Showcase Your Vacation Rental or Real Estate Listing with a Floor Plan

Adding a floor plan of your vacation rental to show potential guests generates a measurable improvement in your number of bookings.
TruPlace, formerly Mouse on House, commissioned an independent study of over 1,400 vacation rentals that demonstrates a 97% increase in revenue from bookings for properties using their interactive floor plan tours. The amount of time it took to book the property also was measurably shorter. Likewise, at Blizzard, we find that properties with interactive floor plan tours on their property pages generate more revenue.
floor plans increase reservations

The reservation revenue per property for properties with interactive floor plan tours was 97% higher than for those properties without floor plan tours.

virtual tours and floor plans

The booking lead time for properties with interactive floor plan tours is 12 days shorter than for properties without tours.

What the study could not measure was the cost savings in phone calls. The number of phone calls that it took to book the property was presumably smaller, because anyone with questions about the layout of the property was able to find out the answer to their question online. Let’s look at why this is the case. Your goal is to get reservations. Once someone finds your website, how can you turn a looker into a booker? The websites that anticipate the traveler’s questions, and answer them, get more reservations.
Travelers’ questions:

  • Where is it located, exactly?
  • What’s the place like?
  • How much is it?

When it comes to what is the place like, getting a bird’s eye view of the floor plan answers that question in  a split second. In a glance, your potential guests can answer such questions as:

  • How noisy does it look like it will be?
  • Where can I watch TV in the middle of the night without waking up my family?
  • Where will I be relative to the kids? The other people we are staying with?
  • Does my room have a view?
  • Where is the balcony/deck relative to my bedroom? Relative to the kitchen?
  • What is the kitchen like?
  • Are there stairs?
  • How many bathrooms are there and where are they?

Real-Estate-Floor-Plan-Vacation-Rental

What’s the difference between an interactive floor plan tour and a 360 virtual tour?

An interactive floor plan is a floor plan that is clickable. It combines still photography with a floor plan of the entire property so that the visitor can have a high level view and navigate through the home. A 360 virtual tour combines videos or still images in order to provide a simulation of walking through a location.

Interactive floor plan tours can be made just from architectural floor plan renderings; the property does not need to be built yet. Also they are mobile friendly and load more quickly than 360 virtual tours.

360 virtual tours, on the other hand, can provide  a full 360 degree view of the rooms, and if when done correctly, are more entertaining content to put on your website.

Unlike videos and 360 virtual tours, a floor plan gives the traveler a great deal of information in a single glance. That is not to say, however, that videos and 360 virtual tours do not do well. Everyone likes to be entertained. However, if you have videos or 360 virtual tours, make sure that they are actually entertaining; or your potential guest will quickly grow weary of watching them!

Having entertaining content on your website, such as videos and 360 virtual tours, can increase your website traffic and the amount of time that people spend on your site. These are good indicators for Google and can increase your website’s position in search results. Having floor plans and interactive floor plans on your website can help potential guests decide whether to book a specific property. For that reason, interactive floor plan tours can generate more revenue than 360-virtual tours, because the potential guest can click on the floor plan and quickly answer many of the questions that they have.

Do you have a property owner who wants more bookings? Ask them if they are willing to pay for an interactive floor plan tour.

Timeline of TripAdvisor in the News for last 12 months

Read a  summary timeline of TripAdvisor in the news during the last 12 months with links to articles with more details:

10/28/11 Hoteliers and restaurateurs anxious to sue TripAdvisor in the U.S. over travelers’ disparaging reviews may have to rethink their strategy following a legal decision involving Yelp. Read More

10/20/11 TripAdvisor gets sued for 10 million after naming hotel the “dirtiest hotel” in the country.  The Grand Hotel, in Pigeon Forge, was ranked the dirtiest hotel in America and now its owner is going after TripAdvisor.  Read More.  Also read: Does TripAdvisor Play Dirty with Hotel Reviews? in USA Today.

10/20/11 TripAdvisor is seeking verification from a consumer after discovering a potentially false review.  The Howarth House (a hotel in the UK)  brought brought the review to TripAdvisors attention. Read More

10/4/11 Trip Advisor punishes hotel for writing its own reviews, and for writing a negative review of a competitors.  The hotel now has the “red badge” on its listing at TripAdvisor and denies wirting fraudulent reviews. Read More

9/27/11 TripAdvisor now emphasizing Traveler photos (along with reviews).  With over 8 million traveler’s photos on TripAdvisor, your guests can now shape public opinion of you not just by writing about your, but by also sharing photos.  This is a natura; extension of TripAdvisor’s user-generated content.  Read More

9/12/11 TripAdvisor waters down its trustworthiness when it removes “Reviews You Can Trust” and changes to “Reviews from our Community” Read More [Read more...]

