FOLLY BEACH, S.C., March 16, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- While global travel marketplaces like HomeAway and Airbnb reach thousands of cities worldwide, FollyBeach.com strives to serve one local community.
So why the need for a local marketplace? "We have the opportunity to go local and stay there all the time," Robert Hart, founder of the service said, noting that the larger networks tend to follow travel trends and service thousands of cities worldwide. "Their content just can't be too specific, and their ad dollars shift when seasons change."
While more global networks shift to ski season as colder weather approaches, FollyBeach.com continues in its effort to drive tourism to Folly Beach. "Local organizers do such a great job of putting on great events that are worth coming into town for no matter what time of year it is, and we try to put a spotlight on those where we can, on the site, social media and to our email subscribers," Hart said.
"FollyBeach.com is a great resource for our visitors. This one site offers current Folly events, where to eat and what to see," said local Architect Dennis Ashley who also owns properties on Folly and participates in the new marketplace.
And then there's the fact Folly's online presence just can't fit its personality into one of the one-size-fits-all rental networks. Ashely points out, "Folly Beach is the one place where quirky fun architecture has a home. While other beach communities may be more manicured, more subject to architectural reviews, this unique place celebrates to unusual, the colorful, the neat and cool. There is no other South Carolina place where I can freely explore my 'take' on a quintessential beach house experience." FollyBeach.com does a great job showcasing the unique vibe Folly puts off.
Beyond the cool new look, it is worth noting the need for this new marketplace comes as Folly Beach property owners become more frustrated with their ad dollars being used to drive traffic away from the island and their properties. Large networks are less concerned where the tourist stays, so they are mixing in results from other locations. Someone searching for Folly Beach for example may find suggestions for other locations.
"What a disappointment, doing a search for our properties on HomeAway.com. The filters set for ocean views, Folly Beach, sleeps five and the results showed properties on Seabrook, Edisto, boats in the harbor and apartments in downtown Charleston. Our properties couldn't be found," Ashley said.
In comparison, search results on FollyBeach.com offer only properties related to Folly. "We believe the long-term benefit of doing that means higher occupancy rates as we help close the gap on shoulder seasons, and that ultimately will attract more investment in Folly," Hart said.
So, what else is on the menu? "We work with local businesses to publish a daily events calendar; you can plan to meet dolphin on your boat ride out to Morris Island, learn to surf with some pretty cool instructors, plan your wedding or look up restaurants. You know….as much of the Folly experience you can take in on a trip," Hart said.
FollyBeach.com is a privately-run service that homeowners and businesses have a choice in joining. "That's a big distinction…. this site isn't supported by tax dollars," Hart said. "We have to earn our keep and that means delivering results on a daily basis."
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