Is your vacation rental software responsible for massacring your website and property listings? Have you noticed a decrease in website traffic? Your VR website and listings could be feeling the punishment of Google!
I was reading a discussion that was taking place on Linkedin. The conversation was posted by Susana P. Co Founder en Perfect Holidays & Marketing she’s an embedded fixture in the vacation rental industry. She had asked about a particular company and requested reviews of the vacation rental software that they offered. You can read the VR software discussion here
I thought Susana was on to something! We should explore the benefits and disadvantages about all vacation rental software solutions from the horses mouth. I’d like to hear the truth from owners and property management companies who use them.
What Are The Problems With Vacation Rental Software?
I bring it to you straight my friend, we are far from creating the perfect solution for vacation rental software but I am really trying hard to design a model of VR software that will solve some of the biggest issues I see in the rental industry. One monumental problem I’ve observed with certain Vacation rental software is that software companies are now offering “channel distribution”.
What Is A Channel Manager Or Channel Distribution?
Channel distribution is basically, taking one vacation rental listing and broadcasting it to other listing sites and portals like Homeaway, Flipkey, Airbnb and so on…
The offered VR channel manager and distribution options vary depending on the software provider. The idea and purpose of channel distribution is to blast your property listings to as many listing sites and partners as possible thus, making the property manager or owners job easier.
My feeling has always been, whenever we cut corners the end result suffers and this case is no different. In theory it sounds great and hoards of owners have flocked to buy vacation rental software, not knowing that the disadvantages of the software could outweigh its benefits.
Here’s the problem I see with vacation rental channel managers and their distribution systems, they go against what Google is all about, ORIGINAL content!!!!
Google is about matching the most relevant information they have, with the one who is searching for it. Google is centered around the customer (we can all learn a few things from Google) and their users don’t like to find the same information all over the web. For this reason Google penalizes websites that have duplicate content on it.
If there are 10 websites with the same information on it Google will likely pick which ONE website to display to users. If your small property website is competing with Homeaway then Google may chose to rank Homeaway higher for YOUR content, simply because it is a “super brand” and an authoritative site.
What does this mean for your vacation rental website? It gets penalized and your website pages get stuffed somewhere between page 54 and 102 in Google’s search results, where it will never see the light of day!
Your property listings on other sites will also face the wrath of Google and those listings will get pushed down the list as well reducing the amount of enquiries you receive from your paid marketing (listings). OK, I am biased, right? Don’t take my word for it lets hear what Google has to say about it?
Here is an excerpt from a blog by Matt Cutts Google’s very own search engineer:
“if you’re an ecommerce company that offers the same products as other retail sites and you publish the same descriptions as competitors. In Google’s eyes, you’re not providing visitors with much added value and your content might not rank as highly.”
Vacation rental listing sites are considered an ecommerce website. Duplicate content is a huge disadvantage for your vacation rental website and your marketing! But what do you do about this? I’ve got some ideas, do you? Lets share them.
Now that’s not to say there isn’t some usefulness in certain types of vacation rental software. I’ve built some custom software tools that help me a bunch but there are still a few bugs in it that we are working through. Help us to create a better vacation rental software solution by sharing your comments here in this post.
There are good software applications and solutions but is there none without any problems? What do you think?
Have you had problems with software? What problems have you had with it?
What solutions have worked for you?
We’d like to hear from you.
Need Help With Your Vacation Rental Software? Drop Me A Line!