News archives

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.

Airporter - Connecting guests, airports and vacation rentals

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If you’ve recently travelled to Prague, there are chances you’ve heard of one of its latest startups created: Airporter. Whether you’re travelling from, to or inside Prague, this company could definitely improve your stay!

We’ve interviewed Airporter’s co-founder, Marek Smejkal, and asked him a few questions about his company.

Hi Marek, could you introduce yourself?

  • Hi there, so my name is Marek Smejkal, I’m 39, living in Prague with my wife and two children. I‘ve been working in tourism and hospitality for the last 12 years running my own travel agency, working as a private tours planner and a tour guide in Prague.

  • I recently became an Airbnb host, but have travelled with Airbnb for a long time.

What about Airporter, how did you get the idea to focus on short term rentals?

  • After becoming an Airbnb host, I was wondering what we could do next, which service we could offer to travelers instead of only hosting them.

  • I used to offer my guests in Prague a transportation from the airport to make their arrival easier and I quickly found out that the guests really appreciate this kind of service and that was something that made their experience with me as a host even better. It was also very convenient for me, as I knew exactly when to expect them. When I was not in Prague or I was busy at work, I used to leave my keys to the driver picking up my guests.
  • This is how, on August 2016, we came with the idea of creating Airporter with my partner, who happens to be also my wife! We aim to make hosts’ and guests’ lives easier.

Isn’t it like a simple taxi service? What services do you offer?

  • We are nothing like a taxi service! We offer a tailored transportation service, designed and thought for vacation rentals users. We can either pick up at airports, stations or rentals and take the travelers to wherever they need, even to other European cities such as Vienna, Budapest, Berlin… We adapt to their needs!

  • But that’s not all, hosts can also call on our services: we offer a key delivery and check in service. We can manage everything on our side, assuring the best Airbnb reviews. Our rates are fixed, there are no surprises for the travelers. The price is indicated when booking the transportation. We have one flat rate from the airport to anywhere in Prague.
  • We can also store luggage before the check in or after the check out, when the rental isn’t available. It gives tourists more time to enjoy the city as they don’t need to drag heavy bags on Prague cobblestones. It is also a pleasant way for the hosts to gently refuse early check in or late checkout requests.
  • We also provide the most important tourist information in English, so that guests can enjoy the city at its best.

Why should travelers and hosts use your service instead of another one?

  • We are hosts ourselves and we understand the nature of short rental business and hospitality, so both tourists and vacation rental owners can rely on us.

  • We are available 24/7 with fair and fixed rates, which means we won’t charge more during weekends or at nights, unlike other services such as Uber. Our cars are spacious and comfy, with free wifi. Our English speaking drivers can also make city tours and day trips, depending on what the travelers need. We are reachable via our website, email, phone, Whatsapp or Viber.
  • We monitor actual arrival time and always stay in touch with hosts: we send a message when a driver is waiting for the guests and when they have entered the car. This way, there are no surprises for anyone!
  • Collaboration with Airporter has many benefits for the travellers but also to vacation rental owners, so we work directly with them. I am proud to say that we have established a collaboration with many individual Airbnb hosts as well as short term rental management companies, and we work as their recommended transportation company. Happy hosts recommend our services to their clients and this works as the best reference for us.  

Is it only available in Prague, or also other cities?

  • We can pick up or take people wherever they need to, even outside the Czech Republic!

What are your plans for the future?

  • Our first goal is to grow in Prague, hire more drivers and extend our car fleet. We’d also like to focus on promoting our key delivery and luggage storage service, and widen our day trips offers.

Airporter takes vacation rental transportation to a new level, making the short term rental industry always more professional and personalized.


6 tourism trends to make the difference with your vacation rental

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More and more travelers are tempted by vacation rentals whether they’re students, a family or alone but how can you adapt your business and attract new customers, faced with the diversity of the demand?

