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Florida Villas and Vacation Rentals

Archive for the ‘General Advice’ Category

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Book your 2016 Florida villa with confidence.

Thursday, December 17th, 2015


There’s no question that booking your own rental accommodation offers you ultimate flexibility, freedom and space on your Florida vacation. Whether you choose an apartment or condo with ocean views of the Gulf, a townhome in Orlando with great resort facilities or a detached villa complete with its’ own private pool – you’re sure to find your ideal holiday home on (more…)

5 Ways an Insider Guide Can Help Boost Your Bookings

Friday, May 1st, 2015

It never ceases to amaze me how often vacation rental owners under-utilise their own expertise. Would you leave your killer photograph for last in the slideshow? Omit your to-die-for heated pool from your listing site description?

I thought not.

So why would you hide arguably your next biggest asset – your vault of insider knowledge – from your potential guests?

“Okay” you say, “so what? It’s not like knowing the best dish at the local seafood joint is going to generate any more bookings for me.”

Well, allow me to convince you otherwise…

1. Differentiate Yourself from the Masses

I see this all the time.

If you have a few minutes, head over to any major listing site and click on a few properties.  Likely you’ll find decent photos, informative copy, a list of amenities, and a price. I doubt you’ll find any golden insider nuggets that aim to create a richer vacation experience for potential guests.

In other words, one listing often creates little difference from the next listing.

On the other hand, imagine I read this on a listing site description:

“If you want to sample the real Florida, we have an absolute gem for you to try about an hour away. It’s a restaurant way down twisting and turning back roads, through miles of natural Florida countryside, literally in the middle of nowhere.”

I haven’t made this up – check out this insider guide to Central Florida. If I’m a guest in the market for Mickey, but with a little of the “real” Florida thrown in, I’m hooked. You’re differentiated!

2. Build Credibility with Your Guests

Imagine the potential guest is about to drop a 4-figure sum on a weeks stay in your rental. You’re not The Hilton. You’re not The W. You’re a stranger. Beyond reviews, you have limited credibility.

Taking the time to showcase your knowledge, in the form of an insider guide, demonstrates to guests that you’re a real, live, expert owner. Consider what one of our insiders, Irene Hoffman, said about her insider guide:

“The most important aspect of the guide is that, when I share it with my potential guests that are perhaps on the fence about whether to book with me, the guide provides immediate credibility! Having an asset like that to help improve my conversion is priceless!”

Prove that while you don’t have front desk concierges or staff to direct them to the best activities and restaurants, you offer something better: concierge recommendations and the expertise of a local, shared out of love for the place and investment in your guests’ good experience.

3. Convey a Sense of the Real Culture

Culture isn’t exclusive to destinations like Paris or Tuscany.

Granted, being steeped in history helps, but I’d suggest any city or area has its own unique culture. It’s not always obvious; sometimes it’s hidden. It takes a real insider to know the pulse and vibe of a place—something that goes beyond the tourist books.

Have a look at this insider guide to Orlando and Central Florida. How many potential guests out there know that Central Florida has a vibe of its own, beyond Disney?

Disney is great, of course it is, but think how many more potential guests you could appeal to by showcasing the real culture of a destination.

4. Tap the Emotion of a Guest

An insider guide isn’t all about secrets. It’s very often another means to showcasing what a stay with you would be like. It’s a marketing tool.

Visually powerful, high-resolution photos, with a page swirl, glossy magazine style effect, can instantly evoke a strong emotional connection. It feels smooth and effortless.

We all know that holiday feeling. After setting a budget, it’s not the brain that decides which vacation rental to choose, but the heart and soul! For me there’s no better example than this guide to Anna Maria Island.

I’m on that plane tomorrow!

5. Prove That You Want to Help

In addition to establishing your credibility as an expert in your destination (even if you feel like you’re not an expert—trust me, you are!), an insider guide also shows that you care a lot about whether your guests enjoy their experience.

Some owners say anything to get a guest to book, then don’t deliver, or fall off the map entirely when a problem arises. An insider guide shows you are not one of those people.

It will usher a guest into a vacation more authentic, in-depth, and personal than anything a travel agent could provide—and it’s free for them!

This generosity shows guests that you’re not just after their wallets; you want them to leave with wonderful, warm memories of money and time well-spent.

All that remains is for you to find the key to your insider knowledge vault, open it up, dust the gems off, and give them pride of place alongside your wow shots and carefully crafted copy.

Allow them to inspire and seduce your guests into booking with you!

Andy McNulty is the Co-Founder of Guest Hook (, the webs first vacation rental copywriting agency. Amongst other copywriting services, Guest Hook also designs and produces the insider guides found at Vacation Insiders (


Ready to commission a new insider guide to your vacation homes? Remember to add the link to your listing on Direct Villas Florida. Call +44 (0)333 2400 797 to find out how.


Advertise your Florida Vacation Home on from only £120 per year.

Contact or call Sarah or Tracy on +44 (0)333 2400 797 for more information.



6 Tips For Stunning Photos of Your Florida Vacation Rental (Part 2)

Friday, March 27th, 2015

In Top 10 tips for Taking Stunning Photos of Your Vacation Rental (Part 1), Orlando photographer, Trevor Ward, provided some great tips used by professional photographers to capture beautiful images. What’s great about those tips is that they won’t cost you any money – just a little time and effort. Here in Part 2 – Trevor has a few more suggestions where a small investment could really pay off . . . .


