News archives

BookingSync devs recruitment: Whiteboards? No, thanks!

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BookingSync is proud to say we’re hiring without whiteboards: we only focus on your real-world technical skills!

What’s whiteboard recruitment?

Whiteboard is a metaphor used for interviews that are not focused on a candidate’s actual technical skills, but more on the interview skills or background in computer science. This solution is often used in IT.

Basically, during an interview, the potential candidate might be asked to implement an algorithm on a whiteboard: if you’re a developer yourself, you’ll know such a thing never happens in the actual job! Moreover, implementing such algorithms rarely happens in a real world scenario -unless someone is focusing more on computer science than delivering software.

What’s our approach?

At BookingSync, we want to focus on your real programming skills. We don’t want to lose (and make you lose) time on useless processes!

We strongly believe that the best approach for hiring good developers is starting with a take-home assignment which ideally would be similar to some real-world scenario that the potential developer will be working on. Indeed, we're a startup with a team located around the world. Every position we offer is remote, so what’s better than realising this test-assignment in real work conditions? Such assignment shouldn’t be too much time-consuming, but needs to be complex enough to give developers a chance to prove themselves.


The next step would be a technical interview which would include a discussion about the take-home assignment and the decisions made by the developer when developing it and also some open-ended questions. We don’t think that the questions like “what is the time complexity of binary search algorithm?” bring much value - unless the developer will be writing similar algorithms, such questions barely give any feedback if the person is a good candidate for the job or not. Even if it turns out that some developer is not familiar with time complexity, it won’t take much time to learn it. However, learning skills that are required for delivering high-quality software take a lot of time. That’s why asking about things such as Test-Driven Development, The Rails Way vs. Hexagonal Architecture are much more valuable than yes-or-no questions or questions about things that can be quickly googled. We also highly value willingness to learn more and master current skills, that’s why questions about some recent books or blog posts a developer has read and the areas of particular interest (performance optimization, architecture etc.) are important to us.

If you’re a developer and looking for new job offers, BookingSync may just be your next career opportunity: Full-stack, Ember, Rails… Apply for one of our offers and join us in our adventure!

LunarBnB & BookingSync: Ready to fly to the Moon?

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Yes, you read that right!

We’ve been working hard on that ambitious new project for a few years now: thanks to LunarBnB and BookingSync, you can now spend your holidays on the Moon!

LunarBnB: towards new horizons?

We’ve always wanted to offer our clients innovative services, this is why we’ve been working for a long time on how we could stretch the limits of travel and vacation rental.

After collaborating with several startups specialised in space travel, we’ve created LunarBnB: a true space colony, settled on the Moon and entirely run by BookingSync! We had to adapt our software to particular research, equipment and space-time criteria. For example, we had to make sure the oxygen level in the accomodation would suit the number of travelers, but also paying great attention to check-in and check-out times, depending on lightspeed.


Space travel has been enjoying a surge of popularity since a few years, thanks to companies such as SpaceX or Virgin Galactic. Stays on Mars or the Moon, travels around the Earth, technological advances allow us, not only to dream, but to truly prepare ourselves for a borderless future!

Be a part of the LunarBnB experience!

Getting to the facts: how does it all work?

After receiving a psychological and physical preparation to the space travel (and if you pass them), you’ll be ready to travel with LunarBnB. Once prepared, note you’ll need a 3-day space travel before to actually land on the Moon.


A Moon colony will be set up in order to welcome our travelers, for up to 12 people. Whether you’re traveling alone, with your family or some friends, we put once again your comfort on the first plan: an indoor vegetable garden for an healthy and diversified diet, access to several viewing decks inside the colony, lunar trips with our lunar “buggy”... You’ll be remembering those holidays for sure!

Ready to take a leap into the unknown? We'll soon be announcing when you can start signing up to our new LunarBnB experience, but meanwhile, stay tuned and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and visit the official lunarbnb.com website!

Make your guests happy with a few books

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Creating an appropriate listing, adding a few pictures highlighting your property, bringing a real identity are the keys to your rental success, but that’s not all!

Travelers now want to feel at home, even across the world.

  

A few tricks can help you create a unique atmosphere in your property and allow guests to forget they’re renting a vacation house. Your goal is to create a home away from home and as you could see above, our first trick involves sharing a few books with your travelers.

Why sharing books?

Discover how a few books can enhance your guests’ experience and their comments.

This tip is cheap and easy to set up: we all have a bookstore or a book fair nearby! (If that’s not the case, you can still order some used books online).

Providing a few books in your rentals will help you bond with your guests: they want to know the local life, which means getting to know you a bit more. That’s also a great opportunity for them to relax and feel comfortable in your rental. After all, what’s better than a good book after a long day of walk or visits?

Which books should you get?