The sector is turning professional since a few years now, leading to new markets being created: it is your challenge to know to identify them and take advantage of those new tourism trends to make the difference and create customer loyalty.

We’ve selected six new growing vacation rental trends for you!

Ecotourism

Also called “sustainable” or “green” tourism. Respecting the environment is the greatest issue of the decades to come. More and more people are being concerned by the pollution and the challenges it offers, they wish to find some kind of “connection” to the nature and know that their travel will have the least impact on the planet.

♦ Planning a better energy management in the housing (water-saving technology, “green” electricity, etc.), waste sorting, having access to a local and organic market and sports activities that are closer to the nature, providing bikes…

Ideal for rural vacation rentals, it can also be adapted to urban areas by offering typical local activities, in immersion with the region’s culture and respecting the locals’ life habits and heritage.

Sports tourism

This tourism is developing especially during great sports events such as the Olympic Games or the Euro football championship.

♦ If you own sporting goods that are available in your rental (e.g musculation or cardio equipments), you could highlight them in your listing in order to target sporty travelers. You can also list all the sports that can be practiced and discovered in the region, print a planning of all the sports meetings, give away brochures for specialized museums or even stadiums that can be visited.

You can check our blog post from last summer, in which we had listed some advice for your travelers that would like to watch the Euro 2016 and that can suit any sports event.

Young travelers

Mostly students, with mostly limited financial resources! But don’t underestimate those travelers: fueled by the Erasmus program (European student exchanges), this sector is developing faster than any other. They’re more mobile and more open to new experiences than their predecessors. They want to discover new cultures and opportunities.

♦ Day and night, offer everything that can be new or uncommon (meeting the local population, extreme sports, theme parcs, escape rooms…), not to forget the night activities (bars, restaurants, clubs).

Wellness tourism

Whether it’s for medical reasons or a need for relaxation, wellness tourism is quite a wide sector that can fit costal, thermal or mountain regions.

♦ Set up a hot tub or sauna, list all the wellness centres of the region, negotiate partnerships with dedicated local businesses, offer some samples such as massage oils, essential oils, etc.

Unusual tourism

This trend aims to make us discover new sensations: the traveler wants to experience a completely new way of life, ideally on a rural or wild area.

Tree cabin, yurt, “bubble” bedroom in the forest… Do some research on original activities that are available around your vacation: bungee jumping, rafting, canyoning, etc.

Other trends

The trends we just described are, of course, not the only ones to be emerging! New ones appear every day, allowing any traveler to find what they’re looking for: culinary tourism, women’s tourism, LGBTQ tourism

There are so many opportunities for you to create your own identity!

BookingSync & HomeAway event on December, 8th: Let’s meet!

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Meet BookingSync near Bordeaux, France, at the Casino of Arcachon on December, 8th at the HomeAway event as a partner.


This meeting is dedicated to vacation rental agencies and independent property managers. It is open to all the professionals of the sector. If you’re interested in participating, you can sign up right now!

We’ll make a presentation from 11 to 12.30, during which you’ll get to know better our vision of the vacation rental world. Thanks to BookingSync, manage your HomeAway bookings payments directly from our interface, with your favorite payment solution!

Event schedule

09:30-11:00 am: Maximise your performance with HomeAway
11:00-12:30: Save Time, Book More thanks to BookingSync
12:30-1:30: Buffet lunch
2:00-3:00 pm: Let’s chat + personalized appointments


Feel free to sign up and join us at the event, we hope to see many of you there!

Instagram for Vacation Rental

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We introduced you to Facebook Live for Vacation Rental some time ago, and explained how it could be beneficial for your business. Today, we’d like to show you how Instagram could help you gain visibility. Despite being only available for mobiles and tablets, the photos and short videos sharing app gathers 500 million active users!

We’ve listed a few advice to help you develop your account and if you don’t have any yet, well, now is time you create one! Your online communication will greatly benefit from this platform that is accessible and easy to use. “Liking” and sharing a picture has never been that easy!


