Quotes just got better

We’ve listened to your feedback and have changed the way quotes work. Gone are the days when a quote would reserve dates in your calendar. From 9 December 2014, when you send a quote the dates will still be available for other guests to enquire and book.

So sending quotes has become a much more valuable way of pulling in bookings for your holiday home. And especially because travellers have told us they want quotes so they have a chance to pay.

A new sense of urgency

There’s no more missing out on bookings if a guest is biding their time and then decides not to book. Guests must act fast to grab the holiday dates they want. It should make getting your calendar filled up a much smoother process.

Plus, you can send more than one quote for the same holiday dates – the traveller who pays the fastest gets the booking.

Booking requests stay the same

The only time your calendar is marked as reserved is when a traveller sends a booking request. This is because they’ve provisionally paid and are just waiting for you to accept.

Wondering who gets the booking if two travellers want to book the same dates? Here’s a little run through of how it works:

Let’s say that Michael sends a booking request, but you’ve already sent Jean a quote for the same dates.

If you accept Michael’s booking request first, his payment will be processed and the booking is his.

But if Jean pays the quote before you’ve had chance to respond to Michael’s booking request, her payment goes through and Michael’s request will be declined.

More quotes = more bookings

Quotes are a fantastic way of encouraging guests to book. Create a quote from scratch by going to Bookings > Create a quote in your account, or see our video guide on how to respond to enquiries with a quote.

Thanks again for sending us your suggestion!

See our help pages

What is a quote?

How do I send a quote?

How does my calendar automatically update?

All your guests want for Christmas…

Santa brings a presentIs a holiday! And with 1,000s of travellers spending Boxing Day booking their 2015 holidays, it’s essential that you have prices displayed for the year ahead.

In fact, without prices for the next 12 months your ad is seriously missing out. Your place will be at the bottom of the search results and won’t get seen at all when traveller searches for specific dates. And what they can’t see – they won’t book.

How to make your ad visible and bookable

Update your prices and give your listing the attention it deserves. It’s easy to do and doesn’t take long. Here’s how:

1. Set default prices if you haven’t already done so. They do exactly what they say on the tin – they’re the price we default to for any dates not covered by your seasonal prices. This means there’s always a price shown on your listing so travellers can always send you a booking request (providing you’ve got the dates available). Log in and go to Properties > Update prices and click on Set default prices.

2. Set seasonal prices to indicate prices for specific periods throughout the year. For example, you may want to increase prices at popular times such as the school holidays or special local events. Lower, out-of-season prices will encourage guests to book for the quieter periods. We ask that you set seasonal prices for at least the next 12 months, but up to 18 months would be great – yes people really do book that far in advance!

Need help updating your prices? Check out our video guide.


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Are you ready for the Boxing Day rush?

Prices – how much to charge

FAQ: How do I add/update my prices?

 

 

New! Keen travellers can now request quotes

Guests who are ready and want to book quickly are keen to pay online as soon as possible to secure their stay at your place.

We’re pretty sure you know that the best way of securing a booking quickly is with a quote. In fact, unless you’re one of the few not taking bookings online, it’s the only way travellers can book.

That’s why we’ve made it easier for guests to get their hands on a quote for a stay at your place.

We’ve introduced a tick box just above the message field on your advert:

quote

If a potential guest ticks this box, you can be confident that they’re serious about booking.

We’ll send you an email letting you know that a quote has been requested and the dates they want to stay. All you’ll need to do is click on the button in the email to send the quote: it’s as easy as that. If they’ve asked a question about their stay, you can answer it by editing the message in the quote before sending.

Make it even easier for travellers to book by adding prices.

It’s possible that you’re being asked for a quote because the traveller wants to book straight away but can’t. If you’ve not added prices for the dates they’re looking for, they won’t be able to send you a booking request.

Instead, the guest will have to send you an enquiry and request a quote. Some guests might not be willing to wait and go looking elsewhere, so it’s really important that you’ve added prices for at least the next 12 months.

