Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Export (or import) your calendar with Cities Reference

Did you know you could export your calendar with Cities Reference? It takes the time of a copy and paste and it allows you to update just one calendar for all the websites you're using. This is going to make your life a whole lot easier and allow you to activate your instant booking with us which multiplies 10x your bookings.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Are you using the 'Map View'?

Are you using the map view when searching your rental apartment? This is a great tool that will give you total control of the area where you want to be located. It will show you only the apartments available in your time frame and its cost. You can seamlessly go from map to apartment description and booking.
Check it out here: explore the apartments and click on 'Show on map'.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Update completion

We weren't able to complete the last update.

What changed for the three sites already listed is

Cities Reference up 8.2% with 61,000
Roman Reference up 7% with 58,000

Rome Apartments: up 2.5% in 2 weeks to 770 apartments. 60% growth annualized. Waste Ratio is 9.9%. Availability Ratio is 15% in low season counting only Instant Bookings (29% factoring in non instant)
Paris Apartments: stable at 343 apartments (!). Waste Ratio is 9.9%. Availability Ratio is 3.9% (48% factoring in non instant)
New York Apartments: stable at 149 apartments.  Waste ratio is 5.4% and Availability ratio is 0.7% (42% factoring in non instant)

Spotlight is needed still on
London Reference
Analytics: Our 6th site on traffic, up two positions, just below Copenhagen Reference by a few units. Time on Site is well above average at 67% of RomanReference's speed or 32.8% lower. Same goes for the Bounce, better than Paris and better than average.
London Apartments: It is our 3rd site with 151 apartments (421% rate of growth!) and an instant ratio of 61%! Waste ratio is 8.7%
Booking/Instant Ratio is 12.5%. Great numbers well worth further investment.
Availability Ratio:

Amsterdam Reference
Amsterdam apartments: 142 apartments our 5th site
Instant Ratio is 0. Waste Ratio is 0. Availability Ratio is 19% (but no Instants so actually 0)

Barcelona Reference
Barcelona apartments: 82. Our 7th site. Rank 1
Instant Ratio is 50%. Waste Ratio is 1%. Availability Ratio is 2.4% (or 39% factoring in non instant)

Belgrade Reference
Belgrade apartments: 91. Our 6th site. Rank 1
Instant Ratio: is 5.5%. Waste Ratio is 0. Availability Ratio is 1.1% (57% On Request)

Berlin Reference
Berlin apartments: 78 our 8th site. Rank 1. Instant Ratio is 57.7%. Waste is 0. Availability is 7.7% (43% on Request)

Brussels Reference
Brussels apartments: 50 our 11th site. Rank 0. Instant Ratio is 96%. Waste is 2%. Availability is 8% (10% On Request)

Copenhagen Reference
Copenhagen apartments: 14. Rank 1. Instant 0. Waste is 21.4%. Availability is 0 (50%)

Krakow Reference
Krakow Apartments 30 apartments. Rank 0
Availability ratio is 16.7% in low season. Waste Ratio is 0. Instant ratio is 100%

Madrid Reference
Madrid Apartments 58. Rank 0. Instant Ratio is 64%. Waste ratio is 1.7%. Availability 5,3% (13%).

Prague Reference
Prague Apartments 63. Rank 0. Instant Ratio is 98.4%. Waste Ratio is 0. Availability Rate is 8%.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Growing on

Three months on we feel pressed to update.

City sites are now 18, with just a 6% growth (notably and finally Amsterdam rentals), but the main improvement is on sites like A'dam itself and Dublin now featuring decent numbers of apartments listed. Apartments are now 2,069 keeping the pace shown with the last update and growing 55%. With 751 Instant Booking apartments the ratio is now gone down to 36.3%. Still very reasonable.

Last but not least New York is finally also a .com and not just a

And now a look at the details.

