Net Neutrality Threatened by Trump Administration

Tom Wheeler, the former chair of the FCC, used his final speech before stepping down to warn businesses and consumers that their choice of cloud services and business applications could be severely limited if the incoming administration strikes down the 2015 open internet order that he and his group put in place. This order positioned the FCC’s net neutrality regulation that prevents Internet Service Providers from slowing or blocking traffic on their networks. This gives all traffic equal opportunity and speed and prevents network favoritism.

Wheeler also showed concern for the Internet of Things, an area of economic growth that is quickly becoming top of mind to many businesses and policy makers in Washington.

“[T]he growth of the internet of things is another area that depends on the open connectivity of those things,” Wheeler said. “If ISPs can decide arbitrarily which IoT device can be connected, or favor their own IoT activity over their competitors, the bright future of IoT dims.” Wheeler continued, “As everything goes into the cloud, the ability to access the cloud free of gatekeepers is essential. If ISPs get to choose which applications and clouds work better than others in terms of access, speed and latency, they will control the cloud future,”.

Wheeler’s position may not be a surprise now but given his past as a lobbyist for the cable and wireless sector his support of net neutrality may come as a shock.

Bill Wilson, a consultant for Broadband Landing, said, “Wheeler may be underplaying the seriousness of the situation. Net Neutrality is the biggest deal that no one really understands. If consumers and small businesses actually realized what the internet would look like after it was bought and sold by large corporations that was be worried. This would be all that was being talked about.”

Wheeler has the same question many businesses do, namely will Trump dismantle a policy that is clearly working? With republicans openly opposed to net neutrality things do seem dire for the policy.

Wheeler’s speech not only acts as a warning to the incoming administration but also clearly attempts to widen the scope of the net neutrality debate as a whole. Consumer impact of the open internet order is almost always the lead in any discussion of net neutrality but here Wheeler’s focus was on the danger to businesses and their increasing use of cloud computing. Interruption or the slowing of these services is a bit more destructive than a video playing slow. Businesses might be required to completely change back office management systems. A company like could have their customer base divided between users that have an ISP that allows their traffic and ISP’s that won’t. Situations of this type could be repeated across many business services. If AT&T buys a firm that provides CMS to sales and marketing groups, it is not unthinkable that they would show preference to this firm over others.

Wheeler specifically calls out Verizon and AT&T for the “zero rating” programs that give some companies free access by not charging customers for the data they use. While this isn’t the feared “Fast Lane” net neutrality has been trying to avoid, it may actually be worse.

Wheeler finished his speech with, “It now falls to a new set of regulators, to a new FCC and to those who advocate before it and the Congress to determine the road that they want to take from here,” Wheeler said. “We are at a fork in that road. One path leads forward and the other leads back to relitigating solutions that are demonstrably working.”

While the fork in the road analogy fits, it’s actually a bit more drastic than Wheeler makes it seem. One road leads forward and the other leads back a decade and then off a cliff into a hole filled with alligators.

While Enjoying Aruba Vacation Rentals, Visitors Can Make A Difference

Aruba – Each year for the last 19 years, visitors and residents of Aruba, along with environmentalists, have come together for the Aruba Reef Care Project.

The event, started in 1994 by the Aruba Tourism Authority, creates awareness and improves the marine life of the island. So while visitors are enjoying one of the island’s beautiful beach rentals, they can also make a difference.

“Tourists flock to our island for its beauty,” says Matthew Smillie, owner of Aruba Villa Vacation Homes, offering outstanding rentals. “During the project, cleanup sites dot the coast from Baby Beach to Arashi Beach. Volunteers pick up debris on the beach while scuba divers retrieve debris in the water to keep it from harming our marine life.”

During the cleanup, everyone comes together for one simple mission – to keep Aruba’s beaches and waters pristine for years to come.

The project quickly gained support from the locals, including the many hotels and resorts that dot the island, who provide boxed lunches and prizes for volunteers.

This year’s event will take place on Sept. 29. Those interested in helping should make their accommodations to visit the island and help preserve the beautiful white sandy beaches.

“Aruba has recently seen a tremendous increase in wanting to preserve our beautiful island,” says Smillie, who offers luxury vacation rentals in Aruba and can help visitors plan every aspect of their stay. “The Aruba Reef Care Project helps us promote ecotourism. This project ensures our island will stay beautiful for future generations to enjoy.”

