News archives

What If We Sent Our Software To Space, With Orion Span?

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You’ve certainly seen the latest April Fool’s articles that we posted this year and in 2017.

MarsEscapes: When Traveling To Mars Becomes Touristic

LunarBnB & BookingSync: Ready To Fly To The Moon?
Even though these articles were written for fun, traveling to space is still a dream for us all!

What if we could help space travel grow? What about turning our “Save Time, Book More” into “Save Time, Host Further”?

Space Tourism: Our dream come true

No more jokes, this time!

When we read the news announcing the first tourist space travels by 2021 by Orion Span, we just couldn’t believe it: the American start-up specialised in the aerospace industry has created the “Aurora Space Station”, a dream that now comes true.

Of course, we couldn’t just stand there waiting for it to happen.

Taking up challenges, offering innovative features, participating in the booming industry of tourism, wherever it is situated, is in our DNA. This is why we can offer today the ideal space housing tool to Orion Span.

The BookingSync tool, THE solution on the ground or in orbit

Can you really manage a space tourist housing the same way you manage a room on Earth?

That’s a good question! What we know is that some points remain essential:

  • Property Management System: easily and efficiently manage the Aurora Space Station!

The BookingSync tool allows you to manage calendars, housings, clients and pricings from a unified interface.

  • Notifications: “Only 3 months left before departure, time for your training!”

Our app allows you to automatically send messages to your teams and clients, depending on predefined parameters: payment confirmations, contracts, welcome books, customers satisfaction, email and intervention alerts, departures...

  • Payments: Tracked and secured payments, for all.

Our software is compatible with some of the most popular payment gateways: Stripe, Braintree, Paypal.

  • Website Builder: Give the Aurora Space Station the attention she deserves.

Our teams create fully customisable websites that you can adapt to your needs and desires and are: responsive, multilingual, offer an SSL certificate and can let travelers book directly or after an initial contact. A real tailored-design creation made for a nonstandard project.

  • Access to our API: Do you need to create your own training app, or simulation software? Give free rein to your imagination!

Each BookingSync client or partner can create its own program, connected to our platform, depending on their special needs and desires.

As a famous astronaut once said, together we can go “To Infinity And Beyond”.

So Orion Span, what are you waiting for? Join us! ;-)

BNBKEYS: Betting On The Province

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BNBKEYS, a management and concierge services startup, was created a year ago in Cannes, France. Now celebrating their first anniversary, we wanted to discuss with their team about their engagement towards local companies and their vision of the vacation rental industry. Here’s their testimony.

Focusing on the province: reaching different assets than in the capital

Paris gathered almost 87,000 declared Airbnb housings in September 2017, which made it owning 22% of the French vacation rental market. Yet, not all short term rentals are situated inside the capital city: BNBKEYS’s success story proves there’s still a lot to do with the rest of the country, as it has now become the first vacation rental platform on the Côte d’Azur, in just a few months.

BNBKEYS chose to develop in priority on the Côte d’Azur, then spreading to other provincial cities, choosing in priority seaside resorts such as the Basque Coast, or the Normandy Coast.

Let’s take for example the city of Cannes, where BNBKEYS was created: the town wasn’t chosen by accident. The MIPIM, LIONS and Festival de Cannes are just a few examples of the attractiveness of the city, not only for tourists but also professional travelers who can enjoy specific partnerships such as hybrid driver services, personalised advice and much more.

Creating and promoting the local fabric

Today’s travelers have evolved. As we’ve entered a time of internet and social networks, travelers now want to be able to discuss, exchange, share with the locals.

Faced with these new demands, BNBKEYS decided to develop its very own concept: to create exclusive partnerships with players in the local economy, whether they offer personal sports coaching services, hybrid driving or tourist attractions visits.

Guiding their clients during their whole stay, and connecting them to local professionals, BNBKEYS is part of the long-term vision of vacation rental and global tourism: to be home anywhere, while enjoying custom, quality services just like in the traditional hotel industry.

Open Properties (caretaking solution), FÜSO (breakfast delivery), Timenjoy (selection of cultural events) or WeProov (electronic inventory solution) are as many key-partnerships selected by BNBKEYS, for owners and travelers.

It’s important for us [...] to federate young startups, that bring innovative ideas and can create a game-changer offer to BNBKEYS, in quite a competitive industry where margins are relatively low.

We’re convinced unity makes strength. These different innovative collaborations contribute to the local and regional economic drive and strengthen the attractiveness of young companies such as ours, which were not necessarily created in Paris at first.