  • Local and international classic books, but also best sellers: keep an eye on books ranked by Amazon! Depending on countries, you can check which ones are most sold and which ones are international successes. Ever heard about this famous book A Year In Provence, by Peter Mayle? Provide a few copies in your property and your guests will be more than happy to discover some of them!

  • You can also subscribe to a local and a TV magazine.

  • Add a few regional guides to your collection, in several languages: French, English, German, Spanish and Italian, for example.

  • Finally, you could also suggest your travelers to leave one or more books behind after they leave, and ask them to add a note for the future guests. This is one more occasion to receive positive comments and attract more travelers who enjoy this spirit of sharing.


There are a thousand ways you can satisfy your guests and being on holiday is just the perfect moment to start reading a good book!


A few words with High Park Barns

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A couple of weeks ago, we introduced you to the charming Nantucket Retreats properties in Massachusetts, USA. For this second part, we’re crossing the ocean and taking you to the wonderful region of Devon, UK. Nestled between the Cornwalls and both the Bristol and English Channel, this peaceful yet typical region is a true haven of peace for anyone who’s keen to discover the United Kingdom.


Hi there, could you start by introducing yourself in a few words?

We’re Paul and Anne-Louise White. We moved to North Devon in April 2014 with our sons; Alexander and Elliot and their two dogs: Monty and Bertie. Previously, we had lived in Dubai for 20 years so it was a bit of a change! We wanted to do holiday barns so that we could spend more time as a family, as our boys are only 6 and 4 years old.

What kind of rentals do you manage?

We moved into the property in April 2014 and have spent the last three years renovating the barns. We describe ourselves as being in the perfect location as we are in the countryside yet only 3kms from the beaches of North Devon. We now have 7 holiday rentals ranging from a one bedroom barn to a 7 bedroom country house. All have been finished to a very high standard.


What's your best memory as a host?

All our guests rave about Paul's home made scones that we include in the welcome gift basket. We like our guests to start their holiday with a homemade cream tea. We have had chefs staying in our properties so it does put Paul under pressure to make sure his scones are good!


In which house you manage would you like to spend your next holidays?

We always spend a couple of nights in all our properties just so we can make sure that they are fully equipped and comfortable for our guests.  We have been so busy with our holiday rentals that we haven't had time to think about a holiday!

    

What makes High Park Barns so special?

We made the decision to install a wood pellet fed bio mass boiler. All the properties are heated by the bio mass. We also built an indoor swimming pool and have a 6 seater hot tub for our guests to enjoy. The pool is heated by our bio mass boiler and so is at 30 degrees - we like it warm!

We have 14 acres of grounds and our guests are welcome to enjoy the gardens as well as the private lake. We live on site so are always on hand to assist our guests with any questions, e.g. where is the best place to walk their dog or which restaurant would we recommend.

    

- Paul and Anne-Louise, High Park Barns owners.

You can also follow them on Facebook!

A few words with Nantucket Retreats

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2017 just begun and among our New Year’s Resolutions, was our wish to give YOU a chance to speak and share your experience as a vacation rental owner or manager.

Because managing holiday properties is more than just a job, it is a unique commitment towards your guests.

Let’s introduce this shared experience on vacation rentals with Nantucket Retreats, a collection of houses situated on the island of Nantucket, Massachussets, USA.

Hi Kenan, could you start by introducing yourself in a few words?

In 2004, I returned to Nantucket to help a friend fix up a rental property. A visiting family arrived next door, and to their dismay the housekeepers had not finished cleaning the house. My friend and I felt so bad, that we went over and finished cleaning it for them. Afterwards, over a few cocktails and laughs, we talked about the rental process and their experience.

The entire process was very impersonal. You arrive to the island, pick up a packet with keys, directions, island guides and miscellaneous sales brochures. You were now on your own to find the property, figure out where everything is in the house and how the mechanics work.

I thought to myself, what a crazy way to run a hospitality business – This is lodging and lodging is hospitality, not just real estate. I knew I could provide a better service and experience for visitors.

Nantucket Retreats emerged to provide a complete vacation service. We begin by finding the ideal location, then help to plan the perfect vacation, from event tickets, dinner reservations, grocery shopping and anything else you may need. When you arrive on the island, we meet you at the home to acquaint you to the property and answer any questions. If you need a ride, we will even pick you up! Enjoy your undisturbed visit, but know we are here when you need us. Just like a hotel concierge.

The vacation rental business has changed since we first began. More and more homes are operated in a similar fashion and even the real estate agents are offering more services. But one thing stands clear with Nantucket Retreats – yes, we are a licensed real estate company, but our focus is on our guest’s vacation experience and not selling them a home.

At Nantucket Retreats, we specialize in vacation rentals. So when your travel plans include Nantucket, I hope you will consider staying with us, and letting our family take care of your family!


What kind of rentals do you manage?

