News archives

6 Professional Tips For Your Listings’ Pictures

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Pictures are literally the window to your rentals; they’re key elements of your listings.

Compared to traditional, long-term rentals, vacationers cannot visit your properties before renting. It is then essential for you to highlight your houses’ or apartments’ best points thanks to quality pictures. Every detail counts, when it comes to photography.


We asked Marc Julien, professional photographer since 2008 and specialised in the vacation rental industry, to share with us his best tips to help you take the best pictures of your properties.

6 must-know tips for your pictures

  • First of all, provide yourself with the means to taking great pictures! Don’t randomly pick a camera. Forget about smartphones, choose a quality digital camera.

  • 1m20 / 4ft: the “Golden Number” of pictures! Don’t take pictures standing up, or too close to the ground. Photos taken 1m20 / 4ft up provide an ideal shot over your rentals’ rooms.

  • The tripod, a good photographer’s secret weapon: your pictures won’t get more or less intentionally vague with this tool, your camera remains stable when shooting and you save time.

  • Avoid fleeting images: position yourself in a corner of the room, rather than back to the wall. Snap the opposite angle to get the best camera angle.

  • Watch out for backlighting, especially if the room you’re photographing has a window. When snapping inside, you can also use the HDR mode on your camera. This will optimise both the quality and light of your shots.

  • Tidy up your rental! Whether you think this last piece of advice is just a detail, or logical, allow us to insist on it. If your property isn’t at its best when shooting, potential travelers may deduce that it will remain the same when arriving at your place, and that your rental isn’t fitted for their needs.

Which mistakes should you avoid when shooting?

No detail should be left apart when photographing! Clean up, shoot, start again. Take all the time you need to ensure you’ll get the best picture quality possible.

Watch out for mirror reflections! That’s the kind of detail that makes all the difference. Check every reflection, especially on ovens, fridges, kitchen furniture… Not to forget bathrooms and their large mirrors.

You can use a remote triggering system, and learn how to use a picture editing software such as Photoshop or Gimp.

A few more tips

You should also know that using a good camera isn’t enough to take good pictures. Ask a professional retailer how to pick the right lens, fitted to your needs.

When adding the pictures to your listings, carefully choose how to display and position them. The potential traveler should feel like he/she is visiting the property: start with the living-room, then the kitchen, the bedrooms and finally the bathroom, not to forget the outside -garden, patio, surroundings. Don’t add over a dozen pictures.

You can also adapt your listings to the season, especially when it comes to the outside. Renting a mountain chalet? Take pictures of your chalet and its surroundings covered in snow and start over when spring comes, highlighting what makes holidays in the middle of nature so attractive.

Pictures should be taken at the right time. Is it raining or cloudy? Postpone your shooting and start again when the sun is back. Nothing beats natural sunlight when it comes to creating value for your vacation rentals.

As you see, one doesn’t become a professional photographer overnight. You’ll need to take into account a great amount of details, if you want to stack all the odds in your favour.

Competition is getting increasingly tough in the vacation rental industry. You can also make use of the services of a professional photographer, specialised in this area. You’ll then benefit from the best tips and tricks for your listings.


We would like to thank Marc Julien, professional photographer specialised in the vacation rental industry, for these tips and tricks. You too can call on Marc Julien’s experience for your properties. Visit his indoor shots gallery for a better overview of his work.


Welkeys Club: Hotel Quality For Vacation Rentals

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Welkeys is specialised in short and medium-term rental management, and has been developing its services for several years now: revenue management, hotel services, concierges… A team of +1,000 concierges, working in the main cities of France, manages the rentals for Welkeys. Their team also provides their services in Brussels, Belgium and Marrakech, Morocco.

Faced with this success, Welkeys decided to create Welkeys Club, its own booking platform made for travelers, thanks to BookingSync’s Website Builder.


What’s Welkeys Club?

If you’re feeling like traveling and renting an apartment or a house while getting hotel services, Welkeys Club is made for you, whether you’re simply on holiday or traveling for business!

Welkeys Club offers more than just a vacation rental platform, as they’ve selected fully-equipped housings for your comfort: wifi, welcome kit, house linen etc. are included in the rental.