TripAdvisor Shares ROI Study for TripAdvisor Business Listings

TripAdvisor is touting a Forrester Consulting study The Total Economic Impact of TripAdvisor’s Business Listings that is sharing some interesting ROI results from 154 lodging properties (hotels, inns, resorts, etc.) with about 50% of them located in the U.S..

In a nutshell, say the TripAdvisor Business Listing:

  • Offered a 410% “risk adjusted ROI” Annually.
  • Averaged $6 in incremental booking for every $1 spent.
  • Only tracked click-throughs and online bookings.  Phone calls not tracked.

Does this mean every hotelier should run out and buy an ad?
Some of the factors that caused a higher than average ROI were:

  • Your Popularity Ranking
  • Whether the hotel used the Special Offers feature
  • Smaller hotels (100 rooms or fewer) did better

In another Forrester Report, an anonymous organization that manages twenty hotels using TripAdvisor’s Business Listing shares some eye opening results… with a 400% return being on the low end.

So, if you have a good popularity ranking, and will take the time and trouble to use the Special Offers feature, you should probably purchase a TripAdvisor Business Listing.

How does the TripAdvisor Business Listing compare to other sources in terms of ROI?
I took a look at 55 lodging websites using Google AdWords and found that ROI was about 1,050% (for July-December, 2010)  and that the conversion rate was .34%  (average for 2010).
I didn’t “risk adjust” the ROI, I just got it out of Google Analytics.   If you believe it, every $1 spent in Google AdWords brought $10.50 in online revenue.    (It takes about 300 visitors for a conversion.)

So, should you run out and do PPC?  Not so fast. [Read more...]

Sceptre Hospitality Resources

Sceptre Hospitality Resources delivers optimized profitability and multiple revenue streams across global markets through next-generation reservations connectivity and technology, revenue management, interactive marketing and eCommerce, property-level sales and marketing, and online-based operations enhancers.hospitality solutions

For over twenty years, Sceptre continues to exceed hotel expectations by connecting reservations, capturing user engagement and converting bookings to produce top-line revenue growth and increased bottom-line profitability.

Their success is driven by our world-class team of industry experts who have the ability to truly partner with hotels in order to understand their specific business objectives and challenges.

Aligning with Sceptre creates a unique relationship focused on your hotel’s ROI, conversion rates, revenue-generating opportunities, and overall success.

Learn more about Sceptere’s services by calling them at 800-252-0522 or info@esceptre.com.

Thanks to Sceptre for sponsoring Blizzard’s webinars.

Amenity Services Guest Amenity Programs

Amenity Services Inc. (ASI) is the nation’s leading provider of guest amenity programs at vacation rental properties.

amenityservicesVacation Rental Managers use ASI to build customer loyalty, increase occpupancy and add to the enjoyment of their guests.  ASI provides packaged vacation activities that are provided to the guest as a complimentary part of their stay.  These activities often include golf rounds, deep sea fishing, amusements, water parks, dolphin cruises, wildlife tours, white water rafting, ski lift access, unlimited DVD rentals and much more – every day of their stay! [Read more...]

Red Sky Travel Insurance

Red Sky Travel Insurance knows that “bad luck comes in waves.”  Through their Trip Preserver product, Red Sky offers the most complete coverage specifically designed for coastal vacationing guests homeowners and property managers.  Reading between the lines… Red Sky Insurance specializes in hurricanes and hurricane related damage.

Thanks to Red Sky for sponsoring the Blizzard Internet Marketing Webinars. [Read more...]

FlipKey Review Management for Vacation Rental Managers

FlipKey collects guest reviews and promotes your vacation rental properties to 25 million travelers monthly through TripAdvisor and the FlipKey website.  FlipKey makes it free and easy to list your properties and offers personal account managers to help create your listings, collect reviews, and maximize bookings.

flipkey

Reviews help increase consumer confidence, increase your website’s conversion rates, and drive direct bookings.  FlipKey makes reputation management easy for professional vacation rental managers by providing: [Read more...]