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Lodgify: setting up a vacation rental site (for non-techies)

Lodgify gives you everything you need to set up your own website for your vacation rental business; no technical skill required.

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Lodgify requires no tech skills

Lodgify seeks to be the “Shopify” of the vacation rental market and with its newly launched website, it is well on the way. Lodgify gives you all the tools you need to set up your own, fully customizable, website for vacation home rentals.

Whether you have one property or twenty, it is easy to integrate your listing with the Lodgify site. It offers quite a few features to simplify the rental process: custom designs, or pre-made templates, booking support, payment integration, customer service, unlimited hosting, and more.

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The responsive design templates are stunning

Perhaps the best part of Lodgify is the design templates. These are especially helpful if you are new to web design with no knowledge of coding. Everything is drag and drop and the software will automatically align and adjust it to the chosen template. There are over thirty templates available, or your can customize your own design with several options.

Today, the majority of travel search is conducted via mobile devices. Using the responsive web design, their themes automatically adjust to the screen, no matter what device is being used, to showcase your website at its best. You can create an unlimited amount of pages as well, giving you free reign to add pictures, in-depth descriptions, and the like. You can go online with your website in just a few clicks: enter your property details and set pricing, and you can be ready to go. But, if you want more options, you have them.

Synching with HomeAway and others

You can synchronize your Lodgify account with your listings to make sure all the information published is up-to-date and consistent across the board. It currently supports 9flats.com and Roomorama; it will soon support HomeAway and VRBO. You can automatically synchronize your availability calendar and reservations and updates on your website will automatically trigger updates on your external listings. Lodgify helps you manage all your external listings and reservations with less time and hassle.

Lodgify eliminates the frustration created by the booking process as well. It is simple, secure, and integrated from the guest’s initial rental search to the final credit card payment. In five easy steps bookings will be completed. First, they will search for a specific date range and number of guests. Then, Lodgify will automatically calculate the exact booking value. The guest can either pay the full amount or the reservation deposit; you decide. You can then review each booking and guest details before accepting payment. And your calendar will always be updated, automatically, to prevent double bookings.

And when it comes to payment, you no longer need to manage it manually. The system enables you to accept credit card payments online, as well as PayPal and Stripes. No booking commission or merchant account is required. Simply configure your rates (per night, week, month, or even per person) and you are ready to start accepting bookings.

SEO and marketing tools

You also have a full range of SEO and marketing tools available. Lodgify’s SEO friendly website follows the best practices supporting on-page optimization (title and meta tags, plus SEO friendly URLs). The site also automatically submits sitemaps to major search engines to ensure your website is properly indexed. You can also use integrate with social media. “Like” and “share” buttons are placed throughout your website so visitors can share your content on social networks, putting your guests to work for you. There is also a section for guests to add reviews and ratings, building credibility and reputation.

Pricing varies by the month, year, or two years. Also, by three different levels: basic, professional, and multi-property owner. The multi-property level is broken down further by size: small (2-5 properties), medium (6-15), large (16-30), and extra large (51-100).

Jennifer Walpole is a Senior Staff Writer at The American Genius and holds a Master's degree in English from the University of Oklahoma. She is a science fiction fanatic and enjoys writing way more than she should. She dreams of being a screenwriter and seeing her work on the big screen in Hollywood one day.

Tech News

This phishing simulator tests your company’s (lack of) readiness

(TECHNOLOGY) Phishero is a tool which tests your organization’s resistance to phishing attacks. Pro tip: Most companies aren’t ready.

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In the wake of any round of cyberattacks, many organizations question whether they’re prepared to defend themselves against things like hacking or other forms of information theft. In reality, the bulk of workplace data thievery comes from a classic trick: phishing.

Phishing is a catch-all phrase for a specific type of information theft which involves emailing. Typically, a phishing email will include a request for sensitive data, such as a password, a copy of a W-4, or an account’s details (e.g., security questions); the email itself will often appear to come from someone within the organization.

Similar approaches include emailing a link which acts as a login page for a familiar site (e.g., Facebook) but actually stores your account information when you sign in.

Luckily, there’s a way for you to test your business’ phishing readiness.

Phishero, a tool designed to test employee resistance to phishing attacks, is a simple solution for any business looking to find any weak links in their cybersecurity.

The tool itself is designed to do four main things: identify potential targets, find a way to design a convincing phishing scheme, implement the phishing attack, and analyze the results.

Once Phishero has a list of your employees, it is able to create an email based on the same web design used for your company’s internal communications. This email is then sent to your selected recipient pool, from which point you’ll be able to monitor who opens the email.

