Tag Archives: search results

Location, location…where exactly are you?

haystack2If you haven’t pinned your holiday home’s location on the map, finding your place can be a bit like searching for a needle in a haystack.

This is because ads that aren’t using the pinpoint map feature won’t appear in Map view searches and will only show in the List view.

Location is the deciding factor for many people when booking a holiday. You need to make it easy for them to see how far your place is from local facilities and attractions such as the beach, airport, museums, theme parks and restaurants. It’s especially worthwhile adding a pin for travellers who are planning a stay for a specific reason, such as a wedding, so they can check how close your place is to the action.

map

Example of a Map view search

It’s really important that travellers can find your advert, however they choose to search our site, and it’s as easy as pie to add a pin:

  •         Go to Properties > Update location info in your account
  •         Zoom in and click to pin your place on the map
  •         Click Save

If you don’t want to give your property’s exact location, you can show the general area so potential guests still have enough info to make a booking. Just check the tick box: Don’t show travellers the pin on the map.

And remember: your property’s address details will never be published on your ad or shared with travellers who don’t have a confirmed booking.

A pinpoint map tempts travellers and boosts bookings

When you’ve pinned your place on the map, travellers looking at your ad can easily see nearby attractions and restaurants. They can take a look at them on TripAdvisor and get more info. Seeing what there is to do in the area can be the difference between them looking elsewhere or making a booking with you.

map

Example of a map on an advert

More like this

Give your guests the gift of local knowledge

Is your listing unique? If not, Google knows it.

Google is far and away the most used search engine, so we work hard to help your advert appear in search results. But when a listing contains copied text, it doesn’t stand a chance: Google removes it from their search results and bookings take a nosedive.

When you’ve taken the time to take great photos of your property, why skimp on your description? When owners copy and paste descriptions into their adverts from other websites, it’s a lose-lose situation for everyone involved. Here’s why copied text is bad for business and bookings:

  • Whether your descriptions have been copied from somewhere on the internet (such as a tourism site) or they’ve been taken from another advert on Holiday Lettings, copied text is against our terms and conditions. We hope it doesn’t come to this, but if an advert infringes intellectual property rights, we may have to remove it from the site.
  • If Google receives complaints of copied text or detects the use of duplicate content, they’ll remove it from any searches. Travellers can’t book what they can’t find. It’s easy to find duplicate content by putting it in inverted commas and doing a simple Google search.

Copying descriptions is tantamount to stealing. What’s more, when a sentence here and a paragraph there has been copied, the overall effect is a description that doesn’t sound right and could set alarm bells ringing for travellers.

If you’re setting your advert up in a hurry, here are some top tips on writing descriptions that travellers will love and that won’t land you in hot water:

  • Go to your local tourist information centre and pick up some leaflets. Use these to find out what there is to do in the local area and describe the attractions in your own words.
  • Do your research. If you’ve found some info on the web about places to visit nearby, there’s no harm in using it, but you need to paraphrase it so it’s in your own words. Just copying and pasting isn’t allowed.
  • Cover the main points and come back to it later. You don’t have to have a finished advert from the outset. You can edit your descriptions at any time, so don’t worry if you haven’t got time to write lots of information to start with. It’s more important that whatever you do write is original and in your own words.
  • Use your photos and reviews for inspiration. Sometimes guest reviews will mention local things to do that you might have missed. You can use these as inspiration for your descriptions by logging in and going to Properties > Update description or Properties > Update location info.

How I’m trying to reach the top of the search results

Rowena, Cyprus holiday homeownerRowena shares her strategies for getting her holiday home in Cyprus to the top of the Holiday Lettings search results.

The high season is fast approaching and although we’ve had some bookings confirmed, we still have a lot of weeks available and need to get the empty dates filled!

It’s important to me that our property stays at the top of the listings on Holiday Lettings. I’ve mentioned before that tourists can be put-off looking for self-catering holidays abroad because of the cost of flights, and these are especially high for European flights to sunshine destinations like Cyprus. Plus, our property in Paphos faces a lot of tough competition from other holiday lets, so I need to ensure that our house stays at the top of the search results.

How properties are ‘ranked’

I’m not quite sure how the rankings are worked out on Holiday Lettings, but my personal thoughts are that it must be similar to Google. Like Google, or most search engines for that matter, they don’t give away how they ‘rank’ you. But what we do know is that it helps to keep your content fresh, relevant and up to date.

