Rentini provides useful and exciting travel insights. From adventures to marketing tips for vacation rental owners, we want to help you travel as it's meant to be – easy, refreshing, & fun!

Archive for April, 2013

10 Top Tourist Attractions In Mexico

Mexico Acapulco Cliff Divers at SunsetAmerican and other foreign tourists just love visiting Mexico! Its Caribbean and Pacific resorts are breathtaking; its culture, rich and absolutely distinct. People who travel to Mexico must be ready to encounter lots of great spots. With that, the Mexico Tourism Board, along with the tourists that have visited this gem, has reported the top ten destinations that a tourist in Mexico must never miss.

Acapulco

Frequently flooded by American celebrities and prominent multimillionaires, the city of Acapulco is a resort town that dates all the way back to 50s. Mexicans and tourists alike love visiting Acapulco to watch professional cliff-divers jump into the ocean (the image above).

Xochimilco

Mexico Xochimilco boatsThe Aztecs’ floating gardens offer the tourists a creative way of shopping. Riding colorful boats, one can simply sail whilst buying from barge vendors. Bands can even be hired to serenade you while you shop.

Cancun, Riviera Maya, Cozumel and Isla Mujeres

Cancun Mexico Oceanfront Luxury ResortWhilst traveling, it is likely that one suddenly craves for the sun and the relaxing feel of the beach. Don’t worry though, there’s the Cancun to satisfy that craving! Considered one of Americans’ favorite vacation spots, Cancun is close to equally relaxing spots such as the Cozumel, Holbox, Isla Mujeres and Puerto Morelos. In Cancun, everything is water-related; there’s a variety of activities to choose from, such as island hopping, diving, snorkeling, speed-boating and jet skiing. The beach and pools in Cancun are irresistibly wonderful, but they’re not only what this treasure has to boast. There’s an Under Water Museum that everybody loves, as well. The food choices are also unbelievable

Los Cabos

cabo san lucas bcs mexico villa del toro rojoAt the southern end of the peninsula of Baja California is a mesmerizing beach area. The beaches of Los Cabos is overflowing with elegant resorts and food places. This place is definitely a good vacation spot for enthusiasts of water sports. During winter, whales can even be viewed in the ocean.

Chiapas: San Cristobal de las Casas

chiapas san cristobal cathedral

Cathedral of San Cristobal de las Casas in Mexico (Photo Credit: Thom Lang/Corbis)

As the epitome of everything cultural in Chiapas, San Cristobal de las Casas showcase a plethora of old homes and historical buildings. In the middle of this city is the Zócalo or its plaza that is usually flocked with natives selling interesting works of art. San Cristobal indeed makes it to the list of fascinating areas in Mexico.

Puerto Vallarta, Riviera Nayarit

The Americans and Canadians never think twice about what resort to stay in every time they visit Mexico – it’s definitely Puerto Vallarta. Not only is Riviera Nayarit the land of the beach and sun, it also holds within it arts to brag. Galleries such as the famous Galería Dante can be found in this city. There are lots of restaurants in it; most of which provide the customers with spectacular bay view. Riviera Nayarit is merely fifteen minutes away from the airport of Puerto Vallarta; it deserves a visit:

Puerto Vallarta luxurious beachfront villa

Dias des los Muertos, Oaxaca

Catarinas Dia De Muertos

© Tomas Castelazo http://www.tomascastelazo.com Wikimedia Cmns CC-BY-SA-3.0

Famous for having the best Dia de Los Muertos festival in the whole of Mexico, Oaxaca is frequently visited by tourists. This festival celebrated in most of Latin America dates back to more than a thousand years ago when indigenous tribes such as the Aztecs dwelled in Mexico. This festival commences on the last day of October and is marked by families preparing the burial places of their loved ones to signify the return of their souls. Flowers are usually placed in the tombs and home shrines of families to serve as their offerings for the souls. A common symbol of the holiday is the skull (in Spanish calavera), which celebrants represent in masks, called calacas (colloquial term for skeleton), and foods such as sugar or chocolate skulls, which are inscribed with the name of the recipient on the forehead. Sugar skulls as gifts can be given to both the living and the dead.