We manage 6 properties on Nantucket. Mostly larger single family homes, and a couple of townhouses.


What's your best memory as a host?

I've had a lot of great memories over the years, which is what makes this business so rewarding.

When someone only gets a few weeks off a year and they have chosen you as their host, it’s critical to make sure you provide an exceptional experience. The most recent was a couple on their honeymoon who had never been to Nantucket before. This was more than just their typical vacation and we did everything we could to make sure everything was as close to perfect as possible. The personal email I received after they returned home, thanking us for a truly amazing honeymoon was so rewarding. This is what keeps me motivated every day.   They have also rebooked their first anniversary vacation with us for this year as well!


In which house you manage would you like to spend your next holidays?

Some of our guests prefer larger homes, however, I prefer a smaller quaint cottage with spectacular views. I would choose The Cottage, which is a small 2-bedroom quintessential Nantucket cottage that overlooks Sesachacha Pond. It is just a couple of minutes to walk down to the beach to go sailing and I would enjoy sitting on the front porch, watching people walking by as I sipped on a cocktail. There is also a private patio out back to grill, have a family dinner or just be alone and read a book. To me, it's a peaceful, cozy setting and this is where I would choose to stay for a truly relaxing vacation.

What makes Nantucket Retreats so special?

Our guests are reserving more than just a vacation rental. They are reserving a vacation experience. Our mission is to pamper our guests with casual luxury accommodations and exceptional guest services. In order to fulfill our mission, we aim to better understand our guests and their needs.

-Kenan, Nantucket Retreats manager.


You can also find them on Facebook!

Optimise your pricing strategy automatically with Beyond Pricing and BookingSync

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We’re proudly introducing you to our latest partnership with BeyondPricing: starting today, access their dynamic pricing solution, adjusted for each of your rentals!

Why using Beyong Pricing?

Beyond Pricing is the world's most popular revenue management and dynamic pricing software for vacation rentals. Driven by big-data and predictive analytics, Beyond Pricing dynamically prices over 60,000 listings in 350 markets worldwide, optimizing prices based on changes in supply and demand. Based in San Francisco, Beyond Pricing has priced over $200 million in bookings. The company previously raised $1.5 million in venture capital from top-tier investors including Resolute Ventures, Social Leverage and Structure Capital.

How to access Beyond Pricing with BookingSync

After creating a Beyond Pricing account, users can easily link their BookingSync account and instantly receive 365 days of optimized prices based on billions of data points but customized for their listing and their neighborhood.  Beyond Pricing leverages big data predictive analytics and machine learning to set prices based on seasonality, day of week, major local events, hard-to-book days and last-minute availability.  

When it comes to pricing, one tip Beyond Pricing has for owners and managers is to not get booked up too early.  Often, people are excited to be fully-booked months in advance but in many markets, that’s a clear sign you’re underpriced.  Beyond Pricing helps you ensure you’re booked at exactly the right pace with its proprietary Health Score measure so you can make the most from your listings.

declares Beyond Pricing’s CEO, Ian McHenry, who previously helped the world’s largest hotels and airlines with dynamic pricing and revenue management. Beyond Pricing brings the same sophistication to vacation rentals.


Already a BookingSync client? Don’t wait and install the Beyond Pricing app from our App Center!

BookingSync and the Esperanza community

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In 2015 Sébastien Grosjean, BookingSync co-founder, travelled to Panama in order to make his commitment towards charity a reality.

Hello Sébastien, could you introduce yourself and talk a bit about BookingSync’s commitment for charity?

Hello, my name’s Sébastien, co-founder of BookingSync.

Before to start working on this company, I had already been working in the vacation rental sector for more than 10 years. But as the years passed, I wanted to do something more rewarding, something that could mix my experience in new technologies and vacation rental, in order to develop both.

Thanks to BookingSync, we can change the way vacation rental is addressed but also make profits which can later be partially redistributed to several organizations or associations (whether they focus on the environment, social rights, etc.).

Our commitment towards charity is constitutive of our development, which is one of our investors’ motivations. Each one of them supports and encourages us in that process so that, eventually, we could redistribute from 10 to 50% of our profits.

As we are still in the launching phase, we’re not making profits yet but we were still looking for a way to materialize our humanitarian engagement.

I then went to Casco Viejo in Panama, on April, 18th and 19th, 2015 with Matt Landau from VRMB.com.

Why Casco Viejo?

Matt Landau is an important stakeholder in the vacation rental sector, especially in Panama. I decided to join him as he was already there. He is very involved in the community and I thought it would be a real opportunity for me to receive some of his wise advice.


Matt had offered a vacation rental consulting workshop to those who donated to his foundation, Esperanza San Felipe, and Microsoft was willing to “Double the Donation”, which allowed Esperanza to receive twice more. So thanks Matt (and Microsoft) for making this possible!