Conclusion

Added to a complete management offer (listings creation/management, publication, price optimisation…), BNBKEYS made the difference thanks to a simple, yet essential idea: to create an added value for travelers and cities in which they’re available, offering a tailored service that can adapt to the clients’ desires and needs, whether they own vacation rentals or they travel.


MarsEscapes: When Traveling To Mars Becomes Touristic

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Who’s never dreamt of exploring new horizons?

At BookingSync, we’ve always been fascinated by space exploration. What greatest frontier than the infinitely big, infinitely far away? We’ve been focusing our efforts for 6 years now to bring you the future of space travel, and more generally tourism: MarsEscapes, the solution of space shuttle private housing.

Mars: Getting prepared for 2024

Collaborating with great space travel companies such as SpaceY, we’re developing private cabins that will be made available inside space shuttles, for people traveling to Mars starting in 2024.

Once the first colonies will be set up and the first travels made, we’ll launch our first tourist journeys equipped with the MarsEscapes cabins.

The travel, that will last about 30 days, will be entirely designed for travelers to live the journey as being an integral part of their travel.

All the amenities will be made available for everyone to enjoy these few weeks in space.

A high-quality, intimate travel

Our cabins, that we’re developing since 2012, allow space travelers to benefit from the terrestrial standard of living, mixed with the cutting-edge technology necessary to such a trip:

  • Each cabin is decorated and set up with care, and can welcome up to 2 travelers. Standard furniture in each cabin: a 160x200cm / 63”x79” bed, a desk, 2 chairs, a large 50cm/20” private window with a view on space, toilets and a small shower.

  • Cabins come equipped with a terrestrial gravity simulator, helping protect travelers from space sickness.

  • As there’s no gravity in the communal areas of the shuttle, a sports room is at disposal with: treadmills, balls, muscle work appliances to compensate for muscle loss due to weightlessness.

  • In order to protect travelers from the stress of such a trip, yoga & meditation classes and massage sessions are dispensed each day.

  • A complete medical centre (general medicine, surgery etc.) is at disposal for any medical emergency.

2024 may seem far away, but don’t forget we’re already in 2018: 6 more years before Humans can step foot on the Red Planet… And we’ll be there.

We created the MarsEscapes concept because, at BookingSync, our priority is to share, and to stretch our limits: to help you make the most of such a travel and make it accessible to the greatest number.

See you soon on Mars!

5 Tips To Manage Vacation Rental Security Deposits

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Security deposits are paid by your guests, and allow you to protect your properties from any kind of deterioration or additional cleaning fees.

Almost all bookings being made online, you can choose from several options when managing your security deposits.

How can you define the amount of a security deposit? Which option should you choose? We tell you all you need to know in this article.

Security deposit: under which conditions?

No matter how long the stay lasts and the cost per night: you should always require a security deposit!

Then, how can you receive the payment in due form?

As you can imagine, asking for a payment in cash -which cannot be tracked or counterfeit- or by check -facing risks of unfunded accounts and being geographically limited, as creditors and debtors must be domiciled in the same country- aren’t the best options.

The amount of the security deposit isn’t set by law. In practice though, the amount doesn’t exceed 20 to 25% of the rental cost. This amount must be written in the rental contract. Cashing is then made during the check-in inventory, which must be followed by a check-out inventory when the guests leave the property. This allows you to take stock of your rental situation and handle contentions, if there are any.

If no damage or degradation is observed, guests should be refunded within a timely manner. This period often lasts between 7 to 10 days depending on the rental managers and must be written in the rental agreement.

However, if works or excessive refurbishment are needed in the property, provide the related bills and subtract the amount charged to the security deposit.

Handling security deposits: 5 possible solutions

There are 5 common solutions allowing you to handle security deposit payments and refunds:

  • Online credit card payment terminal: simple and effective online payment solution, using the guest’s credit card. Stripe, Paypal, Verifone or Ingenico (in addition to an online payment contract with your bank) can be used for such payments. Fees and commissions vary depending on the solution used.

  • Card imprint: with this solution, travelers are not debited when paying the security deposit. The imprint is valid for 7 days and is renewable. You can also directly make an imprint on the day the guests arrive, which will then be valid during the whole stay. This service is also offered by Stripe, you just need to untick a box when cashing:

  • Bank transfers: in general, no commissions are taken on bank transfers but transfer fees can be applied, depending on banking establishments. A period going from 1 to 3 days can be necessary before to receive the payment. Also, note that adding bank account details, especially internationally, can be limited by some banks.

  • Paying security deposits through vacation rental marketplaces:

Let’s take, for instance, the 5 rental marketplaces with which we’re connected. Here’s how you can manage security deposits:

  • Airbnb: the easiest one! Airbnb keeps a credit card imprint et gives you a 48-hour period after the guests have gone to report any incident and use the deposit.