Ecotourism has seen more popularity as travelers wish to not only visit beautiful locations, but to give back while they are there. Ecotourism is “responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the well-being of local people.” Travelers abide by rules, such as minimizing the impact on the area they are visiting, building environmental and cultural awareness and respect, and providing direct financial benefits for conservation.

Each year scuba divers and eco-tourists flock to Aruba for the island’s beauty. The waters off the coast of the island offer some of the best diving opportunities with several wrecks and coral reef tracts.

“We rely heavily on the great tourists who visit our island,” says Smillie. “But that tourism can take a toll if visitors are not conscious of the fragility of our ecosystems. We are proud of the work our tourism authority and residents are doing every day to educate visitors on what they can do to help us keep our island beautiful.”

The Aruba Reef Care Project offers a unique opportunity for visitors and residents to work together to preserve the beauty of Aruba’s marine life. Participants experience the excitement of the island’s best dive spots, coupled with knowing they are ensuring scuba divers for years to come will have the same chance.

For travelers looking to explore some of the world’s most beautiful beaches, and scuba divers looking for interesting dive sites, while being able to give something back, the Aruba Reef Care Project provides the perfect opportunity. And Matthew Smillie and his team at Aruba Villa Vacation Homes are only a phone call away, waiting to help visitors plan the perfect eco-tourism getaway.

Finding The Best Deals For Relaxation: Searching For Miami Vacation Rentals

If you are planning a vacation to the beach, then you may be hesitant because of the accommodations that are currently available. The global economic crisis leads to fluctuations in the vacation rentals market, so don’t be surprised if you don’t find enough good offers to choose from. Just keep looking and you will surely find a Miami Beach vacation rental that is perfect for you.

The fluctuations that are in the market for vacation rentals can sometimes leave you with a limitation of accommodations available. . Knowing how to find the best vacation rentals Ft. Lauderdale or with Miami Beach vacation rental options will then lead you into a more relaxing vacation.

When you begin to look into a Miami Beach vacation rental, or another specific beach front, you will want to define exactly what you want for your time away from home. Most will consider vacation rentals Ft. Lauderdale or in Miami according to the accommodations available. Whether you are searching for luxury or simple comfort, is the ability to get into different vacation rental areas for the best results. Defining which amenities are most important to you can then provide you with the best in stay.

Not only do you want to look at the amenities available for luxury or for a basic stay, but also want to consider the length of stay. For instance, if you are only staying for a weekend, then you will be introduced to short term vacation rentals Miami or Fort Lauderdale. The Miami Beach vacation rental alternatives that are available for those that want a stay for three months or less will open up new doors to those wanting to enjoy the beach. Searching by your length of time then becomes one of the most essential components to getting the best deals.

After you search through your personal options, then you can begin to look at the different pricing considerations available from specific agents. There are numerous rental agencies specializing in Miami Beach vacation rentals, so you should check out a few of them first to see which one suits your needs best. When working with one of these agencies, you will have the ability to find comparable rates, all which include discounts and deals that can assist you with your needs. Knowing how to contrast the vacation rentals can then lead you the best pricing, while allowing you to enjoy the amenities you desire.

If you are planning a vacation to Miami Beach, Fort Lauderdale or any other beach front, then knowing how to search for vacation rentals Ft Lauderdale should be one of the primary focuses. This will allow you to enjoy more of your time away from home, while allowing you to get the most of luxury and comfort. The several alternatives that are available can then help you to move into a new level of relaxation.

Disney Holiday Homes And Vacation Rentals In Florida

If you are looking forward to visiting Disney World or other attractions in Orlando, planning the trick with a little information could help save you money. Instead of opting for the first package that comes your way, its best to get some more knowledge of hotels and other kinds of lodgings available might be a good idea. Even if you are from Florida, some tips form this article may help you in getting your required and budgeted accommodation.

A popular misconception is that the resort exists in Orlando. In fact, the entire Walt Disney World property is outside Orlando city limits; the majority sits within southwestern Orange County, with the remainder in adjacent Osceola County to the south.

