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If Jimi Hendricks, Prince, and Pavarotti Were Hawaiian

By Wm. May
Published: 05/18/20 Topics: Hawaii, Music, Self Improvement Comments: 0

Steven Tyler and Uncle Willie K
Aerosmith's Steven Tyler Sings With His Uncle

This blog is not about me. But a bit of background might help. I grew up playing all kinds of music from a young age, not necessarily playing well but playing none the less.

It started with a concert level pianist mother and a father with a soaring tenor voice. I picked up a trumpet in fourth grade, met the high school band instructor and play with him for 8 years through high school.

But first there were piano and trumpet lessons and concerts with the concert band, marching band, stage band, pep band, concert orchestra and even our own little school sponsored "Tijuana Brass" imitation band called - unbelievably in 1969- the Marijuana Brass.

A the age of 13 I happened to hear some new English group called the Beatles on the radio of our tiny neighborhood store Perini's. I was hooked and started a band, then another, playing with many great musicians while we all wanted to become famous and play on the Ed Sullivan TV show.

Or at least we wanted to be swooned over by girls in the way they swooned when watching the Beatles. In 1964, at the age of 13, somehow I talked some parent into driving my bandmates and I the 100 miles to attend a Beatles concerts at the Seattle Center Coliseum.

The Beatles played in the round and the stage slowly revolved so everyone could see them. The sound equipment quality was terrible. The girls screamed so loud we could not hear the music. But we could see the magic.

I played guitar and bass in numerous rock bands and made a living at it for some years, a small living. I partnered in a sound studio, a jingle company and an advertising agency. But eventually moved on to being a fan and not a performer. It was a good run.

In the Charles Cross's biography of Seattle's rock band "Heart", Ann and Nancy Wilson revealed they too attended one of the two times the Beatles played in Seattle.

As they walked out of the concert Nancy, the younger sister, asked , "Why are they all the girls screaming?"

To which Ann said, "They all want to marry the Beatles."

Said Nancy, "We don't want to marry the Beatles, we want to be the Beatles?

And the rest is Heart rock and roll history. They became famous. I did not.

As I said, this blog isn't about me, it is only to imply that I know a little about music and I know that I achieved journeyman status at best.. Years later I stumbled upon a musician who proved it.

Hearing Uncle Willie K music on the radio in Hawaii and then seeing him perform left me flabbergasted by his talent. His skill was astounding and his versatility beyond believing. You can love music and respect the musician at the same time.

Better than all of that, he had a kind of charisma I had never seen - sheer confidence and humor. He knew he could take an audience anywhere he wanted them to go. Including his rendition of "We are the world" completed with uncanny imitations of Michael Jackson, Bruce Springsteen and Tina Turner. No body else can do that

Eric Gilliom, a versatile TV actor and Hawaiian music master, formed a "Hawaiian Super group" with Willie called Barefoot Natives. Before one show willie asked him what was the most money he had ever made doing a concert. When Eric said something like $10,000 willie sat down and said, "Let me see your $10,000 show tonight."

willie and Eric' sister the superlative Amy Hanaialii Gilliom became a couple and willie produce four award winning albums of their own brand of Hawaiian and other music. I loved the music before I knew who they were. As did every Hawaiian.

William Awihilima Kahaiali'I - willie K - grew up playing young at the knee of his father the nationally known and admired Manu Kahaiali'i. Willie was just one of 13 children, so his Dad played music 7 days a week to pay the bills, everything from jazz, blues and Hawaiian of course.

Maybe that is why he branched in so many musical directions. He idolized Jimi Hendricks and prince. That lead him to just about every other kind of music. He was famous for Christmas Carols, but also Salsa, Jazz and Reggae.

He was sought out and accompanied Mick Fleetwood of Fleet Mac, his solo chagrined Billy Idol of ZZ top, Prince praised him, Willy Nelson sang duets with him, but so did Alice Cooper. BB king invited him on stage, he sang with the Commodores and he laughed with comedian Jim Cary. Barack Obama played willie K loud during workouts. willie and Steven Tyler became best buddies.

Maybe they loved they guy because they felt a little like me - unworthy.

He was known through out the world for guitar and ukulele skills but 10 years ago at a local Hawaiian concert he baffled the audience when he dismissed the other musicians from stage, stood silent a long while and finally said, very somberly,

"I am very sad. Last week Pavarotti died. I think he and I were brothers. Tonight I will sing Nessum Dorma"

Afterward, 800 people sat silent and then jumped to their feet screaming "Hanna Hou" (encore). It was the start of many appearances with symphony's singing opera music. On a trip to Israel he brought Jewish congregations to tears by mastering the Israeli national nation.

In 2018, willie K announced that he had contracted a very aggressive cancer, but promised to keep performing as he always had, at every opportunity. His Maui Bluest fest continued each year. He took aggressive treatment but in the end he died quietly at his home May 18, 2020 surround by Ohana.

I didn’t know William Awihilima Kahaiali'I personally, and yet everyone who saw him perform knew him personally. The way it is with all great musicians and performers, they leave themselves, their skills, their personalities and souls on stage with all to see.

Upon hearing of willie's passing, Alice Cooper said it best, "Heaven will be in for one hell of a surprise. I can almost hear the thunderous applause."

========================

There are so many links because of the variety. Couldn't stop myself.

KHON TV

BILLY GIBBON ZZ TOP

HAWAIIAN

BARE FOOT NATIVES

HALLELUJAH

HAVA NAGILA

NATIONAL ANTHEM

STARTING OPERA

NESSUN DORMA

O HOLY NIGHT

SOUND CHECK

WE ARE THE WORLD

KHON TV

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Author: Wm. May – Music Fan
Blog #: 0757 – 05/18/20

How Dare They Go To Work

By William May
Published: 04/20/20 Topics: Covid-19 Virus, Family, Gratitude, Health Comments: 0

How Dare They Work. Corona Virus.

Really, who the hell do they think they are?

Awakening early every morning, or even in the middle of the night. After too little sleep and too much stress, trudging to a job they love, although they admit it is difficult to love right now. How dare they go to work?

They will often spend 12-hours shifts or much longer and for days on end. Not one day off, not a moment to spend on personal things. No time with family or friends. How do they dare do that to themselves?

Some are paid very well, some paid adequately and others earn far too little. Most will receive nothing extra for the insurmountable obstacles they confront. How do they dare to work at all when others would not?

And yet, they persevere and get up and go to a job they know will be very frustrating. They know it is also rewarding, but that it will not feel that way every day. They do not dare to think about relief, at least not yet.

At the job, they will toil hour after hour, often with no time to eat or take a break. Squeezing in a bathroom break is necessary, but even that feels like wasting time. They will be confronted with thing after thing to do. Work upon work. No rest for the weary.

There will be a non-stop demand to do the difficult, the impossible and even the frightening. They won't feel up to the task all the time, but they will step up to the tasks every time. How dare they do that to themselves?

They see weeks of challenge ahead, maybe months, maybe years. They refuse to look for the finish line, because every champion runner puts one foot ahead of the other knowing it’s the only way to finish. They think about quitting, but only rarely, because quitting would make it more difficult for others. They dare not let anyone down.

