News archives

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!


Contextualize Your Airbnb, Booking, HomeAway & TripAdvisor Workflows In A Breeze

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As promised in our BookingSync & Zapier partnership announcement, we keep creating ready for use Zaps for vacation rental owners and managers, helping you save time everyday.

These 4 new Zaps -connections in-between apps- have been especially created for you by our teams. These connections are source filtered -meaning, one filter for each booking platform has been set up.

These Zaps allow you to send a text message each time a confirmed booking comes from a particular channel such as Airbnb, Booking.com, HomeAway and TripAdvisor. Of course, you can also create Zaps or connections by yourself but we wanted to save you some time by letting you access ready for use connection patterns.


Here are the Zaps we created:


Each one of them can be activated on your account in just one click and is also customisable, following your needs. What better way to contextualise and adapt your communication, depending on the channels used?

We’ll set up new source filtered Zaps as soon as possible. In the meantime, which ones would you like us to create? Tell us in the comments!


Hurricanes: How To Help The Victims

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Irma, Jose, Maria… During the past few days, the West Indian populations have faced some of the strongest hurricanes in the recorded history. Time for reconstruction has now begun, as some of the regions that have been affected were “95% destroyed”.

Facing property damage, a devastated plant and wildlife but also human casualties: the BookingSync team wants to show solidarity with the victims of these disasters and their families.

We’re also feeling directly concerned by this catastrophe, as several of our customers have been affected.


How can you help the victims?

Material, human or financial donations can be sent to several organisations and associations, such as:


If you wish to donate, especially if you would like to make a financial donation, we advise you to do so to well-known and trustworthy associations or organisations, in order to avoid any charity scam.


Discover Zapier Automation With BookingSync

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The BookingSync team is happy to announce the BookingSync app is now officially available on Zapier, and allows you to connect to more than 750 apps!

We're proud to be the first vacation rental software to be publicly available on Zapier to all our present and future clients.

But first, let's explain a bit what it means for you:

What’s Zapier?

To put it simply, Zapier allows you to send information in between web apps and create automatic processes, so that you can save time.

Gmail, Mailchimp, Facebook, Evernote, ToDoist, Quickbooks and now BookingSync, are so many apps you can interconnect thanks to Zapier, among a total of 750 apps available!


Why using BookingSync & Zapier?

Here are some ideas of tasks you’ll love stop doing everyday:

  • Sending a receipt with Quickbooks, Xero, Freshbooks etc., once the balance has been paid

  • Updating your Mailchimp newsletter subscribers with each new client

  • Collecting your travelers arrival time with Typeform and updating the booking

  • Sending your travelers a reminder text message with Twilio 24 hours before their arrival

Those connections created between apps are called Zaps.

How does it work?

Enter your BookingSync account, click on Apps > Visit the App Center where you can find the Zapier app that you can activate.

Back in your active apps, you’ll be invited to identify yourself or create a new Zapier account when clicking on the app.

You can find a selection of pre-established apps that can be activated in 1 click on our dedicated page: https://zapier.com/zapbook/bookingsync/

Have any other Zap ideas that could be added to this list? Share them in the comments below and we'll be more than happy to create them for you!

Some ready-to-use Zaps:

Organize your contacts
Simplify your billing
Work better with your team
Improve your daily work

Paris 2024 Olympic Games: A Real Opportunity For Your Vacation Rentals?

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It’s now official: the 2024 Olympics will be taking place in Paris!

Whether you supported this decision or not, it is now definitive: France will dedicate those next years to organising the greatest sports event in the world, in terms of attendance and prestige.

How can this event become an opportunity for the professionals? How can the vacation rental managers and owners prepare for this major meeting?


1. Rental investment & the Olympics: a good idea?

This may be surprising, but organising the Olympics doesn’t necessarily implies a rise in the flow of tourists.

