Surprising Internet - Lodging Newsletter June 30th, 2019
By Wm, May
Published: 06/30/19 Topics: Lodging Newsletter, Vacation Rentals, Vortex Managers Comments: 0
Could there possibly be anyone in the world who does not use the Internet? It's everywhere. Everything.
As prominent as the technology is in our lives, it is still surprising how little consumers know about the secret interactions deep inside the world wide web. Of course, we would not profess to be experts on all things Internet.
However, in our little corner of the web there are mysteries we like to share with clients, so they can have an idea of the world wide war that our engineers fight everyday on their behalf.
Ok, that rhetoric is a bit strong, but most owners would be surprised to know some of what we have learned about some unexplainable behavior. Such as these:
"How come I can't see my property on the VRBO map?"
"My property shows not available tonight, but I know it's not booked."
"Why is my property so far down the list on Airbnb?"
"How can my friend find my house on Booking.com?"
It would be easy to presume that some kind of mistake has been made, but you might be surprised to learn that the lodging listing websites; as well as Google, Bing, and others are manipulating everything you see online. Especially for lodging.
We have now spent a dozen years building software used for many reasons, but one is just to fight the war for more advertising visibility. Here are just a few challenges we work on every day.
ALGORITHMS - Google, Bing, and smaller search engines use mathematical formulas to rank websites. So we use "white hat" search engine optimization techniques to work within their system. Even within the "Available" results which you might be served, it is personalization that overrides the precise listings you see. That is why some people will see your listing easily and others will not. New businesses are not listed immediately. The results you see differ based on who you are, where you are, how often you search, what your viewing habits have been, and even the time of day. For example, type in "Mount Rainier Hotel" and what you see looks different than what others see.
MAPS - Google's goal to list every business in the world on their maps pages, which is no small feat. After years of messy results, today businesses can be listed within days or weeks, unless the Google computers demand verification which is done the old fashioned way. They mail a post card with a secret code used to activate the listings. However, Google only allows individual homes to be listed in some areas, not all.
PAY PER CLICK - Google prints money by charging advertisers for each click on their listings. "Pay Per Click" advertising is expensive even if no booking results. We use this at certain times during the day.
HOTEL - After experimenting for years, Google created a carousel of hotel listings on map and other pages, for which they extract a commission. Luckily our channel partner was one of the first allowed to submit vacation rental listings, but listings do not appear if one of the guests preferred dates is not available.
LISTING WEBSITES - Mammoth advertising websites like Airbnb, VRBO, Booking.com, and others have a big problem. They have too many listings. They can not make hundreds or thousands of listings be easily visible, especially on maps. So you may notice that a certain area has only 10-20 push pins, but as you zoom in more push pins appear. Research shows that they divvy up visibility to give all advertisers some space, but they give more visibility to expensive homes because they make higher commissions.
FILTERS - As listing websites advance, they offer filters so guests can choose dates, amenities, and more, It is easy to inadvertently filter results without trying to do so. That can make your homes listing seem invisible because it is already booked, or does not have a hot tub. Be careful when looking
CACHE - You may be surprised to learn that the Internet is not instant. To improve page speed, a great deal of data is "Cached" on your local computer such as graphics and photos. Should you revisit a website, old photos may appear even if new ones have been published. To double check, refresh your browser and look again, or close your browser and restart your computer. You may find your listing mysteriously appears.
LOOK BEFORE YOU LEAP - The next time you are researching your advertising, please don't presume we have made a mistake. If you don't think you see what should be there, follow the steps above, and then you can give us a call. We publish better websites, brilliant photos, accurate rates and dates, and we do that on hundreds of websites. We are happy to show you where it all is happening.
Author: Wm, May, Vortex Managers
Blog #: 0676 – 06/30/19
Sponsor: Vortex Organization – We train quality people to help run unique Inns, Resorts and Vacation Rental Management companies, in an industry that has been a webby net of technology combined with good old fashioned property, guest and owner services. – VortexManagers.com
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