The Best Time to Visit all 50 States

 

Pablow Infographic

 

*In the event that a state had more than one best time of year to visit, I chose to map the month that best fit with surrounding state patterns. To read more you can find the article we referenced for this data here. *

Have you ever wondered where else your potential guests are looking for vacation properties besides your area? We set out to determine the best time for tourists to book a vacation rental accommodation in every state.

To determine the best time of year for tourism in each state we considered multiple factors including temperature, number of tourists and popular seasonal destinations as we collaborated with property managers across the nation. With all of this information we produced a color-coded map, indicating the best month out of the year to visit each state.

Notice the lack of popularity among winter months! Besides Nevada, Colorado and Louisiana the winter months are not well represented on our map. In Nevada, the holiday season is popular, but the best time to visit is actually as the holiday crowds begin dwindling. Colorado is popular during winter months because of its booming ski/snowboard industry. Louisiana’s peak month is when the streets are packed during Mardi Gras celebrations every February.

September is the best time of year for tourism in 13 states, making it the most popular month for travelers. This trend is largely borne from the mild weather and popularity of sports during that time of year. Not only is the temperature not as hot as the summer months, but also the weather hasn’t yet made the full transition to fall making it the perfect time to enjoy a football or baseball game.

The best time to visit most Midwestern states (North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio) is either immediately before or after July. With extremely hot and humid summers in comparison to the rest of the year, it makes sense that tourism falls as the heat rises.

Take Minnesota for example, while the temperature rarely surpasses 95°, the state’s dew point during the hottest days of summer causes sticky, thick air that prevents people from enjoying the outdoors. At its highest, Minnesota’s summer dew point reaches 80% making 90° feel like 110°. As a native Minnesotan, I would have to pick August as our best month for tourism. With summer temperatures tapering, it’s perfect weather to enjoy a day out on the boat or a long summer night sitting by the bonfire.

Do you agree with what we determined was the best month to visit your state? Tell us what you think!

 

How to Make Your Company More Enjoyable

“We have three innate psychological needs—competence, autonomy, and relatedness. When those needs are satisfied, we’re motivated, productive, and happy.”
― Daniel H. PinkDrive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us

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Daniel Pink pictured alongside his best selling book Drive.

As Pink explains in his book Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, there are a few innate psychological needs that must be filled to generate satisfactory and enjoyable work.  However, once those psychological needs are filled, what separates the most enjoyable companies from those that only provide above average levels of satisfaction and happiness?  This blog post will explore and try to answer the question: “How do I make my company more enjoyable for everyone?”

“A Day Without Laughter is a Day Wasted”

At Pablow, doing things in a way that is enjoyable is one of our key tenants that motivate our actions.  Even if we are on a roller coaster ride as a start up in the insurance industry, we recognize that the journey should still remain fun.

Why do we value being happy, laughing a lot, and enjoying our work?  Enjoyable work, happiness and laughter all provide significant physical, mental and social benefits.

Laughter alone helps you feel good by releasing endorphins that fight stress and provide an almost immediate benefit.  It also helps relax you muscles for up to 45 minutes at a time, with exception of your mouth muscles, which can actually hurt if you laugh too hard.  Been there and have almost cried from laughing too hard!  Laughter improves your resistance to disease by increasing infection-fighting antibodies and immune cells and by decreasing stress hormones.  It can protect your heart by improving blood flow and blood vessel functioning.  Laughter helps dissolve disagreements between people if it’s shared and both parties agree to put their problems behind them.  It surprisingly has also been shown to help adults with short-term memory.

Put simply … you can’t afford to not have people laugh at work.  If you value your employees and their happiness, then you need to make the commitment to integrate humor and enjoyable situations into your company culture.