What does Esperanza work on?

Esperanza, “Hope” in Spanish, works towards rehabilitating former gang members. The association allows them to be psychologically and socially monitored, educates their wives and children, provides them with food and health goods (such as baby diapers, hygiene products, etc.).

In exchange of those products and services, the members work for the community and are paid in “Buenas Obras”, “Good Deeds” in Spanish. This alternative currency gives them access to everything they need to purchase in the association’s market.

The association also encourages them to develop their own business, such as seafood delivery, food service, etc.
For now, 4 out of 5 gangs have been rehabilitated in Casco Viejo. The remaining members even come by themselves to the association in order to benefit from its services and care.

If you had to choose one word to describe this experience, which one would it be?

Hope / Esperanza

Life in Casco Viejo has been marred with violence for a long period of time, especially because of the gangs. They used to represent the only possible future to its inhabitants but thanks to Esperanza, they can now consider living a better life. Following the first gang rehabilitation experiences made by Esperanza, it's now other gangs asking for help to get a fresh start. It is amazing to see how, in as little as 5 years, rival gangs could pass from shooting each other to shaking hands for a brighter future.

What’s your next project?

We’re working with Arndt Soret, CEO and co-founder of the association Humanium, which fights for children’s rights (fighting against violence, food distribution, etc.) especially in Rwanda.

Arndt is also BookingSync’s lawyer and he works in the field directly for the association. We aim to develop an app in our interface which will be dedicated to Humanium so that the BookingSync users can define a certain percentage of their profits to give to the association.

We will donate this app very soon, as it is still under development.


You can support Esperanza and its missions too!

BookingSync Integrates with Properly’s Turnover Management Tool to Simplify Cleaning and Operations

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BookingSync is thrilled to integrate a new solution for cleaning and turnover management for our customers. Our new partner, Properly, lets hosts and managers use text and visual checklists to share instructions with cleaners, schedule all changeover services, and easily manage the entire changeover process in one place.

This integration simplifies everything related to the turnover:

  • Show your cleaners your exact hospitality and staging touches with a visual checklist

  • Schedule cleanings and simplify your invoicing process with suppliers

  • Stay on top of progress in real time and get proof the changeover was completed to your standards through Properly’s integrated photo capture

To get started:

  1. Create a free account on Properly. BookingSync customers benefit from a free 30-day trial on Properly, so you can test the tool at no expense.

  2. Connect Properly in your BookingSync account.

  1. Create checklists for your cleaners and home service providers on Properly. Properly checklists ensure turnovers are managed to your requirements. These checklists use your BookingSync listing photos, so your cleaners can see exactly what guests expect.
  2. Schedule turnover jobs with your cleaners in Properly thanks to the BookingSync interface. Properly lets you monitor cleaners’ progress in real time. Their photo capture tool lets you oversee the work of your cleaners at any time and provide a record of listing condition after each guest checkout (critical if you have damages). Thanks to the BookingSync integration, changeover scheduling is simple.

FetchMyGuest, your vacation rentals’ marketing partner

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BookingSync and FetchMyGuest are associating their offers, for you to enjoy a broader, more personalized service: you now have the option to automate your marketing strategy!


FetchMyGuest’s platform is open and flexible; you can access it directly from BookingSync’s API (Application Programming Interface).

What services do FetchMyGuest offer?

  • A synchronised messaging service: your clients’ requests are handled separately, depending on their demands and preferences

  • Emailing and marketing campaigns management: send personalised info to your guests depending on their geographic area and booking cycles

  • A greater visibility: distribute your properties on the FindRentals platform, a member of FetchMyGuest’s Distribution Network and pay no booking fees!

  • Automatic emailing campaigns follow up

  • Stay alerted: you receive an alert every time a traveler is showing interest in one of your properties

  • Provide a personalised experience to each one of your clients thanks to a High Touch Brand Marketing Outreach

  • Lead management: manage, organize and optimize each contact

  • Guest retention: improve your customer loyalty and build a positive Brand relationship with your potential customers, throughout the sales cycle

  • An intelligent targeting of your needs and expectations, while giving you a full access to reports and insights on your actions

What are the concrete benefits of those services?

Integrating the FetchMyGuest platform will allow you to increase your bookings conversion rate. Improve your brand image and reputation while boosting your reservations.

FetchMyGuest allows you to keep total control over your customer experience and to get more organised.

With FetchMyGuest and BookingSync, save more time and book even more!

Yann Bricombert, A Free Owner - Interview of a vacation rental pro

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We’ve recently talked with Yann Bricombert, vacation rental owner and author of the blog Propriétaire Libre (A Free Owner) after he organized his last contest: the Vacation Rental Trophies, which took place between November, 28th and December, 6th.


You can read the full interview, in French, here.