Greek Property Promotion

Archive for October, 2014

Buy2Greece.com-International tourism shows continued strength

International tourist arrivals worldwide grew by 5% during the first eight months of 2014 according to the latest UNWTO World Tourism Barometer. Despite geopolitical challenges and a lingering economic recovery, tourism demand was strong during the northern hemisphere high season of June to August.

International tourists (overnight visitors) travelling the world between January and August 2014 reached 781 million, 36 million more than in the same period of 2013. With a 5% increase, international tourism continued to grow well above the long-term trend projected by UNWTO for the period 2010-2020 (+3.8%). The peak months of June, July and August, which account for about one third of the total of the year, saw an increase of 4% compared to the same months of 2013.

By region, the strongest growth was registered in the Americas (+8%), followed by Asia and the Pacific (+5%) and Europe (+4%). By subregion, North America (+9%) and South Asia (+8%) were the star performers, as well as Southern and Mediterranean Europe, Northern Europe, North-East Asia and South America (all +7%).

“International tourism continues to grow above expectations despite rising global challenges”, said UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai. “Yet, increasing geopolitical uncertainties and the fact that the global economy shows signs of weaker and uneven growth require our attention”, he added.

Commenting on the possible impact of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa on tourism, Mr. Rifai said “Although it is too premature to assess the full impact of the outbreak on the tourism sector, at this point we do not expect a major effect on the sector globally.”

“International tourism in countries where there is widespread transmission (Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone) represents less than 1% of all international arrivals to African destinations. Yet we have to be aware that misperception about the outbreak is affecting the whole of Africa. On the upside, and according to information gathered from our African Member States and key tour operators and associations in major source markets, there are no significant cancellations to report, despite a certain slowdown in bookings”.

Mr. Rifai recalled that the 3rd meeting of the International Health Regulations Emergency Committee regarding the 2014 Ebola outbreak in West Africa convened by the World Health Organization (WHO) on 23 October 2014 “reiterated its recommendation that there should be no general ban on international travel or trade.”

“Most importantly, we need to urgently step up international efforts to support affected countries to contain the outbreak, ensure that WHO recommendations are implemented and provide, at all moments, transparent and timely information to fight misperception and fear, and minimize the spillover effects to the whole region”, he added.

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Rent2Greece-Crafting a Marketing Plan for your Vacation Rental

There is no doubt that vacation rentals are much in demand, but it does not mean that if you are one of those long established into this business you can be successful without really marketing yourself. Remember markets are efficient; if there is good demand, we will eventually see competition coming in, which is likely to be making more efforts than existing players so as to be heard louder and clearer than others. Hence it is important to see your brand is sustained and continually endorsed by customers. And to make this happen in a competitive world, you should blow your trumpet as loud as you can.

To be successful, delivering the right product is not sufficient alone; it is also essential that the product is marketed well. Fine execution skill backed by a sound marketing strategy is the key to success when it comes to being profitable in the vacation rental business. Some of the essential elements of a marketing plan / strategy have been discussed below.

Defining the Target Audience

Identifying the right target audience is an essential part of a well designed marketing strategy. This should allow you to optimize your return on the marketing spend that you make, as the success rate of any targeted marketing effort would be much better than a marketing plan that is not selectively targeted.

The attributes that would define the target market include age, location, marital status, income group, etc. To understand and decide on the target audience for you own holiday property do an internal benchmarking against competition and also review the past history to understand the profile of customers who have stayed with you. The key things that you can look to benchmark against competition are your location, pricing, amenities offered and the quality of your furnishings and construction. Once this is done, you would be in a comfortable position to know who your target audience should be.

Build Awareness about your brand and product

There are several ways you can build you awareness among target customers and quite a few and important among these include:

a) Using Social Media -Utilizing social media for marketing has gained significant traction these days. Whether it is large corporate or small business, leveraging social media to communicate with potential customers has become an important element of the marketing plan. Twitter, Linkedin, YouTube and the most popular of all Facebook have become an intrinsic part of a corporate communication today. The multiplier effect of a Facebook ‘Like’ or Linkedin ‘Share’ and its impact on the reach is unparalleled as compared to any other form of promotion.

So don’t forget to have a page of your vacation rental on Facebook or Linkedin. You may even upload videos of your properties on YouTube so as to enhance your visibility.

