What Google Analytics stats Matter for Vacation Rental Websites & Resort Websites

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Google Analytics is a free website analytics tool first released in 2005. Today nearly every website utilizes this service or the premium 360 version to make informed decisions about developing their websites and more importantly to Google, how to spend their digital ad dollars. Google has, over the years, greatly expanded and improved Google Analytics providing a treasure trove of data and stats about how users interact with a website. Read More...

#BookDirect Day: Join the Movement

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#BookDirect Day is Feb 6th and the ICND team has compiled tips to educate your guests. The #BookDirect movement is primarily focused on guest education. OTAs have the brand recognition and marketing bandwidth to get in front of YOUR guests, but what makes booking directly with your company better? Here are a few highlights to market for #BookDirect. Read More...

CiiRUS-Integrated Australian Site Launches

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ICND has been in the vacation rental industry for two decades and a key component of that success is our partnerships. We’ve worked with our partner CiiRUS Vacation Rental Software to launch Uptown Apartments. This marks ICND’s first collaboration of many to come with CiiRUS. This site is the second Australian launch for both ICND and CiiRUS.

 

 

 

Now let’s learn a bit more about our new clients, Uptown Apartments. Uptown Apartments’ site harnesses the power of CiiRUS software and our booking engine while utilizing WordPress to manage all content and contacts. The homepage features a seamlessly integrated quick search component linking to all available properties. Custom features include:

  • Featured properties that pull based on highest availability in a specified time frame
  • Urgency features, allowing guests to view number of property views in a 24 hour time-frame
  • Property availability calendars with nightly pricing
  • Rental add-ons offered at booking, notifies property manager of request
  • Read More...

    Vacation Rental Marketing Do’s and Dont’s

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    With so many SEO tools floating around the internet, it can be hard to understand what to believe. Raven, SEMRush, Moz and other similar tools have site audit features that crawl your website and spit out a list of items that are hindering your site’s performance.

    With so many different issues highlighted by just one of the many site audit tools out there, getting your website optimized can seem like a daunting task. To help you better understand how to optimize your site and not waste time blindly following a third-party audit tool, we created a list of Do’s and Don’ts of Digital Marketing.

    Digital Marketing Don’ts: Read More...

    Google Local Search Update Now Includes Posts From Google My Business

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    Your Google My Business posts will now be featured in local search results- if you have any.

    As more and more users are choosing to use their phones for basic browsing instead of a traditional computer, mobile SERPs (search engine result pages) are more important than ever. That’s why so many successful businesses hire a digital marketing company that understands Google’s ever-changing ranking algorithm.

    Google My Business allows business owners to determine how, or if, their business is displayed in Google Maps, Knowledge Graphs and Organic Search. There’s also an option for business owners to create posts and share information about their business.

    The four main types of posts are:

    1. What’s new posts A post regarding general information about your company that can include a photo/video link and a CTA button.
    2. Event posts – These posts require a title as well as a start/end date and time. These posts can also include a photo/video, CTA button, and other information.
    3. Offer posts – Allow business owners to share deals or promotions offered by their business. These posts automatically have a “view offer” CTA button added to them, but may also include a photo/video, terms and conditions, coupon codes, links and more.
    4. Product posts – Share details about a specific product offered by your business. These posts must include a title and photo/video, but can also include a CTA button and other information.

    =&1=& Posts can be up to 1,500 characters, but Google says that the ideal length is 150-300 characters. So keep it simple!

    For more information about Google My Business Posts, check out the official Google guide.

    It’s important to note that the Post tab only displays on mobile searches at the time of writing this post. Here is the desktop result for the same search as above:

    Will creating Posts help me rank better?

    It’s tough to know for sure. According to a Search Engine Land case study from 2017, Google My Business Posts are “low-impact, low-effort tasks” that are best utilized when combined “with other tasks to help improve Local SEO for a small business.”