  • HomeAway: as a BookingSync client connected to HomeAway through the API, the payment gateway which has been set up in your BookingSync account is used for the HomeAway bookings cashing. It’s up to you to then decide on whether you want to cash the deposit during the booking payment -generally, along with the balance- or if you prefer to handle this during the check-in.

  • Booking.com doesn’t handle security deposits. Usually, managers receive the travelers’ credit card details and can manually debit them, or they proceed to a credit card imprint through their payment gateway. They can also choose to handle this during the check-in. We'll soon offer the same payment integration as with HomeAway, it will then be possible de debit both the security deposit and the booking when paying.

  • TripAdvisor cashes the travelers’ security deposit and gives you a 7-day period after they have left to report any incident and use the deposit. If no incident is being reported, TripAdvisor refunds the travelers.

  • misterb&b doesn’t handle security deposits.

Concerning HomeAway, Booking.com (soon), TripAdvisor and misterb&b, if you decide not to cash a deposit at the same time as the rental payment, and not to collect it through these marketplaces, you can ask for the security deposit payment by sending a BookingSync notification. This will send a secured payment link and collect the money through your payment gateway, for example.

Handling security deposits can be tricky, but it’s an essential point to your vacation rentals management and your peace of mind. Take the time to compare the existing solutions to find the one that best suits you, depending on your priorities: time gain, money saving or user-friendliness.

Register & Receive The BookingSync Newsletter!

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Latest BookingSync features, new partnerships, our advice and analysis for your vacation rentals, upcoming events, the team and our latest social network posts… All the info you need will be in the newsletter, gathered just for you!

  
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Flexibility & Freedom: Working With The BookingSync API

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Did you know? BookingSync allows its clients and partners to access its API (Application Programming Interface) for free.

An API makes it easier for vacation rental companies to develop their very own program, working with our platform.

  

Since BookingSync was created, we’ve always wanted to work hand-in-hand with our partners and clients, by bringing them efficient, flexibility & freedom solutions. As our programming interface is open, each one of our clients and partners can create their own complementary tools to answer their own needs.

Owners, travelers app or even vacation rentals stats… Let your needs run wild and connect them to our platform.

   

Want to know more? Watch this short presentation right now!


The Challenge Of Increasing Your Occupancy: The Air Rental Case

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How Air Rental overhauled their property management strategy to hit their goal of 95% occupancy with BookingSync + Rental Ninja

You'll find the Slideshare presentation at the end of this article.


About Air Rental

Air Rental started managing vacation rentals in Montpellier, France less than two years ago. As a VR management startup, Air Rental grew quickly by word-of-mouth among property owners in France because of their objective: to maintain 95% occupancy while managing all aspects of the rental process.

CHALLENGE

At the start, Air Rental only listed on Airbnb and had an average occupancy around 60-70%. They needed a way to manage their growing portfolio of rentals across more channels in order to meet their occupancy goals.

When Air Rental found BookingSync, suddenly they had a platform to manage all their properties across 10+ channels including sites like Booking.com and HomeAway. BookingSync takes the complex data of property managers and makes it effortless to manage. In addition, Air Rental could create individual websites for each property, opening the opportunity to receive direct payments from renters. Increasing visibility through BookingSync boosted both their occupancy and profits. 

With all their rentals synced to a single platform, Air Rental then began to look for a way to automate their day-to-day property management needs. “We needed a visual aspect in terms of data analysis, which we didn’t have when we began,” said Thomas Servais, Partnership Manager and Co-Founder of Air Rental. “We were using very complex Excel sheets to try to manage our finances. Then we discovered Rental Ninja in BookingSync’s app center.”

BookingSync has an open API which means that they host a lot of other applications that are compatible with their software. This opens up a whole other world of possibilities to meet their users’ supplementary needs.

Just before they found Rental Ninja through BookingSync, Thomas contacted a large development company to ask about building an app to meet the day-to-day needs of short-term rental management. They wanted an app that would use BookingSync's calendar to offer real-time alerts for administrators, cleaning staff, and check-in agents.

“In the end,” Thomas said, “we realized that Rental Ninja was the exact solution we were looking to create for ourselves. It was a huge surprise to us because we immediately had the final product that we were planning to develop ourselves.”

SOLUTION

Air Rental uses Rental Ninja to give their staff a single mobile app to manage everyday bookings across multiple channels. In the office, Air Rental administrators can see all their VR data in a way that paints the bigger picture: the scale and profitability of 40+ vacation rentals across 10 different VR platforms.


