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Structure   (2.8)   Home  >  Homeowners  >  Homeowner FAQs

Homeowner: Frequently Asked Questions

 
General Information
Creating and Maintaining Your Listing
 General Information

How can you help me market and manage my rental home?

We offer a number of resources to help you with marketing and managing your vacation rental property.

Help & Info Page: After logging in to your Homeowner Center, click on the tab for "Help & Info" where you will find a number of helpful links including advice about creating a most effective listing, making use of our features, extra marketing tips, management techniques, etc.

Homeowner Blog: Our Homeowner Blog provides detailed advice about every aspect of marketing and managing a vacation rental home on the Cape and Islands. Marketing advice includes topics such as how you can use social media to promote your home, and management advice includes selecting good tenants, pricing your home, preparing an effective lease, and soliciting positive guest reviews. You can search the Blog by key words for any particular topic, and you can choose to subscribe to the Blog by email in order to receive automatic notices of new posts.  And, if you can't find what you're looking for, let us know! We're always looking for new topics to address.

Newsletters: Our monthly newsletters offer market insight and tips on how to maximize your exposure and results on WeNeedaVacation.com.  All articles provide timely information throughout the year and links to some of our recent Blog posts.

Homeowner Consulting Services: In addition to our unparalled personalized customer service, our professional staff can also provide in depth, one-on-one assistance by phone or email. The cost for the following services is $40/ half hour. To schedule a consultation, email us.

  • Our beginner's "Vacation Renting 101" course can help you set up your listing or edit it in order to create the most effective listing possible. We can also provide advice about pricing, photos, your calendar, title and description, and familiarize you with features on our site such as Owner Specials, Last-minute Availability Alerts, and the Guest Review Request Form. In addition, we can provide professional assistance with management techniques and advice related to the lease and security deposits, payment schedules, screening and communicating with tenants, tracking inquiries and bookings, and more.
     
  • We also offer a more advanced "Vacation Renting 201" course for the veteran who may need to spruce up their listing to increase its marketing power. We can aslo help you to implement new management techniques and familiarize you with our new features to improve your pictures, get guest reviews, reach out to prior tenants and inquirers, and more.
     
  • Need help with pricing your rental home? In a "Competitive Analysis" of your home, we will look at your listing carefully and compare it with similar properties in your area. A report will be emailed to you with a list of comparable listings and our recommendations regarding: pricing, amenities, photos, the use of special features available to help promote your listing, and other ideas for enhancing the appeal of your listing.

How does your Power Search produce better results than directory-style websites?

WeNeedaVacation.com's Power Search enables website visitors to search all rentals for those that meet their criteria, are available for their preferred dates, and fall within their price range. Most visitors choose to perform the search rather than browse the listings, as it saves time and enables them to view only rentals that are suitable and available.

When doing a Power Search, vacationers select a location, choosing a broad or specific area. Then they select the size of the rental and a maximum price to pay. Next, they select the dates of their vacation. For weekly rentals, they can choose up to four starting dates; they can even select a specific day of the week to start. Finally, they choose the amenities they'd like, such as high speed Internet, cable TV, handicap accessibility, pets welcome, and distance to beach. Using these criteria, the search will return a list of the available properties that meet their needs and are available.

WeNeedaVacation.com's Power Search is the most comprehensive of any rental-by-owner website on the internet.

What is MyVacations?

MyVacations provides vacationer visitors to WeNeedaVacation.com with the ability to save a particular search, and the results of that search, for later review or to share with family and friends. They can come back at a later time and perform the search again to see if any newly listed properties meet their requirements. They can make notes and rate the properties as they narrow down their choices prior to booking a rental.

Because they can save their search results, there is a better chance that a suitable property will be remembered if the visitor is not ready to make a commitment.

Can I create a link to my personal website from my WeNeedaVacation.com listing?

You may include a link on your listing with us to your personal website but only if the website is dedicated exclusively to the property or properties listed on our site. If your personal website advertises multiple properties, they all must also be listed on our site.  (Note: for more information on multiple property fixed plans, click here.)

To add the link on your property listing with us, click on the "Contact Info" tab on your Homeowner Center page, scroll to the bottom of the page, and enter the website url in the appropriate field.  Once you have clicked the "Submit change" button beneath this field, please let us know so that we can review your website to confirm that it is eligible for posting on our site. If so, we will then activate the link for you.

What are your photography, video and consultation services?

We offer three services to help you face the challenges of renting your home in an increasingly competitive market. Our photography service includes an on-site visit by our staff photographer, who will bring props and special lighting and will take numerous photos of the interior and exterior of your home, as well as the nearby beach. We will offer recommendations for new pictures and more descriptive captions.

Our on-site consultation service includes a visit to your home by our consultant. She will tour your home with you, giving you on-the-spot recommendations. She will follow up the visit with a full report of recommendations, suggestions to improve your property listing, and a price comparison analysis. More info.

Do you offer a guarantee?

We hope that your listing on WeNeedaVacation.com provides the tools, exposure, and customer support that result in the successful self-marketing and management of your vacation rental property. However, if your initial listing with us results in no bookings, your subscription will be extended at no charge for the same length of time as your original paid listing.

This guarantee applies only if a) your listing includes sufficient description and at least eight quality photographs, b) you use and update WeNeedaVacation.com's pricing and availability calendar, c) you have at least 30% vacancy for the time that normally is considered high season in your area, and d) your contact information includes both telephone number and email address. You also must be in compliance with the terms and conditions of our Homeowner's Agreement.

This guarantee is applicable only for the first new listing submitted, and does not apply to renewals, free time earned or offered by promotion, or listings transferred to new ownership.

Do you offer a refund for time not used?

We do not issue refunds for unused time. We offer flexible subscription plans to meet your short-term needs.

Do you have a directory of long-term winter rentals?

The long-term rental feature is designed for promoting off-season rentals for a month or longer. A link on the home page will lead interested parties to a property directory of these homes. See the long-term rental directory.

To add your home to this list, log in to your Homeowner Center and select the "Enter and modify description and amenities" link. Scroll down to the "Long-term winter rental" field and enter the following information: months available, monthly price, and any other relevant information. For example, "October to May for $1,000 to 1,300 per month, depending on party size and length of stay. Utilities not included." Price or price range is required to be legitimate. Be sure that the information on your calendar is consistent with what you enter into this new field for long-term rentals.

Note: Renting your home for months at a time can be riskier than renting for just a week. Thus, it's important to research any potential long-term tenant. You might ask for references, preferably from a current or previous landlord, as well as employment information. Most landlords require a month's security (damage) deposit and first and last month's rent. Be sure to allow sufficient time between the departure date of this tenant and the arrival of the first summer tenant of the season.

When you find a long-term renter, please be sure to go back onto your web page and delete the information about long-term rentals from your web page. The success of our website is based on its ability to provide accurate, up-to-date information.

What is "Bookmarking"?

Bookmarking tells your browser to remember your current web page, so you can return to it easily. Microsoft Explorer calls these "favorites."

How do I contact WeNeedaVacation.com?

We welcome your suggestions and ideas!

Joan and Jeff Talmadge, Owners

WeNeedaVacation.com (All Seasons Vacation Rentals, LLC)

Wellesley Office:
30 Mayo Road
Wellesley, MA 02482

Phone: 781-239-1469 or 888-281-8660
Fax: 781-239-0474

Cape office:
15 Cape Lane
Brewster, MA 02631

Phone: 774-323-3911

E-mail us at: Info@weneedavacation.com

How does the "refer-a-friend" program work?

For each lister you refer to us, we will gratefully add two months to your subscription if you are a 1- or 2-year subscriber, or one month if you are a 6-month subscriber. It's that simple. Be sure to tell friends to mention your name on the sign-up form in response to the question, "Who referred you?" Note: Service Provider and Vacation Planner business listing referrals count, too.

How many rentals can I include in my listing?

Each listing may make reference to only one rental unit. The description and photos must be of one particular unit. 

Do you offer discounts for multiple property listings?

After your second listing, discounts may apply if you elect to use our multiple property fixed plan. Each listing will be included in the same account. Please note that no one owner or agent will be allowed to post a number of listings that exceeds 25% of the total number of listings in a particular town. Learn more about our fixed plan information.

Can I change my listing to advertise a different property?

Please do not change an existing listing to advertise a different property. Instead, enter a new listing (see info. below, How can I add a new listing?)

What are the terms and conditions of membership?

Our terms and conditions are set forth in our Homeowner Agreement.  Read the agreement.

Creating and Maintaining Your Listing

How do I modify my listing?

We have made is as easy as possible for you to maintain your account and listing. With your username and password, you can log into your account via the Homeowner Center "Client login" link on the home page. You will land on your "Welcome" page where you will find links to every maintenance choice you might need.

You can modify your listing by clicking on the link "Enter and modify description and amenities." When you make a change to your listing, be careful that you do not do something that causes it to be taken off-line. This might happen if you forget to fill in a required field (e.g., distance to beach, bed configuration). We always tell you if this happens: A message in bold red lettering will describe the error or missing details.

We also require you to actively "approve" your listing. Otherwise we have no way of knowing that you are ready to display it.

How do I renew my listing?