One great story about how humor and laughter were embraced in the company culture comes from Delta Air Lines.  A couple of years ago a frequent flyer complained to the CEO that a flight attendant was joking around in her safety briefing, which the flyer considered a very serious procedure.  Instead of apologizing, the CEO told the frequent flyer that he was sorry to see him leave the airline, because humor was a key part of their company culture and thus he stood behind his flight attendant’s right to laugh and help others laugh.  Today Delta Air Lines has further embraced this humor by incorporating it into their pre-flight safety videos that both deliver an important message and have some fun in how they present it – I’d definitely recommend taking a look.

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Delta safety videos went as far to include 80’s icon and TV star, Alf!

But What Can I Do?

So a happy, laughing, satisfied, productive and motivated workplace is great, but what can most small to medium sized companies in the vacation rental or tech industries do to embrace these values?

The first and easiest step is to begin to laugh at yourself, and model the kind of behavior that you want everyone else to embrace.  You can also find friends, hire employees, and build professional relationships within your community with people that you enjoy being around.

Teams can be more enjoyable if you push everyone to be spontaneous and encouraging of humor.  This can be as complex as surprising the team with tickets to a comedy show next Friday evening or as simple as telling jokes as you leave the office and sharing funny videos with the rest of your team.  As funny as jokes can be, make sure to keep them positive and not a roast of anyone in particular, as that could have just the opposite effect desired.

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Don’t conform to typical networking rules – ask daring and novel questions that encourage interesting conversation and funny stories.

At networking events or job interviews ask people what they enjoy doing instead of about their job and encourage them to tell you a funny story, but you should also be prepared with a funny story of your own to share with them.

Laughter is Contagious

Regardless of how you make your organization more enjoyable for your staff, laughter and happiness is contagious.  Try just one of the tactics mentioned above and let us know how it works for your organization.  We’re interested to learn how it goes!

The Newest Vacation Rental Necessity

Introduction

Have you heard of post-sale travel insurance?  The new concept is quickly becoming a vacation rental necessity for vacation rental retailers, property managers, and software providers.  In the next three minutes I guarantee that you’ll understand post-sale travel insurance and some of the ways it can help your vacation rental company meet your goals, obtain more profit, and build better relationships with your guests.  In addition, we’ll explore a few of the more popular reasons why guests purchase post-sale travel insurance.

What Is Post-Sale Travel Insurance?

Travel insurance is a common way to protect guests from the risks of travel, and most professionals in the vacation rental industry understand how it works.  Post-sale travel insurance, on the other hand, is new and different from any other travel insurance products.  The primary differentiator is that it can be sold after the booking and final payment date all the way up until 24 hours before the start of the guest’s trip, which benefits both guests and hosts.

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What Can Travel Insurance Do For Your Vacation Rental Company?

Post-sale travel insurance offers vacation rental companies an additional revenue stream without having to invest any resources, which means that all of the money generated is pure profit.  One software provider estimated that travel insurance could increase their profit per booking by up to 35% and that property managers could increase their profit per booking by 7%.

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Guests love a seamless online purchase process, so finding a travel insurance website that fits your brand and is easy for guests to use is the key to earning additional revenue.  Some companies will even help you create a customized travel insurance website free of charge and in a matter of minutes.

Post-sale travel insurance is incredibly popular with property managers, because it allows them to protect the long term relationships with their guests.  Any travel insurance that prevents guests from purchasing insurance after the final deposit date inherently limits which guests it will cover. What you want is a policy that can be offered to guests up until just before the start of their trip.

Insurance companies are often known as heavily regulated and difficult to work with.  However, post-sale travel insurance is just the opposite since it eliminates the need for insurance licensing and signing a contract.

What Can Travel Insurance Do For Your Guests?

Many guests find that post-sale travel insurance provides them with peace of mind when traveling, a rare occurrence for most guests.  Furthermore many guests are used to staying in hotels where cancellation conditions are very generous, in comparison to the strict cancellation conditions of vacation rentals.

