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6 Vacation Rental Instagram Accounts to Watch

Today we are looking at operators who are attracting attention on Instagram. A well-thought-out and nicely-curated Instagram account that is getting noticed can bring in actual bookings and revenue. We have discussed this in-depth in a previous blog post - Social Media for Short-term Rentals. But what does a 'noticeable' Instagram account look like? Stay tuned for the 6 short-term rental Instagram accounts we are loving right now and what you can learn from them. @hideoutbali With over 145,000 followers, we are certainly are not the only ones who think this Instagram account is excellent. This vacation rental benefits from a great location and unusual tree-house like accommodation. However, going through their feed, you might notice that many stunning shots are reposts of previous guests who have huge followings of their own. Takeaway lesson: If you don't have the means yourself to create outstanding shots for your Instagram, working with influencers can provide you with great content and exposure. @bentapplefarm This Vermont cabin is self-proclaimedly ‘very Vermont’ and its Instagram accounts reflects that well. It gives an insight into what life on the property is like and what activities guests can engage in with the hosts. At the same time, warm-toned interior shots show what comforts await guests. @travelershomebnb It is obvious that this stylish Lisbon citypad is travel-themed and the feed’s fun, bright colors immediately draw in your attention. Dário, the Airbnb host, gives the account a real authentic touch by speaking in first person to his audience and sharing his local tips and tricks to enjoy in Portugal’s capital. @shimanto_riverside_hideaway The tranquillity of this Japanese get-away comes across perfectly in its feed. We love the minimalist but cozy shots of the property and

Short-term Rentals for the Chinese Market

Unless your vacation rental’s calendar is full every day of the year, you will be looking to increase bookings. There are a myriad of platforms out there to list your rental – such as the big ones like Airbnb, VRBO or Homeaway or Flip Key. However, even though you are present on theses pages, are you really reaching all potential guests out there?  A lucrative market, which remains largely untapped, is the large number of Chinese tourists travelling abroad. From 2016 to 2017 the number of vacations Chinese citizens were taking outside the country increased by 7% to 131 million occasions, for example. With that comes a huge spending power. In 2016 alone it amounted to over USD 261 billion for Chinese tourists abroad. So how do you reach Chinese travellers with an interest in staying in vacation rental? CertiStay had an opportunity to speak with an expert in the Chinese market, Donald Kim. Donald is VP of Business Development at Cozystay, which operates a platform for short-term rentals targeting Chinese vacationers. 1. Donald, thank you for taking the time to answer a few questions for us. Could you introduce yourself and tell us a little bit more about what Cozystay does? Hi, it is a pleasure to be here. I’m the VP of Business Development for Cozystay and I’ve been working with the company since its launch in early 2015. The idea started with Galen, CEO/Founder, who initially looked at providing student housing for Chinese students in North America and then decided for a model similar to Airbnb but targeting the emerging Chinese tourism market. China has surpassed USA and Germany for outbound travel and will be the largest market for the next 10-15

CertiStay at 2018 VRMA International Conference

The biggest event of the vacation rental industry in Las Vegas in October. The must-attend event of the year for all vacation rental managers, the 2018 VRMA International Conference, takes place from 27th to 30th of October 2018. It is held in Las Vegas at the MGM Grand Las Vegas Hotel & Casino. The conference is being organized for vacation rental managers, owners and executives. Therefore, you will be able to network to your heart’s content with fellow operators and industry peers. The evening receptions will provide a relaxed atmosphere allowing you to network a bit more and to reflect on what you have learnt during the day. A wealth of suppliers will be exhibiting at the conference. There will be over a 100 exhibitors present. You will find big fish such as Booking.com and Airbnb as well as smaller companies, who provide a range of industry services. Visit CertiStay Inc. at Booth 347! Most importantly, over the 3 days plenty of useful workshops will await. Join 60+ demonstrations, roundtable discussions, presentations and education sessions focusing on all things important for STR operators. Beyond others subjects, business strategy, guest and owner relations, marketing, international issues, human resources, finance and legal operations, sales, technology and property services will be covered. CertiStay Inc., one of the lunch session sponsors, is organizing a lunch & learn focused on vacation rental safety and security. This will take place on Monday, the 29th 12.15pm – 1pm and will be presented by Terry Jones. Impressively, he was the founder and CEO of Travelocity and founding chairman of Kayak.com. Want to join the fun? So get your tickets here for the 2018 VRMA International Conference. If you already have a ticket, we look forward to seeing

