January 8, 2018 at 12:54 pm #6041
I love the free website giveaway, the efforts you are all going to, the way you have collected together useful courses and information to help people with their own websites. I love the aspiration to get people to book directly, and that you are working on creating a “go to” “attraction focused” website for travellers which will link people back to people’s vacation rental websites.
But, and it’s a big ‘but,’ how can I justify paying a 718.80 dollar annual fee (before blogging rebate) to list my cottage on such an embryonic website? If I was someone looking for a cottage in Cornwall in England I currently get served information about a place in Normandy in France. I’m afraid I’d immediately leave Vacation Soup and go elsewhere to sites with lots of cottages in Cornwall. I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels they can’t justify the large membership fee at the moment to list on the site in it’s current state.
Where does that leave me? I though I could use the plug-in for free after I got another email about it yesterday. But I already know how to blog, how to send my post to social media sites with tags etc. I thought perhaps I would get a link into Vacation Soup with automatic publishing on the site of people’s blogs. Yes I would, but I then read “On the free plan there are no links allowed back to your site, that would obviously be very unfair to those who are paying for The Soup.” So why would I want my slaved-over blog posts to go to the site with no benefit to my own business? They may even benefit other holiday rental owners near to my vacation rental if they are already listing with you, my post may encourage people to book with them instead of with me!
Am I missing something or have I got things wrong? Is the hope perhaps that people sign up now as members as it’s a great idea so we should encourage it and support the vision? Perhaps enough rental owners have a bigger budget than me and won’t balk at the fee. Great if people do but surely the cost will put many people off, with the risk that the Vacation Soup website never gets to flourish.
You are offering a second year free for the first 100 adopters. Did you consider offering a free 3 or 6 month trial for people? I think that would have a much better chance of getting owners on to the site, which in turn will help it become the site you envisage, and make it worth people continuing with a paid subscription.
I look forward to your response.
January 8, 2018 at 3:41 pm #6049
I too, like Susant, love the website giveway, the facebook group, all the information and video tutorials on Vacation Soup’s site. I also applaud that Alan and his team have taken the battle to likes of the main OTAs in the travel industry with a different approach as a destination based site, but Vacation Soup is still an OTA as you are asking owners to pay to advertise their property through a weblink back to their own website via posting about their area. Susant says “So why would I want my slaved-over blog posts to go to the site with no benefit to my own business?” Totally agree. I deactivated the plugin yesterday as all I got for my post about booking direct – here’s the link to how it was originally posted on my site – was my name as it appears on this forum!
Yes, a 3 or 6 month free trial is not a bad idea or even a year’s free listing. That works for both parties. Vacation Soup gets properties on its site quickly and has a good, continuous supply of them to compete with the other OTAs and keep visitors to the site, i.e. people wanting to book accommodation, interested. Owners get to see how many bookings they receive via Vacation Soup and can decide of themselves whether they would receive a good return on investment to warrant a listing fee of $700+ to continue with listing on Vacation Soup.
January 8, 2018 at 4:39 pm #6050
You pretty much have understood the whole concept and I think it is healthy to ask such questions. Of course, subscribing is an entirely optional. I think that if you are already having success with your independent site and social media, then keep doing that. For me, the main reason is the amplification of my message. One can reach a few hundred, or in my case a few thousand, through my website and social media. This is not enough to fill the properties I have. However, the amplification of my message several fold through Vacation Soup will help greatly. Firstly, my stories appear on what will soon be recognised as a serious publishing outlet reaching lots of potential travellers. This boosts the organic google ranking of my own site through incoming links. Secondly, my posts are being shared with through the VS social media, which again, in time, will amplify my reach to many thousands more and boost my google ranking.
I could spend this money on Google ads, which I have tried in the past, and found it to be expensive and basically competing directly with the big listing sites, who have much more money than I ever will.
Finally, the average cost per night of one of my units is over $120. It is only six nights rental to cover the cost, so for me not such a big risk. I have already had much more value than that from the free website course and have already taken several times this much through my site. If between my own site and VS I cannot generate 6 nights in the next 2 years, then there is something very wrong! Hahaha! I’m not saying it is for everyone, but this is my perspective and I hope it helps you understand my justification for joining. I am happy to be working with owners as part of this movement.
January 8, 2018 at 4:50 pm #6051
Hello Susan, Hello Jane,
Thank you for your comments.
The reason that we are charging $700 is that we don’t want owners to just list their properties. There are 100’s of listing sites that just list properties.
The idea is that we all work together as a network. By subscribing to the soup your articles will get a lot more exposure than they are currently getting on your website alone. This, in turn, will drive more traffic to your website. If owners continue to work independently they will always be at the behest of the big listing sites. Together we can create change.
We are offering to pay you to write for the soup – You pay the upfront fee and if you write consistently, and earn the required credits, we pay you back half of that amount.
We are also offering 2 years listing for the price of one for the first 100 signups.
All said and done, membership costs less than a daily newspaper.
Free to list sites are little more than ghost towns with tumbleweed rolling through them. In order to succeed sites need an income to pay staff, fund marketing and development, etc.
We don’t want to go out to investors unless we have to because investors want to monetise everything that they can and that’s how we have gotten into such a mess with the existing OTA’s.
We would love to have you join us in this revolutionary new way of marketing.
With regard to search and display, it’s difficult to show specific results for Cornwall (or anywhere else for that matter), if there are no properties or articles there yet. Even the likes of VRBO and Tripadvisor had the same issues when they first launched. If you were to join then site visitor would be looking at your property and articles.
Saying that nearly a 1,000 posts were submitted to the soup in its first week. That in itself shows the power of the concept.
Francis and I are looking at various options and have been experimenting with different display layouts.
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