However, you cannot solely rely on social media as a marketing tool. It is essential that you integrate it with other marketing channels. Remember that the role of social media in your marketing plan is to use it as a communication vehicle – It should make your rental reachable to those interested in staying in it and noticeable to those who are not aware of it.

b) Having a website so that you are reachable and searchable – A lot of people, who intend to stay at holiday houses, do a scan on the internet to find out the right place for them. Hence it is crucial that you should have a well designed website that communicates really well about the quality and services that customers can expect if they opt to stay with you. The webpage should carry images and videos that bring forth the most beautiful aspects that define and distinguish your vacation homes. Testimonials / reviews from existing customer posted on your website would be helpful, as this would shape up the confidence of a potential customer looking for a stay in rental property.

To add to the visibility of your website, make sure that your website is listed at the relevant portals so that customers don’t miss to consider you while they are planning for their vacation rental stay.

Recall Value

Besides generating awareness amongst the target audience about your product, the other important thing that is crucial for success is that whenever people are looking for holiday homes, the first name that they should recall is yours.

For a good recall value, it is important that you continually reach out to your target audience. A good way to reach out to them could be Newsletters – You can have a newsletter published weekly or fortnightly. The newsletter can contain topics of interest of potential travelers or customers. You can talk about the new developments in places where you might be owning a vacation rental or just provide them valuable insight into various aspects of travel planning. The newsletter can also carry images of your property or house.

Leveraging Existing Customer Network

It is always much easier and cheaper to retain a customer than get a new one. In the business of vacation rental, it is essential that existing customers are satisfied and happy with your services. A referral from a satisfied customer who has stayed with you is the most effective form of advertisement than any other. You can also reward your customers who provide you a referral. The reward could be anything, a small gift or a gift voucher. Another way to incentivize your existing customers is provide them a discount on subsequent stays at your accommodation. You can also extend the discount scheme to relatives of your existing customers, which will help you broaden your reach and visibility. You should also plan to remain in touch with your existing customers. One special way to stay in touch is to send them e cards on holidays or their special days such as birthdays and anniversary.

So if you are in the mood of turning your gorgeous vacation home into a profitable business do keep these marketing strategies in mind and devise a marketing plan that best meets your specific business requirement.

Buy2Greece-HomeAway’s Luxury Rentals Becomes World’s Largest Luxury-Focused Vacation Rental Site

HomeAway, the world’s leading online vacation rental marketplace, has announced that Luxury Rentals from HomeAway now hosts the largest collection of high-end vacation rentals available in one place. The site, which offers travellers the ultimate in luxury accommodations, achieves this milestone one year after its initial launch.

Curated by the international luxury travel experts at Andrew Harper – best known for their luxury travel publication, Andrew Harper’s Hideaway Report – Luxury Rentals from HomeAway now boasts more than 4,500 luxury rentals globally, with properties in more than 40 countries and on every continent except Antarctica. It offers access to the best in accommodations – ranging from villas to estates – with standout amenities such as gourmet kitchens, cinemas, wine cellars and helicopter landing pads, as well as access to private yachts and equestrian centers.

The growth of the HomeAway luxury site comes at a time where the demand for luxury travel continues to rise. A new report from MMGY Global reveals twenty percent of affluent travellers – identified as those with an annual household income of $125,000 or more – plan to take more vacations in the year ahead.

Listings on Luxury Rentals from HomeAway are carefully cultivated to give travelers an easy way to discover exceptional properties. Each property undergoes a comprehensive evaluation by Andrew Harper using a proprietary rating system before being approved for the site. This 75-point luxury screening process evaluates attributes such as price, services, location, amenities and more to ensure the resulting inventory are the ultimate accommodations.

Less than one percent of HomeAway’s one million live listings are on its luxury site. For comparison, nearly half of the listings on Luxury Rentals from HomeAway have five or more bedrooms, whereas on HomeAway.com the houses have three bedrooms on average. Daily rates also vary significantly on each site; the luxury site’s daily rates average $1,800 while on HomeAway.com the average rates are $228 per night.

“The quick growth in listings and traveler demand for Luxury Rentals from HomeAway shows the strength of the luxury market and the need for an ultimate resource in truly exceptional vacation accommodations,” says Brian Sharples, CEO of HomeAway. “As the vacation rental industry continues to grow, we are dedicated to creating curated collections to make it even easier for travelers to find exactly what they are looking for anywhere in the world.”