Getting started on Instagram

Before sharing your pics, you need to download the app. It is available on iOS, Android and Windows Phone. Then, choose a nickname: keep it simple, it should contain your business name. For example, our BookingSync Instagram name is… BookingSync. This is the only way you can ensure your potential users could find you under the brand they know.

Once it is done, add a profile picture (why not adding your logo or one of your best-looking properties) and write a short description.

Let’s take, for example, our client’s account: LuxVacation. Their presentation is simple and straightforward. When visiting the page, people know what to expect. Also, don’t forget to add a link to your webpage!

Start taking pictures!

Determine which users you are targeting and what they would like to see published on your account. The first criteria is in direct link with the type of client you’re targeting by your vacation rental activity in general (e.g family travelers, niche markets, businesswomen and men…). You need to adapt your pictures to each target.

Once you’ve selected a photo, put it online and add a description. Information such as the property’s name, its location, etc. could help bring new clients.

However, highlighting your rentals isn’t enough: appeal your travelers by using storytelling, just like you did with your rental listing. 70% of your posts should be related to travels: places, cities, monuments, activities of the region. People choose a destination before selecting a housing, not the other way round.

Hashtags

This is a key point!

Hashtags allow you to be listed on Instagram: visit similar accounts to yours and learn how to integrate them to your pictures descriptions.

#holidays, #vacationrental, #airbnb, #bythesea… There are endless possibilities, but you need to learn to identify the most used and relevant ones.

When to share on Instagram

Define the rate at which you wish to publish. Once or twice per day or per week, depending on your possibilities and goals. Be careful not to spam your followers, only share what’s pertinent with your business.

Publish time is also an important point, as pictures will only be displayed on your followers’ newsfeed for a few hours at most. Pick the most active hours depending on your time zone and your followers’. No need to post a pic at 4am!

Manage your account

Several tools will help manage your account, such as:

  • Gabstats to see your account’s stats, its followers, and identify which hours are best for publishing

  • Iconosquare to manage your community, answer with your PC, organize photo contests…

  • Schedugr.am the only tool that allows you to schedule your Instagram posts

Joining Instagram and posting regularly will show your future travelers they can trust you and that they can safely travel with you. Visit other accounts, comment, like bloggers’ pics and other vacation rentals photos to get the best results.


If you want us to follow you, write your Instagram account name in the comments and we’ll join you! ;)

BookingSync x Vacation Rental World Summit

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The 3rd edition of the Vacation Rental World Summit (VRWS) took place on October, 29th and 30th, in Barcelona. Our founder and CEO, Sébastien Grosjean and Romain Giacalone, Marketing and User Happiness Strategist, made the trip. Let’s come back together on what marked this weekend!


As we were expecting, the 2016 edition has been a real success: all participants, coming from almost 50 different countries, generously shared their knowledge and experiences. A lot of information has been shared during those two days!

The future of vacation rental

Through several interventions and discussions, we noticed a great trend is emerging. Putting emphasis on the user experience is a priority in the vacation rental and travel industry in general. Professionals have an unanimous view on the importance of the role of the property manager, the owner or the agency on that point. Establishing a close relationship with the customer and offering new services allow to improve this experience.


How we approach vacation rental

As a sponsor of the event, we also had the opportunity to address and share our vision of the short-term rental world, through 3 major lines:

  • The importance of the management processes automation

  • Improving customers relations through a personalized and lasting communication before, during and after the stay

  • The necessity to anticipate the future thanks to connected devices and interconnection tools such as Zapier and IFTTT (web process automation services)

You'll find below our presentation made at VRWS conference in Barcelona October 29 & 30 th october 2016:

Created by Antonio Bortolotti, successful “Rentalpreneur” and founder of Vacation Rental Secrets and the Fully Booked Formula online training program, the VRWS 2016 allowed us to know better the main actors of the vacation rental industry and to freely exchange ideas with them.