    The same study showed that Google My Business Posts had a “mild” impact on rankings. Now that Google is putting more attention on Posts, they could play a larger role in the future.
    =&3=&

    Google RankBrain: Google’s Third Most Important Ranking Signal

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    In the not so distant past, Google announced their new algorithm  “RankBrain”, making it more apparent that user-focused websites are now more important than ever when it comes to SEO for vacation rental websites.

    The algorithm studies the satisfaction of users who land on your website, and promotes sites with higher favorable outcomes for an end user. The actual design and functionality of your website has always mattered, but this information proves that it also boosts your search engine rankings.

    So, all in all, an easy-to-use website that is rewarding to the user carry’s ranking weight more than ever!

    How Can Your Website Satisfy Users?

    First thing’s first, organic click-through-rates are crucial. The first step to analyzing whether traffic is pleased with a website can be based on whether or not the website is clicked often for key search terms. Simply put – high volume of clicks = strong website. A low volume of organic clicks signifies that your website didn’t satisfy the search term entered.

    The second portion of RankBrain is the more revelatory piece – the RankBrain algorithm places a high focus on overall user experience. A user leaves your site in less than 3 seconds? Google RankBrain signifies this as an unsatisfactory experience. The content on your website didn’t keep users engaged. Not a good sign. Bounce rate, dwell time and pogo-sticking are key factors that RankBrain analyzes. Bounce rate & dwell time are commonly used terms. However, pogo-sticking is used to describe the process where a user clicks the #1 ranked site and backs out, clicks the #2 ranked site and backs out, finally lands on site #3 and spends time browsing. RankBrain would detect that site #3 provided the visitor with information they liked or needed (and subsequently, may move it up in the rankings.)

    On the flip side – if bounce rate, dwell time and pogo-sticking is low (or less prevalent) on your website, Google recognizes that the user had a pleasant experience and ranks your website higher. These measurements are known as user experience (UX) factors.

    What Does This Mean for My Website?

    Every portion of your website’s development matters. Ranking doesn’t begin and end with blogging, linking and keywords. Your website needs to include the following (to name a few!):

  • Aesthetically pleasing and functional design
  • Seamless programming for user-friendly experience
  • Innovative website tools and fresh features
  • Pertinent and engaging content
  • Read More...

    Blogging Tips For Vacation Rentals

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    What To Know About Blogging

    Blogging is an extremely helpful tactic in many ways when it comes to marketing. It can add to various aspects of your overall marketing including SEO, Social Media and even Sales. But what makes blogging so powerful and furthermore, how do you write a good blog post? Let’s face it, everyone has a blog. Some are successful and some are not but those that are successful can really add value to your marketing channels.

    Writing Is Half The Battle

    Many people begin blogging and just expect some sort of magic to happen. It’s like the saying, “If you build it, they will come.” Well, that isn’t necessarily true in the case of blogging. Writing is half the battle, the other half is promoting. You really have to spend some time thinking about where your audience consumes the most content and come up with a strategy to promote it through those channels.

    For example, a popular blog promotion channel is social media. Social Media is a great way to distribute your content to an audience that has some sort of interest in you or what you are talking about. You can also recycle content through your social channels to stretch your content a little further. It is not uncommon to promote the same blog post twice in a month, most likely it’s going to be seen by different people anyways.

    You can also look at other avenues of promoting your blog such as forums, message boards, email, etc…Reddit and Quora are two popular avenues worth looking at. Anywhere you can post it that is related to your audience group is an avenue of promotion.

    Links Are Your Friend Read More...

    Digital Marketing Myth 1 of 4: Your Google Analytics Data is CORRECT

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    Myth #1: Analytics is always correct!

    As a digital marketing agency we hear a lot of wives tales when it comes to vacation rental marketing. Many of these myths exist in the Vacation Rental Industry when it comes to marketing and can really cause confusion when it comes to measuring results. We are all about the truth, and nothing but the truth, which is why we are going to bust a very common myth for you today: Your Google Analytics Data Is Accurate. Yes, that is a bold statement, but we didn’t say it’s not accurate, just that it isn’t always accurate.