Welkeys takes care of their travelers before, during and after their stay and offers a personalised service, tailored to their clients’ needs. The Welkeys team is young, 100% connected and attentive to travelers.

Why choosing Welkeys Club over another platform?

There’s no surprise when paying your booking on Welkeys Club: no rental or management fees are being added to the price displayed.

The net price is the final renting price, inclusive of all taxes!

The Welkeys Club offer: Who can join, and how?

The Welkeys Club has been created for two types of travelers: holiday-makers who already booked with Welkeys in the past, and who would like to travel again with them, but also for business travelers who wish to stay in a fully-equipped apartment during their stay.

Visit the Welkeys Club website for your next stay!

Need to ask a question? Contact the Welkeys team by phone +33(0)1 40 20 77 23 or email premium@welkeys.com.


If, just like Welkeys, you would like to know more about our Website builder, ask for your free demo right now!

Bye 2017, Hello 2018: Our Year In Review

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January is here again and just like we did last year, it’s time for us to look back on that time spent together.

What’s new with BookingSync? Here’s how we evolved over the past 365 days.


Exchanges

  • Vacation Rental World Summit: the VRWS took place in September, 23-24 in Florence, Italy. No presentation for us this time, but we had the pleasure to meet many actors of the vacation rental industry and attend interesting meetings.

  • The HomeAway meeting which took place in Annecy, France, on December, 7th to present our HomeAway integration.

  • The HomeAway conference that took place between May, 24th-26th in Austin, USA.

  • Official Ember.js sponsorship: we’re one of the many softwares that can live thanks to Ember’s open-source framework. Regularly organising Ember retreats for their developers is our way to say thank you.

What’s new

New co-workers

In 2017 again, more people joined us in our vacation rental journey:

  • Reinforcement of our customer care service: Alek, Tony, JB, Mathilde, Mirella, Tenley, Zahra and Laura are now part of the BookingSync adventure.

  • New developers: Adrian, Dan, Jovica, Okzea, Marc, Maciej, Sabin & Alexey. Welcome to the team!

  • Marine, our Digital Content Manager has also joined us full-time.

    
Babies and weddings!

  • Maud and Laura had 2 wonderful babies in 2017. Congratulations again!

  • Jovica and Alexey got married last year -but not together- best wishes!


     

More to come for 2018! Our team is working on top features we can’t disclose for now, but we’re sure you’ll love them… and as usual, they’ll help you Save Time and Book More!


BookingSync Now Integrates misterb&b, World’s First Gay Hotelier

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At BookingSync, we keep expanding our service in 2018 by now integrating misterb&b, world’s first gay hotelier.

Misterb&b is becoming a key player of the international homosexual vacation rental, as it has already counts 200.000 hosts in 135 countries.


What’s misterb&b?

Following a negative experience in his personal life, Matthieu Jost, misterb&b’s CEO, decided to create his own vacation rental platform in 2014. This platform would then help anyone feel welcome, without risking being judged depending on the sexual preference.

“While collaborative economics are booming, gay hosts and travelers do not always feel welcome or even safe” says Matthieu Jost, misterb&b’s CEO.

misterb&b is the answer to a strong demand on collaborative tourism, in the booming sector of gay tourism, that’s been estimated at more than 100 billion Dollars. The gay travel market is a premium segment, with clients traveling twice more than in the regular travel market.

misterb&b is available on internet, but also on Android & iOS.


Getting started with misterb&b

Read our manual to know how to install and use the app.

Already a BookingSync client? Download the misterb&b app in our App Center right now and watch our live webinar on January, 11th at 5pm EST !

Didn't get the chance to watch our live webinar? Worry no more, we've got you covered with this recorded video below.

6 Reasons Why Your Vacation Rentals Need Their Own Facebook Page

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Social media is now a huge part of our lives, whether professionally or personally. Even as a private person, how can you avoid using them? Unless you’ve made a clear choice not to appear online, there are few chances you don’t already own a Facebook account.

As a vacation rental professional though, it’s not that easy. If you want to grow and keep getting new clients, your rentals need their own page.

Even worse, if you own or manage several properties, not having your own Facebook page could look suspicious to potential customers.

 

But, don’t worry - we’re here to help and guide you!

So, take a few minutes and read what we have to say on Facebook, and why it could definitely help you fill these last few vacant weeks.