As the world begins to show its gratitude for these wonderful human beings, they will still feel inadequate, because the mission is so huge and for now seemingly impossible. How dare they believe they can make it better?

These people are not necessarily glib with their words. They have no time for pontificating. They have no time to complain. They do not seek glory or even recognition. They would not dare direct any attention to themselves.

Every one of them knows the risk of physical illness, mental duress, financial hardships and family stress. They know these things, so how do they continue on? Would anyone else dare?

They dare because the task is at hand. The challenge is now. They dare not wait. They dare not fail. They will not let that happen, no matter how long it takes and no matter the personal cost. How dare they believe they are life givers?

Doctors, nurses, caregivers, counselors, therapists, pharmacists, ambulance drivers, EMTs, first-responders, administrators, janitors and every employee at every hospital, all dare to come to work - and we must all be so grateful that they do.

These people dare because they are different than most of us. Very different. Most dreamt of their career as a calling. They have always known it would be difficult, but they never dared to think it would be like this. But they did know that they could and would act in ways the rest of us cannot promise. They dare to go to work because they saves lives.

Whether you believe in God or you do not, whether you can donate to their cause or not, whether you have suffered from illness or not, it is now time to give thanks that somehow there are people like them in the world.

It is time thank them for dedication that is immense, commitment that is astounding, and for courage that is unending. How dare they?

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Author: William May, Plumbob Publishing
Blog #: 0743 – 04/20/20

Clean, Wipe, Soak, Scrub, Brush, Scour, Polish

By Ron Lee
Published: 04/18/20 Topics: Covid-19 Virus, Housekeeping, Lodging Management Comments: 0

How to Clean and Sanitize Vacation Rental Homes

Since our first office opened in 1964, we have been rigorously cleaning and sanitizing properties for decades. This is nothing new to us. In fact, our homes are cleaned to a degree higher than most people have at home. It has always been our commitment to have every home safe and ready for guest arrival.

Get a Real Getaway

If you need a vacation, holiday escape, spring break, fresh air and time alone, vacation rentals are the best option. Bring kids or not. Bring the family or just your spouse. Most homes are free-standing, so you can avoid crowds. Even in our condos, the homes are open corridor, so there is no need to pass through common areas, like lobbies and dark hallways.

When Guests Depart

After guests depart, housekeepers arrive at every home to clean, wipe, soak, scrub, brush, scour, mop and polish bathrooms, kitchens, bedrooms, common spaces and even decks and patios, linens, towels and surfaces. Hot tubs are disinfected. This entire process - called "out Clean" - takes many hours. Then homes are spot checked by managers to ensure good work. When departing, all staff members use bleach rags, so that even the door knob and key-safe are sanitized. Wow!

Sanitation Cleaning Products

We use a variety of products to clean, disinfect and sanitize. All are approved for high health standards. We still use bleach for some areas because it is still the gold standard for killing every kind of bug. In fact, if you enter a home immediately after housekeepers depart, for a few minutes you may detect a slight cleaning smell. That is your assurance of sanitization.

Bathroom Super Scrub

Cleaning bathrooms is not a fun task, but we carefully clean all sinks, mirrors, toilets, drawers, bathtubs and shower enclosures until they sparkle. But they have also been sprayed and later wiped with disinfectant. Soiled and unsoiled towels are removed before cleaning starts to avoid cross contamination. This is a hands-and-knees job, but housekeepers pride themselves on meticulous cleaning.

Proper Wipe Downs

You might think that spraying and wiping surfaces with disinfectant is sufficient, but it is not. Instead, disinfectant must be left on surfaces for a period of time before it is wiped away. This gives time for the liquid to kill all the germs.

- Door knobs inside and outside.

- Window switches.

- Light switches and sockets.

- Lamp switches.

- Cupboard doors and surfaces.

- Table tops including night stands.

- Appliances - top and sides.

- Counter tops.

- Reachable walls.

- Outdoor furniture.

- Stairs and deck handrails.

- Toasters and coffee makers.

- TV and other remote controls.

- Stereos and computers.

- Door bells and key safes.

- Toys and board games.

- Pet toys and blankets.

- And more.

Vacuuming, Mopping, Sweeping

Are you ever tempted to do floors fast? By slowing down the process and covering every floor surface carefully, dirt, grime and germs are removed. We keep equipment new and well maintained to get the best results. Housekeepers are never limited to cleaning hours. Instead, they are encouraged to take all the time they need to do the job right.

Kitchens and Dining Rooms

Kitchens get splattered on, baked in and used heavily. It is a big job, but to get kitchens spic-and-span is essential, from the stove to oven to refrigerator, but also microwaves, cupboards, fans and light fixtures. Cleaned inside and out. You will notice we remove condiments, such as ketchup and mustard left from prior guests, because leaving open containers violates health standards. You'll have to bring your own, but you'll know they are new and fresh.

Hot Tubs and Spas

Every hot tub is completely disinfected after each booking by trained staff members. Sand or debris is removed, filters are inspected, and chemicals are adjusted. In addition, the hot tub cove, top and side surfaces are disinfected. If you arrive to a tub that is not yet fully heated, please wait because we had to empty and refill it. Takes time to reheat.

Towels and Linens

Washing and drying linens and towels is an obvious step, be we wall all of them, even if a bed does not appear to have been slept in. They are transported to the washer-dryer using rubber gloves and laundry bags, and they are returned to beds in baskets to avoid cross contamination. Along with quality detergent, additional disinfectant is added to all washing to ensure germs are eradicated.

Deep Cleans

In addition to our rigorous out-clean, homes receive deep cleans regularly to cover hard to access areas, including heating ducts, cupboard sides and ceilings, high surfaces, fans, carpets and more. This takes many hours, and ensures the cleanest possible property.

When Guests Depart

You may notice that we do NOT as guests to do laundry or to remove linens and towels to the laundry area. We do it all to ensure that every textile has been washed and cleaned properly without dragging it through the house.

Call Us Quick: 206-504-2744

If at any time during your stay, if you find any issue, call our 24-7-365 day phone number for assistance. If necessary, our staff will happily come to the property to ensure all is right. And if you want daily cleaning, we can arrange that too, for a small additional fee.

Avoid Crowds, Stay in a Private, Vacation Home!

Year round, in every season, and no matter what is happening in the rest of the world, vacation rentals offer a respite from the rate race, a chance to get away and to enjoy a sparkling clean, sanitized home.

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Author: Ron Lee, Vortex Managers
Blog #: 0742 – 04/18/20

YourShare Launches Program for Timeshare Resort Vacation Rental Mastery

By Kate Quinn
Published: 10/29/19 Topics: Comments: 0

Vortex Managers, has announced the formation of a new program for struggling timeshare resorts that helps them rent out unused weeks. The "Yourshare" program helps resorts get their fair share of the fast growing vacation rental market.

It combines savvy vacation rental executives, along with revolutionary software that solves the puzzle of how to promote timeshare units into the vacation rental website channels as well as hotel channels. Plus it provides local and regional advertising that no other management firm provides, all without upfront costs or ongoing fees to the resort.