“Rental Ninja gives us the visual graphics of the profitability of each rental with an excellent overview of the general business. We know exactly how many people are staying in our flats tonight, for example,” Thomas said.

“We can see the revenue from all the listings, how many nights were booked in the last 30 days, how many rentals were active.” There are two more graphs on the dashboard that give them the occupancy evolution over time and the revenues by booking. They can access reports instantly.


Rental Ninja has a unique advantage: it was built by software engineers with over 15 years of rental management experience in the complex, evolving Barcelona market. Rental Ninja has created the features VR managers need to harness the valuable data that BookingSync provides.

    

Rental Ninja’s mission is to simplify the entire short-term rental management process. To that end, they welcome feedback and collaboration from users. “We sent them a detailed list of the developments we wanted,” Thomas said, “and they added push notifications and implemented a chat window in their application.”

      

This mobile app allows administrators to give client and flat information to their teams in charge of the operational and logistic aspects of their work. Through Rental Ninja, each team member is assigned a role, and Air Rental can grant Permissions to team members according to their job and what they need to be able to do.


Before Rental Ninja, Air Rental used several calendars and had to communicate appointments and changes by phone or email. Now, their staff get real-time push notifications and alerts from a single calendar in the app.

“The people we work with use the calendars every day. They have the contacts of the travelers who are coming, they have all the information about when people are arriving or leaving--all specific to the flats that they’re managing,” Thomas said.

Air Rental's staff now stay informed in real time. They use the app every time a client checks in and can add fees and photos of important documents instantly. “They just click on the app, go into bookings, and they know where they’re at.”

The ability to give staff permission to only the listings and features that they need cuts the digital clutter and saves a lot of valuable time for everyone.


RESULTS

Before Rental Ninja, each new check in agent had to download at least 5 different apps to access all the calendars and information they needed. Now, they just need one.

The roles and permissions management features simplify onboarding and reduce the daily communication between the in-office managers and the check in agents and cleaning staff.

Air Rental now enjoys user-friendly access to all their statistics and reports using BookingSync data. It helps them maximize everything from revenue, channel performance, occupancy, to client profile--all in the web dashboard.


Because Thomas and his colleagues can see their growth and channel performance on a long timescale, they are able to reduce risk and make informed decisions about when to expand.

“Thanks to this new management strategy, we’ve opened a new city: Marseille. In the last two weeks, we’ve added 10 new listings. I know that’s directly linked to the way we’re managing our teams and our data.”


Set Your Vacation Rentals Free, Create Your Own Booking Website

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Isn’t freedom and autonomy every vacation rental manager’s dream?

Following the recent #BookDirect day which was organised by VRMintel on February, 7th, renters and travelers got the opportunity to realise how booking direct without OTAs (Online Travel Agency) can be an advantage.

This operation helped reach more than 18 million potential travelers in 24 hours only, via a Twitter & email campaign. It’s a safe bet to say this will have a positive impact on vacation rental bookings and the generated revenue.

#BookDirect: Why going without OTAs?

When owning or managing several vacation rentals, creating your own online platform reuniting all of your properties becomes essential as it’s the safest and most direct way to receive commission-free bookings! Depending on the OTA, commissions can reach up to 25% of the final price. This represents a huge share of your revenue, being redistributed to an outside agency. Incidently, there are no commissions when bookings are made on your own platform: the price displayed is the price to be paid, which you’ll directly receive.


This is also the only true solution if you wish to remain independent and set yourself free from big booking websites and their approach on the vacation rental industry which may not match your expectations or vision. Your website helps you build your own brand.

How can you work without OTAs?

Your website becomes a real front-window of your properties that potential travelers can access from the same place:

  • You can define your own branding, which will help you stand out from the competition such as Simplissimmo, a furnished apartments manager in Montreal. A personalised website allows you to determine your communication line and manage your pictures, listings, calendars and communication from the same platform.

  • A direct relation with travelers thanks to, for instance, the possibility to add a direct booking and contact tabs.

What should you highlight on your website?

  • Transparency: highlight your team (pictures, job descriptions…) and build trust among your travelers

  • Your properties’ name: ever heard of the “Billboard effect”? When leaving enough relevant information on your OTA listings, such as the name of your property and your company, this effect shows a certain amount of potential travelers will Google your name, in order to find your professional website and book direct.

  • “About”: write about your company, its culture, brand, commitments.

  • Blog: help your company grow online by sharing some advice, travel tips, the places to visit, latest info and what’s new in your rentals. That’s also a good way to improve your SEO.

  • Newsletter: encourage your visitors to leave their email when visiting your website, you’ll then have a database to send newsletters with Zapier. This is the best way to keep in touch with your visitors, even if they’ve never booked a stay with you.

