News archives

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.

Bye 2016, Hello 2017 : Our Year In Review

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Another year has come to an end, let’s look back together on 2016!

What happened at BookingSync this past year? This article will give you a better insight on what our teams worked on.

Exchanges

  • Vacation Rental Management Association Seminar: VRMA’s Europe Seminar took place from March, 6th to 8th in Barcelona, which featured: meetings with professionals of the industry, exchanges and presentation of our new integrations (FetchMyGuest).

  • Ember Thalassa in Greece: we provided Ember’s developers with two villas in Greece, on the Island of Lefkada, in May and October to thank them for their investment - Ember is a Javascript framework.

  • BookingSync x Vacation Rental World Summit: the 3rd edition of the Vacation Rental World Summit took place on October, 29th and 30th, in Barcelona. It allowed us to know better the main actors of the vacation rental industry and to freely exchange ideas with them.

  • HomeAway event in Arcachon, France: This meeting is the first one to have been dedicated to vacation rental agencies and independent property managers. Organised on December, 8th, it allowed us to meet professionals of the sector and introduce our vision: Save Time and Book More, as a partner of the event.

What’s new

  • BookingSync and Airbnb are now official partners: in July, we officially introduced our partnership with the community rental platform Airbnb. It allowed us to offer an advanced synch thanks to a direct access to the programming interface.

  • Webinars (almost) every day: our Relatonship Officer, Maud, settles webinars in French and English every Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. They are accessible to any property manager/vacation rental owner interested in our software. Take your chance to ask your questions live!

  • Instant booking with HomeAway is now set up on our platform

  • 3 new “Channel Managers”: Outswitch, BookingPal and RentalsUnited. Dependind on your rentals catalogue, you’ll be able to distribute them on the most relevant and effective portals in order to maximise your occupancy rate and profitability.

  • 2 new partners: FetchMyGuest and CurbAppeal - Listing Camera

  • Tax management with billing date

  • “Instant booking” on our clients’ websites

  • Our Website app interface has been entirely rebuilt and translated into French. Managing your BookingSync website will get even smoother.

  • New apps: Notifications centre, Bills, Owners and Zapier to help you synch your services.

New co-workers

The BookingSync team has grown in 2016:

  • Romain: in charge of the Marketing and Happiness Strategy

  • Reinforcement of our customer care service: Delia, Aline, Ella and Emilie

  • Marine: in charge of social networks and our blog

  • 5 new developers: Julien, Daniel, Roman, Leonid and Mateusz

  • David: in charge of the design

Babies and weddings!

  • Florian, our co-founder, is now a daddy: welcome to our world, little Hugo!

  • Marine and Emilie got married (but not together!)


What about you, what will you remember from 2016?

Your HomeAway payments with BookingSync

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As a vacation rental professional, you know that offering an instant booking option is crucial if you wish to get the best ranking possible. HomeAway says that “listings offering online booking receive on average 110% more bookings than the ones who don’t”.

You can set up instant booking thanks to HomeAway’s partner payment solution (HolidayRentPayment in the UK) - name may vary from one country to another, and it is powered by Yapstone.


Payments are transferred one day after the travelers’ arrival and are credited to your bank account under 5 to 7 days - time may vary depending on banks - and transaction fees will apply.

Let’s talk about European residents, for example:

  • 1.7% for Visa, Mastercard, Electron and credit cards that were issued in the same European country as the owner

  • 2.2% for Visa, Mastercard, Electron and credit cards that were issued in the Euro zone and the UK

  • 2.7% for Visa, Mastercard, Electron and credit cards that were issued outside the Euro zone and the UK

As a BookingSync client, you can use the payment gateway that is already used on your account for your HomeAway bookings, ensuring full transparency and security!

Here is how to access the feature:

  • Having a BookingSync account and activating the instant payment option

  • Choosing and activating a payment gateway (Paybox, Stripe, Braintree, VacayPay, except for PayPal Express)

  • Having a professional HomeAway account (manager) and at least 5 properties to manage

This new addition offers many advantages:

  • The booking process remains the same and travelers complete their bookings on the HomeAway website, as usual

  • Data exchanges are kept simple and secure thanks to a certified connection

  • Bookings, deposits, balances and contracts are automatically updated on the BookingSync platform

  • You can benefit from reduced bank transaction fees - for example, up to 0.4% via Paybox if your company is based in France and if payments are made with a card that was issued in Europe

BookingSync’s platform and property hosting meet the highest standards in terms of data security, which were established by the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS).