Every timeshare magazine, website and conference includes extensive discussion and diagnosis of why timeshare resorts are struggling.

After the rapid development of resorts starting four decades ago, the properties now suffer what the industry summarizes as "Aging Properties and Aging Owners" notes William May, the YourShare leader who heads up the program..

Owners who purchases shares long ago have grown older, often on fixed incomes, they travel less and may even be unable to travel to the property they once adored. All the while older properties require escalating maintenance and operating costs, far greater than inflation. With no way to offset their costs, owners are giving away shares but even that often proves impossible. So they are stuck.

In resorts, many unit sit vacant many nights of the year. Some resorts have tried to dent the vacation rental industry and some large timeshare management firms profess to be in the rental business.

"Unfortunately, most resorts don't know how to do it and the timeshare managers have not invested as heavily as they should to master rentals, " Says Penny Taylor, of Yourshare. "They were caught napping while vacation rentals stole their consumers."

"By charging large monthly flat fees to resorts, timeshare managers lack the motivation to do every possible thing they can to secure rentals." observers May, "They have sat on their hands while the vacation rental industry has taken away their visitors.".

Some management firms own all or parts of timeshare exchanges so taking rentals is not in their best interest. When they do attempt to compete in vacation rentals they often advertise only to the hotel channels, while ignoring the vacation rental market which is growing much faster.

On the other hand Vortex, which operates the Goldener Inns and Sunspot Vacation Rentals networks grew up in a very different world. "In Vacation Rentals, managers work on a commission only basis, so we only make money when the owner clients do." says Penny Taylor, "We have to perform and get results for owners or else. That means we can never rest. "

There are timeshare advertising websites but they seldom produce much income for several reason. First they can not compete with the giants and never create sufficient visibility. They ignore regional and even local marketing because its expensive. And they brand themselves as timeshares which is not attractive to many guests in the vacation rental market.

Instead, the Yourshare program partners with all the giant websites to make properties ubiquitous to consumers. The resort handles the property like always, and Yourshare does the advertising, reservations and guest coordination.

The program creates regional and even local central reservation websites, and even new websites for resorts, so they can be personal and local as well as global. They are not promoted as timeshares but as :"vacation rentals" which is of course accurate.

"Dovetailing timeshares into the vacation rental system, proved more complicated than would be imagined," said "Salman Arshad, chief web software architect at Vortex managers on the YourShare project. At a vacation rental every date is available unless the owner blocks it off, but in timeshares no dates are available unless an owner opens the dates. They are backward.

"We operate in numerous markets with free-standing homes, or condos inside buildings and even other specialty lodging places including guest ranches." added Arshad. "So operating a system that handles both methods proved complicated, but we solved the riddle."

Vortex employs its own inhouse software staff, and re-engineered its HelpBookme.com systems to allow timeshare condos to be easily marketed into both the vacation rental channels as well as hotel channels. "We are the only people who have it" notes Taylor, "We put every home on AirBnB, VRBO, and hundreds of other websites."

Yourshare launched quietly in 2018 as an Owner Direct website, contracting directly with share owners and selling their dates to the public. "Frankly, the consumers see no difference. If marketed properly, to them a timeshare is just another nice vacation home," notes Taylor. "In fact, timeshare resorts are usually well kept up, in good locations, pleasant staff and with plenty of amenities."

The timeshare industry's big mistake is that they ignored vacation rentals, and its too late for most to catchup unless they have help from seasoned vacation rental pros.

The Yourshare concept came about over some time. "At first we offered our services directly to the resort, but they never responded, and all while the "Aging properties and aging owners" problem was biting them.

Within a year we were procuring more nightly rentals than the onsite manager, and producing more income to owners. "We approached another resort, again without response, so we launched there too as Owner Direct."

"Recently a competing resort in that community called and said, 'Hey we would like to get some of that money' so now we are working directly with them and with good results." said May. Their onsite management team were well seasoned and anxious to have a plug and play system like Yourshare.

Yourshare re-built that resort's website, advertised them on hundreds of website and even created Dynamic Range Photos, 3D tours, floor plans, printed materials and other tools that have proven to be so effective in the vacation rental lodging business. It was done in very quickly.

After perfecting the entire Yourshare process, the company is now expanding geographically and has launched its services nationwide. "We like to work for resorts who recognize they need help, but we are also happy to work directly with owners if asked. So if the resort board doesn't ask us, we go in and help owners anyway."

"Best of all," said Taylor, "Vacation Renting brings in more visitors to each Resort and every one of those visitors are potential timeshare buyers." In the long run, that could be the biggest benefits to legacy resorts.

_____________________________________________________________________

YourShare.biz is operated by Vortex Managers headquartered in Seattle, WA. Along with its affiliate Sunspot Vacation Rentals and Goldener Inns networks, YourShare offers vacation rental booking, advertising, marketing and reservations to timeshare resorts looking to increase their income without upfront costs or ongoing fees. For more information, call YourShare at 818-922-8292. See owner details at www.YourShare.biz and other resorts at RentYourShare.biz.

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Author: Kate Quinn, YourShare
Blog #: 0713 – 10/29/19

AtTheBlue.com at Blue Heron Resort

By Libby Rogers
Published: 04/22/18 Topics: Hood Canal, Timeshares, Vacation, Vacation Rentals Comments: 0

YourShare.biz, which offers resort and owner direct vacation rental bookings for timeshare properties announced today that it has opened a new website AtTheBlue.com for the Blue Heron Condos on Washington State's pristine Hood Canal.

Participating homes are advertised on the custom built full ecommerce website at BlueHeronHolidays.com and on hundreds of prominent websites worldwide such as VRBO, Booking.com, AirBnB, Expedia and more.

For a century the Southwest corner of Washington State, the Southeast corner of Hood Canal has been the private get away for the rich and famous of Seattle's and Western Washington State including such luminaries as Bill Gates and the Nordstrom retail family.

Four decades ago, a stunningly beautiful condo resort complex was built and named Blue Heron after the magnificent birds so abundant in the area. The Blue Heron Resort features 26 one, two and three bedroom townhomes surrounding a large lawn common area, complete with towering evergreen trees.

At its center is a large year-round pool, hot tub, community center, lounge, sports facilities, gym and sauna. But folks flock to Blue Heron for its own private beach just across the State Route 106. There owners and guests can launch a boat, pick oysters, go water skiing and swim in the crystal clear salt water.

Owners at this resort get an impressive eight weeks use per year and get full weeks every sixth week of the year. With so many weeks to choose, owners can put their unused dates into the Yourshare program and get great income for dates that previously went unused.

Yourshare's innovative program offers greater marketing than most timeshare resorts can accomplish and they do it for a lower commission fee. Owners only pay a fee when their dates are booked. There is no enrollment fee, a long term contract is not required and Yourshare handles all details such as advertising, reservations phones, guest and owner services.

AtTheBlue.com allows guests to discover one of the Northwest's most stunning locations for family getaways and romantic rendezvous. Now they can book instantly online at great rates and friendly service.