Once you’ve concluded the test, you can use Phishero’s built-in analytics to give you an at-a-glance overview of your organization’s security.

The test results also include specific information such as which employees gave information, what information was given, and pain points in your current cybersecurity setup.

Phishing attacks are incredibly common, and employees – especially those who may not be as generationally skeptical of emails – are the only things standing between your company and catastrophic losses if they occur in your business. While training your employees on proper email protocol out of the gate is a must, Phishero provides an easy way to see how effective your policies actually are.

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Tech News

Domino’s asks Supreme Court to take up web accessibility case

(TECHNOLOGY) Domino’s is going all the way to the top to ask the Supreme Court to decide if ADA applies to their (and your) website.

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As long as your company is following the rules and regulations set by the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), customers with disabilities should be able to access your brick-and-mortar store. The ADA ensures that stores have parking spots, ramps, and doors wide enough for folks in wheelchairs.

But does the ADA also extend to your business’s website? That’s a question that the Supreme Court may soon have to answer.

As an increasing number of services and opportunities are found online in this day and age, it’s quickly becoming a question that needs answering. Several New York wineries and art galleries, Zillow, and even Beyoncé have been sued because their websites were unusable for people who are blind.

In 2016, Domino’s Pizza was sued by a blind customer who was unable to order a pizza on Domino’s website, even while using the screen reading software that normally help blind people access information and services online. The Ninth Circuit Court ruled that Domino’s was in violation of the ADA and that the company was required to make their sites and apps accessible to all. Three years later, Domino’s is petitioning SCOTUS to take on the case.

Domino’s argues that making their sites and apps accessible would cost millions of dollars and wouldn’t necessarily protect them or any other company from what their lawyer called a “tsunami” of further litigation.

That’s because the ADA was written before the internet had completely taken over our social and economic lives. While the ADA sets strict regulations for physical buildings, it has no specific rules for websites and other digital technologies.

The Department of Justice apparently spent from 2010 to 2017 brainstorming possible regulations, but called a hiatus on the whole process because there was still much debate as to whether such rules were “necessary and appropriate.”

The Domino’s case proves that those regulations are in fact necessary. UsableNet, a company that creates accessibility features for tech, reports that there were 2,200 court cases in which users with disabilities sued a company over inaccessible sites or apps. That’s a 181 percent increase from the previous year.

While struggling to buy tickets to a Beyoncé concert or order a pizza may seem like trivial concerns, it’s important to consider how much blind people could be disadvantaged in the modern age if they can’t access the same websites and apps as those of us who can see. Christopher Danielsen from the National Federation of the Blind told CNBC that “If businesses are allowed to say, ‘We do not have to make our websites accessible to blind people,’ that would be shutting blind people out of the economy in the 21st century.”

If the Supreme Court decides to take the case, it could set an important precedent for the future of accessibility in web design.

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Tech News

Slack video messaging tool for the ultra lazy (or productive) person

(TECHNOLOGY) Courtesy of a company called Standuply, Slack’s notable lack of video-messaging options is finally addressed.

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Slack — the popular chat and workflow app — is still going strong despite its numerous technical shortcomings, one of which is its notable lack of native video or audio chat. If you’re an avid Slack user, you might be interested in Standuply’s solution to this missing feature: video and audio messaging.

While it isn’t quite the Skype-esque experience for which one might hope when booting up Slack, Standuply’s video messages add-on gives you the ability to record and send a video or audio recording to any Slack channel. This makes things like multitasking a breeze; unless you’re a god among mortals, your talking speed is significantly faster than your typing, making video- or audio-messaging a viable productivity move.

The way you’ll record and send the video or audio message is a bit convoluted: using a web browser and a private Slack link, you can record up to five minutes of content, after which point the content is uploaded to YouTube as a private item. You can then use the item’s link to send the video or audio clip to your Skype channel.

While this is a fairly roundabout way of introducing video chat into Slack, the end result is still a visual conversation which is conducive to long-term use.

Sending video and audio messages may feel like an exercise in futility (why use a third-party tool when one could just type?) but the amount of time and energy you can save while simultaneously responding to feedback or beginning your next task adds up.

Similarly, having a video that your team can circle back to instead of requiring them to scroll through until they find your text post on a given topic is better for long-term productivity.

And, if all else falls short, it’s nice to see your remote team’s faces and hear their voices every once in a while—if for no other reason than to reassure yourself that they aren’t figments of your overly caffeinated imagination.

At the time of this writing, the video chat portion of the Slack bot is free; however, subsequent pricing tiers include advanced aspects such as integration with existing services, analytics, and unlimited respondents.

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