Most of Walt Disney World’s Central Florida land and all of the public areas are located in the cities of Bay Lake and Lake Buena Vista, located southwest of Orlando and a few miles northwest of Kissimmee. The land within Walt Disney World Resort is part of the Reedy Creek Improvement District, which allows the Disney corporation to exercise quasi-governmental powers over the area.

Hotels always come across to be trifle expensive on the agenda whenever you travel irrespective of the destination. The alternative is vacation rentals that offer far cheaper rates than most hotels. Vacation rentals may come to include various kinds of lodging like privately owned cottages, condos or large and luxurious villas that can be directly rented or leased from their owners, their agents or through vacation rental agencies. A lot of variety is available to choose from and they are ideal for families looking forward to make use of Disney vacation rentals.

Florida Disney vacation rental lodgings offer cheaper prices resulting in huge savings in costs compared to staying at a hotel. Most of these privately owned accommodations are listed directly by their owners, resulting in saving more money by avoiding middle men. Orlando being one of the most popular vacation destination in the USA because it has something for everyone – Disney with its four theme parks – MGM Studios, Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Animal Kingdom in addition to the 3 water parks and more than eight golf courses, not to mention many other attractions.

The Walt Disney World resort also includes six world-class golf courses. The five 18-hole golf courses are the Magnolia, the Palm, Lake Buena Vista, Eagle Pines, and Osprey Ridge (the last two are part of the Bonnet Creek Golf Club). There is also a nine-hole walking course called Oak Trail, designed for young golfers. Together, they are known as Disney’s “99 holes of golf.” There are two miniature golf courses, Fantasia Gardens and Winter Summerland.

Walt Disney World paved the way for many other theme parks and attractions in the area, including SeaWorld and Universal Studios, and helped make Orlando a popular tourist destination for people from all over the world.

Since the best time to visit Florida and its attractions is from October to April, it is best to get reservations at least 2 months in advance. If you are a regular Disney buff, you may even consider owning a vacation home there which can be rented out as and when not required by you. Investment, return and appreciation along with the pleasure of a Disney holiday is a reality.

Find Florida Vacation Rentals

Florida Vacation Home Rental

Florida vacation rentals make visiting Florida more fun, from the top of the state to the southernmost of the Keys. You can enjoy all the comforts of home while visiting Florida, by staying in fully furnished vacation rentals. Choose a luxury villa, beach house, vacation condo, or home rental near pristine sunny beaches or in the action of areas like Miami, or South Beach. There are exciting destinations for the whole family to enjoy everywhere you go in Florida, from the top down.

St. Augustine, New Smyrna Beach, Northern Atlantic Coast Beach summer Vacation rentals

Begin your visit on the Atlantic Coast North. Stretching south from the Georgia border to Cape Canaveral, this area has prime tourist attractions. You can watch a launch of one of the space shuttles or review NASA history at Kennedy Space Center, on Merritt Island. Take photos of natural fauna such as alligators, the reclusive manatee, or bald eagles when you tour the neighboring National Wildlife Refuge or Canaveral National Seashore Park.

White sands, safe swimming, and fishing are close when you pick summer rentals or a home rental vacation in the New Smyrna Beach area. Enjoy intracoastal waterfront rentals at family oriented Ormond Beach, north of Daytona. Palm Coast is another fast growing canal community. Vacation homes, condo rentals, and cottage rentals here put you right in the swing of things with some of the top golf courses to be found in Florida.

For a leisurely look at history, choose Florida vacations and Florida rentals in historic St. Augustine. There are over 144 blocks of historic sites and buildings to see, and by choosing a local vacation rental you will be able to truly enjoy living history.

Orlando, Disney World and Central Florida Vacation Resort Rentals

Another very popular area for vacation rental homes, condos, and owner rentals is the exciting Disney/Orlando/Central Florida region. Orlando and Walt Disney World top the list for fun and family vacation adventure in everyone’s book. The largest city in Florida, Orlando, is nearby to the world’s best known family theme park and resort, Walt Disney World, and the educational adventures at Sea World, and Universal Studios. This is one place for family fun, and when you have house rentals, villas, and other rental property galore to choose from, it makes your vacation most affordable and easier to handle because of the home-like atmosphere and conveniences of home that you have at your disposal.