Why do my vacation rentals need their own Facebook page?

If what we said previously wasn’t enough already, there are many reasons why you should start using this social network:

  • Increase your online exposure

First of all, start with creating your Facebook page. Use your brand, the one appearing on your logo and website, such as misterb&b -see the next picture. Add a nice cover picture that could show your top property, and a profile picture -your logo, for example. Facebook also lets you add your phone number, website address, history: fill in as much information as you can! This will help you gain the potential travelers’ trust and look professional.

Every picture, video or link you post on your page can be liked and shared by your followers. Each time someone interacts with your content, it then appears on their Facebook friends’ newsfeed.

  • Promote your rentals for free

Facebook is free and open to all, you don’t have to pay at any moment, if you don’t wish to. Starting here, you can share anything you like on your page -you should stay coherent in your publications, though, but we will talk about this point in the next paragraph.

Each post is another opportunity for you to reach and attract new clients.

What should I share on Facebook, and when?

That’s a sensitive point a lot of Facebook page managers tend to underestimate. Facebook isn’t just a hobby or a way to promote yourself or your rentals. You may scare people away and lose your audience!

  • Introduce your rentals: if you own or manage several rentals, you could share one of them once or twice per week, for example. Always try to add a little something to it, do not just share a picture or a link to your listing.

Who wouldn’t love to spend a weekend in such a beautiful beach house?

This apartment is the perfect place if you want to discover Paris and its famous bakeries!

On Facebook too, you should master the art of Storytelling.

  • Share travel tips and highlight what makes your region so cool: Put yourself in your tourists’ shoes. Why should they want to travel to your home? What makes your region so special? Once or twice a week, you can share any event, festival, gathering that happens around your rental -and that has an added value, of course. Feel free to also take beautiful pictures of sunsets, beaches, mountains, any kind of landscapes that are enjoyable.

  • Share promotions and deals: Need to fill in these last few vacant weeks? Here we are! Facebook’s the best way to highlight your properties when the low season comes. Boost your bookings thanks to limited-time coupons, special offers, etc.

  • Talk about the services/products you offer: Do you offer concierge services? Can travelers call you if they need to go to the airport? Can they share some time with you and discover your city with a local? They’re as many special gestures you can make, to make their stay unforgettable.

As vacation rental travelers are not just tourists anymore, but people really eager to discover and enjoy a local’s city and habits, they want to share and know your way of life. Facebook is the best way to give them a glimpse into your local life, with a little plus -they’ll be on holiday, after all.

BookingSync Receives The HomeAway Preferred Partner Status For 2017

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We’ve been chosen as Preferred Partner 2017 by HomeAway.

This decision comes after several years of collaboration with HomeAway, with whom we built a strong technical partnership. This collaboration helped our BookingSync clients benefit from many major advantages for their vacation rental activity.

  • Advanced API syncing for updated information, and a better ranking for their listings

  • Possibility for our clients to use their own payment platform, while benefiting from the HomeAway websites group’s powerful booking tunnel

  • Comments syncing

We’re very proud and honoured to have received this proof of trust. This also strengthens the technical choices we make.

Beyond being a simple status, this testifies as a common and strong desire to keep working together on new advanced features and improving our processes, for the vacation rental professionals and travelers.

This means we’ll be working closely with HomeAway, setting up events but also working on a daily basis with their teams, sharing our ideas and clients feedbacks.

Sébastien, our CEO, proudly represented us during the HomeAway conference that took place between May, 24th-26th in Austin, USA. We’ll also be in Annecy, France on December, 7th to present BookingSync and the HomeAway integration to other vacation rental professionals.

This global partnership will benefit everyone, our clients in the first place!

Get Your Own Guidebook With Hostfully & BookingSync

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Ever wanted to offer a professional, complete guidebook to your guests?

Well, Hostfully has the solution for you: thanks to their platform, you can create a beautiful, customized guidebook for your properties that works on mobile, desktop and in print.


What’s Hostfully?

Created in 2016, this young and dynamic company has made hospitality its hobbyhorse.

Hostfully’s user community, composed of travelers, professional hosts and vacation rental owners, has already created content over 30,000 times on the platform, for properties in more than 80 countries.