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Post-sale travel insurance claims happen most frequently due to guest injury or illness.  Purchasing post-sale travel insurance helps guests protect against accident and medical expenses during their trip, and also protects against emergency medical evacuation.  Even if guests have a pre-existing condition, they can purchase a valid policy if it is bought within 20 days after their trip deposit is made.

Post-sale travel insurance is also extremely valuable in case of injury, illness, job loss, or a myriad of other covered reasons that might cause a guest to cancel all or a portion of their vacation rental reservation and/or trip.  By purchasing travel insurance the guest immediately transfers all of  these cancellation risks to the insurance company.

How To Get Post-Sale Travel Insurance

The best place to begin offering post-sale travel insurance is through www.pablow.com, which will allow you to create a customized travel insurance wpablow-splashebsite in just a matter of minutes without the licensing and contracts as mentioned above.  The website they provide is completely free and their affiliate fees are competitive with the rest of the industry.  Post-sale travel insurance can be yours in no time!

No One Will Read this Blog: How the Internet Killed Content!

For the past couple of years in digital marketing the narrative has largely been the same: “Content is King!”  All businesses from large corporations to small non-profits were told that they should manage their audience effectively, advertise when necessary, but above all else never compromise frequent content!  Not only is this now false, but we tell you what your number one priority should be in digital advertising for 2017.

It’s said that content can increase you search engine rankings, generate more social media views, drive potential clients to your website, and generate free publicity for your brand.  This is all true!  However, this only works if your content is unique and different than the rest of the Internet and people actually care about what you have to say, which are both significant barriers for companies of all sizes.

As a result of marketers pushing every company for more content, the Internet and our social networks have become inundated with very similar written and visual content that provides very little novel value to readers.  No one could possibly read all of the interesting content on their newsfeed!  The effect of this problem is that content no longer becomes a differentiator for companies; it’s simply a requirement for digital marketers that doesn’t carry very much weight.

We are seeing a regime change in the social media and digital marketing sphere.  Content is no longer King!  It has been replaced by engagement, which shows to be much more effective in building relationships and providing value to clients and cohorts alike.  It’s incredibly important that we change our focus toward reacting to posts, pictures, videos, and more by commenting, sharing, retweeting, liking, favoriting, following, and subscribing.

Changing the direction of our efforts from creating content to engaging with others and their content will take time, but those that embrace it first and see the value in building these online relationships within their social network can expect to see much better growth compared to competitors who subscribe to the old regime of digital marketing.

Questions?  Ask our company’s digital marketing expert and engagement specialist: Dylan DeClerck – dylan@pablow.com.

What a Week at VRMA!

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This time last week we were a bunch of excited conference rookies ready to debut our innovative new products to the vacation rental industry at the VRMA National Conference in Phoenix, AZ.  One week later we still feel excited, but this time because of a great experience at VRMA 2016 and lots of business success.

Our booth, featuring a putting green and game that we called “Putting with Pablow”, perfectly reflected our company personality.  It was exciting, fun, a little different than most other booths, competitive and led to easy conversations.  Looking back on the environment we were able to create with a simple golf game, both Steve and Dylan concluded that it was a huge success and something worth repeating at future conferences.

Outside of meeting with people at our exhibition booth, Dylan’s favorite part was networking with VRMA members including those who managed properties and those who were vendors.  Specifically he enjoyed talking and dancing with people on the dance floor during Saturday evening’s event.  Steve also enjoyed networking, but the biggest benefit of the conference in his perspective was being able to talk with system providers in the vacation rental industry to determine how we might solve important insurance challenges.

Looking back at some of our funniest moments.  Dylan was mistaken for a 16 year old.  Dylan put a video on Facebook Live during the exhibition times and talked with the same person later that evening for 15 minutes before realizing it was the same person.  Steve’s accent was mistaken for everything but Australian, even by other Australians.  I’m sure there are many more good stories given how many times we laughed, but these are the ones that stuck.  I’m sure we will have plenty of more stories from future VRMA conferences, as we are extremely excited to be going back!