Panama City, Fort Walton Beach Florida Panhandle Vacation Rentals

The Panhandle Region of Florida offers much to see and do in this northwestern stretch of land along the top of the Gulf of Mexico. Tour the state capital of Tallahassee, and drive on the Christopher Columbus Transcontinental Highway that is part of I-10 east-west from Jacksonville, FL to Santa Monica, CA. There are several major military bases in the Panhandle Region, including the Naval Air Station at Pensacola. Other popular and famous vacation and winter destinations in this area are Fort Walton Beach, and Panama City. These towns have quartz sand beaches that are extremely white, and not found elsewhere. This is an ideal place to find vacation home rentals, beach rentals, home rentals, or short term condo or luxury rentals during your Florida vacation stay.

Tampa, Tampa Bay and Florida Gulf Coast Central Beach Vacation rentals

Head for the Tampa/Gulf Coast Central region to enjoy the subtropical waters of the Gulf of Mexico along the Florida shoreline. Major cities to visit include Tampa, St. Petersburg, Clearwater, Sarasota, Bradenton, Venice, Cape Coral and Cape Myers. Relax and enjoy your Florida vacation in a Florida beach rental along the Gulf Coast. Or, choose Siesta Key island vacation rentals, beach houses, FL condo and vacation villas near to tourists destinations like Busch Gardens in Tampa, and barrier island beaches.

Naples, Southwest Florida vacation condo and beach house rentals

Southwest Florida is the place for some unique outdoor fun, with airboat rides, excursions and hiking through the Everglades National Park, the Naples Zoo, bird watching, charter boat sport fishing, and world class beaches. Florida beach rentals, island rentals, villa rentals, and luxury vacation home rentals put you in the center of action while remaining independent of others. Set up a beach Florida vacation, or condo rental now for your upcoming Florida vacation rental to have home comforts while you are sightseeing.

Miami condos, South Beach beach villas, Fort Lauderdale apartment rental

Exciting nightlife, fashion, and passion sum up South Florida/Miami/South Beach. Dance the night away at Latin clubs, and work on your tan all day at endless beaches. Collect seashells for souvenirs, go sailing, fishing, or jet skiing, surf and build sand castles. This is the life of the rich and famous, made affordable by using your beach house rental, vacation house, Florida condo, or rental house in town. Settle in and hit the town for world class shopping, entertainment, or just beautiful people watching.

Florida Central Atlantic Coast beach villas rental

The next area to consider is Florida’s Atlantic Coast Central. There are beach vacation rentals, Florida condos, and vacation rentals by owner to be found that will exceed your best expectations. Visit famous sunny vacation cities of Cocoa Beach, Titusville, Jensen Beach, Daytona Beach, Port St. Lucie, and other fun locations. Kissimmee, Melbourne, Vero Beach and all the way south to West Palm Beach are towns where you will want to spend much more than a day. The region is crisscrossed with hiking trails inland for the outdoors enthusiast, and white sand beaches for sunning along the coastal waters of the Atlantic.

Florida Keys, Key West Beach condo and summertime holiday villa rentals

Be sure that your Florida vacation includes a stay in the amazing Florida Keys. Take the unique Overseas Highway across the water to paradise. Swim in the Atlantic, or the Gulf of Mexico, along the way to Key Largo, Key West, and see in person the legendary country that Hemmingway found to be inspiring. Enjoy the Gulf Coast Florida offers, and wander pleasant Key beaches. Go fishing on a charter boat to catch the big ones you can tell stories about, the marlin, and sailfish.

Settle into your vacation paradise on a Florida beach, in your rental house. Enjoy a Florida rental for a sun filled, fun filled vacation. Stay in a rental house, beach house rentals, or villas Florida, and make it your home away from home. Who knows, you may decide that you want to retire here someday!

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How to Book a Vacation Rental Home

While there is a growing abundance of options when it comes to booking a vacation home, many travelers still find the rental market to be a little chaotic – at least in comparison to more traditional accommodations like hotels/motels. The increasing popularity of vacation rentals as a value-packed alternative to pricier hotels has led to an abundance of options that can be overwhelming.

Here are some tips for booking your vacation rental to ensure that you are getting the most bang for your buck, while protecting yourself from scams or disappointment.

Booking a Vacation Rental Tip #1: Check out niche listers that focus on specific destinations.

Whether you’ve rented a vacation villa before or not, you’ll want to work with a local company and representatives who know their stuff.