As of today, we are one of the few PMS (Property Management System) that offer a complete and secure integration for your HomeAway payments!

Snapchat for Vacation Rental

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With this new article, we carry on introducing social networks for vacation rental. Today, we’d like to feature one of the most recent creations in the professional digital communication world: Snapchat.

Facebook and Instagram are two of the most famous networks and form the basis of your online presence - in addition to your website and other booking platforms.

Are some of your rentals especially designed for a younger audience (small apartment in a city center, technological equipment, floors)? Here’s some good news: you can use Snapchat to develop this customer base.

This network is way less developed in the vacation rental industry, so grab this opportunity for you to make an impact on your potential travelers!

With more than 150 million daily active users in 2015, its market is very promising.

What’s Snapchat?

Snapchat is a pictures and short videos sharing app, for iOS and Android. Contrary to other social networks, Snapchat’s shares are only available for a limited period of time: from 1 to 10 seconds, maximum. Then, after 24 hours, they’re being automatically deleted. Short-lived marketing is at its peak!

It’s now up to you to share less substantial information, that can be less formal than on Facebook, for example.

What to share on Snapchat

Young people under 30 are their target #1: keep this in mind when sharing a video or a picture!

  • Create geofilters that can be available within your property’s perimeter: a low-cost ad, animated by your guests!

  • Share time-limited coupons, especially for Snapchat. Encourage your visitors to book ASAP, and ensure the best return on investment.

  • A real-time window on your vacation rental: on Snapchat, there are no Photoshop, no professional photos. Speak directly to your audience, add some funny filters, write a message with your finger, no need to get the perfect shot! That’s even what makes it so special: capturing the instant. Picture your rental, its attractive features, its visitors - with their consent, and why not asking them to make a short testimony?

Highlight the local events, what can be visited in its surroundings… Anything that could interest a younger audience!

Used with the other main networks, Snapchat can help you make the difference and stay in your potential travelers’ minds, especially if you wish to reach a younger target, on a less conventional and funnier way!

How to make the most of the low season with your vacation rental

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Almost every vacation rental owner or manager has already had to face the low season issue: for some, the low season happens in winter whereas for others, summer has the lowest rate of bookings.


Yet, seeing a decrease in your rentals’ bookings isn’t necessarily inevitable - there are tips that could help you maintain a steady flow of travelers in your properties, if you know how to use them. We’ve selected some of the best tips to help you with your vacation rental business.

1. Communicate on social networks

Admittedly, the period is quieter, but that doesn’t mean your communication should be too!

Often, the only window travelers can have on your property comes down to booking platforms, your website and social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram… It is essential you keep feeding your pages, but also answer to your followers’ and fans’ questions and keep posting on your blog, if you have one. Why not seize the opportunity to prepare a contest and offer a few nights on your property during the low season to the winner?

Make sure the potential travelers won’t forget you!

2. Reduce prices and set up flash sales

Adapting the prices of your properties depending on the season is one of the keys of the vacation rental industry. Indeed, why would travelers want to pay the same price for a villa on the Côte d’Azur in July and in January, whilst your rental doesn’t offer the same attractive features?

You can also organise promotions and flash sales, that will last a few days or even a few hours only for the low season, in order to boost them.

3. Adjust your rental ad

We introduced you to vacation rental listing optimisation on a previous article:don’t forget to update your pictures and the activities that are available depending on the seasons (skiing and snow during winter, hiking and sun during summer, for example).

4. Advertise

With the advent of internet and social networks, advertising isn’t only limited to TV, papers or the street anymore. New and cheap solutions have been brought to fit every business’s needs: Google AdWords, Facebook Business, Instagram Power Editor…These tools will help you reach new potential customers.

5. Highlight your region’s strong points

Whether you’re in low or high season, there’s (almost) always something to do!

Show your guests that in winter or in summer, your rental is THE ideal destination. Highlight the tourism activities that are available during the low season, create partnerships with some of the local businesses.

6. Make the difference thanks to a new tourism trend

Ecotourism, sports tourism, niche markets… There are so many possibilities for you to stand out and attract new customers thanks to 6 new tourism trends!

If you want to galvanise the off-season, keep this question in mind: why would a traveler choose my property to go on that particular season, rather than another season?

Bring an added value, one more reason that would help make your potential customers forget that there even exists a low and a high season in your region.