Interested in learning more about Pablow?  Reach out to Dylan DeClerck at dylan@pablow.com!

Live VRMA Blog: October 18th

Today was the final day of VRMA’s 2016 National Conference in Phoenix, Arizona.  We recap our experience and talk about what’s next for the company.

MORNING KEYNOTE

Similar to yesterday morning, all of the attendees started this morning in the main ballroom listening to the keynote speaker.  While yesterday’s keynote was brought in from outside the industry, this morning’s keynote was delivered by industry veteran Mary Lynn Clark from Wyndham Vacation Rentals.  Mary Lynn shared the following key messages with the audience:

  1. Customers want unique experiences (not just products), on-demand service that is fast and easy, to be heard, and have companies react to them
  2. All service companies need to put the customer first by delivering exceptional customer experiences, using technology to enhance the experience, and managing their experience
  3. Personal service is about making the customer feel like they’re doing business with a human, not a company

Despite the fact that these lessons were intended for an audience of vacation rental managers, I feel as though they apply to a majority of service-based companies.

 

BREAKOUT SESSIONS

In keeping with the theme established early in the morning with our keynote, our team had the chance to attend multiple sessions covering technology’s role in the vacation rental industry and how to use technology to maintain a personal touch with customers.  These sessions allowed Pablow to better understand the industry and how we can better serve our customers in a technology-based business model.  The most important insight that we walked away with is that vacation rental managers are looking for technology solutions that have great functionality, efficiently solve their problems, and doesn’t change their current business processes.

EXHIBITION

We spent most of today on the exhibition floor making as many possible connections with vacation rental professionals.  The best part of the exhibition process was meeting with people who had genuine problems that they needed solved and figuring out the best possible solution.  It helped us realize that we are not in the business of insurance or technology, when it comes down to it, we are in the business of solving problems.

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The Pablow, Inc. booth was consistently filled throughout the day, making this picture a rare moment when it was not filled with people.

Our team worked incredibly well all conference with Dylan doing an excellent job drawing attendees into the booth to play golf and look at the travel insurance websites we could deliver.  Steve did a superior job connecting with the people on a personal level and answering a lot of the technology questions for property managers.  Our insurance experts, Wendy and Amanda, did a great job of networking with potential business partners and going through the policy details with interested property managers.

The individual strengths of the team allowed us to reach our objectives for the conference of obtaining numerous new business partners and taking the next step toward WORLD-WIDE INSURANCE DOMINATION!!!  Although there’s still plenty of work to do on the second objective.

That’s all from Arizona!  See you next year VRMA!

Live VRMA Blog: October 16th

While many attendees at VRMA’s national conference in Phoenix were excited about the first day, none were ready to have as much fun as Pablow could provide!  The Pablow conference staff featuring Steve and Dylan along with our insurance partners from IMG, Wendy and Amanda, were incredibly excited to launch our product in the vacation rental market.

After the entire team arrived in Phoenix on Sunday the team quickly gathered all of the equipment we still needed to purchase and set the Pablow booth up in no time at all.  At 6:00 p.m. we began our first exhibiting session and met many people who were interested in the product we were launching.  The main attraction in our booth, besides the naturally attractive staff, is called “Putting with Pablow”, a mini-golf game with fun challenges for visitors with varying levels of experience.

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An enthusiastic visitor attempts to shoot his golf ball like a pool ball 

Take a look at our golf experience on Facebook Live (https://www.facebook.com/pablowinc/videos/942918165812074/) or Twitter (https://twitter.com/pablowInc/status/787802085098041344) .

After two successful hours of meeting vacation rental industry professionals including vendors, property owners, property managers, system providers, and retailers Pablow had made enough relationships to call the night a huge success.  The entire team emerged from the conference energized by the responses we received from everyone we met.

If you’re currently at VRMA’s national conference and interested in talking to Pablow or playing our golf game for a chance to win a $150 Amazon gift card, then we look forward to speaking with you soon!