Thank you Antonio for making this possible, we’re already excited to see you all in Florence for the 2017 edition!

Meet BookingSync at the Vacation Rental World Summit

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On October, 29th and 30th, meet BookingSync at the Vacation Rental World Summit (VRWS)!


For its 3rd edition, the international event dedicated to vacation rental is settling in Barcelona, Spain. With participants coming from almost 50 different countries, this year’s meeting promises to be successful.

The show was created by Antonio Bortolotti, founder of Vacation Rental Secrets and the Fully Booked Formula online training program. He’s also a successful “Rentalpreneur”, speaker, consultant and coach.

This year, BookingSync is a Silver sponsor: our co-founder and CEO, Sébastien Grosjean and Romain Giacalone, Marketing and User Happiness Strategist, will present you their ideas and show how it is possible to add some fun to your vacation rental activity.

A little preview of our presentation:

  • Vacation Rental: the Old Way and the New Way

  • What's remaining in your way from nicely steering your activity?

  • Automation : let softwares work for you

  • Streamline your everyday work with powerful workflows

  • Ok everything goes, let’s have fun now!

  • Connected devices, what to use for vacation rental?

  • Happy customers, makes happy managers!

Participants will get a little surprise at the end of the presentation!

Follow us on Facebook and Instagram to get our pictures of the event in real time.

If you are to attend the event, feel free to get in touch with Sébastien or Romain directly on LinkedIn to get an appointment on site.

We can’t wait to share with you, will you be there?

Widen your distribution thanks to Outswitch, RentalsUnited and BookingPal

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It is now possible to distribute your properties beyond the 4 main stakeholders with which an official BookingSync partnership is available (Airbnb, Homeaway, TripAdvisor, Booking), thanks to one of our brand new partners via our App Center.

Three new partnerships were introduced this summer: 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.

Outswitch


Advertising properties at the right price every night is key to achieving profit potential.  Outswitch is a sophisticated, yet easy to use, yield management platform tailored specifically for professional vacation rental managers, that optimizes prices and occupancy rates in order to maximize rental income. Successful managers are outperforming the competition and seeing between 20% to 40% increase in their revenues from using Outswitch. Beyond directly improving their bottom line, they're also growing their portfolios by attracting property owners with advanced smart pricing services.

Key features
  • Pricing optimization relies on an intelligent algorithm that takes the time and guesswork out of pricing short-term rentals, automating price variations to match market demand, and reacting in real time to occupancy rates while giving full control to property managers to configure the parameters. Performance reports and color coded functions empower managers with real time insights and alerts to take smart actions.

  • Outswitch is a complete yield manager that goes beyond price optimization to offer advanced strategies to maximize income. For example, the platform allows professional property managers  to control other equally important variables such as min stays to prioritize longer bookings and reduce costs significantly.

  • Outswitch eliminates the need for manual entry by integrating with the best property management systems on the market to automatically import properties and bookings. It also connects with the major channels  (such as  Airbnb, Booking, Agoda, and TripAdvisor) to push optimized prices daily and automate calendars sync.

BookingPal

BookingPal is a cloud-based travel technology company providing the vacation rental and holiday letting industry with a global distribution platform that features real-time connectivity between the leading property management software systems and top consumer travel websites in the world like Expedia, HomeAway, Booking.com, AirBnB, etc.

Key features

The BookingPal platform offers Vacation Rental Managers and Property Owners superior revenue generating opportunities by utilizing proprietary products to optimize distribution capabilities such as:

  • myOptimize: Scores the listing quality via its proprietary algorithm and provides key feedback to achieve optimal channel placement and conversion.

  • myInquiry:  Provides Property Managers an option to have a virtual Front Desk wherein a qualified team of agents handle all guest reservation communications 24/7 within an hour.

  • myBookingPay: Provides Property Managers an option of having BookingPal act as merchant of record in the event they are unable to process payments.

  • myTravelAgent: Allows Travel Agents unprecedented access to exclusive Vacation Rental inventory.