Cities Reference features an Alexa of 66,000 (growing 3% in traffic). On Analytics traffic is stable at 32% of Roman Reference; traffic month on month is down 8%, year on year though - which is what really matters - gains yet more speed at 862% growth!
Time on Site 9,02 and Bounce 36.7% are as usual the best of all. One note here is necessary. Since the overhaul last March/April 2011 the parent site -Cities Reference- has become the venue of mostly owners as opposed to the single city sites which gather mostly travelers. Different behaviors here reflect well our underlying strategy of envisioning owners as partners in business and travelers as clients. No wonder apartment owners show a higher level of stickiness to the site.
Other than that it must be stressed that time on site has been growing a robust 12.5% compared to the last update, while bounce has remained largely stable.
CR Facebook page: with 543 fans, starts getting decent

Roman Reference
Stats: with Alexa of 62,000 (growth 6.5%) is performing at one of its best standards ever. Gathering distance from Cities Reference despite our prediction.
Analytics keeps pace from all the other websites. Growth year on year slows down slightly to +11%. Month on month is down 11%.
Bounce and Time on Site: at respectively 38% and 6.05min are really good for a traveler centric kind of site.
Rome Apartments: with 751 apartments it keeps growing 13% from update to update, it's a 50% growth if annualized, so very robust considering this site can by all means be considered mature at this point.
Visitors Vs Apartments/month: 20.1 so slightly improved, this is the best metrics when looking at traffic. 49 is the ratio for Instants.
Instant Vs On Request: stable at 41%
Conversion: on Ecommerce is 1.57% which is 3.2X compared to the industry average. We'll track growth on this from now on. Conversion on online bookings is 79.7%, lower than average, which is odd for a low season period, this is likely due to October that, being highest season, has received a lot of last minute bookings for On Request apartments. On the other hand November is too slow to make up for it.
Booking requests: 879 in line with the low season tide.
Client Reviews: 2,276 we'll start checking its growth from now on.
RR Facebook Page: 412 fans

Paris Reference
Alexa: 105,000 up 20% and firmly third website
Analytics: Still third website at 12.6% of Roman Reference's and 40.4% of Cities Reference's speed and keeping the 4th site (New York Reference) at 17.7% of its speed, so the traffic measure is comparatively not bad, although the year on year measure stays put in red at -3.9%. Time on site is 42.4% less than RR (not great and worsening) and bounce is 45.7% higher (ouch bad metrics in Paris!!).
Apartments: Still 3rd with an amazing growth rate of 96%! This measure largely makes up for the previous when looking at the future.
Visitors VS Apartments ratio/month: bound to drop dramatically with the recent flow of apartments: 5.3, although it keeps stable for Instant apartments at 53 per apartment. A note here is due. 53 per Instant apartment is higher than Roman Reference therefore worth noticing. Instant apartments in Paris are getting booked out faster than Rome and they are likely what determines the dismal figures for time on site and bounce rate. Working on the Instant figure in Paris becomes the key to success.
Instant VS On Request: Down 50% with just 10.2%, ouch!
Conversion on Bookings: it's 0.87% on ecommerce, still better than industry average but almost just half of Roman Reference. Conversion on online bookings is 62.3%, which is good in general and improved lately despite the bad numbers above, which again comes to demonstrates that this site needs at least double the ratio of Instant Apartments to start delivering.
Bookings are just 7.5% of Roman Reference, so... going down. Still by far our second site in terms of booking requests.

New York Reference: A lot of things have improved in New York. Finally a .com for it, finally the USD as the main currency, finally our team on visit to the Big Apple to promote it for good, a lot more apartments!
Alexa: at 1,035,000 is up 132%.
Analytics: Shows it up one to our 4th position. 2.2% of Roman Reference so slowing a little on that measure. Time on site is 41% lower than Roman Reference, so improving consistently and getting to be slightly better even of Paris. Bounce is 13% worse than RR, so again a lot of improvement and a lot better than Paris Reference.
Apartments: It's now our third on apartments, up 5 position. With 149 apartments it grew 224% after our trip to New York.
Visitors VS Apartments: It's 2.2 which doesn't surprise with a sudden growth of 224% on apartments. The real measure to look at is towards Instant Booking apartments where it has 36.5 visitors per apartment which is rather good actually.
Instant Ratio is 6%, so 3X better than the last update, clearly the visit to NY brought reaped some interesting results.
Booking requests: Easily our third site in terms of booking requests with 1.6% of RR and 24.5% of PR. Not bad.
Conversion on booking requests is 7.7%.
Analysis: New York, in spite of recent legislation against vacation rentals, pulls a lot of weight and has a lot of potential.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