If you’re interested in a Santa Barbara beach house rental, a qualified representative will earn their stripes by walking you through the suitable available properties based on your unique needs and desires. For instance, if you’re bringing your three Bernese mountain dogs, they’ll recommend Santa Barbara beach rental locations that are both dog-friendly and bric-a-brac-free.

Additionally, once you arrive, you’ll want to enjoy concierge services to help you get reservations at that trendy new restaurant, or simply recommend a hike that overlooks the ocean. An anonymous operator three states away won’t be able to deliver that level of local service.

Booking a Vacation Rental Tip #2: Use a credit card to protect yourself and minimize risks.

You want and expect every detail of your vacation to be perfect. But unfortunately that won’t always be the case. So you need to protect yourself.

Renting with your credit card through a Santa Barbara vacation rental management company offers you that protection. If for some reason the property doesn’t meet your expectations, and the management won’t do anything to fix it, you can keep a record of the problem and dispute the charge with your credit card company.

Property owners who rent person-to-person usually insist on a cashier’s check for 50 percent of the vacation rental to reserve it, and then the other 50 percent in cash upon your arrival. If you later discover roaches scuttling through the kitchen of your vacation home, or other elements of the property that were grossly misrepresented, you will have no leverage because you will have already paid in full in cash.

Booking a Vacation Rental Tip #3: Get the most bang for your buck.

Dollar for dollar, a vacation rental gives you so much more than a luxury hotel. You get exponentially more space (both indoors and outdoors). You get a host of amenities from private pools to high end kitchens to top flight entertainment systems, all for your exclusive use. Unlike an anonymous hotel room off a crowded corridor, you have a serene home away from home to call your own.

But there are a host of priceless intangible benefits you get when you book your vacation rental through a professional management company. Working with a premier management company to find your ideal vacation home gives you a whole new level of service. A professional company has skin in the game. They are working to establish a good reputation and a list of return clientele, rather than just trying to make fast money.

In the-best-surprise-is-no-surprise category, unlike an absentee owner off Craigslist, a professional Santa Barbara rental company has someone who is troubleshooting issues 24/7, working hard to keep both the renters and the owners happy.

The most underused amenity is the professional staff. Once you arrive at your rental villa in Santa Barbara, they are at your beck and call. Concierge and housekeeping services are a mere button-touch away. The staff’s local Santa Barbara knowledge and connections can turn an average vacation into something amazing. There is no extra cost, and the return is priceless.

Booking a Vacation Rental Tip #4: Book with confidence.

There’s a HUGE difference between someone who just wants to sell you a room, and a professional vacation rental company that wants to make sure that you enjoy your ultimate Santa Barbara vacation so much that you return again and again. The key to that difference is delivering on what is promised.

Many vacation rental agencies are just big clearing-houses that list properties, sometimes all over the world. They do not usually specialize in a region and offer no other services, aside from rental matchmaking. They can’t make guarantees about the Santa Barbara beach house rental you’ve booked because their representatives have never visited them, inspected them for health and safety concerns, or even met the owners. They cannot vouch for the actual condition of the vacation rental property, the advantages/disadvantages of the location, etc.

Some agencies just want to book the beach rental and collect their fee. They may not care too much about what happens during your stay.

If you’ve never visited the Santa Barbara beach rental house you’re considering, or gotten a firsthand report from a trusted friend, you have no idea whether the photos you’ve seen on the web site are an accurate representation. They might be outdated, retouched or from an entirely different place. (It goes without saying that you should never rent a vacation rental that doesn’t offer photos!) Beware of any site that only offers view or exterior shots. If they’re not willing to show you what the vacation house rental looks like inside, you don’t want to stay there.

With a professional vacation rental company, you can be assured that the quality you see is the quality you will get.

Booking a Vacation Rental Tip #5: Go with the highest standards of quality.

Professional vacation rental agencies are held to higher standards than private owners. Even if an owner fervently believes that their Santa Barbara vacation rental is clean and up-to-date, their standards might not match your own. One person’s no-visible-dust-bunnies and hi-fi-system are another person’s filthy and anachronistic. A professionally managed Santa Barbara vacation house rental will also be a professionally cleaned and maintained vacation house rental.

Booking a Vacation Rental Tip #6: Understand the risks of booking through free listing sites like Craigslist.