One of the major factors that can only assist with where you appear on Holiday Lettings is responding to enquiries within 24 hours. Quick responses will help you stay at the top. I also try to make sure our availability and prices are regularly updated and that content is appropriate to the season that we are trying to get bookings for.

Researching the competition

There are currently 23 properties listed in Anarita, the village where our property is located. It has been at number four in the search results for a while now and I’m determined to get it to the ‘top of the props’!

If you search for Paphos (the region where our property is located), there are 47 pages of properties and I’m pleased to see that regularly updating and refreshing our advert has resulted in us appearing on page two. However, I want to get on page one to try and generate more enquiries: it’s down to me as the homeowner to do this.

My tactics so far

Here’s what I’ve already done to achieve a good place in the search results:

  • Asked our guests to leave reviews – we have 10 in total and our overall rating from past guests is 5/5
  • Allowed new guests to book online with Payment Protection
  • I respond to enquiries quickly, and always within 24 hours
  • Included photos of our property and the surrounding area together with photo descriptions
  • I regularly review and amend content to keep it up to date and appropriate to each season
  • I use social media – our property has been shared 136 times on Facebook (and that’s not only by me… promise!)

New things that I’m trying out

So what have I done recently to try and achieve an even higher ranking?

  • Added two more photos so that I’m now at the full capacity of 24 photos
  • Added prices for 2015
  • Updated the intro on our advert
  • Added a link to our property’s website

So fingers crossed this will help our home climb even higher in the property charts! Watch this space and here’s hoping we’ll start receiving more enquiries and bookings soon. I’ll keep you updated!

All the best,

Rowena

Increase clicks with a great search results summary

Great text means more guests!Your search results summary is the text that appears next to your first photo in our search results. These few words have the power to grab a guest’s attention, convince them to click through and book a holiday.

Some holiday home owners like to pepper their summary text with popular keywords that match holidaymaker searches and stand out at first glance – things like ‘secure parking’, ‘private garden’, ‘Madrid city centre apartment’. Whereas others prefer to speak to potential guests’ emotional side, using carefully crafted, evocative sentences to highlight the property’s key features.

Here are some good examples from our site:

City centre canalside garden apartment with private access and secure parking. Wrap around, well stocked private garden overlooking canal and basin. Plenty of wildlife, peace and tranquillity. Summer sees many canal boats pass by. Extensive shared residents’ gardens.

Weaver Cottage is a charming 18th century stone weavers’ house with breath-taking views over Bradford on Avon. Surrounded by secret paths and terraced gardens, Tory enchants visitors. Weaver cottage is ideally suited to couples wanting a romantic getaway. The rooms are light and sunny with a mellow traditional feel. There is a south-facing courtyard garden.

Magnificent view of the Kitzsteinhorn glacier. The town centre is easily accessible and offers shops, a supermarket, restaurants and cafés. You can leave your car parked! The next bus stop is only 150 metres from our house, free ski buses run every 20 minutes. Summer: hiking, biking, golf, climbing, tennis, sailing and swimming in one of the Alps most beautiful lakes.

Move with the seasons

Your search results summary is also the perfect place to add seasonal selling points. For example, you might write about sun and sand in the hotter months then swap in a mention of the log fire and cosy local pub as it turns colder. Got a local festival or event coming up? Mention it here, then remove it once the time has passed.

Updating your search results summary

Log in to your account, go to Properties > Property details and write your brief text into the field marked Search results summary. There’s even an additional field for you to use if you’ve got more to say.

Also see: how to write your main description.

Influence your position in the search results

Holiday Lettings search results“Really?” we hear you say. Well yes, you can.

We’re not about to reveal our algorithm secrets any more than Google is, but what you do with your listing and how you respond to your guests does influence your position in the search results on Holiday Lettings.

Here’s how: respond, respond, respond to every enquiry and/or every booking request.

Do it now: tomorrow could be too late for the guest (beyond 24 hours will impact your response rate), so prompt responses count too.

How you respond today as well as how you did last month and continue to over time are all factored in, so every response really does count.

Anything else?

Also influencing things: offering online payment via Holiday Lettings (it’s what guests want); the popularity of your listing (if people like it, there’s likely a queue of more wanting to see it). It’s not an algorithm factor but travellers can further sort their results by reviews; homes with the most reviews will show first if this option is selected.

Every search is unique because guests sort and filter their searches by different options. So your position will always shift from search to search.