A benevolent Generalplan Ost for Cities Reference

Two months on a lot has happened, especially East of Europe Warsaw, Krakow, Prague and Belgrade apartments  are now listed, even Apartments in Venice are kind of East after all.) Sites listing vacation rentals (that is not blogs) are 17 therefore a whopping 70% up compared to our last post. Apartments are 1,333 compared to just 860 (55% growth). Most importantly the ratio Instant Vs On Request apartments has jumped to 46.2%! A productive couple of months indeed!

This is low season for monthly bookings (just over a 1000 they went down ca 30%) and it may be what helps apartments' growth since single owners get more spare time and an urge to fill the gaps

Let's give a look at the details

Cities Reference confirms its parent site status with 68,000 alexa (basically stable), disk usage is 4 times lower than Roman Reference still yet 6 times higher than the third ranking website (Paris). Analytics ranks it our second site in traffic twice more traffic than Paris Reference and stable at 33% of Roman Reference speed. Traffic is unsurprisingly down (7%) month on month (this is low season) but it's gaining speed on a yearly basis at 627% growth.
Time on Site (8:07) and Bounce Rate (36:38) are by far the best of all

Roman Reference
Alexa 66,000 is down 10% in two months (which comes with low season) and meeting with Cities Reference in the middle, this was bound to happen and likely Cities Reference should pass Roman Reference soon since it's become the general hub the previous used to be.
Disk Usage is still the highest with 25,000MB and 41,000MB of traffic
Analytics still the highest (66% more traffic than the 2nd best - 10 bookings everyone made by the second best). 14% growth in traffic year on year.
Apartments: With 667 apartments it has grown 13%(!!) compared to two months ago and almost 45% since May 2010. That seems to show a hell of an acceleration since its annualized rate, if it kept the pace is 156% almost 300% faster than last year.
Visitors Vs Apartments Ratio: 19.5. Considering only Instant it's 48.
Instant Vs On Request: Also the Instant ratio is improving sensibly with 41% compared to 38% only two months ago.
Conversion: on bookings is also improving to 83% of online bookings converted Vs 81+ two months ago
Booking requests: 887/Month, the slow down is pretty normal in low season, although 26% is double the slump in traffic.

Paris Reference
Alexa 127,000 is down 13.5% with low season and still firmly our third website.
Analytics:  our third site on traffic still faring at 16% of Roman Reference's speed, time on site is 40% lower than Roman Reference and bounce 22% higher so there is improvement in all measures. Year on year traffic is also improving to just 3.8% slower than last year.
Apartments: It's still our third website on apartments although the competition seems to be gaining speed. With 175 apartments it grew 9.4% in two months, so half the speed of Roman Reference and nothing compared to the speed of the developing websites below.

Visitors Vs Apartments Ratio: 11.5. Considering only Instant it's 54.

Instant Vs On Request: ratio has improved a lot to 20%
Conversion on bookings has improved sensibly to 57.3%
Bookings are still just below 10% of RR's
Altogether a reasonably good picture compared to two months ago and taking the season into account.

Berlin Reference:
Alexa: 2,258,000 down 10% with the low season
Analytics: It's our 6th site on traffic (1.8% of RR, slowly gaining field) so it's up one position, time on site is 61.9% lower than Roman Reference (so improving), bounce is 33% higher (stable).
Apartments: It's our third site for apartments, so up one position. With 77 apartments it grew  140% in two months. Pretty stunning growth

Visitors Vs Apartments Ratio: 3. Considering only Instant it's 5.1.
Instant ratio is 59.7%!! A stunning growth.
Booking Requests/Conversion ratio is 50% double last time, as for booking requests is 4th on our site 0.45% of RR this is also improving.
Very good jump ahead with Berlin

Alexa: with 3,558,000 is 153% down...
Analytics: It's our 7th site on traffic (2 down, 1.48% of RR, so going down)time on site is 56% lower than Roman Reference (improved) and bounce rate 20% higher (improved!). Year on year traffic is up 48.68%, that's a great figure! 
Apartments: It's our 4th site with 71 apartments, so up two positions and up 163% compared to only two months ago. One of the biggest velocity we got.

