Videolog: Vacation Rental And Its Surroundings

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Recommended welcome book solutions:


Special thanks to Will Franco from JiveSystems and Grzesiek Kołodziejczyk from Ragnarson for recommending me the mic I currently use, the Rode SmartLav+, without which this video would not have been possible.

Videolog: Vacation Rental Newsletters

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Recommended newsletter solutions:

Campaign Monitor

Videolog: Vacation Rental, Updated Calendars

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Videolog: Vacation Rental World Summit

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Still time to subscribe to the Vacation Rental World Summit and level up your vacation rental marketing skills.

Videolog: Vacation Rental, Surprise Your Guests

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Videolog: Vacation Rental Reviews

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New BookingSync User Interface Released

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Back in January of this year, we introduced an updated look for BookingSync: a new logo—the Smile—and website re-design.

If the new look changed up our house’s exterior, then the remaining work to be done was an interior re-design, that is, a revamping of the UI/UX of the BookingSync software itself. 

To this end, I participated in Tech Beach 2015, an intensive 14-day product re-design event run by Surf Office—a Lisbon, Portugal-based co-working and co-living space for location-independent operators. 

With the Tech Beach designers, I spent the full two weeks in Lisbon working towards not only an improved product user experience, but also a product that more fully brings to life the feeling, ethos, and spirit of BookingSync.

And now, less than a month after attending this event, I'm pleased to inform you that a BRAND NEW BOOKINGSYNC INTERFACE has been released!! 

You will rediscover the features you like with a more modern, intuitive and user-friendly design. No doubt it will make your BookingSync experience even more enjoyable!  

Here are the main improvements:

  • The menu, which replaces the upper menu bar (tabs), is now on theleft side, to bring much more visibility on the screen. You will find Preferences on the left side too, just click on “Manage account”.

  • Calendar colors changed for better readability. The confirmed bookings are now displayed in BLUE, and tentative bookings in ORANGE. The bookings from external portals are not in PURPLE anymore but in BLUE, ORANGE or GREY depending on their status, along with a padlock to inform that the periods are locked. 
  • The calendar appears up to 3 times faster!

Comment on your bookings!

From now on, any person accessing the account can add or edit comments in the booking popup. These comments can also be shared with the cleaning staff or kept private.

Finer details on bedrooms and bathrooms!

Transport your guests to their dream vacation rental before they even arrive! You can more precisely define the fixtures you have in your bedrooms and bathrooms in the rental description.

Manage the damage deposit!

Easy! Define the damage deposit amount in the "Rates" tab of your rental. Then select the option of your choice, whether you want to charge it along with the booking payment or on arrival.

Stay tuned, great stuff is coming soon!!!

If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact us by sending a message to or just respond to this email.

Hope you'll enjoy!

Séb & your BookingSync Team

Videolog: Vacation Rental, It's All About Service

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Top Five Things You Should Know About Demand Based Pricing

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Have you ever wondered what demand based or dynamic pricing is, how it works and why it might be beneficial for you as a short term rental owner?

Read on.

We invited Doug Ross of—a dynamic rates engine—to share a few facts and tidbits about demand based pricing with you, our BookingSync audience.


1. Demand Based Pricing Is Available to the VR World 

Demand based pricing is available for you as a vacation rental host.

More and more services are cropping up to help you price your short term rental. for example, is available to Airbnb hosts in major metros in the U.S. and will be expanding both globally and to other platforms like HomeAway and FlipKey in future.

2. There Is More to Pricing than Seasonality

There are more than two or even four indicators for demand in a year.

The reason most people use seasonal pricing is because demand typically changes a lot with the changing seasons.  So seasonality has played a role as an indicator for demand.  If you have a summer house in Maine - demand is going to be higher in summer and therefore you should price your place higher in that season.  So if you are applying seasonal pricing for your property, you are already using a form of demand based pricing.

If you think of seasons as (rough) proxies for demand, it is not hard then to think of other proxies for demand as well such as weekends vs weekdays or holidays vs regular days.  

Instead of proxies, wouldn’t it be better to track actual demand?  For example is demand on Monday, July 27th the same as for Monday, August, 10th?  If you’re using a blunt seasonality approach, all Mondays and maybe all weekdays, may be priced the same within a season.  And that could mean you’re missing some opportunities to price in sync with demand and to therefore make more money.

3. Smart Algorithms behind the Scenes 

Data forms the backbone of a good demand based pricing application

At Everbooked, we track multiple sources of data including: demand for similar short term rentals near your listing, hotel prices, general travel demand data, day of week patterns and more when pricing our clients’ places.

