A Step by Step Guide for Establishing your AVROA Neighborhood

 

What are AVROA neighborhoods 

Part of AVROA’s objective is to support owner and manager independence. One of the ways we do that is with our property listing platform which uses technology provided by a company called Rentivo.com. This technology not only provides AVROA and our members a global listing platform but also allows us to use the same technology to create fully functional local property listing websites we call neighborhoods. The goal of AVROA neighborhoods is in many ways the same as our global listing service and that is to take advantage of the strength of out numbers and those benefits that occur when people work together. Like listing on AVROA’s global platform and property certification, creating an AVROA neighborhood is free with paid membership and can be started with as few as five (5) members.

Why you should start an AVROA neighborhood

  1. Your Neighborhood website belongs to you and will become an effective tool in converting guests from booking on large property listing services that demand ever-increasing fees and commissions to booking directly with you.
  2. Neighborhood members get more bookings by sharing inquiries among themselves instead of just releasing them back to the open market.
  3. Neighborhood can use the power of their membership to save money by negotiating group discount pricing from services and retailers.
  4. Neighborhood members can work together to coordinate rental rates and maximize income.
  5. Neighborhood members can “cover” for each other when someone is sick or is out-of-town.
  6. Neighborhood members can share information on vendors and pricing so they can get top quality work at the best price.
  7. Neighborhood are a very low-cost form of advertising and AVROA will never charge a fee or commission for listing a property. As large Internet listing services continue to raise their fees, Chapters will have an increasing pricing advantage. When guests learn about Chapters, they will  leave large listings services  to “Book Direct” because you will be able to offer reduced rates to guests booking through your Chapter while earning the same profits.

When you start an AVROA neighborhood in your area you start taking advantage of all the benefits of people working together by focusing the strength of your numbers in one place..  

Purpose of this Guide: This guide outlines the basic steps of establishing a neighborhood.

Introduction:

The way we create neighborhoods  is simple. When someone joins AVROA as a paid member and lists a property, all that data is added to the Association’s property database. When you tell us which properties you want in your neighborhood, we “tag” those properties, letting us know they should be grouped together.

The listings in your neighborhood will still appear on AVROA’s main listing website but now they will also display on your neighborhood website. You instantly increase your exposure on the Internet.

Every neighborhood has an “administrator”. This person has access to the neighborhood’s website design and content menus so they can keep your website up to date. We will be talking about what an “administrator” can do a little later. For right now, two important thing to know are:

  1. Administrators cannot add/delete properties from a Chapter website. You must contact us to do that.
  2. Only the owner/manager of a listing can modify that listing.

AVROA manages the technology: We provide full support, hosting/backup function and technical support so you do not have worry about technical side of your Neighborhood website only creating its content.

What you need to do:

A well-defined process is needed to establish a neighborhood and requires information gathering. You need to know what systems your members are using currently and how promote their properties. For this reason we have offer a Google form for each member to complete which will give the neighborhood administrator a clear indication of any technical hurdles and challenges they need to be aware of.

The following are the initial steps required to initiate the process:

  1.   Appoint a Neighborhood Administrator, through whom the neighborhood’s requests and decisions are routed. The neighborhood administrator’s responsibilities include:
  2.   Choosing a domain name: Domain name and registration & maintenance. We suggest that the domain name is held in the name of the chapter. Most good domain names have been used. We may have access to some or can advise. Re-sales can be found on sedo.com and similar sites. Please consider whether this would be a definite location name and activity or brand. e.g. “londonselfcatering”. or “Londonrnr” for example. Dot Coms are still preferable or local extensions such as .co.uk or .ca.  Consider also where the custom is derived from and how localised this maybe. We recommend UKREG.com for registration as the DNS control tools are well managed.
  3.   Managing your neighborhood website: The neighborhood administrator has sole control over the website’s design and content functions, such as images, headers, footers, content pages, site T&Cs etc. The independent owner or manager has sole control over their property listing elements. The Chapter Administrator does not have access to individual property dashboards. The Chapter administrator needs to be appointed and will have designated logins.

  Decide how your Neighborhood will operate: you need to decide on how the site will interact with guests. There are a few popular options for guest interaction.

                  1- Inquiry Generation

                  2-  Request to Book

                  3- Instant Book

The first two generate emails that the owner or manager responds to. AVROA property listing system provides an email and response system if needed. The “Instant Book” option requires technical integration and may need to cross many technical barriers and real-time pricing with all its options.

We advise that you initially to adopt an “Inquire” or “Request to Book” option and run the business booking process off-site and independently. Your neighborhood member questionnaire will identify many of these issues and direct how we give each owner the option to have instant boo

Sort rules: All listing services have a method of ranking and filtering. The AVROA system has these functions built in and is can be modified to align with whatever policy chosen by the neighborhood. Examples for discussion are:

– Photo quality, property naming, title lengths, breadcrumbs, mapping, real-time availability, pricing, last update, filters.  Rather than be a function imposed by the site, this is a Chapter agreement and the system has many options. yes, very good. Interesting that we can do this and that these are not global properties.

Choosing your website design: The modern trend is Airbnb style or HomeAway etc. A lot of money has been invested in the look to book processes by these companies with A/B testing etc. We have several base templates that can be amended accordingly.  New full (unique) designs become more expensive. When considering design there are many factors to consider, which can be reviewed when the overall approach is decided.

Integration with a Property Management System (PMS): This is the hardest element to manage. There are over 100 PMS systems and an equal number of channel managers now, and they all have commercial goals and plans. Rentivo has an open API any provider can connect to. We would like to think this is in their best interests to support their clients. We are happy to support any PMS data feed via our API. This affects property uploads and will be determined via the questionnaire. Choice of channel is an individual owner/manager decision and should be independent of Chapter policy… A chapters is only a listing services melded with quality information

Neighborhood Costs: There are two elements to costing a successful Neighborhood neighborhood: the site maintenance costs and  marketing costs

  1. Our objective is to provide a low cost technical solution as part of our membership program to create this local opportunity. The cost will be dependent on number of members and specific site requirements, but per member is a fraction of the cost of an OTA’s charges for a small number or even an individual booking. When all details are known we can provide a quote.
  2. Marketing costs and fees can be very open ended. They rely primarily on volume of work and a well-constructed strategy. We can assist and give advice on a generic level but the Chapter should address this as part of their on-going business drive to more independence.

Getting your Neighborhood Visible on the Internet: Your neighborhood website SEO (search engine optimization) is fully constructed and has Google Analytics and Webmaster tool options but also has an app option for further integrations with other specialist tools. SEO and using social media are subjects that  require skills often not held by an owner or manager. One thing Martin is doing is taking the skill requirements out of providing ancillary services. It would be nice to be able to do that with these areas as well)

  1. a)   Blog & regular updates
  2. b)   Copywriting
  3. c)   Photography
  4. d)   Social Media
  5. e)   Further networking and local advertising with links and promotions

 

NOTE: If you require a PMS or channel manager for your properties and are already integrated with AVROA, you may select from those below.
QUESTIONNAIRE WEB ADDRESS: