News archives

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.

     

Want to be the first to know when the new BookingSync offer is available? Subscribe to our newsletter right now!

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6 Simple Hacks To Promote Your Vacation Rentals On Twitter

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With now more than 330 million active users in the world, Twitter is the 4th most used social network after Facebook, YouTube & Instagram.

It represents a huge potential for your vacation rentals: Twitter is the perfect way to create a professional network, and to reach potential travelers with no effort. The micro-blogging site is known for its ease and facility of use, that can be beneficial to anyone!

We’ve summed up in this article a few tips on how you can start promoting your property management activity on Twitter, in only 280 characters. Where should you start? What can you do to get noticed?

Let’s see together!

Twitter basics: Quick Start

First of all, create your account: pick a username that fits your properties name or brand, such as our client Hostmaker. Choose your @name, which should also be related to your property name.

Then add a profile picture -ideally, your company logo- and a cover picture. This one can represent one of your most beautiful properties, for example. Don’t forget to add some other relevant info, such as your bio, website address…

    

Keep one thing in mind: your Twitter account should help potential travelers easily find you and quickly understand what services you offer.

    

Once your account is all set up, start posting!


Talk about your rentals, but that’s not all!

1. What’s the point of talking, if there’s no one to hear you?

Keeping that in mind, start looking for relevant Twitter accounts that you could follow, hoping they’ll follow you back. Look for other vacation rentals, your local tourism board, local activities and tourism attractions. Share some of their tweets -that’s how Twitter messages are called- anything that could be of interest for your potential travelers.

Start building your network, and keep doing so several days a week.

    

      

2. What should you post on Twitter?

  • Let your followers know what’s new about your rentals. You’re building a swimming pool, renovating some properties or simply buying new bed mattresses? Share these everyday news, this will show your potential guests you take care of your properties.

  • Share about upcoming local events and shows: that’s the best way to show there are great things to do & visit in your area.

  • Regularly post beautiful pictures of your region: a parc, wild animals, architecture, sunsets… Anything that can help highlight your properties and attract tourists.

  • Talk about your vacation rentals! You can share some of your properties listings and/or pictures every once in a while, but it shouldn’t look like your account is a giant ad for your business.

  • Share some Twitter-special discounts, especially during the low season or for last-minute deals.

Note that your tweets should always contain a relevant picture; it’s been proven to be way more efficient than simple written messages.

Don’t forget to also use hashtags when posting on Twitter: this is the best way to ensure your tweets can be found by other property managers and travelers outside your network. They’ll help you reach a much larger audience.

#Sunset, #VacationRental, #PerfectHolidays… Tools such as Trendsmap can help you identify the best hashtags to be added to your tweets.

  

        

3. When and how much should you post?

This totally depends on the time you have available. You could be tweeting twice a week, or 5 to 10 times a day. You only need to be consistent in your posts and writing frequency.

Have fun and let the customers come to you!

      


There are plenty of tips & hacks you can find online on how to schedule tweets, how to identify the best hashtags or influential accounts to be followed.

Today’s technology allows professionals to promote and market their business for free.

That’s now up to you to jump on the bandwagon and start developing your vacation rental activity online: this can only be positive to your business!

Here’s Why We’re Encouraging Our Remote Teams To Meditate

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BookingSync was founded 8 years ago already, and we’ve been working remotely since the beginning. This is part of our philosophy and we think that’s the best way for our teams to respect the ideal work/life balance we all need.

     

Do you sometimes feel overwhelmed by your work and responsibilities, not being able to focus anymore?

Well, this can happen to remote teams too -to the difference we can get up, stretch and go get a chocolate bar in our own kitchen when we want to!

This is why meditation can be so important for some of us. That’s the break-from-reality we need to escape the seriousness of work and release all the stress and weight we have in our minds, to be back in better shape and focus for our BookingSync clients.

Meditation: How, When, How often?

We asked several team members to share with you their best advice and tips on how they meditate and get to cope with their professional lives. Here’s what they told us.

   

Karol, our Chief Technology Officer, likes to meditate every day for about 10 min, when he feels too stressed and overwhelmed with his work. It helps him take a step back and get the clarity needed to prioritize and execute.

He uses Headspace, a specialised website.

His advice? “Start with a guided meditation and don't worry when you can't really clear your mind and stop thinking about all the problems, it takes time to stop getting lost in own thoughts. Just focus on your breath and meditate regularly.”

   

Dan, one of our developers, started meditating after reading about its benefits on books, blog posts, YouTube videos. Just like Karol, he enjoys meditating about 10 min a day with Headspace. It helps him keep focus longer, improve his mood and clear his thinking.

His advice? “Keep doing it!”

   

Mirella, one of our customer support agents, opened herself to meditation with Buddhism. She meditates everyday, for about 2 min every hour. YouTube videos can sometimes help her meditate and be more focused on her work.

Her advice? “It’s beneficial for everyone and everyone can do it”.

    

Mathilde, another customer support agent, meditates for about an hour every week. She started meditating 4 years ago after a personal issue, but kept doing it overtime. She first started meditating after assisting a collective meditation course. She says it helps her a lot to live in the present moment. It has an impact on her efficiency and faculty to focus on the present tasks.

Her advice? “Don't overthink it ;)”.

    

Antonio, our onboarding specialist, decided to start meditating to relieve from stress, anxiety and seasonal depression. He meditates everyday, for at least 1 to 2 hours a day. He likes to use an app called Calm or to listen to guided meditations on YouTube.

He thinks learning to meditate helps him bring internal focus to his every day work pattern.

His advice? “Do not give up! It’s hard at first and seems almost impossible, but it’s a skill that is totally overlooked and could help us all evolve into better people.”

    

Romain, our marketing specialist, meditates to handle his stress level. He likes to meditate for about 20 min during each session, as often as he can. He uses an app called Zenfie; he says meditation is ideal when you’re not being creative and just need a break to clean your mind.

His advice? “Keep Faith, enjoy the moment.”

    

Alexey, Full-Stack developer, needed to take a step back on his life. Meditation helped him find himself and set life goals. He usually meditates twice a day: first session lasts for about 30 min, during which he tries to relax and let his brain think by itself. Then, he likes to also meditate before to go to sleep: he creates a to-do list and uses a method of personal growth called “the wheel of balance”.

    

Sébastien, our CEO & founder, enjoys meditating for his personal growth and fulfillment. He meditates by himself, at least once a day, for about 10 min. It helps him feel much more harmonized, grateful, in a beautiful state and greater focus.

His advice? “Doing it right when you wake up using box breathing made it very simple to manage and schedule.”

    

Katherine, one of our customer support agents, likes to meditate to relieve from stress, twice a week for 10 min, using YouTube videos. It helped her think more clearly and relax her body.

Her advice? “Don’t push it and let it go, it comes with time.”

     

When not used to it, working remotely may need some of us a time of adaptation. When should you start working, when should you stop? The line between private and professional life can quickly fade if you don’t try protect it a little. Meditation can be a solution!


Your turn, now!

Do you also enjoy meditating?

What helps you preserve your work/life balance?

What advice would you share with your teams, to help them get better at work?

         

Feel free to share your thoughts on Twitter or Facebook. You can find us at @BookingSync.


6 Professional Tips For Your Listings’ Pictures

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

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


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

6 must-know tips for your pictures

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

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

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

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

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

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

Which mistakes should you avoid when shooting?

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

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

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

A few more tips

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


Welkeys Club: Hotel Quality For Vacation Rentals

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

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


What’s Welkeys Club?

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

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

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

Why choosing Welkeys Club over another platform?

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

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

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

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

Visit the Welkeys Club website for your next stay!

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


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

Bye 2017, Hello 2018: Our Year In Review

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

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


Exchanges

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

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

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

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

What’s new

New co-workers

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

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

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

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

    
Babies and weddings!

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

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


     

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


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

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

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


What’s misterb&b?

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

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

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

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


Getting started with misterb&b

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

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

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

6 Reasons Why Your Vacation Rentals Need Their Own Facebook Page

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

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

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

 

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

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

Why do my vacation rentals need their own Facebook page?

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

  • Increase your online exposure

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

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

  • Promote your rentals for free

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

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

What should I share on Facebook, and when?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BookingSync Receives The HomeAway Preferred Partner Status For 2017

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

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

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

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

  • Comments syncing

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

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

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

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

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