For the resort itself, every guest becomes a possible new owner in a majestic Northwest resort which most did not know existed. Now, they can try it by renting before buying into the membership.

To book online go to AtTheBlue.com or call 360-614-3191 open every day of the year.

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Author: Libby Rogers – Author, MayPartners Public Relations
Blog #: 0587 – 04/22/18

Sponsor: YourShare.biz – Yourshare.biz makes it easy for guests to find quality timeshare vacation rentals, for owners to rent out unused weeks, and for resorts to generate income and attract buyers for their available weeks. Everyone wins with these well maintained properties in attractive locations. – http://YourShare.biz

When Cheap is Ohhhhh So Good! (And warm!)

By Jerry German
Published: 10/01/17 Topics: Comments: 1

For years I listened to friends and family talk about their trips to Mexico or some other sunny Caribbean destination. My wife and I were busy raising eleven children (yeah, you read that right) so money and time were scarce.

From the earliest days of my childhood, I have never been a winter person. Yeah, winter is beautiful and there are some fun things to do, but I hate cold, love hot. And I love to swim. And I like beaches.

And I prefer my wife in a bathing suit over a snowmobile suit. For twenty years of our married life, we lived in North Dakota, which has two seasons: winter and the 4th of July.

So at some point, having accrued enough cash to actually take a vacation, I began to try and persuade my dearest to take a little vacation with me to Mexico, but she would not hear of it. Too dangerous. Too many bad headlines.

Statistically, you're about a thousand times more likely to die the next time you get in your car and drive to the grocery store than you are to die on a vacation trip to Mexico, but there's still those pesky headlines.

Finally, while she was away babysitting grandkids, I had some time to do a little research on the web. I found this great deal at a resort that was just reopening after being closed for repair following whatever hurricane had just struck.

I called my sweetheart and said, "I never took you on a honeymoon. We've been married for thirty-six years. I think it's time. I'm not calling you to get permission, I'm calling you to let you know that I'm booking nine days at a resort on the Caribbean in Mexico."

There was silence for a moment, and then she said demurely, "Okay."

After one time in the water snorkeling, my better half was hooked, turning into a veritable Jacques Cousteau. I had a full-time job applying her sun screen. She fell in love with the sea, the climate, and the people of Mexico, as did I.

Three years later we bought a house in Mexico, in Joaquin Zetina Gasca, the "colonial" on the other side of the mangrove swamp from the beach town of Puerto Morelos.

In 2012, I retired and we began spending winters in Mexico. It was good. But I turned to her one day in November, 2015, and said, "Is this really what we signed up for? I mean, I want to be able to walk to the beach in a few minutes."

So we began a search, and now we find ourselves with suites to rent just a few minutes from the beach. It's a long way from North Dakota! We have to pinch ourselves every once in a while to make sure it's all real!

How's that for a rambling story? And what about my headline: When Cheap is Ohhhhh So Good? Well, this all started with trying to find a vacation we could actually afford, and as flights go,

Cancun is often the thriftiest international Caribbean destination available. Puerto Morelos is only fifteen minutes south of the Cancun airport, and the prices for everything here--rooms, food, entertainment, transportation, merchandise--are incredibly competitive.

Resorts are nice if you like that sort of Disney World vibe, but if you really want to go to Mexico, come see us in Puerto Morelos. Like my dear wife, you will be hooked.

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Author: Jerry German, Caribe Suites
Blog #: 0558 – 10/01/17

Sponsor: Caribe Suites – Comfy crafty caribbean condos just off the beach at Puerto Morelos Mexico, South of Cancun, but with all the village peace and quiet. Book online today and we promise Mexican hospitality at its best. A member of Goldener Inns & Resorts. – CaribeSuites.com

How to Become a Professional Lodging Photographer

By Ron Lee
Published: 02/21/17 Topics: AirBnB, Lodging Management, Marketing, Photography Comments: 0

Becoming a professional lodging photographer has never been easier.

All you need is a camera and business cards. Just put the words "Professional Photographer" on the cards and people will think you are a pro.

Can you imagine a doctor getting away with that? Would you go to a dentist who says, "I am a professional dentist" who didn't have the training? Yikes. Those people would be driven out of the industry.

Unfortunately, there have always been a greatly many people who love the idea of being an artist, a photographer. It sounds like such a great job. For Inns, Resorts & Vacation Rentals, photos are the way guests make instant decisions to view your property or pass on to the next.

No longer is it necessary to burn hundreds of dollars of physical film, toil in the dark room and only later learn if your photos were adequate. Now a good digital camera gives you a thumbnail view instantly that you can call "good enough."

But, great camera gear doesn't make you a true photographer any more than buying your new born child a piano and pronouncing them a "Concert Pianist."

Today, a new higher title has been added to the photography professional. Its called "High Dynamic Range," or HDR, and it is a vastly superior way of shooting, processing, and delivering world class photography. It is a requirement for almost all photos, but an absolute requirement for shooting interior architectural images.

HDR Photos are crisp, clean and brighter, but only enough to match what the human eye actually perceives. By comparison, non-HDR photos are fuzzy, bland, and actually underestimate and mis-represent the property.

Unfortunately, most professional photographers are no longer professional because they are more in love with being "Artists" than they are in spending thousands of hours mastering HDR.

That means more lodging operators are wasting lots of money hiring pros or don’t begin to understand HDR.

To see the difference between Pros and HDR Pros, all you have to do is spend a little time examining listings on your favorite websites like VRBO.com, Expedia.com, or even AirBnB.com.

A company called Evolve Vacation Rentals offers "Free Professional Photography" to property owners. Because Evolve does not have on site staff they must call any "professional photographer" they can find and hire them without realizing that non HDR photos are robbing their listings of maximum bookings.

Headquartered in Portland, Oregon, Vacation Rentals does the same thing. Their recent foray into Matterport 3D photos is a good start, but ignoring HDR still photos causes them to lose bookings.

Turnkey Rentals out of Austin is trying to take over the world, but right there on their home page are fuzzy, out of focus, non-HDR photos. How could a management company call themselves professional when the number one listing tool - photos - are all messed up?

All of these companies talk the professional photographer game, but non walk the walk. And all because they refuse to spend the slightly more money necessary to find and employ high level HDR photographers.

Ignoring the absolute requirement for HDR photos is like the proverbial canary in the coal mine. If your manager does not understand the difference between truly professional HDR photos and want to be professional photographers, what else don’t they understand?

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Author: Ron Lee – Not a Photographer, Signatour Photo Team
Blog #: 0521 – 02/21/17

Sponsor: Signatours Photo Team – It is not enough to have a camera and cards that say you are photographer. Today's technology demands study, practice and perfection along with an artists eye. Every Signatour photographer has all of those along with a support and professional staff to ensure the highest quality HDR photos. – Signatours.com

Autumn is Industry Conference Season for Lodging

By Wm. May
Published: 11/16/16 Topics: AirBnB, Hotels, Inns Comments: 0

With Autumn here, the lodging industry presented many seminars, conferences, workshops and classes. Here is a run down.