Log in to add prices and find out why keeping them up to date is the key to your advert’s success.

 

More like this

Video guide to responding to enquiries with a quote

Strictly dance fever: the best places to go dancing

dancing

Get out your glitter ball and sew on your sequins as the competition on BBC One’s Strictly Come Dancing hots up. Have you ever wanted to dance the sizzling samba like Jake and Janette or the tempestuous tango like Pixie and Trent? We look at the history of some of Strictly’s most popular dances and find out where you can step into their dance shoes.

Tango – Buenos Aires, Argentina

Originally a risqué show from the Buenos Aires underworld, tango mixed European music with African and Cuban moves. It differed from previous dances in calling for improvisation. The sultry dance seduced Paris in 1912 and its international fame spread.

Head to the city’s authentic neighbourhood ‘milongas’ (dance venues) and experience the real tango. Watch intertwined dancers in action, encircling each other and the dance floor, listen to live orchestras or catch exhibition dance performances. Celebrate a tango great at the Museo Casa Carlos Gardel and pay your respects at the Cementerio la Chacarita.

Find somewhere to stay in Buenos Aires

Waltz – Vienna, Austria

Its roots in traditional German folk dance make it the world’s oldest ballroom dance. As it stepped onto 19th century ballrooms, the intimate moves made the dance as contentious as it was fashionable. Its popularity has endured and Austrians dance the New Year in with Strauss’s Blue Danube Waltz playing on radio.

Why not join them? Vienna has hundreds of balls over a three-month period where you can waltz the evening away like Kevin and Frankie. You could go to the Imperial Ball at the Hofburg on New Year’s Eve or the wildly opulent Opera Ball on 31 January. You could even go on a boat down the Blue Danube or go to a Strauss concert at one of the city’s many concert halls.

Pick your place in Vienna

Foxtrot – New York, USA

This smooth, progressive dance is credited to Vaudeville actor Harry Fox. He amused audiences with distinctive dancing to ragtime songs on the New York stage in 1914. Husband and wife ballroom dancing team Vernon and Irene Castle then popularised the dance, imbuing it with their trademark elegance and sophistication.

Pack your dancing shoes and head to New York, New York to find out more: you can even dance the foxtrot to the city’s anthem like Frank Sinatra. There are dance studios across the city that you can enrol in and practise your slow, slow, quick, quick moves. Dive into a Broadway theatre to imagine the dance’s early days and catch one of today’s excellent shows. With all of this to inspire you, you’ll soon be dancing with joy like Caroline and Pasha.

Choose your perfect New York apartment

Samba – Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Samba is so iconic that it has its own National Day on 2 December. Not that this dance needs an excuse for a party: the fun, fast steps and rhythms are worth celebrating at any time. It’s been performed at carnivals and street dances in Brazil for almost a century.

Celebrate samba’s bright sights and wild sounds yourself – party with 2 million revellers at Rio’s carnival. Take in the fierce competition between numerous samba schools: who will have the most extravagant float and most elaborate moves? You’ll need the next day to recover in the sun on Copacabana Beach.

Discover a party pad in Rio

 

Island idylls: perfect places to escape the winter chill

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There’s nothing that beats sipping a cocktail as you sit on a golden beach and look out at a dazzlingly blue ocean, particularly as the winter sets in at home. Jet off with us and find out what some of our favourite sun-drenched islands, from the Caribbean to the Canaries, have to offer.

Tenerife, The Canary Islands

You might think you already know Tenerife: it’s the buzzing island that draws party goers a-plenty, pulls the perfect pint and cooks a mean fry-up the next morning. Put aside your preconceptions, though, as it’s also home to the majestic Mount Teide, ancient colonial towns like La Orotava and the mysterious pyramids at Güímar.

The island really does have something for everyone. Walk along the coast and take in its lunar landscape of massive cacti, volcanic craters and agave trees. Bask in the sun with the lizards or go for a refreshing dip on the beach at Los Cristianos. Stroll along the chic San Miguel Marina and toast a glorious sunset with a locally brewed Dorada beer at the cool lighthouse bar.

Explore places to stay in Tenerife

Tahiti, French Polynesia

‘Tahiti’. Who knew that one word could transport you instantly to a paradise of gently lapping aquamarine waters, brightly blossoming tiare flowers and softly swaying traditional grass skirts? Just add scenes of towering waterfalls, crystal brooks and bottomless valleys glittering in green-tinged light and you’re there.

If your daydreaming becomes reality, head to Le Marché in Papeete: the colourful market stalls offer you everything traditionally Tahitian from monoi oil to vanilla beans. Treat yourself at the nearby Robert Wan Pearl Museum and admire the world’s most lovely cultured gems. Dip into Mara’a Grotto if you’re on the west coast where the caverns are dramatic, the water’s enticing and the ferns are abundant.

Locate your perfect pad in Tahiti

Santo Antão, Cape Verde

Set sail for the gorgeous Cape Verde islands. You’ll think the archipelago was named ironically as your ferry nears striking Santo Antão: surely there’s nothing verde (green) about this inhospitable terrain? Navigate to the north east, though, and you’ll find lushly flourishing exotic flora in the valleys and pine forests on the hilltops.

See the countryside for yourself on a great hiking trip from Porto Novo to Ribeira Grande where you’ll stroll from the harbour through eucalyptus groves to the luxuriant crater of Covo do Paul. Don’t look down as you descend – the tight bends drop 600m on either your side so you’ll soon be clinging to them as tightly as the little farms, villages and terraces.

Find your own Cape Verde adventure

Grenada, The Caribbean

Spice up your travels with a trip to the sizzling Spice Isle. You can literally smell the nutmeg in the air here – and if variety’s the spice of your life, then you should know that abundant cinnamon, cloves and ginger all grow locally too. Unsurprisingly, local dishes like the famous pepper pot are as zingy as the calypso tunes that season the island.

Follow the scent to Gouyave and tour the Nutmeg Processing Co-operative to get a sense of the island’s heritage. Any volunteers to taste the delicious chocolate at the Belmont Estate’s working plantation? You can also jump into the Underwater Sculpture Park’s collection – it features 65 modern statues fastened to a sea-floor gallery.

Jet off to Grenada this winter

Top 20 Urban Travel Bloggers – 2014

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Life is all about balance and holidays are just the same. A bit of downtime spent relaxing on a far off shore or cosying up in a quiet cottage in the depths of the countryside are great ways to recharge the batteries. But what about appealing to your sense of urban adventure?

We’ve scoured the web to find inspiring urban travel bloggers who’ll bring out your inner culture vulture. From hidden gems to popular city hotspots, these bloggers have got it covered.

Urban Travel Blog

With contributions from professional and amateur travel writers from around the world, this collective blog has compiled over 50 city guides full of hot tips for their favourite breaks, from Amsterdam to Yerevan. They report on urban trends, eco-tourism, nightlife and more. @UrbanTravelBlog

Travelling Ted

Ted Nelson is an outdoor adventure travel writer and blogger. Ted chronicles his adventures hiking, canoeing and skiing in the United States and around the world. He also reports on the cultural side of travel; meeting people from around the world, eating their food and learning about their history. He aims to inspire others and provides tips for budding travellers. @travelingted

Jetting Around

Pola of Jetting Around is a Chicago-based blogger originally from Krakow, Poland. Travelling and ‘jetting around’ since the age of three and blogging since July 2010, Pola’s posts range from off-the-beaten-track experiences to exploring cities and their cultures. @jettingaround

Urban Swank

Based in Houston, Texas, Urban Swank is a lifestyle blog providing a new perspective on all things related to food, fashion, beauty, travel and entertainment. From restaurant reviews to the latest travel trends, Urban Swank have got it covered. The blog was founded by Shanna Jones and Felice Sloan in September 2011. @UrbanSwank