Luxury Rentals from HomeAway also provides an additional marketing channel for owners and property managers with high-end vacation rental properties looking to access HomeAway’s audience of highly targeted, experience-focused travellers.

Source: Press Release

Buy2Greece.com -Sunwing Vacations named as ‘Tour operator of the Year’ by AAVQ

Sunwing Vacations has been awarded ‘Tour Operator of the Year’ by the AAVQ (the Association of Quebec Travel Agencies) for the first time. The award was presented at the 2nd annual Trophées Uni-vers, held in collaboration with the specialized magazine Tourisme Plus, on October 25th in Montreal.

Accepting the award were Marie-Josée Carrière, Marketing Manager, and Sophie Lessard, Regional Sales Manager for the Sunwing Travel Group in Quebec.

Sunwing Airlines also received a nomination within the ‘Best Airline’ category and in addition two of Sunwing Vacations’ business development managers, Marie-Eve Dupuis and Roxanne Hamelin-Anger were both runners up in the ‘Best Sales Representative’ category.

Sam Char, Executive Director for Sunwing Travel Group in Quebec commented, “We are delighted to receive this prestigious award for the first time. We feel it reflects our ongoing commitment to offer a broad choice of vacation options at the right price, specifically tailored to the needs of the Quebec market. Along with new resorts in popular vacation hot spots such as Cancun and Punta Cana for this winter, our Quebec flight schedule has also increased. This winter we will be offering 43 routes from five gateways. In addition to flights to popular southern destinations several times a week from Montreal and Quebec City, we also connect travellers from regional centres, such as Bagotville, Val-d’Or and Sept-Îles with direct flights to their favourite vacation destinations.”

Buy2Greece.com – The $100bn boom in wellness communities

Luxury health resorts are the latest craze in holiday homes. Now you can buy a retreat with vitamin showers and macrobiotic meals on site!

Buy2Greece.com – How to Keep Your Guests Happy

Warm Welcome

Try and be there to welcome your guests upon arrival. Ask them about their journey and whether they could locate the rental easily. Create a rapport with the guests by making arrangements for drinks and some snacks. After driving down, this kind action will be highly appreciated by the guests. If you can’t be there personally, you can at least leave a warm welcome note for your guests, along with some eatables and drinks. Do call up the following day to find out whether your guests are comfortable or if they need anything to make their stay more comfortable.

Welcome Family Pets

Allow guests to bring in their pets and make an effort to make your vacation rental pet-friendly. Dedicate a corner of the rental for the pet and equip it with a basket, clean blanket, treats and squeaky toy. You will be amazed at how appreciative your guests will be over this thoughtful gesture. Also, provide them the number of a local vet just in case of an emergency.

Cleanliness

Renters love neat and tidy vacation rentals and a small stain can turn off a guest. So ensure that the property is clean and the interiors are spotless. A neatly maintained and clean property will attract more guests and you can be certain of repeat bookings and great reviews.

Provide a Local Map and Tips for Entertainment

Do not let your guests fend for themselves when it comes to leisure activities. Equip them with a local map and suggest activities in the vicinity that they can enjoy. Things, like hiking routes, attractions in the area, places to enjoy local cuisine and activities for kids and adults, will be appreciated by your guests, as it will save them time.

Shopping for Groceries

Inform the guests where the nearest place for grocery shopping is located and how they can reach it. This will be extremely helpful for guests who are arriving late and are worried about where they can buy provisions for making dinner for the family.

Towels and Bed Linen

Supply good quality towels and bed linen to your guests. Make arrangements for large and fluffy bath towels and soft bed sheets that guests can use during their stay. Many reviews of vacation rentals show that guests want good quality bath towels and bed linen and this can make or break their opinion about the vacation rental.

Entertainment when Weather Plays Spoil Sport

When guests come on vacations, they hope that the weather will be perfect throughout their stay. However, this may not always be possible. If the weather turns for the worse, your guests will be home bound and this can be frustrating. Ensure that you have board games, books and DVDs in the rental for your guests to use if the weather is not favourable for venturing outdoors.

Provide Equipment Guests May Not Bring

If your vacation rental is a winter destination, have snow shoes of different sizes for your guests to use. You can even throw in a toboggan and a few pairs of ice skates that your guests can use. If your property is located near the water and is a popular fishing area, ensure that there are fishing rods and tackle boxes for your guests. These are small gestures that your guests will appreciate.