WA Lodging Association - Their annual conference was held at the new Davenport Grant Hotel in Spokane. Unlike its cousin the renovated and luxurious Davenport Hotel, the Grand is everything new and almost futuristic.

Hotel staff were very well-trained, professional and accommodating, although surely they know they are being evaluated by hundreds of people in their own industry.

Technology is used to speed check-in, schedule maid service and even lower the blinds. Furnishings were very comfy and very modern. Great Colors, big desk, USB ports bedside and huge flat screen TV.

It is a reminder to Vacation Home owners that they are in competition with a very large industry that is working overtime to return guests to traditional hotels.

Downstairs the meeting rooms were impressive with attentive servers, huge presentation screens and technology everywhere. They even immediately switched to the Seahawks game when the meeting was done.

HomeAway Summit - Presented by the owners of VRBO.com, VacationRentals.com and dozens of other websites this seminar was all about their company, with only a few offerings by other vendors.

HomeAway admitted they have work to do to confront the advent of AirBnB, but their purchase by Expedia (headquartered in Seattle) gives them powerhouse technology and marketing.

Their newly implemented guest service fees has been despised by vacation rental managers and owners, but they reason that new income is necessary to advertise more which helps property owners.

They did not mention that $400 million in additional fees will help pay for the $4 billion price Expedia paid. Hmmm.

HomeAway is finally taking a bigger role in opposing vacation rental prohibitions pursued by some cities including San Francisco and even Seattle. Time will tell.

AirBnB Open (Conference) - Held in Las Angeles, AirBnB continues to promote "home sharing" as just a way for owners to pay their bills. While that is true for some, it has not stopped new regulations - San Francisco and New York State have both passed laws that prohibit renting by many home owners.

Big events were Delight Guests, (Interior) Designing for Success, and The Future of AirBnB. Finding your Inner Happy Host. The event is a love-fest for many hosts who actually share rooms in their homes for the joy of meeting other people.

That concept is growing, although it differs some from many vacation rental owners who want to make money, while keeping their places safe and secure.

Just last week AirBnB announced they were going to offer personalized tours worldwide, so that guests in homes could find "Authentic" experiences. This might be a brilliant idea, but some guests are already confused by a lodging website that does not focus on lodging.

It is fascinating to see AirBnB grow so fast, but their customer service seems to be falling behind trying to keep up. Complaints are growing from guests, owners and managers.

Summary - The WA Lodging group has a comprehension of the industry that other segments can not match. There is great collaboration for the mutual good, while allowing diversity of properties and competitiveness. HomeAway's recent fee changes may or may not result in benefits to managers and owners. AirBnB holds to its roots of room rental, but whole home Vacation Rentals are a huge portion of their income.

For your information we advertise on HomeAway, AirBnB and over 300 other lodging websites, plus thousands of search engines as well as hundreds of websites in our network.

Advertising widely is what yields inquiries which yield bookings. No one does more than we do. We keep owners apprised of industry trends as we incorporate them into the best management services in the world.

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Author: Wm. May, Vortex Managers
Blog #: 0509 – 11/16/16

Grading Vacation Rentals on the Curve

By Wm. May
Published: 10/01/16 Topics: AirBnB, Vacation Rental Association, Vacation Rentals Comments: 0

A long time AirBnB hosts with multiple properties all with 4.5 or higher average ratings, recently complained that he received an online warning from AirBnB that his listings might be delisted if the average goes below a grade of 4.

Research has showed that average ratings on AirBnB are a full one star higher than the number of stars for homes on HomeAway.com.

Could this mean that only the better homes are listed on AirBnB? A random view of homes in most areas show even a wider variety of rentals than on other vacation rental listing sites.

Another factor is that AirBnB lists individual rooms or guest suites within a home, and these are uncommon on HomeAway websites. A constant reading of AirBnB forums such as AirHostsForum.com, reveals that the horror stories of in-house rentals can be even more rancorous with hosts and guests often very unhappy with each other.

There are rooms that stink, and guests that are stinkers. There are places that would make most guests gag - a trailer in someone's back yard? A Tee Pee with no bathroom handy? A sleeping bag under a tree?

In most U.S. High Schools, teachers often grade students on what is called "The Curve." This is a philosophy that posits not all students perform the same. Some study diligently, some do not. Some have greater native intelligence and some do not. Therefore, the grades within a given set of students should be spread often in a graph looking something like this.

A = 10%

B = 20%

C = 50%

D = 20%

F = 10%

** The actual percentages can vary by teacher, but the general proportions are similar.

Most teachers never understand that a usual class size of 20 to 30 students is not a wide enough sample to allow the curve to be valid within that class. But, the concept does seem to be applicable to other matrixes.

50% of hotels are adequate (and not luxury)

50% of drives obey the speed limit

50% of employees do adequate work.

50% of diners leave an appropriate tip.

Most teachers also never admit that the success of students is greatly dependent on the teacher. Some instructors explain things very well, some offer extra help and some are expert motivators. But, we have all had teachers who were lazy, rude, or bad communicators.

So how come AirBnB seems to think that 100% of its guests must get a grade of A or A minus?

If their goal is to drive up quality and guest relations, that is a wonderful idea. But if their goal is a scaling system on which guests can determine the quality of a home, then they have it all wrong.

More likely, Airbnb's warnings to the hosts of homes is intended to fool guests into thinking that every home is a luxury place, every destinations is truly unique and bookings on AirBnB will ensure a perfect vacation. All of that is simply to increase bookings and fill Airbnb's pockets.

Any intelligent person knows that it can rain at the beach, have crappy snow at a ski resort, or that a home may not be as big as you dreamed even if you got a bargain price. A better solution would be to truly rate homes with an overall system that better informs guests of the variety of homes, quality, location, size and other factors.

And that would result in homes being graded on the curve.

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Author: Wm. May, Vacation Rental Association
Blog #: 0511 – 10/01/16

AirBnB Racism Facilitated by Social Media

By Wm. May
Published: 06/01/16 Topics: Comments: 0

AirBnB is being unfairly criticized due to the socialism that some hosts have exhibited.

They have implemented a number of rules, regulations and oversight in hopes of stamping out unfair rejection of prospective guests. But it does not fully address the problem.

The Phenomena is caused by one of the very precepts on which AirBnB is founded.

Surely, building familiarity with guests and hosts is a good thing. The world needs more communication and personal interaction. But the very act of showing a photograph of every host gives racists the key to shunning people they don’t like.

Reverse racism also exists but who knows to what degree. Surely some guests avoid staying with people whose race is different than their own, and also detectable by the photos.

Several websites competitive to AirBnB have popped up offering a platform that is safer for minorities. Innclusive.com in particular seeks to solve the problem, but they too ignore the obvious. Posting host and guest photos allows racism to take place on their website also.

So if AirBnB was serious about racism they would simply remove the photos from host and guest profiles. Of course, that would likely decrease the number of bookings because it would indeed be less personable.

Don't hold your breath waiting for AirBnB to walk the walk on this one. It is controlled by powerful venture capitalists all whose primary intent is maximum revenue, hoping for profit and looking for a giant payout when AirBnB finally goes public.