In Rio in 2016, around 500.000 tourists* visited the Brazilian cultural capital whereas in 2012, during the London Olympics, more than 7 million visitors had entered the city for this event… Showing a 30% decrease in the visits**, during the two weeks of the Olympic Games.

Succeeding in targeting and calibrating investments for the upcoming games is a real concern.

Jacques Lavie, founder of BnbLord, thinks “no investment should be done for a one-time event. A property is paid off over several years, always aim to invest on a long-term strategy.”

However, “during the said timeframe, this can have a great impact on the prices, and it shouldn’t be underestimated. During the Rio Olympics, some of the Brazilian cities had been fast-tracked to the most expensive cities on Airbnb. Never risk missing the right pricing.”

Jacques also says: “I advise owners to watch how hotel prices will evolve in their neighborhood during that period, as this is a good indicator. They’ve engaged a price optimisation strategy for a long time now, in the manner of the airline industry. Additionally, you should also know the price evolution scale on Airbnb is wider. For example, if a hotel increases by 50% its prices, yours should then be risen by 75-100% for a nearby vacation rental”.

In his open letter to the French President Emmanuel Macron (letter in French only), Brian Chesky, co-founder of Airbnb, calls out to the public administration and encourages the French government to materialise the #MadeForSharing motto by promoting vacation rental in particular, so that anyone could enjoy the games.

2. How to prepare your vacation rental for the Olympics

The idea is then to adapt and prepare your housing, rather than investing for the Olympic Games themselves.

Here are a few tips for your vacation rentals, to benefit the most from the Olympics:

  • Start setting up 1 or 2 years ahead and study cities in which trials will be taking place, especially if you own properties in those areas (such as Paris, Marseille, Lyon, Bordeaux…)

  • Adapt your workforce and be ready to face the tourist flow

  • Manage your bookings, messages, payments and listings thanks to a vacation rental software, especially if you manage or own several properties

  • Adapt your pricing, using dedicated tools such as Wheelhouse, PriceLabs or Beyond Pricing

  • Have little attentions for your sports fan guests: provide an Olympic trials calendar and detailed map, add a few beers in the fridge to welcome them, not forgetting a flat-screen tv for them to enjoy the event, in case they can’t physically attend the games


Any other tips you would like to share? Add them to the comments, and we’ll add them to this article!


How Can The Vacation Rental Industry Work With The Community?

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As tourist exchanges are getting global, is it still possible for big cities to preserve their social fabric?

We, at BookingSync, think this is a major concern: how can the vacation rental industry favour the community?

A few examples on how to work with the community

An recent article posted by the Tourism Intelligence Network in Canada (link in French) highlighted several ways and solutions helping local and national social actions that had been set up by several tourism operators:

  • Collecting clothes that had been left behind by clients, donating bed-linens, blankets, pillows and soap to those who need it most

  • Providing financial support to several local and national associations

  • Donating a certain percentage of the revenue to charitable organisations

  • Offering discounts when people are socially active in the community or work voluntarily

  • ...

BookingSync in the community

In 2015, Sébastien, our CEO and co-founder, went to Panama to visit Esperanza, an association working on rehabilitating former gang members. This marked the first step of our social and humanitarian engagement, and we’re still working today on creating new partnerships with local and international associations… Stay tuned for more information, soon on our blog!

We’ve also had the opportunity to organise an Ember Thalassa on three occasions, especially set up for the Ember developers. Ember is an open source javascript framework, aiming to develop ambitious apps. It’s being used in many companies such as Apple, Netflix, Linkedin, Nest, Zendesk… or even BookingSync!

Worldwide freelance developers or employees work on their free time to enable this framework to exist and we decided to thank them for this personal investment by offering them two villas for an entire week. The 4th edition of our now famous Ember Thalassa is on its way!


Wecc and Tchak during the Ember Thalassa 2015

We see the vacation rental industry as a wonderful way to help people from everywhere meet, share and get to know each other: what if it also helped build, or even strengthen that link at a local and social scale?

What about you, have you set up such actions for your rental business too?