Feel like getting your own, personalised website?

Discover our tailored website builder, especially made for your vacation rentals. Whether you need a powerful landing page, striking galleries, a professional blog or an online store, it’s all included in your BookingSync website.

Once created, it’s up to you to get your website known by sharing it regularly on social networks: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram etc.!


Smartrenting Rewrites The Vacation Rental Rulebook

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We all know the vacation rental agencies scheme: an owner or renter contacts an agency to rent a property while they’re away and the agency manages the rental, receiving a certain percentage of commission in return. In such cases, there are no guarantees over the rent that will be paid by the potential travelers.


A BookingSync client dared to shake up this well-established pattern. Smartrenting is a real real estate agency which subleases students’ or owners’ apartments while they’re away, guaranteeing the rent will be paid whether the property is rented or not!

This innovative approach has been widely recognised and approved by, among others, the media and several players of the rental Tech.

Smartrenting has received dozens of press articles, reports, media interviews as well as trophies. They’ve won the Mashup 24 contest, the “Favourite Start up” status (“Start-up Préférée”) Engrainages 2016, they were also the great winners of the weLike Startup contest… So many rewards up to the challenge offered by this new vision of vacation rental.

This is their story, told by Aurélie, Smartrenting’s Digital Marketing Manager.

  1. Hi Aurélie, could you tell me a bit more about Smartrenting?

Smartrenting guides young adults in their mobility projects. As we pay 100% of their rent for free, they don’t have to worry anymore about their apartment. We legally sublease their home on platforms such as Airbnb & Booking and manage every aspect of the lease -check-in/out, cleaning, house linen, listings management… We can even store their valuables.

As of today, we’ve helped 1,000 people travel stress-free of having to pay 2 rents or to find a new housing when coming back.

  

2. What should young travelers choose Smartrenting over another agency?

Our offer is free. We take the risk of not subleasing, not the tenant. Other concierge services often take a commission or charge depending on the apartment’s occupancy rate. We pay 100% of the rent, whatever happens -whether we sublease the apartment, or not.

3. That’s a reassuring promise! Can anyone benefit from Smartrenting’s offer?

Our service is available to tenants and owners. When working with owners, we guarantee they’ll receive a revenue each month, which we decide with them beforehand when signing the contract.

Our service is now available in Paris, Lyon & Bordeaux. In 2018, we’ll settle in three more cities -Strasbourg, Nantes & Aix-en-Provence. Our next step will take us to a European level.

 


4. One last word for our readers?

Yes, remember that in France, subleasing is legal on two conditions -you can’t earn more that the monthly rent and you need a written authorisation of the owner. As a real estate company, we know how to comfort owners and tenants as they can visit us in our agency directly. We also have access to several guarantees and insurances thanks to this status.

This new eye on the industry is supported and represented by each of Smartrenting’s employees.

Feel like joining them in their adventure? They’re recruiting City Managers for their new agencies in Strasbourg, Aix-en-Provence & Bordeaux who will be able to build a project from scratch and to manage a team. The City Manager should ideally come from the said city, should know it well and be motivated to develop the Smartrenting concept.

Send your resume right now!

BookingSync In 2018: Why & How Our Offer Is Evolving

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As 2017 was coming to an end, it was becoming more and more obvious that our vacation rental offer needed to evolve, in the interests of our present & future clients.

Over time, we got to identify two types of users that could be interested in the BookingSync software. Not all managers and owners have the same needs, the same goals nor have they reached the same level of development in their activity.

In light of these conclusions, we all sat around a -virtual- table and started discussing with every member of the BookingSync team. All together, we decided it was time for BookingSync to start offering new experiences that would fit every vacation rental owner or manager, whether they’re in charge of 1 or 1,000 rentals.

Save Time & Book More is the motto that drives every single decision we take, no matter the number of properties you manage.

     

This is why we decided to focus these next months on preparing a brand new offer that would fit every beginner or “small” manager, helping them transition towards a more professional activity.


Why did we decide to postpone account creations in the meantime, for people managing less than 20 rentals?

There are two reasons behind that decision:

  • This collective, strategic decision is also a collective effort in providing the best product and processes, which means we need time to build it the best way possible while managing our current customers.

  • For the sake of transparency, we didn’t want to welcome new customers in a transitory way, meaning our features and pricing wouldn’t be adapted.

At BookingSync, we always strive to provide the best tool and service. Taking this decision is, to us, the best solution if we want to keep offering prime solutions to vacation rental managers and owners.

The whole BookingSync Team is so grateful for your patience and understanding. As soon as the new tool is available, we will let you all know.

     

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