Avoiding racism isn't at the top of their list. Money is.

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Author: Wm. May – Director, VRIA, Vacation Rental Association
Blog #: 0508 – 06/01/16

Server Crash All Night Bash

By William May
Published: 03/25/16 Topics: Self Improvement Comments: 0

At 1am, a warning text message buzzes on my phone. One or more of the computer network servers is down. Not working. Kaput.

With luck it is just a glitch, that a simple setting or a simple reboot will solve. It happens, so I'm out the door, in the car and down to our data center.

But this time, the server will not re-start, the indictor lights look suspicious. You try again and finally realize this puppy is toast. As in maybe ready for the scrape heap.

Websites are down, business is being missed and all is at risk. Contingencies have been made against the loss of data but not all backups are perfect. You never know if they work until you need to restore them.

And you hope to never have to test the restoring.

Luckily you have a spare server but swapping all the data is a problem, and a re-install of the operating system is also in order. Tricky stuff maybe, but tricky enough to bring in an expert.

By now its 2AM and time to call the System Administrator, get him out of bed, into his car and down to the office.

When he arrives at 3AM his first words are, "Why are you here?"

And I reply, "My Dad said to."

"What are you talking about?, he says and walks off toward the server room.

He doesn't know my Dad owned a truck repair shop and he doesn't know that my Dad often got calls from truck drivers frantic for a repair in the wee hours of the morning. He doesn't know my Dad always helped even when there was little or no money in it.

As a young child I did not understand, why my Dad would always go to the shop if he had to call a mechanic to go to the shop. As a child, I didn't keep track of time but I knew they often stayed there late into the night.

As an adult, now I understand. I know my Dad was not a mechanic. I know he probably wasn't much help to the mechanics.

Or was he?

All work goes easier with help. Helping hands make light work. All work goes faster when you know others appreciate your work. All work becomes a joy if you decided to make it so.

So as I watched the server's being swapped last night. I saw the Administrator go through a myriad of complicated operating system settings, then test and retest the system. I had little to offer.

But as the system administrator left the office some hours later having put everything right, he stopped to say, "I appreciate that you stayed."

"No problem", I said, "My Dad said to."

My dad always said "No problem" to just about everything and then he always smiled.

The military says leaders lead from the front. Honor says to never asked others to do what you would not be willing to do. Fair play demands helping when not asked.



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Author: William May, MayPartners
Blog #: 0499 – 03/25/16

Oprah is an Alien And Other Internet Facts

By William May
Published: 01/04/16 Topics: People, Reputation Comments: 0

Oprah is an Alien

On the Internet people say Oprah Winfrey is really just an alien, that she is secretly married to Barack Obama and that she never actually did a TV show. They say she used a hologram, stole TV advertiser money and sent it back to the planet she came from. (Michelle is actually a man I heard!)

Randy Jones from San Antonio lives with 1,000 cats all named Wilbur. Cindy Rigmore from Alberta has lived her entire life on a diet of egg shells and whiskey, and is 91 years old.

There is a man in Sherwood Forest who calls himself Robin Hood, but lives in a mobile home.

I believe every word of those because I read them on the internet. Or should I? Especially when there are so many anonymous devious trolls out there. Unfortunately, no one is immune from crazies on the Internet.

For decades, I have helped lead numerous businesses which have served hundreds of professional clients and tens of thousands of consumers. They are happy and many have become life-long friends and business partners.

These are the honorable reliable people who know the facts.

Occasionally leaders have the responsibility to handle unpleasant tasks like setting rules, collections, contracts, addressing conflict and even managing litigation. In the many companies I have been asked to operate, consulted for, or invested in, those tasks are always handled with respect and courtesy.

But it is not a fun job - especially when those affected, often resort to online defamation. The outcomes are not always desirable. My long-time colleague Catherine used to say, "If you don't stand up for something, you will fall for everything."

With the advent of the Internet, anyone can write anything they want about anyone else, and pretty much without lability. Benjamin Franklin said, "Freedom of the press is limited to those who can afford to buy one." And today that means every crack pot, crazy and coward.

As my Communications law professor put it, freedom of the press means you can publish anything, but you are forever liable for everything whether wrong intentionally or not.

Today the whiners, complainers and defamers are always the losers with nothing better to do with their time because they have done little and tried even less. They have nothing better to do (truly nothing better) than to assail those who pursue goals and try to do good.

We should hope that today's newly minted trolls go back to the planet they came from but, of course, that won't happen because rude behavior, presumptive stupidity and nutty people have been around forever. It is just that now they have a bigger pulpit to spray crazy from.

Because online posts are often anonymous, intelligent discerning people do not believe anything they hear on the Internet, especially from unknown people. Fools believe everything they read and they certainly believe - with their twisted little minds - that Oprah is an alien.

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Author: William May, MayPartners
Blog #: 0569 – 01/04/16

Sponsor: MayPartners – If you want your business to sell more, call us. Marketing, Advertising, Public Relations and other stuff. Tip top, terrific, tenacious. – MayPartners.com

Best Halloween Advertising. Cheapest too.

By William May
Published: 10/31/15 Topics: Advertising, Marketing Comments: 0

For many years the Philadelphia Cheese Steak shop occupied a triangle corner on busy Madison Avenue on Seattle's Capitol Hill. It seemed to do well but changed hands a few times and gradually did the restaurant slow decline dance.

Meantime, just up the street the Bottle Neck bar opened and soon became a favorite hang out. When Philly closed, the proprietors - Erin Nestor and Rebecca Denk - grabbed the additional space and opened a nice neighbor burger joint. They called it "Two Doors Down" because, of course that is where it was.

Sometimes naming businesses and products is easy but often it is a long laborious chore. Who knows how the new restaurant got its name, but it is brilliant, memorable and fun. That fits the new decor and the food.

Halloween heavy traffic raced past Two-Doors, just as traffic always does, but ahead on the trek home cars were slowing and some pulling over to grab a burger.

All because someone, maybe the genius who named the restaurant, created a cheap but compelling reason to drop into the restaurant.

Pumpkins are cheap. A few orange LED Christmas type lights didn't break the bank. surely the staff had fun making them. Or maybe the customers made them. (What fun.)

Putting the pumpkins in the window would have worked, but simply putting them on the street made them impossible to miss. On this rainy dreary night. It was warm. It was compelling.

They must have sold far more burgers that night because who could resist?

Accepting expensive solutions from advertising experts can produce great results, but advertising is always trial and error no matter how well researched.

On the other hand, creative thinking always wins over new customers, makes existing customers smile and makes the cash register ring.

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Author: William May, MayPartners Advertising
Blog #: 0458 – 10/31/15

Sponsor: MayPartners – Pumping Advertising for decades but a new kinda marketing machine. Old fashioned marketing smarts with new technological know how. Our platform of constant promotion pumps up your sales. But you gotta call us now to start. – MayPartners.com

Most Professional Photographers Are Not

By William May
Published: 10/22/15 Topics: Comments: 0

If getting paid for taking photos makes a professional photographer then the standard is too low.