Central Mexico: Querétaro, San Miguel de Allende and Guanajuato City

It’s not true that Mexico only has its coast to boast; it has cultural experiences to offer, as well. It may be found in the mountains, but the tourists of Mexico have never hesitated visiting Guanajuato City, the state capital. This city is filled with interesting art places such as museums and places for mines. Querétaro may be a cultural paradise those who walk it, but San San Miguel de Allende is deemed to be the center of culture in central Mexico as it is where ex-pats from the States and Canada reside. The three cities are recognized by UNECO as its heritage sites.

Chichen Itza

El Castillo -  The Castle, Chichen Itza; Yucatan, Mexico

Copyright: © M & G Therin-Weise

Also one of Mexico’s top tourist spots is the Chicen Itza, the largest of cities the Mayan put up in the Yucatan Peninsula. In this city is El Castillo’s temple-pyramid with an astronomically-significant structure to brag. In each of the pyramid’s faces are 91 stairs that meet and eventually add up to 365, representing the number of days in one year. The El Caracol can also be found in this city – which is famous for also being used as an observatory.

Copper Canyon

discover mexico copper canyon by train

A ride on the Chihuahua al Pacifico train lasts 14 hours. (Photo credit: Gerald French / Corbis)

This canyon coined its name from its color – copper for it is definitely copper green. Tourists who want to ride the Chihuahua al Pacifico train (it’s quite an experience) can’t help but appreciate the 390 miles of canyons that they pass through. The whole trip lasts for fourteen hours, but it isn’t the dragging one for the views are consistently pretty. The Basaseachic Falls can also be found in this canyon. It is the second highest in Mexico’s list of waterfalls, and is an ideal place for camping and hiking.

Check visa requirements for visiting Mexico and get ready with your passport to travel to Mexico.

 
This article was contributed by Zara, a part time blogger who writes on different topics ranging from marketing to finance to lifestyle.

The Features That Kept Us Busy for a Year

One year and counting - Rentini anniversary Time flies. It’s has been an incredible year-long ride since we officially launched our new website last year.  Not only have we  learned a lot, we’ve also realized that customer feedback is a huge source of inspiration. Thank you for contributing your time and efforts to becoming a valuable part of the Rentini community.

Do you remember some of these milestones and new features we’ve developed along the way?

We Are In 70+ Countries and Counting

Sometimes it’s hard to believe that a single platform could be a common marketplace for people from such diverse cultural backgrounds. We are all in the same business and our love for the vacation rental experience is without boundaries. Who wants to stay in a cookie cutter hotel with their entire family? No wonder vacation rentals are becoming more and more popular for travelers across the globe.

You Told Us, We Listened

The most exciting part of building a vacation rental platform is that all of you, our great customers, are also seasoned entrepreneurs. You are smart, experienced and full of fresh ideas about improving the business. We took many of your ideas and developed them into useful tools that will help you run your business even better. Below we listed a few features that came out of your valuable feedback. Keep pouring it on us, we do listen!

The Lowest 2.4% Credit Card Processing

The lowest 2.4% credit card fee for vacation rentalsI hope you don’t miss out on this one! After negotiating with our merchant bank, we secured a 2.4% credit processing rate, which is a better deal than PayPal or VRBO. Paypal charges approximately $30/month plus 2.9% – 3% per credit card transaction. VRBO charges somewhere in a range of $400-$1,000+/year and 2.5% per transaction. We are so happy to save our clients on credit card fees with a low 2.4% flat fee on Visa, Master Card and Discover credit card payments.

Calendar Synchronization Tool

calendar synchronization tool

This is an awesome tool we launched last year. Recently redesigned, today it is even more user-friendly. No one wants to update their calendars on the zillions of vacation rental sites manually. This tool takes the headache away from busy owners/property managers. Synchronize Calendar with Homeaway or VRBOJust copy/paste a link from HomeAway / VRBO and never worry about double booking again.