    Wait a second, you’re telling me that Google Analytics data isn’t correct? Well, let’s just say sometimes the numbers can be misleading and sometimes requires some digging the find the real data. One great example of this is how revenue is attributed to a user. But first let’s talk about how that process works.

    How Google Analytics Works for a Potential Rental Guest

    When a user visits your website Google Analytics sets a cookie for 2 years and this is called the first touch source path. Let’s say they visit your website a second and third time, but on different devices each time, those are different touch source paths with the same user. Finally, they book on the fourth session to your website and the revenue is then attributed to that last source.

    Now, this is IF that person uses the same device, such as their home computer, through this entire process.  In the vacation rental industry, we KNOW that’s not the case. They will visit your site 3-7 times before booking!

    The following graphic is a bit more accurate for the life cycle of a rental guest.

    In this instance above, analytics will attribute the BOOKING to the Home Computer, as a direct visit.

    So Where Are My Guests Really Coming From?

    So what about the four previous sessions? Especially if the first session originated from a social channel or a PPC campaign, it would be really great to know that those things are actually pulling their weight! But instead you see that the booking came from a direct search because by the time they booked, they knew exactly who you were and what they wanted. Sometimes the data can be misleading if you don’t do some digging.

    In this picture you can see the differences in Last Interaction compared to First Interaction for Organic Search and Paid Search. Those numbers are completely different and it is important to note that the First Interaction will not be attributed to the revenue generated by a user. Ok, so this is all good information… well, we think so. But how do you start tracking these users to show that what your doing is making a difference when it comes to what matters most, Revenue?

    Start using different =&0=&and =&1=& to monitor PPC, email and social media. This will allow you to see where the correct attribution lies in regards to specific channels.

     

    Customers Using Different Devices Mess Up Your Data Too Read More...

    #BookDirect Day Is Almost Here | February 7th

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    What is #BookDirect day? We know it, you know it, but most consumers don’t know that there are some major benefits when you book direct with a vacation rental company. Well, February 7th is our day to educate the public about all the advantages of booking direct with your company. We think it is so important that people understand that they can still reach out to vacation rental companies and still have a unique, personal and positive interaction.

    #BookDirect day isn’t a day to bash Online Travel Agencies and that isn’t the goal for February 7th, but it is a day to show people that there are some amazing, unique brands out there that can offer some great prices and amenities when they book directly with the company. Let’s all use this day for a positive impact on our industry.

     

    You may be wondering, how can I make a difference? That is a great question and #BookDirect day is only impactful if we all do our part. Here are some things you can do to help spread the word and be heard:

  • Use the hashtag #BookDirect. We have the power to make this viral and if we are all talking about the same thing, it will be! Use the hashtag wherever you post, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, etc… And remember, keep it positive.
  • Send out an eblast. Email is a great way to tell your audience about something specific and this is definitely a perfect time. You can highlight the fact that it is #BookDirect day and that there are advantages to booking directly with your company or any vacation rental company. Most importantly, tell people that you care about them as an individual and not as a number, no one wants to be treated like a number.
  • Blog about it. Use this opportunity to create some great content for your blog. It is a great way to tell everyone exactly what you think about #BookDirect day and it will also add to your site’s SEO.
  • Read More...

    Orlando, We are Coming For You!

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    Orlando, VRMA we are coming for you! Not only are we coming for you, we are fully loaded and ready. We let our own marketing director out of his room, and he has some great informative information for you wont find anywhere else. Paul has been in the vacation marketing business for over 11 years now. He has some great insights and has seen all the trends and hype throughout the years. The Digital Marketing world is scary. After all, one mistake could wind up costing a good chunk of change out of your marketing budget with nothing but a head scratch and bewilderment to show in return.

    In order to make your business decisions, you have to rely on the bits and pieces of info you acquired from random webinars, articles and even sales tactics that could put a little fear into you if you don’t comply. So on October 18, let our very own Paul Hanak help you decipher some of those rumors, myths, and help you make better marketing decisions for your business!