We will email you an invoice a month or so before your listing's expiration date. You may pay on-line by credit card or Paypal, or by mail or FAX. Our address is below. NOTE: if you have fewer than the 8 pictures included in each subscription, upload your remaining pictures through Picture Central. Or, if you have new pictures, feel free to upload replacement pictures. If you are reducing the number of pictures, please call or email us to identify which ones you would like removed (pictures can only be removed from our end).

If your listing has been inactive for awhile, you must update your pricing and availability as well as your property information (including any new amenities such as high speed Internet.) If you do not have a calendar, you should consider adding one; see above.

After renewing, it is important to review and update all contact information. If you do not renew, we will retain all of your contact and property information for easy renewal at a later time. 

Renewing your expired listing? Don't start over!

If you are renewing your listing, please keep your same property ID and do not create a new listing! We keep all descriptions, pictures and captions, so all you need to do is log in with your username and password. If you can't remember your username or password, there is a link to enter your email address, and we'll send you the information you need. For your own security, we always check that the address you request us to send this information to is the same email address you have in your contact information.

After you renew, review your pricing and availability calendar and, even if nothing has changed, click "Submit" to register the current date and save any changes you have made. Vacationers viewing your calendar page will see the date your calendar was "last updated." Having a current date assures vacationers that your pricing and availability are accurate.  Also, your listing will come up in a search only if the available weeks are recorded as available on your calendar.  We do not retain pricing from one year to the next because we have no way of knowing about any possible price or availability changes.

How does the automatic login work?

The auto-login allows you to bypass regular logging in from your personal computer. When you click on the "Homeowner Center/Client Login" link on the home page, you will go straight to your Homeowner Center page, skipping over the Login page itself. This is a convenience, but comes with a warning: Do this only if you are the sole user of your personal computer, because it enables anyone all the powers you have when you've logged in, including modifying your property, calendar, and contact information.

If you use more than one computer to access our site, you can make a separate decision about using this feature on each computer. For example, you might decide that the one at home is safe, but not the one at work.

If you take advantage of the auto-login feature, you may also bookmark the pages used to update your calendar and modify your property information.

Using this feature requires that we place a "cookie" on your computer. Thus, "cookies" must be enabled for this to work. Almost all public sites that you might visit (cnn, espn, msn...) use cookies, too. Cookies are small bits of information stored on your PC that tell the saving website something about you (nothing secretive or sensitive unless you explicitly provided that info). In our case, you provide a username and we would save it in a cookie to spare you the trouble of logging in again. See "Help" for your browser to enable cookies. They are enabled by default on most browsers.

How does the pricing and availability calendar work?

We encourage you to maintain the availability and pricing calendar specifically linked to your listing.  Your well-maintained calendar is not only helpful to you in keeping track of your availability, but it also allows vacationers to search for those specific weeks or months they desire! 

Over 80% of our properties have a calendar. Response to our "calendar" from vacationers has been enormously positive because it saves them so much time.

To take advantage of this feature, log in and choose the link to "Set up pricing."

Once you have set up the calendar, you need to keep this information current. Nothing will frustrate vacationers more, especially as the inventory dwindles, to get their hopes up over your "available" dream house only to find that it has been taken. Keeping it current should be done via the link to update your calendar.

If your calendar has not been updated in quite a while, we may email you asking you to update it. We reserve the right to remove a calendar that has not been updated in a long time. The date that you last updated your calendar is published on your calendar. Even if your booking status has not changed, you can easily change the last-updated date: simply click on your "update calendar" link and then click the SUBMIT button at the bottom. This will automatically change the "last updated" date on your calendar. Vacationers repeatedly express their frustrations at out-of-date calendars.

If you participate in this optional calendar program, your web page will display this special icon , drawing vacationers to it. Our statistics show that traffic to properties with calendars exceeds those without calendars.  Wouldn't you look first at a home that you know is available before one that doesn't indicate one way or the other?

In addition, we have a special feature on our search engine that allows vacationers to indicate that they would like to see ONLY those homes that have a calendar that indicates availability for the time they are looking for. Thus, if you don't have a calendar, and vacationers have chosen this option, your home will not be shown to them.

Why is the pricing and availability calendar important?

While you are not required to use our pricing and availability calendar, properties with calendars receive substantially better results from listing on WeNeedaVacation.com. Because the majority of visitors to the site use our Power Search, and of these over 70% specify preferred dates, listings without a calendar receive as much as 75% fewer viewings. Having a pricing and availability calendar also assures the preferred week(s) for which the visitor is looking fall within their specified maximum price range.

Response to our "calendar" from vacationers has been enormously positive because it saves them so much time.

What is the pricing and availability audit?