WildJunket

Wild Junket is written by husband and wife team, Nellie and Alberto. They’ve been travelling around the world since 2003, experiencing over 70 countries on seven continents. Wild Junket’s focus is on adventure travel, inspiring others to get off the conventional trail and seek out extraordinary experiences.  @WildJunket

Adventurous Kate

At age 26, Kate quit her day job to travel the world alone and spent six months in South East Asia. She turned her blog into a full-time business and today travels full time. Kate goes “anywhere that sounds wacky, beautiful or interesting”. Her goal is to show other travellers that they too can see the world alone; easily, safely and adventurously. @adventurouskate

GlobalGrasshopper

Becky and Gray are the UK-based duo behind global magazine and resource for independent travellers: Global Grasshopper. They’re joined by a team of “self-confessed travel snobs” and are on a mission to discover the world’s most underrated and beautiful places. @globalgrasshopr

Travels of Adam

Adam quit his job as a graphic designer in 2010 and embarked on a trip around the world for over 15 months. He visited places such as North Africa, the Middle East, India and South East Asia. Travels of Adam explores the world from the “quirky to the amazing”.  @travelsofadam

As We Travel

As We Travel is a comprehensive travel site full of the latest advice, city guides and videos from around the world for first-time travellers to well-seasoned enthusiasts. Founded in 2010, As We Travel have blogged from over 45 countries and is one of the top ranked blogs in the industry. @AsWeTravel

Continental Breakfast Travel

Travelling to Europe on a budget? Continental Breakfast Travel documents cheap, part-time travel. The brains behind the blog, John Pilkington, has travelled extensively throughout Europe. His aim is to visit every country in Europe before his 30th birthday (9 May 2020). Join John on his adventures and “read posts about my own personal experiences, including advice, guidance or simply a story or two”.  @jpilkington09

The Quirky Traveller

The Quirky Traveller Blog is packed full of articles about interesting places to see and do in the UK and abroad. Culture vultures will enjoy the added history, art and literature aspect and foodies will appreciate the reviews of cuisine from all over the globe.  @quirkytraveller

Wild About Travel

Travel addict Simon Falvo started Wild About Travel in 2009. With a passion for adventure, the outdoors, art and culture, Simon’s posts are an inspiring read. Her articles are illustrated with impressive photographs of the many places she’s visited on her travels.  @1step2theleft

501 Places

501 Places was recently listed in The Times list of 50 Travel Websites You Can’t Live Without. Even more recently, it was listed in the Independent’s 50 Best Travel Websites. 501 Places is a collection of travel articles, photos and opinions written with a dry wit and an engaging flair. @andyjarosz

Velvet Escape

Amsterdam based blogger Keith Jenkins shares his enthusiasm for travel through his writing and photography. Velvet Escape is a multiple award-winning travel blog and has been featured by The New York Times, BBC Travel, Lonely Planet and National Geographic Traveller, to name but a few. @velvetescape

Vicky Flip Flop Travels

This blog is aimed at those who want to make the most of their annual leave and weekends by travelling. From days out in London to two-week itineraries for some of the most popular long-haul destinations, Vicky Flip Flop Travels blogs about it all.  @VickyFlipFlop

The Travel Hack

The Travel Hack is all about stylish yet affordable adventures such as hiking in the mountains followed by a luxurious day in a spa. Travelling in style doesn’t have to mean 5* glamour: affordable luxury and unusual experiences are the order of the day at The Travel Hack. @TheTravelHack

Hecktic Travels

Pete and Dalene Heck, a Canadian couple with a passion for adventure, are the 2014 National Geographic Travelers of the Year. Their blog is all about getting the most out of life, enjoying every moment and embracing new travel experiences. @HeckticTravels