Visitors Vs Apartments Ratio: 3.3. Considering only Instant it's 5.4.
Instant Vs On request ratio has come to a flattering 60%! 
Booking Requests/Conversion ratio are too low to mention, the booking requests are plenty though, by far 3rd site.
Analysis: the fundamentals of Barcelona are now in order we only need to bring in some traffic.

This is just gone live but it runs real fast. 2,284,000 on Alexa and 62 apartments, mostly Instant. We've got great expectations

Alexa: 3,709,000 badly down
Analytics: It's our 10th site for traffic (stable, just .66% of RR, so going down in measure) time on site is 62% lower than RR, bounce is 9% worse than RR. So here there is a big jump in improvement.
Apartments: It's our 6th site for apartments (up 1 position), with 48 apartments it grew 243% in two months, the fastest website growth we got.
Visitors Vs Apartments Ratio: 2.3. Considering only Instant it's 3.
Instant ratio is 73%!! Our best on older websites
Booking Requests/Conversion ratio is Nil.

This is just gone live but it runs pretty fast. 3,193,000 on Alexa and 47 apartments, all Instant.

Alexa: at 2,397,000 is stable
Analytics: It's our 5th site on traffic (up 1! 2.66% of RR so improving quite a bit), time on site is 59.2% lower than Roman Reference, bounce rate is 20% higher. Kind of stable.
Apartments: It's our 8th site for apartments, down 5 positions. Hardly surprising since we're growing in the Euro area mainly.  With 46 apartments it grew a meagre 5% in two months.

Visitors Vs Apartments Ratio: 10. Very good rate for a developing one.
Instant ratio is 2.1% and Booking Requests/Conversion ratio is too low to mention, as for booking requests though it's our 5th site.
Analysis: New York has slowed down, this is hardly surprising since we are concentrating on Europe right now

Alexa: with 1,879,000 this has been the only site growing in traffic during the slow down.
Analytics: It's our 8th site for traffic (stable, 1.3% of RR), time on site is 27.4% lower than RR, which is great! and bounce rate is 6.1% higher than RR, which is also great!
Apartments: it's our 8th site for apartments with 33 of them, down 3 positions due to the Euro focus of the past couple of months, up 14% in two months on inventory which is not bad.

Visitors Vs Apartments Ratio: 4.8.
Instant ratio is Nil and Booking Request/Conversion is 8%, as for booking requests it's 3rd on our site 2.8% of RR which is not bad
We expect London to grow dramatically after the summer once we'll have sorted out our currency problem and concentrated on the non Euro countries

This is just gone live but it runs pretty fast. 4,200,000 on Alexa and 32 apartments, all Instants.

Copenhagen Reference:
Alexa: 3,998,000 traffic went tumbling down since we stopped believing in its growth and investing in it.
Analytics: It's still our fifth site on traffic (down 1 position and 2.5% of RR), time on site it's 64% lower than Roman Reference, bounce rate is 17% higher. Traffic year on year is down 28%.
Apartments: It's our 11th site with 13 apartments, precious little growth since six months, 33% year on year.
Visitors Vs Apartments Ratio: is still the best we got: 26! The problem are the deals on sale which just aren't great at this stage.
Instant is 0 and Booking Requests/Conversion ratio is 25%, as for booking requests it's our 6th site

There are 6 more websites, 2 of which brand new, although they're either too slow or too new to mention. Next time!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Cities Reference - Brand new metrics!

Almost six months since our last metrics update while a lot has changed. An example? Brand new website and apartment listing wizard with it. A new website: San Francisco Reference.