Reservation Confirmation: Accept, Reject, Discuss More

Accept, Reject, Discuss function within the homeowners inboxEveryone has his or her own style of running a vacation rental, but after regular feedback, we realized one thing is for sure: Homeowners and Property Managers want full control over the situation.  In response, we developed a better way to handle reservation requests. When accepting or rejecting vacation requests, no word is final until homeowners or property managers say so and there is a 24-hour time frame to do so.

Automatic Damage Deposit Processing

Automated Damage Deposit ProcessingNo longer do you have to refund damage deposits manually.  Now it’s as easy as 1-2-3. Just check it out:

  1. Two days prior to check-in, the guests’ card is automatically authorized for the amount of the damage deposit.
  2. The owner will then get an email confirmation and issue check-in instructions for guests.
  3. 48 hours after check-out, the damage deposit will be refunded to the guest’s card if no damages have been incurred.

Pro Plan: Links And Direct Contact Info

Rentini started off as a transaction-based platform on which we charged 1% commission plus a $5 reservation fee. Quickly, however, we learned that some of our users were not happy to pay a commission for each payment processed via Rentini.  In order to accommodate our homeowners and property managers, we began charging a small monthly fee of $9/month and, in return, we list all their contact details in the ad. This way, homeowner & property managers are able to use their normal reservation flow. This change has been awesome for Rentini and it has also been great for the homeowner & property managers who are pleased not to have to introduce a new element to their existing business procedure.

Pro Plus Plan: No Commission And Unlimited Listings For A Single Monthly Payment.

It couldn’t get any better for property managers and homeowners who have multiple listings. List all 20 properties and pay no commission to Rentini for payment processing. Every Pro Plus subscriber gets all of this for a flat $20/month fee along with access to many exciting features on the Rentini platform not accessible under a free plan:

Testimonials

New feature Testimonials Based on the research done by TripAdvisor, guests’ reviews are the second most important thing after photos that travelers rely on while making their selection. At Rentini, all reviews are verified. We also added a Testimonials feature that is an easy way for new listing owners to improve their credibility.Request testimonials from friends and vacation rental guests This feature also allows homeowners and property managers to contact their previous guests or personal friends to solicit testimonials.

Last Minute Deals

Last minute deal promotional banner for rental property This could be the most celebrated new feature of the year! Last minute gaps are not easy to fill, especially because travelers are accustomed to getting a deal on last minute bookings. At the end of the last year, we introduced a feature to promote properties with last minute availabilities on our homepage.  As a result, we received a great return on new bookings and lots of happy customers.

Hints And Videos Are Added

Read hints to avoid confusionThe first few months after our official launch were tough. Many features that looked obvious to our engineers were not as user-friendly as we thought. As a result, we included a short explanation next to each entry field. If you are ever in doubt regarding what a field or sentence means, just roll your mouse over the question mark icon and the hint will pop-up. The same goes for video tutorials.  After adding a video tutorial on every page, we managed to improve our conversion rate by 45%.

Custom Cancellation Policy

Homeowner have templates they can choose from or create their own - customized - cancellation policy

This was one of the most requested features in the early days. Originally, we had 4 pre-designed cancellation policies, but we learned that homeowners and property managers didn’t want to fit into cookie cutter solutions.   After realizing we needed to be more flexible on this topic, we allowed homeowner & property managers to upload his or her custom policy.

Reply To Inquiry From The Email Inbox

Another thing we learned about homeowners and property managers’ business challenges is they all want to simplify the inquiry reply process.

At Rentini, we developed two ways to reply to messages from a potential guest:

Whether you reply via email or the Rentini messaging page, all communication is stored in your Rentini account. The only trick to remember is that when you reply via email, the recipients address is encrypted for privacy purposes. But, don’t fret.  We know how to deliver your message to your guest.  Just hit the Send button!

Craigslist Ad Generator

Your Craigslist Vacation Rental Ad Generator Many homeowners and property managers have a love /hate relationship with Craigslist. Many say that there are a lot of scams and others don’t want to deal with low-ball inquiries. Despite its issues, Craigslist can still be a very effective advertising platform for your vacation home. With 60+ mln unique visitors per month Craigslist is one of the most visited classified sites on internet. At Rentini, we developed a simple tool to generate a professional Craigslist ad in a few clicks. It’s a great way to promote your last minute availability or just improve your ad’s SEO in the long run. More visits to your ad page means more love from search engines.