Social Media for Short-term Rentals – Instagram & Pinterest

It is no news that digital marketing is becoming more and more important for the hospitality industry. Especially social media takes up a huge part of it and mastering feels more complex each day. So which social media channels should you use to promote your short-term rental? All of them or just a selected few? We have taken the time to take a closer look at the four biggest social platforms. In our previous blog post we talked about Twitter and Facebook specifically. Find our expert guide Social Media for Short-term Rentals - Part I here. In this blog we are sharing some advice on utilising Instagram and Pinterest for your vacation let. Read on to find out more! Instagram After Facebook, Instagram is the second most popular platform of the big social media clients. Users flock to it to show off the holiday snaps, to get inspired as well as to keep in touch with friends and family. Big brands use Instagram to show of their products and offerings and many short-term rental operators have discovered it for themselves as well. For example, a 2018 report by Netbase found that the majority of public conversations around Airbnb happen on Instagram (40%). This is compared to other channels such as forums (16%), blogs (13%), Twitter (12%) or Facebook (5%). This means potential guests are on Instagram, but your competitors is as well. So how do you stand out, get more likes and create an impressive following on Instagram? It is a more or less an easy answer: provide content people are interested in. Outstanding Content Firstly, high-quality pictures of your short-term rental are a must. Most smartphones now take awesome photos, but make sure the lighting

Social Media for Short-term Rentals – Facebook & Twitter

"You've got to use all social media for short-term rentals. The more the better, right?" In a perfect world this would be true. With unlimited resources, a full-time social media manager and a lot of cash to spend on paid advertising there is certainly no limit. But not everyone is so lucky and with limited budget and time, you might have to choose what platforms to be active on. And then those channels will have to be the ones you really put your heart and soul in. Because nothing looks worse than a deserted Facebook or Twitter page. Last post 12th July 2015? Customers might think you are no longer operating. However, you want to be everywhere your potential guests are. And obviously the more guests (and bookings), the better. Direct bookings avoid those pesky commisions and you are in the driver's seat and not some third-party site. Still, that doesn't mean all social media platforms are for you and provide the same return on investment - specifically from investment in terms of time commitment. Well, fret not. We've compiled a guide to social media for short-term rentals and today we will talk about Facebook and Twitter specifically. Read on to find out more! Facebook First and foremost, we have got to talk about the most popular social media for short-term rentals, Facebook. With over 2 billion registered users, Facebook is the go-to platform for marketers as well as short-term rental operators aiming to promote their business. Thus, your potential customers will be definitely be on it, but your competitors most likely, too. A Facebook page can in some instances even replace a website and is a useful communication channel for people interested in your

Local Safety Regulations for Short-term Rentals

How to find out about laws and regulations in your area. Navigating local regulations regarding short-term rentals' safety and security can be a confusing minefield. With laws constantly changing on a national, regional and most frequently city level, hosts have to put in increased efforts to keep up with the latest requirements. Most of the time not fulfilling these requirements can mean not only putting the safety of your guests at stake but also risking being banned from running your Airbnb, HomeAway or VRBO. For example, as stated in an article by Justin Ford on VRMintel, "many localities around the United States [...] require vacation rentals to have smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, emergency exit lighting, and fire extinguishers in place." Additionally, some places also ask STR hosts to follow certain procedures in order to avoid health issues. These can, for example, involve linen sanitization or pool and spa maintenance. So where do you begin? Not to worry! We've compiled a guide on where to look for your area's safety and security requirements for your short-term rental or vacation home. Consult Your Local Government Firstly, your local government will be able to provide materials on what safety standards need to be fulfilled by STRs or even if safety inspections are required. However, which department of the government is responsible varies a lot. Generally, you will be able to obtain information from the city hall or the city's general website. At times, it is also worth checking with the housing department or the licensing department, since running an STR can be considered a business. For example, to obtain a Short-term Rental Licence in Denver the “STR must have an operable smoke detector, carbon monoxide detector and fire extinguisher”. Find

Interview with Steve Watt, Chairman, CertiStay Safety & Security Committee

As the Chairman of the Safety & Security Committee of CertiStay, Steve Watt can look back on over 35 years of experience in policing. Starting his career in Northern Ireland with the Royal Ulster Constabulary, he quickly established his career in police, law enforcement and private security training not only in Canada but internationally as well. A recognized expert on policing matters, he has been consulting for the Province of British Columbia and Public Safety Canada since 2007. With this impressive CV, there is really no better person to ask a couple of questions on how to keep your Airbnb and short-term rental safe and secure. Let's get started! Note: Short-term rentals are referred to as STRs. 1. Having summarised your experience a bit above, could you tell us about a highlight that stood out in your career? While there many are highs and lows in policing, my main focus has always been helping others; whether that was a police officer in training, the victim of a crime or someone struggling with life’s challenges. It’s all about reaching out and touching someone in a positive way. My role with CertiStay carries on that philosophy to ensure individuals and families can experience safe and secure business and vacation short-term rentals. 2. How did you become a member of the Safety & Security Committee of CertiStay? Happenstance! A colleague of mine introduced me to Wolf Worster in April 2017 and the rest fell into place after meeting with the CertiStay team. 3. Getting onto the subject of security in STRs, which are the 3 most important issues in terms of security to consider when setting up your Airbnb, VRBO or Homeaway? There are two interrelated issues to