Keeping in Touch

Keep in touch with your guests even after they depart. Call them up to let them know of the changes to your property to make their future stays more comfortable and memorable. If you are unable to call, send a personalized email to them thanking them for their patronage.

These tips will help you make your guests happy during their stay. Also, take their feedback and use it to make the necessary changes to your vacation rental, so that you will have repeat bookings and a high occupancy rate.

Buy2Greece.com – American Express Announces Availability in Apple Pay

American Express today announces availability in Apple Pay™, the easy, safe and private way to pay with iPhone® 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPad® Air 2 and iPad mini 3. Apple Pay will be available for eligible U.S. Consumer and OPEN American Express® Card Members(i).

Apple Pay allows American Express Card Members to seamlessly add their eligible Card and pay with their mobile device at contactless merchants in stores or directly within participating apps that accept American Express. When paying with Apple Pay, Card Members will continue to receive all of the protection, service and benefits offered by American Express.

In addition, Card Members who use an eligible American Express Card in Apple Pay get these features:

  • Real-time notifications and details for all purchases
  • Seamless connection to the Amex® Mobile app for enhanced account monitoring, servicing and access to rewards and offers

How to Add an American Express Card to Apple Pay
After downloading iOS 8.1, Card Members can go to the Apple® Passbook app to get started. If a Card Member already has an eligible American Express Card on file with iTunes, they only need to type in the Security Code – or they can simply choose to add a new American Express Card.

Availability
Apple Pay will begin rollout in the U.S. starting Monday, October 20, 2014, with iOS 8.1. Apple Pay works in stores with iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. Apple Pay is also available to pay for physical goods and services in participating apps with iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3.

Trusted Safety & Security
Whether a Card Member swipes, clicks or taps to pay, American Express has their back. With fraud and online protection, American Express is working to safeguard Card Members:

Buy2Greece.com – Chinese Visitors set to travel light abroad

According to a report by Su Zhou and Zheng Xin a growing number of countries are modifying their visa-application procedures in order to attract more Chinese tourists.
Many Beijing residents have just been given a surprising six-day holiday to coincide with the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit being held in the Chinese capital in November. The unexpected break has resulted in a boost for tourist agencies, and domestic tourism spots and countries that have relaxed their visa-application procedures will be the big winners.
Dai Yu, marketing director of the Tourism Department of Ctrip, an online travel service provider stated that the number of trips booked to countries with easier visa-application processes has risen sharply in the past few days. He said, “When we introduce our travel products, we recommend those countries because of the limited time on offer. ”Now Chinese tourists have a wider range of choices than before, so if they can have a great vacation in a country that doesn’t require a visa at all, they won’t bother to choose one where it takes days to obtain a permit,” said Dai, who added that 49 countries and regions
have visa-free or “visa-on-arrival policies” for Chinese citizens.
The World Tourism Cities Federation and Ipsos reported in August, the top three visa-related problems Chinese outbound tourists experience are time-consuming application procedures, the strict requirements for obtaining visas, and very expensive fees.
In recent months, many countries have introduced easier ways of obtaining visas, by speeding up the process, reducing the documentation required, opening more application centers, and providing longer term multi-entry visas for regular visitors, despite concerns about issues such as overstays, terrorism, and illegal immigration.
During Premier Li Keqiang’s visit to Germany on Oct 10, Berlin announced that it would shorten the visa-application process to 48 hours – at present, it takes at least three to five working days – and, to cater to people from inland China, more visa application centers will be opened in those areas.
The Canada Tourism Bureau said it upgraded single-entry visas to multi-entry ones earlier this year, hoping to attract more Chinese visitors by making it easier for them to travel to the country. Minister-counselor for consular affairs at the United States embassy in Beijing, Charles Bennett, said that in the last three years the embassy has taken steps to make visa applications simpler, more efficient, and less expensive. As a result, most applications have been processed within an average of five working days.
Thailand waived visa fees for tourists from the Chinese mainland and Taiwan from August to October. The United Kingdom has introduced a ”super priority” visa service in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou under which Chinese citizens can obtain a visa within 24 hours of applying. Meanwhile, Italy has shortened its application process to 36 hours, and France has adopted a 48-hour service for Chinese tourists.
In 2012, China became the world’s largest tourism source market – the World Tourism Organization calculates that Chinese expenditure on foreign travel hit $129 billion in 2013 – and is expected to overtake the United States as the world’s largest travel and tourism economy in 2027. Encouraged by the drift, Chinese travel agencies are planning to expand their overseas travel operations.