Listing on a free site is, well, free. No crime in that (who doesn’t love free?), but that might point toward a general laissez-faire attitude the owner has toward his property and tenants.

The owners who are willing to pay a fee to keep their vacation houses booked and in first-class condition have already demonstrated their care and commitment to a working relationship that is beneficial to all parties. The management companies they work with are companies you can rent from worry-free.

Booking a Vacation Rental Tip #7: Don’t be afraid to negotiate.

The more often these vacation rentals are occupied, the happier the owners are, so if you are planning a last-minute or a long-term stay or if you are a frequent visitor, there is often room to negotiate on the price of your vacation rental. Sometimes the discount might be as much as 30 percent.

Booking a Vacation Rental Tip #8: Do your research and compare rates, amenities, and conditions before entering into a rental agreement.

When you’re trying to narrow down your choice of a Santa Barbara vacation rental, be sure you’re comparing apples to apples. A smaller house on the beach will likely cost more than a larger one in the hills. Know what you’re getting from each property, and from each management company. Follow your gut and go with the company that will cheerfully show up in the middle of the night to snake the sink.

Another benefit to working with a Santa Barbara vacation rental professional management company is that it’s so easy to do a background check on them. Call or visit the Better Business Bureau or a vacation rental site like Has the firm had any reasonable complaints lodged against them? How were they resolved? Type the name of the Santa Barbara vacation rental firm and its owner into Google and you’ll get a wealth of informative opinions.

The increasing popularity of Santa Barbara vacation rentals has led to an abundance of online resources. Your best bet is to do due diligence and compare rates, amenities, reputations, views, and conditions before entering into a rental agreement. It’s your vacation and booking the right accommodations will help you ensure that your holiday will meet and exceed your expectations.

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Advantages of investing in a leisure property

Internationally the trend towards owning a leisure property is on the increase, says Ling Dobson, Pam Golding Properties area principal for Knysna and Plettenberg Bay on the Garden Route.
Advantages of investing in a leisure property
© kho –
“Very often, the usage factor is secondary to the investment aspect and potential for holiday rental income. According to HomeAway, which provides a global on-line vacation rental marketplace, an astonishing 89% of newly purchased holiday homes are being rented out within the first year.

“Today, 23% of buyers intend renting out the property compared to only 7% in 2004. This statistic shows that the growing popularity of vacation rentals is making a big impact on buyers’ investment intentions. We are definitely seeing this international trend manifesting here in South Africa and particularly in Knysna and Plett, where the demand for holiday home rental is high and therefore at a premium.”

Dobson says buyers of holiday homes are seeing this as an opportunity to not only cover their expenses by renting out the property, they also perceive the longer term potential of capital growth of the property – all this while they enjoy several weeks’ or months’ usage during the year and have the option of a retirement home in the future.

Younger buyers

“While a younger generation of home buyers is realising the wealth creation achievable through property ownership, they are also recognising there are a number of benefits in acquiring a vacation home sooner rather than later.

“Consider if you invest in your 40’s or earlier, then by the time you retire you will have a fully paid-for home in a prime location which you know and enjoy, and have probably built up a local network, including friends,” Dobson explains.

“A second home purchase could therefore form part of your retirement planning and depending where it is located, this additional income could provide the means of funding further education for the children, or if you prefer variety, saving towards family vacations in other destinations.

“In addition, as we live in a world of connectivity where entrepreneurs can successfully run a business in Johannesburg from their retreat in Knysna or Plettenberg Bay, we are finding many go for the second house investment, try it out business-wise and relocate thereafter. They may then let out their house in the city, where rentals are always in demand.”

The further, the better

“Buyers of vacation properties are also no longer limited by the distance the property is from their homes. For an increasing number of such buyers, the further away the better, which means they can escape from their daily routines to a revitalising, different environment, and with the use of a property management company, professional concierge service and modern technology the property is easily managed.”

If your holiday home investment is also your future retirement home, it is advisable to consider all related expenses you may encounter. Then either let it out as a long-term rental at first or ensure that the rentals achieved cover levies and rates and taxes, as well as the finance obtained to make this investment.

Says Dobson:”In the popular coastal resorts you will generally find that you can cover a fair percentage of your expenses by renting the property out as a vacation home for as little as 18 weeks a year, which means you have plenty of time to enjoy your home as planned with friends and family.