Hostfully’s customers get ongoing value from their solution. Beckon Homes, property managers from Nashville, say “Hostfully is one of the best business decisions we’ve ever made. We save lots of time, and rest easy knowing that our guests have the important information that they need.”

Moreover, Hostfully is omni-platform - guests can access their guidebooks using any mobile device (Android, iOS and other), with any desktop browser, and even in print.

Hostfully’s customers believe so much in the solution and the company that several of them have invested in it!

Getting started with Hostfully

Read our dedicated manual article to install the app and get started with Hostfully.

Once you’ve registered your account, you’ll receive a 14-day free trial for the introductory business subscription (Hostfully Prime).

       
          

Already a BookingSync client? Get the Hostfully app from our App Center right now and watch our live webinar next Thursday at 6pm CET!

Didn't get the chance to watch our live webinar? Worry no more, we've got you covered with this recorded video below.

Discover Rental Ninja’s New Management Tool Dedicated To Your Entire Team

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Here’s a partnership that will definitely ease your daily life as a vacation rental manager!

Discover Rental Ninja’s new management tool dedicated to your whole team. Constantly keep in touch and share information with your cleaning staff, check-in agents, rental managers and owners all while having access to meaningful statistics.

What’s Rental Ninja?

Rental Ninja is a vacation rental management tool that helps keeping track and record of every aspect of the vacation rental management, while sharing all the relevant information with your whole team. The Rental Ninja tool is only available on BookingSync, for now.

  • Rental Ninja can be used on any device: their solution is available on their website and app (iOS & Android, available in English, Spanish, Catalan and French)

  • Real-time management: don't wait until you or your peers get to the office, every information is synced with the team

  • Alerts system: know when something is wrong or should be fixed as soon as possible

  • Centralized, visual proof of whatever happens: Something broke and you need to notify the client or owner? Attach pictures of your payments, bookings or even rentals to keep track of everything that ever happened

  • Coming soon: meaningful statistics that tell you what's really going on with your rental business and helps you earn more

How to start using Rental Ninja’s tool

You just need to get the Rental Ninja app in our App Center. Once done, connect your rentals. You and your team can then download the app, available on iOS and Android, to access the shared data and start collaborating.

Once subscribed, enjoy a 30-day free trial with full access and unlimited amount of users.

Want more? Enter this code BOOKINGSYNC_ROCKS and get a 30% discount for 2 months after the free trial -to be used before December 31st!

Already a BookingSync client? Get the Rental Ninja app from our App Center right now!

If you would like to know more about Rental Ninja, watch the following video:

3 Dynamic Pricing Experts Share Their Opinions On HomeAway’s New Ranking Solution

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HomeAway introduced earlier this week its brand new listings ranking algorithm.

What are these new criteria? How can you improve your ranking?

Get all the info you need in this article thanks to our 3 dynamic pricing experts.


HomeAway ranking: what’s new?

In order to determine how you rank on their website, many data are being taken into account:

  • The quality of your properties’ pictures: add up to 50 high-resolution pictures highlighting the inside and outside of your home

  • The way you describe your rental: add detailed, updated elements and a complete list of the amenities available

  • How you perform as a vacation rental owner/manager: confirm your bookings and provide a quality, clean and well-maintained home

  • Last but not least: your price competitiveness!

Since this week, HomeAway introduced a brand new element to their ranking system: your property’s price competitiveness compared to the local market.

Thanks to their new pricing tool, MarketMaker, HomeAway announces it will help you define a competitive, appropriate pricing for your vacation rental.


Is price competitiveness becoming a decisive criterion?

We’ve interviewed our expert partners in dynamic pricing management, which you can find in our App Center:

Ian McHenry, Co-founder and CEO of BeyondPricing
“The fact that HomeAway is giving users more access to data is great; it's something Beyond Pricing has been doing for over 3 years and the more data the better.  We've checked their data against what we have for HomeAway and they are incredibly similar.  However, HomeAway only has their own data and not the data across multiple platforms including hotels.  So their data will always be incomplete.  Finally, as we saw with Smart Pricing, if they start giving recommended prices, they will be much lower than you'd ever want to charge because they are trying to help both guest and owners and looking to steal market share from hotels and other vacation rental sites, which they can do by driving down rates.  Beyond Pricing only works for the owners and managers and keeps rates up.  As far as the ranking factors, how you're priced is always a determinant of where you rank on a listing site because they are optimizing for conversion.  Beyond Pricing has helped owners and managers rank well for over 3 years by setting competitive rates that are updated daily, so all Beyond Pricing users will continue to do well under the new ranking system.”