Founded in 2013 and headquartered in Irvine, California, BookingPal seamlessly connects over 180,000 rentals located on 5 continents, from 10 different property management software systems to over 35 online global consumer travel websites and the travel agent industry.

RentalsUnited

Founded in 2013, Rentals United is a latest generation distribution platform for vacation rentals. Today, it allows 210,000 properties to sell more nights via 50+ niche and global websites. Rentals United allows property managers and owners to advertise on top selling websites worldwide, from OTAs like Booking.com and Expedia, to Vacation Rentals Websites like Airbnb and HomeAway, meta searches like Tripping.com, and wholesalers like Hotelbeds.

Property managers and owners often choose to use Rentals United through a connected Property Management System (PMS) like BookingSync: when a booking is made, availability is updated by Rentals United everywhere at once. When the property manager changes nightly prices in their PMS, those prices are changed everywhere at once too. Rentals United highly complex platform which is really easy to use and handles tons of data everyday, is now one of the leading channel managers in the vacation rental market.

Key features
  • booking and revenue dashboard

  • detailed information about how each channel works, help center with videos and how-to's

  • account manager's help to set you up with 50+ channels to work with (niche and global)

Facebook Live for Vacation Rental

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If you don’t know Facebook Live yet, this article’s made for you!

The live video sharing feature was recently implemented by Facebook and is already a big hit among the users and brands using the biggest social network.


With more than 1.7 billion active users, it presents a huge potential! It’s now up to you to enjoy it, and develop your online brand.

Why choosing Facebook Live?
  • It’s been proved that Facebook Live videos tend to involve users at a higher rate than pre-recorded videos: up to 10x more comments and 3x as much time spent watching your videos, compared to regular ones.

  • A bigger impact. As Facebook’s algorithm processes Live videos differently, you’ll appear in priority in the users’ newsfeed and people liking your page will also receive a notification.

  • A new way to share. Unlike pre-recorded videos, that may seem to formal or lack spontaneity, Live videos bring users closer to the one sharing them. As comments are posted live, it’s then possible to discuss and exchange together. That’s a real opportunity to strengthen your contacts’ trust towards your brand!

What should you share on Facebook Live?
  • An event taking place close to your properties, or their region. A festival, a concert, a firework… There are lots of examples and opportunities for you to share what happens in your region, and what makes it so attractive. Show your potential guest  they won’t get bored if they choose to travel with you!

  • Interview a team member.Show travelers what’s happening behind the scenes of your guestrooms, cottage or rentals. Again, this is a perfect way to gain trust amongst your potential guests.

  • Feature a partner company’s or craftsperson's activity (vineyard, bakery, etc.). This is a good way to build your image and make yourself known, especially if the partner does the same with your vacation rentals.

  • Share privileged moments highlighting your properties (swimming pool, sunset in your garden, encountering wild animals…), to be chosen depending on your rentals’ characteristics.

  • Give an overview of your region’s tourist sites.A museum, sports activities, a landscape, give your travelers 1,000 reasons to choose you.

How do I access Facebook Live?
  • Verify your page.Follow Facebook’s instructions and you should receive your confirmation within 24 hours.

  • Ensure you have updated your Facebook app. As your goal is to share live videos, it can only be done with a mobile device (which means it’s not accessible from your computer). Once it is done, you’ll find the option by clicking onPublishon your page, and thenShare Live video.

You’re now live!

To get the best feedback and audience, you should follow these simple, yet effective advice:

Even though people watching your video expect you to be spontaneous and open, you should still prepare a little bit ahead of time what you will say and show.

Let the users know about your upcoming video a few days ahead, with a reminder on the same day.

Ask questions, answer the people watching you and also, make sure the video is long enough to receive the biggest visibility possible.

Social networks keep evolving but if you know how to use them the right way, it will be positive to your business. Simple, quick and easy to use, networks are a true gold mine when it comes to free advertising on internet!