“Bear in mind that the peak holiday season is the time when vacation rentals are in highest demand and as a result yield the most rewarding rental income. In the high season rates are often double those of mid and low season.”

SA hospitality businesses awarded Certificate of Excellence

TripAdvisor, the popular travel site, announced the 2014 Certificate of Excellence award recipients. A total of 2,113 South African hospitality businesses have been awarded this year.
SA hospitality businesses awarded Certificate of ExcellenceNow in its fourth year, the award celebrates hospitality excellence and is given only to establishments that consistently achieve outstanding traveller reviews on TripAdvisor. Establishments awarded the Certificate of Excellence are located all over the world and represent the upper echelon of businesses listed on the website. As of this year, vacation rentals are now eligible to receive the Certificate of Excellence.

The Certificate of Excellence award is given to outstanding hospitality businesses that have received praise and recognition in reviews by TripAdvisor travellers. Winners of the prestigious award include accommodations, eateries and attractions of all sizes.

Ranking of South African provinces/destinations based on number of Certificate of Excellence winning properties:

Province/Destination Total
Western Cape 1169
Gauteng 235
Kwazulu Natal 216
Eastern Cape 176
Mpumalanga 102
Kruger National Park 75
Limpopo 59
Northwest Province 31
Free State 28
Northern Cape 22

“TripAdvisor is pleased to honour exceptional hospitality businesses for consistent excellence,” said Marc Charron, president of TripAdvisor for Business. “The Certificate of Excellence award gives top performing establishments around the world the recognition they deserve, based on feedback from those who matter most – their customers. From Australia to Zimbabwe, we want to applaud exceptional hospitality businesses for offering TripAdvisor travellers a great customer experience.”

When selecting Certificate of Excellence winners, TripAdvisor uses a proprietary algorithm to determine the honourees that takes into account reviews ratings. Businesses must maintain an overall TripAdvisor bubble rating of at least four out of five. The volume and recency of reviews, as well as a business’ tenure and popularity ranking are also factors in the algorithm.

According to a recent PhoCusWright study of 12,225 respondents from around the world, TripAdvisor awards can tip the scale for businesses and help set them apart from their competitors: 65 percent of respondents are more likely to book hotels that receive awards from TripAdvisor.

Winning properties can showcase their success a number of ways, including displaying the Certificate of Excellence at their establishment, displaying the award on their website or by promoting the achievement locally.

Content marketing practices – Airbnb case study

In our next case study we bring you a very current and active brand that has utilised content as a way to engage audiences further, bring new audiences in and generate leads resulting in sales.
Airbnb is a website that allows users to cash in on extra unused space in their homes by renting rooms to travellers. Now in 192 countries, it has broken the status quo in traditional short term vacation rentals industry.

With the expansion of the company, Airbnb has had to evolve to suit the needs of users. They’ve done this by delving into content marketing and featuring a range of interesting and useful content, with their strategy utilising customer-centred, original and user-generated content to grow sales and increase engagement.

Airbnb has implemented content marketing practices by adding special features to their site that go above and beyond the user’s experience of booking a room through them and giving their users a reason to return to the site through offering value.

Some of the new features include a step-by-step guide to booking on Airbnb, a trip planner, tips and information. It has also introduced video content through AirbnbTV, which features a series of videos such as guided tours, host stories, promotional videos and a guide to ‘living local’.

1. Extended engagement: Airbnb Neighbourhood Guides

The neighbourhood guides are placed directly below the fold on the homepage for easy user-centric navigation, and each city’s thumbnail is paired with rich quality images that represent the city culturally and visually. Each guide’s landing page offers categorised content on places of interest: from “Famous for Food” to “Trendy” and “Peace & Quiet”.

It also includes traditional travel guide information like dining, shopping and nightlife. This brilliant use of content is created purposely for the needs of the users, who have access to authentic information from locals and previous visitors, helping them to make informed decisions on their destination city.

2. Inform and educate: Airbnb TV

Airbnb TV is focused on creating a community around its service, with the site housing video content from across its various platforms, providing users with testimonials, tutorials and guided tours.

One video focuses on safety and security and Airbnb’s efforts to work in conjunction with communities to ensure visitors and renters are protected from fraud and damages.