We Love Our Unique Properties From All Around The World

The beauty of our vacation rental business is that all the properties are very unique.  Whether it is a stunning villa in Paraty, Brazil, a private boat in Barcelona, or an agritourism villa in Tuscany, Italy, they are all inspiring…and your personal touch is what makes your guests enjoy it so much!

There are many more features being developed,which are great additions to our core functionality. Thanks again for your patronage during the last year!

Do you have a feature in mind you know could be useful for your vacation rental business? Share it with us by leaving a comment below or by sending us an email at feedback@rentini.com.

The Best Places to Visit in Germany

The next time you plan a holiday, look beyond Rome, Egypt or China.Visit Germany

Germany is an amazing country. Lush green landscape, soaring mountains, historical sites and a beautiful coastline; all wrapped in an affordable package. It is ideal for a vacation with family and kids, for hiking trips and cruises. The beaches offer a spectacular sea-view and pleasurable stay in elegant hotels. The country is charged with emotions from wars and destruction. The adventure is so amazing that it is not possible to capture fully in any book or travel series.

Here is a list of must-see places in Germany:

  • Start with Berlin. Berlin-street-intersectionThe architecture from the Baroque period will take your breath away. The city houses one of the world’s best zoos and finest orchestras. Visit the historical Berlin Wall and the bustling Gendarmenmarkt as well.
  • Munich Germany-Munich-street-lights-church-old-townwas intensely affected during both the world wars. The remnants of buildings from the tragic period make a visit to this city an emotionally stirring experience. Munich’s ‘Oktoberfest’ is a 15 day long celebration known for exhilarating carnivals, parades and authentic German Ale!
  • Cologne is another German city with a touch of history. The Roman Towers and the Cologne Cathedral and Museum Ludwig will be a captivating experience.          

    Koeln Cologne Germany City Bridge Night Lights

    The Cologne Hohenzollernbrücke and the Cologne Cathedral. Image is a courtesy of David Portnicki

  • Dusseldorf Dusseldorf Germany City lightsis a modern city with high end stores in the lively shopping street, with something for art lovers as well in the Museum Kunst Palast.
  • The Romantic Rhine River Valley offers cruise rides along-side beautiful castles. The Valley is also a favourite among hikers due to the hills between these castles. You get to see some pretty little German towns too.
  • Black Forest, Germany Girl in Traditional CostumeFor a wisp of myth with tales of witches and werewolves, visit the Black Forest. The hills and woods here make for breath-taking scenery.
  • For more of the German war sites, you can go to Dachau. It was a concentration camp, and nearby is a statue bearing the words ‘Never Again’, a sincere promise by the Germans to show their solidarity.
  • Heidelberg is home to the oldest University in Germany. Take a pleasant walk around Gothic lanes, through the 18th century bridge of Alte Brucke, into the Heidelberg Castle, the heart of the city.

    Heidelberg, Germany Panoramic View River Neckar

    Heidelberg, Germany is a home of the oldest university. Image is a courtesy of Martin Künzel, Berlin

Travelling is made all the more pocket-friendly due to a variety of personal loans offered by banks. While applying for a loan, you might be asked to take along a PPI. To know better about this policy, kindly contact claims management firms to protect you from missold ppi.

PPI is otherwise known as payment protection insurance and has been mis sold to customers who have applied for a credit card, mortgage or loan agreement to protect their payments should they ever become unemployed, be involved in an accident or become too poorly to work and make repayments to their credit policy. Although this sounds like the most secure thing to do, it has in fact been mis sold to many customers who will never need nor be able to make a claim on it.

Author Bio:

This article was contributed by Zara, a part time blogger who writes on different topics ranging from marketing to finance to lifestyle. She works for a PPI Claims firm. She has written many articles about how to make a compensation claims.

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