Best Hotel pool in Greece

best hotel pool

Andrew Harper, who loves luxury travels, has developed a travel community offering personalized services and exclusive benefits to travelers seeking luxury accommodation and travel.

In Harper’s “Best Recognition Awards” for 2014, the hotel Amanzo’e in Peloponnese, Greece, was awarded for its impressive pool. It is the first resort of the famous hotel chain Aman Resorts in Greece.

The impressive Beach Club of the hotel not only offers an enchanting atmosphere in a peaceful Aegean bay near Porto Heli, but also impresses with impeccable customer service. Guests also have the opportunity to swim in one of the two freshwater pools located parallel to the sea. A separate children’s pool ensures the tranquility of customers while sunbeds provide privacy and relaxation

Source : greece.greekreporter.com

Apartment Rental Scams

Apartment Rental Scams – How to Recognize and Avoid Them

What’s a Rental Scam?

Rental scams are a variation on a theme. The scammer tries to get money from a prospective tenant for an apartment that the scammer is in no legal position to rent.

The apartment might be real (in which case, the scammer doesn’t have the authority to lease it) or fictitious. The scammer could be a real landlord or, more likely, an impostor.

Scammers typically try to get money from unsuspecting apartment hunters, then disappear. For example, a tenant who’s vacating his apartment might decide to show it, pretending to be the landlord. He might lead all prospects to believe they’re getting that apartment, and collect fees and security deposits upfront. Once the prospects realize they’ve been scammed, the scammer has usually vanished with their money.

Follow the General Rule

Don’t let your guard down when looking for an apartment. Just because you use a reputable apartment search Web site doesn’t mean you can’t get scammed by unscrupulous landlords or people posing as landlords who manage to get their listingsonto these sites.

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If something feels wrong with a listing, the application process feels rushed, or the whole experience just seems to good to be true, it may be wise not to pursue it.

Avoid Common Red Flags

Here are some common red flags to help you spot and avoid rental scams while looking for an apartment:

  • You’re asked to send money without having met anyone or seen the apartment.It’s not common to pay a lot of money for something sight-unseen. So, if a landlord expects you to pay a lot before you lease an apartment, it’s a reason to be concerned. Don’t rely on promises or photos, but actually visit any apartment you’re considering renting. According to a warning on Craigslist, not following this one rule accounts for 99% of scam attempts.
  • The landlord seems too eager to lease the apartment to you. Many landlords want to know your credit score, and they may also want more information about you, such as a criminal background check and employment verification. If a landlord doesn’t seem interested in any from of tenant screening or appears too eager to negotiate the rentand other lease terms with you, it’s suspicious.
  • You’re asked to pay an unusually high security deposit or too many upfront fees.If the landlord wants a higher security deposit than what’s required by law, or if upfront fees seem excessive to you, it could be a sign that the landlord wants to take your money and run.
  • You feel unwarranted sales pressure. If a landlord acts too pushy, it can be a red flag.
  • You’re told you don’t need a lawyer. It’s true you don’t need a lawyer to review your lease, and generally speaking, it’s in a landlord’s best interest for you to skip lawyer review and just take the rental. But when a landlord makes a point of saying that you don’t need a lawyer, it could be a sign that the landlord is trying to rush you into signing the lease and handing over money, perhaps because he doesn’t really own the building or already leased the apartment to someone else.
  • You’re told you don’t need a lease. It’s true you don’t need a lease to live in an apartment. Although renting an apartment under a lease is the most typical situation, but a month-to-month rental agreement is fairly common. But only you know what you need. If a landlord tries to get money from you without considering that you might want a lease, think twice. It could be that the “landlord” doesn’t have any lease to show you.
  • The landlord has a convenient excuse for not being able to meet you or show the property. The person behind a listing might say he’s out of the country indefinitely or that he won’t return until after you would need to agree to the rental and pay money.

What If You Get Scammed?

If you become the victim of an apartment scam in the United States, you might feel there’s not much you can do. But there are steps you can take to help catch who’s behind the scam, get your money back, and put this unfortunate experience in the past.