Once those giga-bytes of data are gathered daily, we apply our algorithm to your listing and update prices to your calendar.  For periods of low demand, we start lowering your price to help you gain bookings.

4. Democratization of Technology

Demand based pricing has been made possible to individual short term rental owners because of dramatic changes in technology.

In the past, the power to do pricing resided with the big players.  Hotels could afford to buy sophisticated revenue management software and hire the staff to implement it.  They had lots of data coming in, such as inquiry and booking levels for their own properties, and through syndication, the inventory of other hotels.  Property managers on the vacation side could do this because they had current and historical data from hundreds or more of their own properties.  They also tended to work on a commission basis so their interests were aligned with owners in making more money.

Today, the individual property manager can benefit from the kind of revenue management approach of hotels because of technology and the economics of technology.  Sparing you the nitty gritty, the key elements in this fortunate situation are:

  • access to massive amounts of data through programming interfaces and the ‘scraping’ of publicly available sources

  • low cost ability to gather, store and analyze that data

  • data science techniques, algorithm development and machine learning to make all this data meaningful at the individual property owner level

5. The Bottom Line

You can make more money.

By having your prices set based on shifts in demand and booking rates for similar properties around you, you can make more money.  When demand is higher, your place is priced higher so you earn more on a per night or stay basis.  When demand is lower, your prices are lowered toward a minimum or floor price so you gain more bookings.  Bookings made at your floor price brings revenue you otherwise would not have in your pocket had you missed those bookings due prices being set too high.

In summary, demand based or dynamic pricing has come to the vacation rental market.  There is more to life than a high and low season, so take advantage of the data driven services out there to help you price your vacation property, and in the process make yourself a higher return on your investment.

Videolog: Vacation Rental Upsells

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How to Choose a Vacation Rental Software? Ask Yourself These Questions

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As the vacation rental industry grows, so do the number of products and services available to owners, managers, and agencies. Searching for, evaluating, and adopting these tools and technologies can be a cumbersome and time-consuming process.

And yet, one of the biggest decisions for your vacation rental business is choosing one such tool in particular: a vacation rental management system.  

High-level, vacation rental management software should save you time and help you generate more bookings. On a more basic level, it should do what you want it to do.

So I ask: what is it that you want your vacation rental management system to do?

Before choosing any software, it’s important to have clear the answer to this question.

Thus, below I pose a host of questions for you to consider– divided into five sections including Calendar Syncing, Channel Management, Pricing & Revenue Management, CRM System Functionality, and Company Ethos.

1. Calendar Syncing

  • What kind of synchronization are you looking for exactly?
  • Are you looking to synchronize using iCal? If so, then are you therefore OKAY with a 6-8 hour delay for your updates to be pushed?
  • Or would you rather have something more instant?
  • Should this synchronization work with your website as well? In this case, do you have widgets or an API in order to connect your website with the given software in the style and user experience you’re looking for?

2. Channel Management (Airbnb, VRBO,, etc.)

As far as channel management goes, it’s essential to ask what level of integration you want as there are almost as many ways to integrate as there are softwares out there. Questions like:

  • Do you support 2-way synchronization with [portal/channel goes here]?
  • What property details (e.g., dates, rates, property description, amenities, photos, special offers, etc.) are distributed and synchronized?
  • What time lapse do you have for a new update to be pushed or retrieved?
  • If you’re able to synchronize rates, how do you synchronize more complex pricing schemas required by vacation rentals managers and not supported by some of these portals?
  • How do you synchronize fees and taxes?

Note that some portals support only a single tax. But, in Canada, for instance, there are 3 types— Tourist tax, GST, QST (at least in Montreal).

  • How do you handle payments? What payment gateways do you support?

3. Pricing & Revenue Management

  • Do you support [all your pricing logic goes here: last minute offers, early bookings, long stay discounts, weekend increases, etc.]?
  • Do you support specific periods of time?
  • Do you have an API (free and public) or partnership with a pricing optimization company?

4) CRM System Functionality

  • Can you export to emailing systems?
  • How much or how little information can you track per customer? Is this information sufficient for your invoicing, targeted marketing, and other needs?

5) Company Ethos

I would also recommend looking for a few more details:

  • How open or closed is the ecosystem of the software being evaluated?

An open system with complete and modern APIs will let you extend functionality if you ever need to, say, due to growth or other business demands. Further, you’re able to access all your data at any time in a structured manner, which makes it easy for you to leave and switch softwares if you’re no longer happy. You should always have easy access to your data and never be stuck.