Let's see what has changed in the meanwhile:

Cities Reference: with the new website it has finally become a real Parent site. Everything from sign up/sign in to apartment search has to or can pass through it. Unsurprisingly its
Alexa rank has boomed to 69,000 an improvement of 525%!  
Analytics It's our second site for traffic (32% of Roman Reference) and it's traffic is gone up 16% month on month and 420% year on year. Time on site and bounce measure better than all our other websites

Roman Reference:
Alexa 60,000 up 15% compared to January and 28.5% year on year
Analytics: By and large still our first site (68% more traffic than the second best, 9 bookings every one made to the second best); grew its traffic 11.5% year on year.
Apartments: with 590 apartments it has grown 12.5% compared to six months ago and almost 30% year on year which is a very interesting rate considering that this site is already mature
Instant: ratio Instant to On Request is 38%
Conversion: ratio Booking Request to Confirmed Booking is 81.5%
Booking Requests: 1,210/month

Paris Reference:
Alexa: 112,000  our third site, up 19% to six months ago and 53% year on year!
Analytics: It's our third site on traffic (16% of Roman Reference) since the new site was launched, time on site is 43% lower than our mature site (RomanReference) and bounce rate 27% higher. Actually down 14.5% year on year in traffic.
Apartments: It's by far our second website in terms of apartment with 160 apartments it grew 86% year on year but lost 10% to 6 months ago due to an unexpected bleeding.
Instant: ratio Instant to On Request is 13%
Conversion: is just 36.5%
Booking Requests are 10% of RR, by far our second site for that.

Copenhagen Reference:
Alexa: 1,447,000 our 5th site still, but is down 51% compared to six months ago and a staggering 75% worse year on year.
Analytics: It's still our fourth site on traffic (2.4% of RR) after site launch, time on site it's 66% lower than Roman Reference, bounce rate is 34.7% higher. Traffic year on year is down 9.5%.
Apartments: It's our 8th site with 12 apartments, no growth since six months, 33% year on year.
Instant and Booking Requests/Conversion ratio are too low to mention, as for booking requests it's our 7th site, 0.16% of RR.
Analysis: We stopped investing in CPH, there seems to be a trust problem with companies that aren't based in the same city or aren't very big/cool American companies. This is true for single owners and competitors there. We had started with quite a bit of enthusiasm with the idea that smaller cities could work better than big ones, and it was so, just at the very beginning though.

Barcelona Reference:
Alexa: 1,401,000 is our 4th site up 100% six months and 84% year on year, only 15% up compared to February 2010.
Analytics: It's our 5th site on traffic (2.35% of RR), time on site is 65% lower than Roman Reference and bounce rate 31.6% higher. Traffic is up 8% year on year.
Apartments: It's our 6th site with 27 apartments, up 42% compared to last year
Instant and Booking Requests/Conversion ratio are too low to mention, the booking requests are plenty though, by far 3rd site 1.3% of RR.
Analysis: we just need new apartments, most of the ones we have don't update nearly enough and keep changing their prices in obscure ways, but we do have traffic and booking requests.

New York Reference:
Alexa: 2,045,000 up 45% compared to six months ago, but 34% worse year on year
Analytics: It's our 6th site on traffic (1.8% of RR) after site launch, time on site is 49.5% lower than Roman Reference, bounce rate is 30% higher
Apartments: It's our 3rd site for apartments! With 44 apartments it grew 110% in six months and 390% in a year
Instant ratio is 2.3% and Booking Requests/Conversion ratio is too low to mention, as for booking requests it's our 6th site 0.25% of RR.
Analysis: New York is growing fast, we have to invest here to get the appropriate amount of traffic

Berlin Reference:
Alexa: 2,032,000 up 13% compared to six months ago it has lost alexa traffic by 46% year on year
Analytics: It's our 7th site on traffic (1.62% of RR) after site launch, time on site is 65.7% lower than Roman Reference, bounce is 32% higher.
Apartments: It's our fourth site for apartments. With 32 apartments it grew  146% in six months and 220% year on year!
Instant ratio is 3.1% and Booking Requests/Conversion ratio is 25%, as for booking requests is 5th on our site 0.33% of RR.