Meanwhile, the tutorial section offers informative videos on topics from creating an attractive listing to asking for a security deposit. This type of user-orientated content is helpful and interesting and easy to consume.

3. Testimonials: The Airbnb Lifestyle

Airbnb Life is a content hub dedicated to testimonials, and is comprised of content about how users have benefited from the website, be it financially, socially or emotionally.

Testimonials allow Airbnb to curate authentic, motivational and educational content easily through the community built around their service. From personal success stories to apartment reviews, Airbnb Life shows off a strong sense of community.

4. Drive leads: Social engagement and calls-to-action

Airbnb has successfully utilised social media contact points – primarily their Facebook and Twitter accounts, although they have a strong YouTube presence too – to promote their user-created content.

In order to encourage engagement, Airbnb held a competition using Twitter and Instagram, $2,000 worth of travel credit was up for grabs. Users were asked to share “cool, innovative twist on a summer cliché” photos and then tag it #Airbnbfun.

5. Drive customer loyalty and trust: Airbnb Connections

Airbnb introduced a feature called Social Connections which allows Airbnb users to sync their Facebook account with their Airbnb account. The tool indicates whether friends have previously booked into a place you’re currently considering. This feature is important in that it taps into the most powerful propeller of online sharing and commerce: word-of-mouth recommendations.

The Social Connection feature indicates the top-rated rentals within a user’s social network by tailoring the search, making users feel safer and more confident booking through Airbnb.

It’s not difficult for a brand to embark on a strategy like Airbnb have, ultimately what you need to do is think about what your users want, what you have to offer, and link the two with clever use of content.

Content marketing and strategy may seem far removed from what you can do, but in fact they are simply new ways to think about your already existing content, and plan what to do with it!

Four Questions About London Vacation Rentals

London vacation rentals could take the charming shape of an 18th century townhouse in the heart of captivating Camden or an exceptionally stylish boutique apartment in wondrous West End. A luxury penthouse in Knightsbridge or even a riverside vacation apartment on South Bank, there is an absolutely amazing choice of vacation rentals in London that awaits you. But those that are making hesitant forays into the seemingly complicated world of London vacation rentals, the sheer numbers can be rather overwhelming. There may be several questions that remain unanswered. If you find yourself staring at a crisis, don’t worry, as help is at hand. Here are four of the most important questions about London vacation rentals that will enable you to explore this accommodation option with confidence and ease.

Banish Those Concerns

Most first-timers tend to have niggling worries about the process of booking London vacation rentals. It is extremely uncomplicated and begins with searching for vacation rentals from the homepage of vacation rentals providers. The search can be further refined based on travel dates, specific location, kind of vacation rentals, number of persons and the like. One of the greatest advantages of vacation rentals in London is the fact that the websites also give a detailed insight into the availability, location, layout and reviews of each vacation rental. Also, the number of people that can occupy the accommodation is mentioned. If you find that the rental price suits your budget, then all you have to do is book your London vacation rental.

So what does the price of vacation rentals in London include? It comprises the rental charges for using the property as a vacation apartment, cost of utilities like electricity, water and gas and administrative charges like telephone, basic toiletries, cleaning and laundry.

So does this mean that all these facilities will be provided to me when I occupy the vacation rental? Yes, unless stated otherwise in the property description, all properties come equipped with a living and dining area, fully-fitted kitchen and basic amenities like washing machine, microwave, telephone, television and high-speed, broadband Internet access, among others. Some vacation rentals also provide a crib and high chairs for babies.

Finally, the question that tends to worry most travellers is the condition of the vacation rental. You can rest assured that all London vacation rentals are carefully selected and are maintained to a very high standard. You will find a neat and clean home waiting to charm and captivate you in true London style.

Now that you have banished those concerns, are you ready to book London vacation rentals?

So does this mean that all these facilities will be provided to me when I occupy the vacation rental? Yes, unless stated otherwise in the property description, all properties come equipped with a living and dining area, fully-fitted kitchen and basic amenities like washing machine, microwave, telephone, television and high-speed, broadband Internet access, among others. Some vacation rentals also provide a crib and high chairs for babies.

Finally, the question that tends to worry most travellers is the condition of the vacation rental. You can rest assured that all London vacation rentals are carefully selected and are maintained to a very high standard. You will find a neat and clean home waiting to charm and captivate you in true London style.