If your property has been selected for a review, congratulations! If not, we hope that it will be! In 2017, VRTG is offering a paid review program where rental managers call the shots and do not wait to be selected (or not selected for review). Either way, you may have one or more of these frequently asked questions:
Why does the travel writer need 7-10 days to review my property?
Great Question! Our articles are written by professional travel writers. Most of our writers have published at least one book; and many VRTG writers are currently, or have been university professors or teachers. Each are experienced world travelers. And, although experienced and excellent writers, a 3,000-word essay is no easy task. With the research and creativity required, each article takes about 20 hours to compile and write. Facts and figures include local attractions with exact locations, phone numbers, zip codes, exact property details, foreign terms, names, etc.–and all facts are vetted.
The first day a travel writer arrives is a travel day and the last day is a packing day. If they are booked for seven days, that leaves five days to write, which means they will average four hours per day writing! Meanwhile, they are exploring and experiencing the area; collecting information and data; and surfing the Internet for relevant material. This is actually somewhat rigorous and we prefer 10 days. All VRTG reviews are engaging and exciting. However, if you offer more than the seven-day minimum; and if the travel writer has time; the review will be more thorough with the extra time allowed.
This never happens. We carefully select the properties we review. Additionally, our review model is non-traditional. We do not go through your place with “the white glove” or a magnifying glass! Our approach is to teach travelers how to have the best time possible in a particular vacation rental location. We are not reviewing ‘beige hotels,” and our review system reflects that. These are not TRIP ADVISER or VRBO reviews done randomly by amateur writers with different tastes, experiences, and expectations. Our writers are experienced travelers who understand diversity in the highest way possible. All reviews are written as a positive first person experience by writers who love to travel. If we do come across a negative aspect, we expect you to correct it for the next guest. Furthermore, if the entire review is negative for an unexpected reason, we will not publish it. So … worst case scenario, the review would not be published. NOTE: We are working on our fifth book, and this has never happened.
If you have ever interacted with the media, complimentary passes are commonplace and expected. That is the short answer. However, we will answer that question more specifically by saying the stay is not a free stay. Thousands of real dollars are spent in arranging a travel writer to arrive at your property. Additionally, the stay is earned with a total of 40-50 VRTG Staff hours lovingly invested in each article. It takes about 20 hours for a travel writer to research and write the article, and the article must be written 100% on site! Additionally, a photo story is included which may take 5 hours to shoot, upload, crop, edit and post in a slide show to the VRTG website. Next, another 4-5 hours are spent with two rounds of editing. This is to be sure all facts are correctly stated; the flow is orderly; each sentence is clearly written, and the writer concurs with these edits. Intimately involved in the article, a writer does not always see these things, and an editor with “fresh eyes” provides a professional polish.
After editing, VRTG takes three more steps. We turn the article over to a proofreader to ensure that the article is done according to our style guide with regards to punctuation, headings/headers, and spelling and spacing (spell check is not accurate). Next, we post the article to the VRTG website, which includes on-page optimizing with keywords so that Google and Bing searches may see the article and send traffic to the review.
The last is step is VRTG marketing efforts. We post the review to four social medias, and pay marketing budget to bring traffic from both Facebook and Google Search. This entire process takes at least 30 days and a total of 45-55 man/woman hours; involving four to five different specialists and a sizable number of dollars. Offering our writers a “complimentary stay” (your out-of-pocket is only for cleaning, and some utilities); is significantly less compared to what VRTG is paying to create the review. Accordingly, this is NOT a free stay!
Absolutely not. We make every effort to work with the property manager to book in off-season to leverage the property’s downtime. Once you book a travel writer, it should be noted on your availability calendar just like any other booking. Travel writers arrange for vacation time to travel, and the cost of airplane tickets or travel can be thousands or more, depending from where the writers depart. Often we send two travel writers—one for photography, and research; and the other for writing. This can involve a devastating expenditure of thousands of dollars including “lost vacation time” should a property owner/manager want to cancel. If you have any tiny inkling you would need to cancel a review booking, do not book a travel writer to write a review!
How does a VRTG review benefit my vacation rentals?
Marketing, advertising, and publicity is a symphony of exposures. As a property owner/manager, you may reap benefits with a review published in The Vacation Rental Travel Guide. How you leverage the review determines benefits yielded. Vacationers have written noting that they have booked a certain property because of the review they read on our site. Yet, we do not guarantee bookings or inquiries. We suggest you use the gold seal and review as a booking tool. In the end, it is you who closes bookings. Here some benefits that you can wield:
- CREATE CREDIBILITY: From your property listing (and emails), include the VRTG GOLD SEAL and link to the review on the Vacation Rental Travel Guide Website. Say, “Please see the professional review written in The Vacation Rental Travel Guide about this property.” This accomplishes three things. This sends them away from the competition; engages them in more detail about your property, and creates an edge for your property over other booking choices. They know someone has been there, and it is a real property. No scam on this one for sure!
- GET GOOGLE SEARCH POWER: We link from your review to your directory listing or website. This offers your website or directory listing a relevant CITATION LINK which Google recognizes as having authority. Combined with social media postings, when travelers search your property or property management website climbs higher in search engine results.
- BUILD SOCIAL MEDIA AWARENESS: Post your review to social media, and invite people to read the review. Increase social media awareness of your property and your property management company while reminding them of the excellence that your company provides. They might book something else from your company, if the one reviewed is not appropriate.
- LEVERAGE BRAGGING RIGHTS: The review gives you a chance to remind those in your professional and social circles that you are progressing. Brag. When the travel guide is published, give an open house or cocktail party, and invite business associates, friends, and family to celebrate. You might get a booking at that event! Who knows, right? And people talk.
- TARGETED MARKETING OPPORTUNITIES: When the travel guide is published, you may to buy them at a discount. The digital book is also posted for free on the VRTG site. Our property owners agree to place travel guide in their properties to gain exposure to this highly specialized audience who reads the travel guide while staying in other VRTG properties.
Terms & Conditions: See Terms & Conditions for participating in The Vacation Rental Travel Guide as a property owner or manager.
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Comments Welcome: Make a comment below (we work hard…give us some love!) on any of our Live Reviews by Travel Writer Liz Manduca, Emily Yurcheshen, Mike Jabon, Luz (Lulu) Orozco, Cindy White, Robert Munster, Deborah Nelson, or Renee Fontaine, and get a FREE Digital version of The Vacation Rental Travel Guide when it is hot off the press!