals for all types of bookings.

Photo Credit

2015 SEO Trends – 5 Ways to Climb Up The Rankings!

Staying ahead of Google and on top of the SEO pile has never been easy. Even when you’re doing everything right it is no guarantee that you will get on that coveted first page for vacation rental searches. And if you are, there is nothing to stop Google sweeping the rug from under your feet and changing their algorithm. SEO is not just about climbing to the top, it is about staying there. A constant battle against inertia  Today we’re discussing 5 of the biggest SEO trends that are going to change the game in 2015.

Mobile-Optimised Sites
As well as being vital for capturing visits and sales from mobile customers, not having a mobile-optimised site could start to become very damaging. Sites that are not optimised for mobile and tablets are going to plummet in 2015. Google is now charting the usability of sites for mobiles. Now that they have the exact figures for just how mobile-friendly your site is, sites with a poor score are going to see themselves sliding down the SEO rankings.

Another innovation that is set to arrive in 2015 is a ‘mobile-friendly’ label. This means that sites that are well optimised for viewing on a phone or tablet, will get a marker next to their site in Google. Users will be able to see the sites that are going to work well on their devices before they click on them. This is also likely to affect the overall ranking of your site once it has been fully rolled out. If you are unsure how to get started optimising your site for mobiles, have a look at our custom sites and templates that are built to work on every device.

 Content Creation
Quality, not quantity. Content creation is still a very part of any good SEO plan but Google is focusing its rankings on well-crafted content that people want to read. The focus is shifting more to specific long-tail search questions and phrases. Having content that actually answers the questions your customers want to ask and having content that is more than disguised adverts and an excuse to jam in keywords will reward you with a higher SEO ranking.

Social Media
How retweets and likes translate into SEO is not widely understood. It stands to reason that the more traction your posts get on social media, the better your site perform in SEO. But, it is not always as clear cut as that. Facebook and Google are both taking steps to reduce the amount of content it considers to be spam. So, the message for social media is the same as search driven traffic – high-quality content and clear, specific websites are going to get the best results.

Google learns. It gathers information from your searches and now it is going to use it to make your searches more accurate. SEO plans cannot hope to cast a wide a net as possible. Search engine rankings can take into account the personal tastes and familiar patterns. A greengrocer and someone looking to buy a tablet might get very different results when searching for apples. What this means for vacation rentals is that for SEO, having a large brief when it comes to SEO may not be as effective. Search engines are responding to more specific queries and stray keywords, or misunderstood searches are becoming less frequent. Your site should be targeting your customers more directly by catering to this increase in detail with your site and your content.

Semantic Search
This means that Google is going to consider the meaning behind every word in your search. It aims to understand the meaning of your entire search rather than a scattergun search of the separate keywords that make up your search. Search engines are understanding sentences and rewarding the sites that are able to match these more ‘conversational’ search queries. One way to do this is to consider LSI (Latent Semantic indexing) which basically boils down to the synonyms people will use when searching now. It also knows when separate words link with each other under one heading. For example, it will know Bill Gates is linked with Microsoft, and factor that into longer searches.

The prevailing trend is that sites with the best content, sites that are well made, and constantly updated are going to be high in the rankings. Click-bait and glut of keywords can now be sniffed out by Google. The changes in SEO for 2015 are going to mean that your site needs to be tailored for people, not just built to tick the boxes of Google’s latest algorithm.

 Photo Credit