For lodging, hospitality and architecture photos, only High Dynamic Range (HDR) photos are professional and most other professional photographers haven't a clue how to do them.

HDR is not a craft that can be picked up easily, or in a book, or in a short class. Prior skills may leave other photographers woefully under equipped to master the technological and artistic requirements of this new craft.

Having great camera gear is essential, but anyone can pony up the money and buy the very best gear. Although most do not!

Spending thousands of hours shooting photos conventionally may give a photographer some understanding of lighting and composition. But frankly the photos from many pros still look pretty much like those of educated amateurs.

For older photographers who grew up when flash devices and dark room chemicals ruled their lives, that time may have been a wait. They spent years perfecting mechanical knowledge that is really of no value to the HDR environment.

That isn't to say that some long tenured photographers have not grabbed the HDR baton and ran, some have. But simply having decades of experience is not adequate in today's internet and software age.

Starting Over

Not all is doom and gloom. There are photographers world wide who have invested considerable education, training and practical experience to learn the highly technical needs of High Dynamic Range shooting and processing.

Unfortunately, these photographers are few and far between.

That means unsuspecting businesses often hire a "Professional" and end up with the same old drab limited photos for their interior photo needs. And that is a darn shame.

In lodging and building interior intensive shooting, there are even so called "experts" writing blogs and touting their specialized skills - all while avoiding the long hours of technical learning necessary to master HDR.

And that is a shame because clients are short-changed while paying heavily for inferior photography.

If you are wondering if your photographer and your photos are at the highest level, are serving you well and if you got your money's worth, give us a call for a free evaluation.

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Author: William May, Signatour Photo Team
Blog #: 0418 – 10/22/15

Leisure Link Says Bad Photos a Deadly Sin

By Noel Poage
Published: 09/25/15 Topics: Channel Managers, Photography Comments: 0

LeisureLink.com, a long time provider of technology, distribution and marketing services to lodging providers recently released a fascinating graphic that calls "Bad Photos" one of the seven deadly sins of (lodging) distribution.

Although the report does not seem to rank the severity of the seven sins, a review could indicate that having good photos is the most effective marketing tool available to every vacation rental and resort manager.

By comparison, Ivana Johnston, the report author, notes that 87% of Facebook pots with photos get interaction while no other post type (those without photos) received more than 4% interaction. Further, 84% of facebook posts with photos received more clicks than posts with just text or links.

Use of Facebook differs dramatically from conventional advertising listing websites in the way consumers interact with the website, but it should be presumed that these statistics would be similar on all websites.

Photos draw attention. Attention produces sales.

Although lodging can be considered part of the real estate industry, the path in which consumers buy travel is dissimilar. With a real estate purchase, photos draw the viewers attention after which they inquire, visit the property and possibly make a purchase.

With vacation rentals the guest sees the product, buys it and then days, weeks or months later gets to see what they bought. That is both effective and dangerous.

Not all photographers are created equal. Even with the proliferation of cameras including mobile phone cameras, amateurs often post fuzzy and ill-lit shots. Professionals take better photos but seldom invest the time to master High Dynamic Range (HDR) photos that are essential to shoot interiors properly.

Johnson notes that the other Deadly Sins - stagnant prices, lack of promotions, pooling of inventory, not having reviews, failing to yield to market price changes, and requiring lengthy minimum stays - can also decrease booking success.

Reversing some of the bad sins can take focus, energy and collaboration, while photography is the easiest and fastest way to increase occupancy and price. Find a proven HDR photography company and watch the bookings roll in.

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Author: Noel Poage – Photographer, Signatour Photo Team
Blog #: 0415 – 09/25/15

Sponsor: Signatours Photo Team – If your property just outta gotta have Perfect Touch High Dynamic Range photos to grow bookings fast, call Signatours today. No body matches our accuracy and quality. – Signatour.com

BookingSync.com is right about photography

By Noel Poage
Published: 07/01/15 Topics: Comments: 0

Sébastien Grosjean is the founder and CEO of BookingSync.com a vacation rental software and channel management company.

In a recent video blog, Sébastien provides his introduction to vacation rental photography and three tips managers can use to take better photos.

He calls photography the single most important thing you can do.

PROPER LIGHTING. He reminds viewers to shoot photos at the best time of the day. Afternoons often have odd lighting so shoot exteriors early in the day. For interior photography he reminds that all lights should be turned on and curtains opened to show the outdoors.

FUNCTIONAL PHOTOS. Guests want to discover what your home has to offer so provide pictures of every room and always from the best angle.

STAGING. Make the home appear just as it will be when guests rent. Be sure to remove amenities that may not be there when visitors arrive.

Thanks Sébastien, that is all good advice.

Although intended for the do-it-yourself photographer, we would like to recommend that BookingSync inform guests that professional photos, especially those in High Dynamic Range by a qualified and experienced photographer, can triple the results of even the best amateur photo.

It may only take an hour or two to shoot HDR's, but up to an hour per photo to process, color balance and correct stunning accurate photos that amateur methods can match.

HDR's, along with panoramas also shot in HDR, are the only way for guests to truly see before they buy and stay.

See Sébastien's Video here

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Author: Noel Poage – Photographer, Signatour Photo Team
Blog #: 0404 – 07/01/15

Cell Phone Photos Are Not Just Fine

By William May
Published: 06/01/15 Topics: Comments: 0

I do not want to argue and nit pick but sometimes advertising people just say silly thinks.

Recently while uploading some of our fabulously large, High Dynamic Range Photos (all converted to Progressive PDF's for loading speed, while retaining quality, to a very large vacation rental listing website a little box popped up that I must take exception with.

It said "Include a few well-lit photos."

OK I do not have a super big problem with that statement but they should also disclose that using only a few photos will cut rental inquiries dramatically. And not including enough photos is equally disastrous. I am sure the techies have the stats and know better.

But then the little box read "Cell phone photos are just fine."

Really? A cell phone photo?

If they meant "just fine" as in "not completely terrible" well maybe that is OK. Surely the websites is trying to get every possible paying property owner to use their service and asking amateurs to create and upload superb photos would result in less listings and lower income for the website publisher..

I get their logic, but I question their desire to help managers get the very best sales results.

On the other hand, these technical website folks need to spill the beans about cell phone photos.

A few folks can coax an adequately good snap-shot out of a phone. Some mobile devices have rudimentary HDR which can help. But most folks take truly lousy photos. (Check out your grant Grandma's photos of your sisters wedding. Your sister will never live those down.)

What the giant websites should tell their customers - in all candor - is that managers should find and spend money on a professional photographer who has mastered the art of using HDR for interior photos.

That will make the manager far more money than it costs.

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Author: William May, Signatour Photo Team
Blog #: 0405 – 06/01/15

Drones Will One Day Be Old News

By William May
Published: 05/01/15 Topics: Hotels, Photography Comments: 0

At a recent meeting of hotel operators the questions were all about drone photography.

Signatour Photo Team Experts were there to display dramatic " Before And After" photos showing how bad lodging properties can look online and how attractive they become when properly shot in the HDR photo technique.