  • Who owns and runs this company?
  • What is the company’s goal? vision? If it is to grow quickly and cash-out fast, would an acquisition leave your VR business in danger should the new buyer pivot?
  • Do you share the same beliefs and feel comfortable having this company as part of your business?

In my opinion, your vacation rental software will become a member of your team. It’s a key component to your business and you should feel comfortable with its soul.

I’ll finish with a quick saying that I believe is right to the point:

We say in real estate the three most important factors are:

  1. The location
  2. The location
  3. The location

In software these three key points are:

  1. The team
  2. The team
  3. The team

Videolog: Vacation Rental Software and Synchronization

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Hey there, it's Seb Grosjean live from Lisbon - Portugal, while attending TechBeach 2015, it's a 2 weeks event with 4 experts in User Experience and Design in mission to bring BookingSync to the next level.
Also presenting in this video is my upcoming talk at the Vacation Rental World Summit in mid-October, where I will speak about vacation rental synchronization. From the ideal behaviors to the current state and technical limitations but also provide recommendation and solutions.

Show notes:

Videolog: Vacation Rental Branding Is In The Air

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BookingSync And Proprly Talk VR On New Podcast "This Week In AIRBNB and BEYOND"

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Our CEO Sébastien Grosjean joined Randy Engler, CEO of Proprly, on the first-ever episode of BeyondPricing’s weekly podcast ‘This Week In AIRBNB and BEYOND.’

The discussion was hosted by BeyondPricing Co-founder & President Ian McHenry. And the group explored topics such as:

  • Airbnb’s new ad campaign Mankind

  • How homesharing properties compare with traditional vacation rentals

  •’s foray into the homesharing space

  • Travel investing and BookingSync’s unique approach to fundraising

  • and much more in the world of Airbnb, homesharing and vacation rentals

Listen to the podcast here! provides trusted, reliable, on-demand cleaning and key delivery services for rental hosts who list their properties on Airbnb, HomeAway, and VRBO. is a revenue management tool that automatically optimizes and posts prices to Airbnb and other major channel partners.

Videolog: What Home Building And Vacation Rental Marketing Have In Common

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Home Made Floor Plans

Example of floor plans used at for the Villa Sivota

Recommended Floor Plans Service Providers



TripAdvisor study, mentioned by Amy Hinote, VRMIntel and Koryn Okey, TripAdvisor conference at VRMA Dublin 2015.
Matt Landau floor plans survey

Videolog: Vacation Rental Marketing Independence

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As mentioned, I highly recommend to register to Matt Landau's Workshop on "Listing Site Independence" , it will be July 8th, 2015 but you should register as soon as possible to ensure you get a place. Matt is for me The Vacation Rental Marketing Leader and definitly someone you want keep an eye on if you are serious about your vacation rental marketing efforts.

Videolog: Vacation Rental Branding Within Photography

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From Sivota Lefkada in Greece, I share some tips about branding within your photography.

Key topics:

  • Using your logo on the TV screens
  • Using branded towels or pillows

Here's some of our photos used at VillasThalassa:

Videolog: Vacation Rental Inquiry Management

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Here's the link to the softwares I recommend in this video to make your vacation rental inquiry management more efficient:

TextExpander for Mac, iPad and iPhone
Phrase Express for Windows computers and Android phones

Videolog: Vacation Rental Photography 101

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4 Small Deeds That Leave A Big Impact On The VR Guest Experience

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Given that BookingSync is a distributed company, we have the freedom to travel and live in new places. I’ve hopped around New York, Chicago, San Francisco, and Berkeley (USA); Bogota and Medellin (Colombia); Montevideo (Uruguay); Mexico City (Mexico); Oslo (Norway); Stockholm (Sweden). Much of this time has been spent living in vacation rentals. In all, I’ve had one poor experience. The rest have been positive, a few of which have even spawned friendships I maintain to this day. A constant across these positive visits were:

  • Clear and open communication ahead of arrival (communication)
  • Good rapport between me and the host (rapport)
  • Clean, quiet, and safe living quarters (environment)

In addition to high quality communication, rapport, and environment, there are small deeds that can turn an already positive stay into a remarkable one. These are little, menschy things the host does that hold great value. They are by no means necessary, but can leave a lasting impact. In my travels, a few to highlight include:

  1. A meal upon arrival

  2. A bike and helmet

  3. Laundry

  4. A ride

A meal upon arrival

After a several hour flight, I land and am hungry. I prefer not to settle for airport food. So I proceed to where I’ll be staying. Usually, there is no food upon arrival. This is fine. I don’t expect there to be. I expect to drop off my luggage, and hit the new streets for a hearty, local meal.