10 Tips For Your First Trip To Disney

Friday, March 13th, 2015

A first time trip to Orlando can be a total mine field for anyone who has no experience. There are many schools of thought on how to tackle your trip, especially if it is likely to be a once in a life time holiday. Whether you plan every minute or chose to take things as they come, here are Ten Top Tips from a Disney veteran, The Disney Mum, Janine that are sure to help. (more…)

What type of enquiries will I receive from Direct Villas Florida?

Sunday, March 1st, 2015

When you set up a new advert with Direct Villas Florida, the enquiries you receive by default will be one of two types. (more…)

Book Your Orlando Holiday Yourself & Save Big.

Sunday, November 30th, 2014

Package tour operators have for many years had the monopoly on family holidays, however in recent years there has been a significant increase in the number of travellers who prefer to book the various elements of their holiday themselves. There are numerous advantages to this, one of the main ones being the savings that can be achieved. The following is example shows just how much can be saved on a independently booked family holiday to Orlando, Florida . (more…)

“The photos do not do it justice”……… A good review or a call to action?

Thursday, October 30th, 2014

Last summer, desperate for some sunshine and a break, I booked a last minute holiday online just ten days before travelling – trusting the sales agent’s description on the phone. As it happened, once the documents arrived, the photos looked promising and in reality we couldn’t have picked anywhere better suited to our needs.

But this scenario tends to be the exception rather than the rule and most of us will spend hours pouring over brochures or online adverts to assure ourselves that our holiday money is well spent – especially when planning a once in a lifetime trip to Florida.

In other words, whether we like it or not – people tend to judge a book by its cover and your marketing photos are the ‘cover’ you present of your holiday home.

Judge book by its cover

The photos don’t do it justice’ is a cliché many people use to try and express just how fabulous we found our chosen destination. YES -  it is a great review  – BUT it is only going to help win you more business if those taking a first look at your advert are attracted to investigate further and actually read the reviews.

A call to action

Is it time to consider whether your adverts show your home in the best possible light? Your photos may conjure up great memories of past visits for you – but your photos need to convince people to book to ‘wish’ themselves there, ready to make their own memories.

Girl taking a photo

photo credit

Are you missing out on potential bookings?

Just how many potential bookings have you lost because your photos left a lot to the imagination? Don’t wait for your guests to be ‘surprised’ when they arrive at your amazing vacation home – make sure your photos are working hard so you have guests lining up to book. How much better to have your guests comment – ‘amazing home and every bit as good as the photos!’

A Range of Florida Rental Properties

Some examples of recently updates images

Improving your images

  • Hire a pro – Hiring a professional photographer is without doubt the best option to maximise your chance of bookings. They’ll have the best equipment, the best lighting and should know just how to stage your home and take the shot from the best angle to do the space justice. Of course this does come at a cost but you should quickly get this back in revenue.
  • Consider a deal – If your budget is small, why not consider an exchange. You could offer a free or discounted stay in your home to the photographer in exchange for a package of professional images. Even better if it’s late availability that you’re struggling to fill anyway. Ask around friends, family and previous guests. They may well be able to recommend someone with the suitable skills and equipment that you could approach with a proposal.
  • Plan your budget – Perhaps your advert doesn’t show the home at its absolute best because you’ve recently refurbished your vacation home. Do make sure you have allowed for the extra investment for new images in your budget, to make sure you reap the rewards of the renovations as quickly as possible.
  • Try a competition – Why not try a competition for your guests? Offer a discount on their next stay with you as a prize if you use one of their photos in your marketing. What better way to show your property than through the eyes of a satisfied guest. A great way to find out just what people love best about your holiday home!
  • DIY Tips – If professional photographs are not an option then beg, borrow or buy the best camera you can, start browsing the net for top tips on photography and start snapping. The beauty of digital cameras is that you can see your results immediately and if it doesn’t work first time then keep experimenting –picking the best ones to showcase your property.

So take a good look at your own guest book today. If more than one person has commented that it looks better in real life, perhaps it’s time to take a good look at updating your vacation rental photographs!


Has updating your photos resulted in an increase in your bookings? Can you recommend a good photographer? Do you have any great photography tips? Direct Villas Florida would love to hear your stories. Contact

A selection of vacation rentals in Florida can be found on

If you own your own holiday home and would like to find out more about advertising on the site contact Sarah or Tracy on: T. +44 (0)333 2400797   E.


8 good reasons to keep your holiday rental calendar updated.

Sunday, October 12th, 2014

Forget holidays for a moment. Let’s imagine you have a big celebration planned and you’ve noticed a new bakery open up in your nearest town with a mouth-watering window display of cakes all worthy of a place as a show stopper in the Great British Bake Off final. (more…)

Florida Townhomes, A Great Alternative.

Sunday, September 21st, 2014

If this is your first trip to Florida, you might not be familiar with all of the options available to you for your holiday accommodation. If you’ve ruled out a cramped hotel room and are looking for self-catering facilities then your first thought might be for a private villa or pool home, but before you make your final decision, take a look at the Townhomes listed on Direct Villas Florida. (more…)

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Direct Villas UK Limited
Newham House
Dudley Road

UK Company No. 06009413

T: +44 (0)1325 527 275

Skype: directvillasuk