But every admiring hotelier also wanted to know how to get an aerial photo shot of their hotel from a drone. Amazon.com is going to delivery packages with them. Hobbyists are sending drones into their neighbors yards and they are regularly featured on the news.

Of course, shooting an aerial, or a series of them, can be helpful in showing guests exactly where they may be staying. We are happy to provide that services to our clients.

But soon, every lodging property will have aerials and then property managers will need to find a new and better way to attract guests.

Good news - that ability already exists and it is called High Dynamic Range.

To clarify, HDR is not the HD as is common in High Definition television and computer monitors. Read our white paper: HDR is not the HD

Some hoteliers had regrets when seeing the Before and After photos that Signatour creates using proprietary High Dynamic Range HDR) techniques.

Said one, "Damn, I just paid a photo vendor, recommended by my Franchisor, a bunch of money for what are junk compared to yours."

More good news - Signatour guarantees our photos will impress and even stun you with their accuracy and vibrancy, or your money back.

Frankly it is an easy guarantee to make because we have spent a decade perfecting our Perfect Touch product. No one can match it. And we will throw in the drone shots too.

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Author: William May, Signatour Photo Team
Blog #: 0395 – 05/01/15

Sponsor: Signatours Photo Team – Our Perfect Touch photos use High Dynamic Range (HDR) To create the most accurate and compelling photos every devised for architectur, hospitality and loding properties. Affordable Too. Just call 866-765-7520 today. Get more bookings tomorrow. – Sigantour.com

Website Magazine Warns Blogging Copyright Infringers

By Joseph Romain
Published: 04/01/15 Topics: Copyrights, Legal, Photography Comments: 0

The Internet has created a wonderful opportunity for people who want to steal the creative work of others.

The most visible thieves are those who steal copyrighted music which has forced the entertainment industry to institute rigorous methods of encrypting music. They have sued and forced equipment manufacturers, internet providers, music streaming sites and music sales websites to restrict the copying of music. Yet it is still rampant.

Photographers however have no such protections for their creative products. The internet makes it easy to publish photos to websites in digital form, but also easy for it to be stolen by people who do not want to pay for the photographers work.

Since the advent of the printing press, and more particularly the ability to print photographs would-be photo copyright infringers were stymied in their attempts because printed photos can not be accurately copied from a physical piece of paper.

But the Internet has removed those barriers to copying, made great works of art viewable by millions and easy pickings for thieves.

Copyright law makes no distinction between printed photos and digital ones. Fortunately, the internet also makes it easy for copyright owners to find those who illegally copy copyrighted works.

Website Magazine focuses on the internet and anything to do with websites any anything that affects them. Their latest article Bloggers Beware: Image Copyright Infringement Is Costly stands as a warning to those who want to copy the best creative work and pay nothing for it.

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Author: Joseph Romain – Creative Director, Signatour Photo Team
Blog #: 0394 – 04/01/15

How to Choose a Vacation Rental Photographer

By William May
Published: 03/01/15 Topics: Photography Comments: 0

Exciting indeed is the increase in lodging consultants and experts who put great photos at the top of the list for improved bookings.

Guests give websites but a few scant seconds to decide if it's professional, if it has what they need, and whether they are willing to look further. In two seconds, most people can read only a few words but a glance at a photo reveals dozens of thoughts and conveys quality, emotion, and content.

So why do those who tout themselves as experts constantly talk about the need to hire a professional photographers but then recommend vendors whose work is not up to modern standards?

An easy comparison of various vacation rental photographers will reveal the obvious differences. To help illustrate the differences, here are questions to answer when considering a photographer for an Inn, Resort, Hotel, or Vacation Rental Home.

Education - Digital cameras are great but it is not easy to use every bell and whistle to create accurate, stunning photos. If your photographer did not get a professional education then they won't know how to do everything they should.

Self Taught - Teaching yourself to shoot photos is fine, but unless you have 40+ hours (per week) to devote to the craft and for many years, you can't keep up on technology.

Flash Lighting - If your photographer uses a flash attachment to shoot your homes, they are shooting incorrectly. With today's technology, all photos should be done using High Dynamic Range techniques. Because HDR relies on multiple shots and accounts for each pixel at different exposures, a flash should never be needed.

Raw format - All great HDR photos must be shown using a camera's raw format because it is the most densely packed number of pixels. With more pixels, color correction, toning, and sharpening have the best chance for establishing accuracy. Any photographer who does not shoot in RAW, is not up on technology.

License - Sometimes you can get a better deal on prices if you only need the photos for limited use. For example, if you put them on your website but not elsewhere the price maybe lower. If you want all internet rights, usually a bit higher. And if you want exclusive rights, even denying the photographer the right to display them on his portfolio website; that can get trickier.

Travel - If your photographer is local he is less likely to be at the top of his game. Great photographers are in demand which means they usually travel from destination to destination. That is because they are in demand.

Time - Hiring someone who is instantly available should make you wonder why they are always available. Sure you might get lucky to fit in a shoot between your photographers other sessions.

Speed - Anyone who can shoot your property one day and have dozens of quality HDR photos to you the next, is fooling you. Retouching photos and creating HDR masterpieces takes time and talent. A photographer who needs some time to complete work is more likely to produce excellent products.

Weather - Even interior photos look better if shot on a blue-sky, bright sun day. If your photographer can set a date days in advance and stick to them when the weather is bad, they are taking advantage of you. The schedule must slide if the sun "don't shine."

Cost - If the cost for shooting is anything under $500 for a condo, $750 for a house, or $2,000 for a complex then they are only shooting and not processing.

Great photo sessions and images can cost much more depending on the size, type, and location of the property.

Barter - If your photographer is willing to do all the work of shooting and processing great photos for the privilege of staying at your home when he does it, he isn't a professional. Sure everyone loves to go on vacation but a great travel photographer has more free stays than he can stomach.

Expert - Not everyone who says they are an expert is one. Great photographers are found by looking for great photographs. No sales pitch or self-professed expertise can make up for a lack of quality.

HOW TO CHOOSE

Now that you are ready to talk with photographers, get prices, and look at their portfolios; here is how to go about picking the very best one:

Big Screen - Be sure to look at each photographers portfolio using a very big computer screen. Not all guests have large monitors but many do. The larger screen will show you photos that are not sharp or explicitly in focus. If a photographers shots are not super clean, scratch them off your list.

Portfolio - Lastly, open a web browser, simultaneously pull up each photographer's website portfolio, and then switch back and forth. Great HDR photographs should stand out.

The difference between them and conventional (even professional) photos will be stunning.

Save your pennies until you have enough to hire an HDR expert photographer. The expenditure will pay off quickly and repeatedly with greater bookings and more occupancy. You'll make more money by spending the relatively small cost of finding a truly qualified lodging photographer.

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Author: William May, Signatour Photo Team
Blog #: 0008 – 03/01/15

Sponsor: Signatours Photo Team – Perfecting how to shoot and process accurate compelling architectural photography for Inns, Resorts, Hotels and Vacation Rentals. Our Perfect-Touch program requires technical education, years of experience and the artistic skill that most profession photographers can not match. – Signatour.com

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