At the same time, it puts a smile on my face when a meal is available upon arrival. It’s a show of empathy. It’s show of understanding that the traveler just traveled, and might come with an appetite. I also find it a tactful way to connect with the host, as the meal establishes a comfortable context for easy conversation.

A bike and helmet

I greatly value a bike for two reasons: (1) it’s a fantastic way to explore a city and (2) it’s an efficient, practical means of transportation. My first bike experience with a vacation rental was in Berkeley, California. My Airbnb host lent me a bike and helmet. I was required to sign a waiver releasing the host from liability should I become injured, which was no problem. The bike allowed me to see parts of Berkeley, Oakland, and other areas of the East Bay I probably would not have seen otherwise.


Particularly for extended stays, laundry service is a big benefit. While I understand the value of the sometimes random, spontaneous interactions that come with going to the laundromat, on balance, I rather have a washing machine close by. It’s a convenience and frees up time for other things.

To note, when I say “laundry,” I don’t necessarily mean that the host or perhaps a housekeeper does my laundry. I’m plenty happy with easy access to a washing machine and doing laundry myself.

A ride

The last one I mention here is “a ride.” This could mean the host picks the guest up upon arrival at the airport, brings the guest to the airport for departure, or simply gives a ride somewhere.

For instance, when I was in Bogota, Colombia, I had just got settled in and dropped off my things. I was hungry and wanted to go out for food. However, it was pretty late and we weren’t that close to a supermarket or restaurant. My host understood this and offered to drive me to the supermarket so I could pick up groceries. In a second case, a host drove me to a BART station (the San Francisco Bay Area metro) so I could make my way to the airport. I was very grateful. Both were positive stays.

To reiterate, these small deeds are not necessary and are not expected. But when they’re scrambled into the guest experience, they’re highly valued. As a vacation rental owner or manager, if you have your own small deed stories, please share with us. We’d love to learn about them.

Photo by Robert Couse-Baker (original size modified)

The Evolution Of The BookingSync Logo

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It’s exciting times at BookingSync. We recently announced our official re-launch: the release of new features -- Full Property Management and Rates Management -- additional, powerful tools to help vacation rentals hosts and agencies manage their rentals, as well as partnerships with Roomorama and HomeAway.

We also announced a re-branded web interface and new logo, thereby saying goodbye to our previous logo and design and a piece of BookingSync history. So, before we plunge forward into the new year, we would like to take a moment to reflect on our logo’s journey and trace its evolution.

1. 05 January 2010 -- CalendarSync

Back in 2010, BookingSync Founder & CEO Sébastien Grosjean was running a vacation rental business in Lefkada, Greece. The ability to keep portal calendars synchronized and updated automatically, from one central platform, was a nagging problem. Like many vacation rental owners and managers, he was in search of a tool to help deal with these issues. Séb decided to build that tool. Thus, he set out to develop what would become BookingSync. The first version included availability management and portal synchronization. Both features are anchored by the calendar, which in turn inspired the Calendar Sync logo.

2.14 August 2012-- Cloud

Calendar management and synchronization are core pillars of our product. These early features paved the way for a vacation rental software with wider capabilities. We made bookings management easier, added payments tracking and online payment acceptance, and launched automatic contracts delivery. The world of BookingSync grew beyond the calendar and portal synchronization. We sought a logo that captured the essence of this new world: more versatility, increased flexibility, and greater extensibility. The Cloud tied all these new elements together.

3. 17 December 2014 -- Smile

The new BookingSync logo, Smile, is a stark change from its predecessors. This change is representative of our company on a whole:

Earlier this year, we raised our first round of investment, more than $1MM USD from 160 investors in five different countries. Our team has grown to 10+, working in countries across the map -- France, Greece, Poland, Bali, the U.S. And we’ve expanded the reach of our customer base to over 90 countries.

In short, we’ve gone from a one-person shop, bootstrapping and writing code, to a funded startup with a passionate international team. Indeed, this is change we’re happy about :). But why the Smile?

BookingSync is a global company and a global product. As a testament to such, our team speaks nine languages including English, French, Greek, Spanish, Macedonian, Polish, Serbian, Croatian, and Bulgarian. Likewise, our customers come from a myriad of languages, cultures, and customs. A constant across all these different backgrounds is a smile. No matter the language, a smile is easily interpreted.

In this sense, a smile, the universal sign of happiness, is what connects all of us. For, if we work happy, we will be productive. If we’re productive, the vacation rental owners and agencies that use BookingSync will be happy. Thus if we work happy, our customers will be happy, which at the end of the day is BookingSync’s goal.

Smile :).