World's First Vacation Rental Multiple Listing Service (MLS)
By William May
Published: 03/18/09 Topics: Comments: 0
The every increasing cost of advertising on the mammoth impersonal vacation rental listing websites has spawned innovation. On April 6th, the Vacation Rental Association, with the help of Plumbob Publishing is unveiling the first every Multiple Listing Service (MLS) for Vacation Rentals.
The Vacation Rental Multiple Listing Services (VRMLS.org)VRMLS.org allows guests from around the world or around the corner to find short-term vacation rental lodging in their own backyard. "Searching through hundreds of thousands of rentals is a pain," says Salman Arshad, chief programmer on the websites. "We're offering micro sites for specific areas which will actually have far more listings than the big guys, because it is so much more affordable."
This MLS service is, "The only ‘Open-Listing' and 'Open-Distribution' service in the industry," says William May, president of VRA and it is going to make lodging advertising cheaper and easier.
Open Listing means that all industry participants including Owners, Managers and Resort Operators are entitled to list their properties on the MLS. The fee is modest and used primarily for the maintenance of the VRA database.
Website publishers to can then re-publish rentals from the MLS on their own sites as service to guests as well as managers. Publishers too pay a small price and secure a large list of available properties.
After submitting listings, Owners and Managers can then select those publishers on which they want to display their rental offerings. Penny Taylor, co-developer of the website says, "Instead of spending hours submitting a single property to multiple websites, on the VRMLS it is all done with a few clicks."
The first website to utilize this revolutionary concept is (VacationRentals.ws)VacationRentals.ws. The WS stands for Washington State and the site features cabins, condos, homes and villas for rent in the Evergreen State only.
One enthusiastic supporter is Dan Graham, operator of Mount Baker Lodging in Washington State. "I track hundreds of Vacation Rental listing sites and buy a great many ads per year. But this service is going to make it far easier. I wish we had had it years ago."
And the site offers applets that allow non-traditional websites such as local merchants and activity providers to embed listings onto their websites and include only lodging in their immediate area. These same applets can be used by managers and owners for the same purpose.
William May adds, "Paying for advertising is a hurdle to marketing of course, but the expense of labor to publish multiple properties to multiple websites has become overwhelming." We've solved that problem by putting control of vacation rental advertising into the hands of the people who should control it - owners and managers.
"Because we operate Vacation Rentals ourselves in Washington State, we can't wait to place ads on VacationRentals.ws," adds May. "I just wish the site had been created years ago."
What about the mammoth websites that now dominate the industry? "We will be happy to cooperate with them providing they act like good citizens and serve the owners and managers responsibly." says May.
The Vacation Rental Association was originally started by people in the industry as the Vacation Rental Owners Association (VROA.org) but recently changed to VRA. "We just felt there was too much conflict between Owners and Managers," says Taylor. The problem, she says, is that "Folks need to cooperate to better compete with traditional hotel, motel lodging, because they still have the lion's share of the market."
"Starting the VR-MLS is just one step in working together for mutual benefit." adds May.
ABOUT VRA: Membership in the Vacation Rental Association is open to all owners, managers and the vendors who supply them. Guests too can join to participate as consumers. VRA sponsors the Vacation Rental MLS which was created by programmers from Plumbob Publishing. Plumbob was started by the principals of Sunspot Vacation Rentals headquartered in Seattle. For more information contact William May 206-734-4507, or William@Plumbob.comWilliam@Plumbob.com
Author: William May – Volunteer, Vacation Rental Association
Blog #: 0105 – 03/18/09