Because the accuracy of your pricing and availability calendar is crucial to your success on our website, we want to make it as quick and easy as possible for you to check for any updating needed.

To see your audit, login to your Homeowner Center page and click the link "See your pricing and availability audit." In addition to updates required, the audit will alert you to any missing or inconsistent information (e.g., if you have a daily price that's the same as a weekly price, or if you indicate that you rent off season by the day but have no daily pricing).

How do I submit or change pictures?

You may upload new or replacement digital photos at any time through "Picture Central," which is a link on your Homeowner Cneter page. You may also rearrange the order of your photos or change captions. 

To work with your pictures, log in to your Homeowner Center and choose the Picture Central link.  For complete instructions on using Picture Central, please click here.

How can videos help me in my advertising?

A video can add a new and important dimension to your listing by bringing your property to life. It can evoke an emotional reaction and allow vacationers to experience more of what your property has to offer. To learn more about videos or to learn about our fee-based services, click here

How do I submit videos?

You may upload new or replacement videos at any time through "Video Central," which is a link on your homeowner page. 

Assistance in developing or producing your videos is available. Please call us or email: Videos@WeNeedaVacation.com.

To work with videos, log into the Homeowner Center and choose Video Central. For complete instructions on using Video Central, please click here.

How do vacationers contact me?

Vacationers may choose to contact you by phone or by email. Both means are referenced on your listing. Vacationers often inquire about several properties simultaneously, so you should faithfully check your email and respond promptly to inquiries. If you don't, others probably will! Our system passes onto you as much information as the vacationer gives us in order to save you time and to give you as much information about your prospective tenants as possible before you respond to them.

The emails you receive come to you through our service. Our automatic email feature makes it easier both for you, who receive the detailed email with all the criteria that the vacationer provided to us, and for the vacationers, who often send several emails at once. This way we are able to retain records of the inquiries for you, and your email address is not made public until you choose to respond to a specific inquirer.

For your convenience, you can see all of the email inquiries you have received by clicking on the link “Recent email inquiries for this listing” in your homeowner center. By changing the date at the top of the list, you can see every email you have ever received since you first listed your home on the site.

How do I change my contact info?

You may change your contact information directly online on your "Welcome" page in the Homeowner Center. Click on the tab marked "Contact Info" and make the changes. Be sure to scroll to the bottom and click "Submit" to save all changes.

You can change the name, phone numbers, or email addresses to whom you would like your inquiries sent. You can also change your username and/or password. If you add or change a URL to a personal website, you must email us to approve your link in order for it to go live on your listing.

What are "Owner Specials"?

The "Owner Special" is a free feature intended to highlight a price reduction, special weekend rate, cancellation, or special offer. An Owner Special is displayed in a rose color on the property directory lists, property summary lists from a search, and on the property page and calendar itself.  You must use our calendar and keep it up to date in order to post an Owner Special on your listing.

To add an Owner Special to your listing, log on to your Welcome page in the Homeowner Center and click on the "Owner Special" link.

You can run a Special for just a few days or for up to three months. As the removal date nears, you can choose to extend it or let it expire.

If you reduce a price, be sure to reduce it in the calendar as well as mentioning it specifically in the "Owner special." The price in the calendar is what is used in the search. So, for example, if you lowered a price from $2,100 to $2,000 and someone searches for maximum of $2,000, the price in the calendar governs what is presented. Your listing will not come up in the search unless you have also changed the price on your calendar.

Your Special should be specific. Instead of a general statement such as "Call for reduced winter rates," say something like "$200 off for any April weekend" or "$500 for any available winter weekend."

Here are some examples of Homeowner Specials:

"Winter weekend getaway: $199 for two people"

"Off-season discount for families of four or less"

"5% discount for prior tenants"

"Last-minute cancellation for Aug. 6-13; price reduced to $2,000" 

How do I add a second listing?

To add another listing, log into your homeowner page and click the tab "Add a new listing." This way, you will have only one username and password and can manage all of your listings through one account.

How can I find or reset my hit count?

Your "hit count" is the number of times your property has been seen since it was first listed, or since you last reset the counter. Many owners reset their hit counter at the beginning of a new rental season.

To see this count, log on to your Welcome page in the Homeowner Center.  To reset it, click on the button that says "Reset it."

How do the amenities relating to distance to water and beach work?

For those of you with beachfront homes, be sure that your listing specifically indicates "on the water," "on a beach," "water view," and "walk to beach." If you don't, your home will not come up if a vacationer searches for these highly desirable amenities. Being "on the water" does not automatically mean "walk to beach," but of course "on a beach" does. 

Be sure to check the "walk to beach" amenity if your rental is a half mile or less to the nearest swimming beach.