Cyberspace Travel to Siesta Key
Posted by Paul Parr on February 4th, 2009
I do remember picking up the family phone to see if our party line was being used by the other household we shared this phone line with and also remember the clicks on the phone when that family wanted to signal us that it was their time to use the phone.
I remember the comics in the Detroit Times with Dick Tracy using his two-way wrist watch. I remember using an adding machine by pulling down on a large crank to register the entry I had made of the number keys.
I remember purchasing something called an Apple 11e for our boys Jason and Justin and how complicated it was to not only assemble, but also to use. I believe it just sat on a desk in our home for almost a year before I realized that the boys were actually using the thing. Imagine that, the Parr family was becoming “computerized”. I walked in to the room to see what the kids and their friends were doing and to my surprise they had a floppy disc that would show stick figures on the screen having intercourse. Seems the private school education was at least bringing the informative years into the 20th century back then.
This past week I reflected on those days when I noticed that on our son’s Facebook page contained this same friend from over 20 years ago who was now communicating with Justin from his home in the Dominican Republic. Who would have thought that the early experiences that we all had with first computers in our homes for ourselves and children would have been the beginning of a change in all of our lives that would only accelerate and bring to our fingertips information and travel to parts of the world and universe that were so unattainable for us in the past? Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and many other geeks, that’s who!
I reflect on this because when I think back on our experience with the Internet for advertising our vacation rental condo in 1998 and see where we are today in 2009, we have obviously come a very long way. I started out by marketing our condo in an ad on an internet site ,vacationspot.com, that specialized in vacation rentals of your second home. This company was eventually purchased by Travelocity or one of the other travel sites and the vacation homes and condos went by the wayside. None the less, bookings kept increasing and other start up companies such as VRBO, VacationRentals, 4Beachnuts and others popped up and started to work very well. Americans and travelers from other countries began to show a preference for renting a home or condo versus a hotel room for vacation holidays.
This past year with the help of a fellow by the name of Ian Lawson and his company Atomic Interactive Group a Dayton Ohio web design firm, our rental condo entered the world of cyberspace and beyond what I ever understood about the Internet. Ian professionally developed and launched www.sunsetroyale.com and life has not been the same since. In June of 2008, Nann and I took back the marketing and renting of our special condo on Siesta Key from our Condo Association’s office service. At that time we had only one booking for the balance of the year and that was to a previous renter who had a pretty bad experience in renting our condo at what was supposed to be the end of our construction project in our building from the previous October. Barb and Frank were returning as our guests, but we knew we needed to fill many open weeks with paying rental guests and were not sure how we would achieve this with no consistent advertising of our condo on the Internet in a few years.
Ian at Atomic Interactive guided me into the back end of the website. I had spent much time on the Internet looking at websites for all types of services, information and purchasing. I had even formed some pretty strong opinions of what was a good website and what was a poor one. When I first looked at our new website I knew this was a good one, but it needed content. I needed to develop much of that content and also needed to learn the lingo of Internet development and marketing. I do not know how to write in code such as HTML and did not plan to learn. I also had no clue on what Google, Yahoo or MSN did to rate and publish my website with their search engines. I had much to learn. Atomic Interactive provided me with a content management system (CMS) that would convert my typed words and phrases into the code language that is required to publish to the Internet. I started to learn other terms such as Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and the importance of applying all that I was learning so that I received the inquiries that I needed to rent our condo, but to also provide a first class website that provides a local portal service to travelers seeking information about Siesta Key and surroundings. My goal was and is to make every first time Siesta Key traveler as nimble as locals on finding their way around our part of Florida (which is growing by the way).
More importantly for Nann and I was the reality that through this website we were able to book many weeks of rentals for our rental guests in 2008 and we’re off to a roaring start in 2009. What is this bad economy stuff? We all need to take a break even in the worst of times. We need to cater to ourselves, families and friends and what better way to do this, but to travel to Siesta Key and take a break in Paradise. Since June 16th of 2008 we have had 3,471 unique visitors to WWW.SUNSETROYALE.COM. They visited our site a total of 5,088 times from 49 countries and all of the 50 states. Incredible!
Creating sunsetroyale.com and keeping it fed with interesting experiences and information for the traveler and the regular guests who return whenever they can is a work in progress. Knowing how to put it together to work on the Internet and to understand life in cyberspace takes professionals like those at Atomic Interactive Group. Without them this would have been just another web page. Ian knew what he was going to develop for us before he wrote the first script and he also knew that I would spend the time and effort to take sunsetroyale.com to the next level. Now the Breeze, the sunsetroyale.com/blog page is hatched and starting to flap it’s wings thanks to our Ohio web design firm. This is the next level, the next plateau that will make the website a place for dialog and information from many different people in many different locations. Welcome aboard all! We’re here for your pleasure and by the way so is Siesta Key.
Filed under Penthouse Condo #408
Tags: beachfront, holiday, seo, siesta key, sunset royale, vacation, vacation rental, websites