London Reference
Alexa: 2,040,000 up 11% on six months, down 48% year on year
Analytics: It's our 8th site for traffic (1.28% of RR), time on site is 49.7% lower than RR, bounce rate is 31.3% higher than RR.
Apartments: it's our 5th site for apartments with 29 of them, growth is stuck year on year
Instant ratio is Nil and Booking Request/Conversion is 20%, as for booking requests it's 4th on our site 0.4% of RR

Madrid Reference
Alexa: 1,944,000 it' up 15% six months and 36% a year
Analytics: It's our 10th site for traffic (0.7% of RR) time on site is 76% lower than RR, bounce is 88% worse than RR
Apartments: It's our 7th site for apartments, with 14 apartments it grew 55% year on year
Instant ratio is 42.8%!! and Booking Requests/Conversion ratio is Nil, as for booking requests is one before last on our site 0.1% of RR

San Francisco Reference
Last but not least!
Alexa: 1,496,000 newborn runs fast
Analytics: It's our 9th site for traffic (0.8% of RR), time on site is 46% lower than RR, bounce rate is 30.7% higher than RR
Apartments: It's our last site on apartments with Miami, 8 apartments. Seems pretty good considering it just went online
Analysis: It's a really good start, already competing with the other websites

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Cities Team goes to London and Paris

Meet the Cities' team for free drinks and a chat on how it works.

Learn how to be a host, list for free and make some extra cash.

Paris April 4 to 8 (tbd)
London April 14 to 18 (tbd)

Contact us for the details and to set up an appointment we can't wait to see you!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Owners: we'll launch the new website next week!

Here follow the instructions on how to merge your old accounts whenver you'll see the new website change:

1. Go to the site:

2. In the top right header, click the "Sign Up" link.

3. Follow the instructions to sign up for an account. Facebook is fast and easy, but you can also create a Cities Reference account.

4. After your account is created, click on the "My Account" link in the top right header. (you will need to be signed in to see the link)

5. Click the "Merge Old Account" link on the left side.

6. Enter your old Roman Reference username and password. If you have forgotten this please contact us at

That's it! You now have a new Cities Reference account and your apartments should be listed in the dashboard page!

Friday, January 28, 2011

2011 - let's compare a year on

One year on since our first post blog with metrics on Cities Reference let's see what has changed:

Roman Reference Alexa of 68,750 is 4% down in ranking, as of January 2011 it has 525 apartments, a growth of 15% compared to last year
Paris Reference With Alexa of 133,700 has improved ranking by 2% compared to last year, and with 178 apartments it has grown its inventory by 131% (!)
Cities Reference With Alexa of 430,700 has improved ranking by 17% compared to last year. That's the parent site so we expect it to keep growing faster than average.
Copenhagen Reference Alexa 707,600 is down 49% in ranking compared to last year (!) and with 12 apartments has grown its inventory by 33%.
Madrid Reference With Alexa 1,163,600 has improved its ranking by 92% (!!) and with 12 apartments has grown its inventory by 33%.
London Reference with 2,268,000 goes down 115% in rankings and with 29 apartments strikes a 4% growth in inventory.
Barcelona Reference With Alexa of 2,798,000 has seen his rank worsen by 58%(!) and with 21 apartments it has improved its inventory by 11%.
Berlin Reference with Alexa 2,300,900 has lost 53% in ranking and with 13 apartments it has grown the inventory by 30%
Miami Reference with alexa 4,123,000 strikes a record down (240%) and with 8 apartments no growth in inventory
New York Reference with 3,500,000 has the biggest decline in rankings of all (340%) but with 21 apartments it has the biggest percentage of growth on inventory 162%.

Once again Analytics seems to have a slightly different, if realistically more precise, narrative. True Ranking and Visits are indeed two different metrics although we would tend to expect more alignment.

It reads a growth in visits of 16% on Roman Reference and ove 100% growth for Cities Reference, London and Miami, on Madrid it sees a record growth in visits by over 260%. Paris and Berlin instead decline in visitsby just over 20% and New York a staggering 95%. Barcelona barely equal to the previous year.

Last but not least there is one more metrics worth comparing, probably the most important, conversions. We have tracking only for Rome (+30%), Paris (+47%) and Copenaghen (-46%).

If we look at Paris we get some clues. Inventory grows 131% and as a consequence ranking goes up (looks like Alexa values especially returning customers) and, most importantly, conversions go up, even in spite of a decline in visits.

Inventory is clearly key!