             

Andrew Kitchell, CEO of Wheelhouse

"We're interested in any tool that helps hosts & owners run their businesses better.  We obviously believe that third-party pricing partners, such as Wheelhouse, will always be better positioned to help hosts & owners maximize revenue across multiple channels, but this a great way to learn more about your business, and a clear reflection of HomeAway's focus on delivering great products to the customers".

            

Anurag Verma, Head of Analytics at PriceLabs

“While it's too early to tell how well MarketMaker will do, it's always exciting for us when an industry giant launches something about dynamic pricing. We saw this with Airbnb's Smart Pricing as well - it raised awareness amongst hosts and rental managers, suddenly people were a lot more interested and willing to try not just Airbnb's, but different dynamic pricing tools and choose the best one for their needs.

We firmly believe that professional short term rental managers who tend to list on multiple channels and use sophisticated PMS/channel managers are better off with third-party omni-channel revenue management. Again, it's too early to tell, but depending on the region, the clientele and booking patterns of one channel might be different from others - as an example, in some regions HomeAway and FlipKey tend to get longer far out bookings, while Airbnb and booking.com get the shorter last minute stays. Incorporating all that information from all channels into dynamic pricing is important.

Lastly, we don't think search ranking should depend on dynamic pricing - there are hosts (especially owners) who are content with their flat pricing, and they shouldn't be penalized for that. The rankings should mainly reflect the quality, and maybe to some extent price, such that it increases the chances of a booking. But how that price was obtained should be irrelevant”.

          
                

What about you, would you be ready to jump into the dynamic pricing solution? What do you think of HomeAway’s new ranking criteria?

4 Tips For A Pet-Friendly Vacation Rental

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In the USA alone, it is estimated that more than 160 million cats and dogs are owned… by 320 million inhabitants. Yes, you read that right: half the population of the country has pets!

Isn’t it a vacation rental market worth getting to know and adapting to? Follow Disney’s lead on the subject and open your doors to more than just human guests.

Why should I open my properties to pets?

There are many pros and cons to opening your home to our 4-legged friends. This list should help you consider whether you’ll open your doors (or not) to pets:

  • Broaden your customer base: Read again that 1st paragraph! 160 million cats and dogs in the USA… And even more if you take into account foreign travelers. Considering most travelers won’t notice or care if a pet has been in your property before them, this will open your rental to a lot more guests.

  • Another way to make the most of the low season: Want to rent, even when August’s (or December’s) over? Why not opening your home to couples, pensioners who own dogs or cats, during the low season? Not every traveler is restricted by school holidays. This is a great way to attract unconventional guests.

  • Get more bookings and income: As the vast majority of rentals don’t accept our furry friends (e.g 77.5% on HomeAway don’t), this is the perfect opportunity for you to grab a new clientele and so, more bookings. Also taking into perspective that every night booked at your home with a pet, additional fees can be added (up to 6-12% on Airbnb, for example), this represents a real plus for your income.

But welcoming cats and dogs can have can have some downsides…

  • It can represent a bit more work for you: more hair, means more cleaning… You may need a bit more time to get your property clean again.

  • Some people are allergic to pets and may not feel comfortable with renting a house where dogs and cats can walk freely. If you choose to go pet-friendly, it may be good to warn allergic guests.

How can I turn my properties into pet-friendly vacation homes?

Opening your doors to cats and dogs doesn’t mean you have to accept everything! Before allowing pets, think and list all the rules you would like your guests to follow:

  • You can deny access to some of the rentals’ rooms, such as bedrooms or kitchen

  • Ask pet owners to clean up after their pet, especially in the garden

  • Owners can be held responsible for any damage caused - you can request an additional deposit

  • Add some specialised furniture: a kennel (doghouse) in the yard, add blankets at disposal to cover the sofa, etc.

            
                 

Have any other tips for a pet-friendly vacation rental? Share yours in the comments!