Twenty-something Travel

Twenty-Something Travel believe “that your twenties are some of the most valuable and transformative years to travel the world”. Their blog aims to encourage other twenty-somethings to find a lust for adventure and offers practical advice, tips and guidance. @20sTravel

Urban Backpacker

If you’re looking for artful travel reviews of hidden budget gems to five-star destinations, Urban Backpacker has them. They aim to help you plan your own travels and review hotels, restaurants, shopping and “fun things to do” in cities all over the world. @RochelleCarr

Caroline in the City 

Caroline’s blog is all about throwing caution to the wind and following your passion for adventure, even if it seems scary at first. She aims to help others who might have concerns about taking the plunge by offering an insight into her own experiences and giving practical advice. @cairinthecity

 

top-20-urban-blogger-holidaylettings

Are you ready for the Boxing Day rush?

Keep your up to date to avoid disappointing travellersFor many people, Boxing Day is the first day of the Christmas holidays where they can spend some time doing whatever they fancy – for millions of people that includes booking holidays.

The dinner’s done, presents have been exchanged and sock drawers everywhere have been restocked. And with Christmas money to spend, it’s easy to see why many like to put their feet up and shop online for some sunshine. Boxing Day is the catalyst for the traditional summer holiday booking period. Traffic to our website kick-starts its steep rise from here and if you’re listing’s not in tip top condition you can bet someone else’s is and that they’ll be ready and waiting for the booking too.

So, what can you do to make sure you maximise on the Boxing Day rush? In short: get your listing ready for 2015 and get yourself ready to respond to booking enquiries and requests. Here’s how to get it in shape and get 2015 off to a roaring start:

Your prices

  • At the very least set your default prices (a base weekly and nightly price that will enable travellers to book dates not yet covered by your seasonal prices.
  • Without prices, your ad will appear at the bottom of the search results and won’t be displayed at all in dated searches. If you use online booking, no prices against future dates means guests can’t send you a booking request.
  • To set default prices, log in and go to Properties > Update prices.
  • Add seasonal prices to indicate pricing specific to periods throughout the year, e.g. summer, half term, off peak, etc.. You may want to increase prices at popular times such as the school holidays or for special in-demand periods such well-known local events. Lower, out-of-season prices will encourage guests to book for the quieter periods. We ask that you set seasonal prices for at least the next 12 months. However, we often see travellers wanting to book 18-24 months in advance, particularly for larger group trips.

Need help updating your prices? Check out our video guide.

Your calendar

  • If you’re not letting the property for any period of time, for example, if you’re staying there yourself or are doing maintenance work, be sure to mark these dates as unavailable on your calendar.  You don’t want any disappointed guests on your hands having enquired about dates already booked but not shown as booked.
  • Don’t have any changes to make to your calendar?  It’s still a good idea to update it often so that travellers can see your ad is well maintained. Log in and go to Properties > Update calendar, click on Update my calendar and the date that appears just below the calendar on your ad will change.

Our video guide explains how to keep your calendar up to date.

Refresh your ad

  • Give your ad a quick refresh to make sure all the info is up to date and it sounds as enticing as possible. If you’ve had some reviews or feedback, use the comments as inspiration to talk about what other guests have enjoyed most when staying at your place. Ask a friend to take an objective look at your ad and see if they would choose your home over the other homes in the area.

Get ready to respond

  • Make sure standard messages in your account are current and you’re happy with them. Go to Bookings > Update booking settings to check your standard messages. You can also download the mobile app so you can respond to booking requests and enquiries on the go.
  • Protect (or improve) your response rate: 24 hours is the maximum time we want to keep travellers waiting for a response so please respond as quickly as you can to every enquiry or booking request you receive. Your response rate is shown on your listing and reflects how timely your guest communication is.
  • Familiarise yourself with sending quotes – they’re quickest way to convert an enquiry into a paid booking (and the only way if you’re using our free listing). A quote enables travellers to book and pay once they’ve heard back from you with answers to any initial questions they may have had.

Watch our video guide on how to respond to enquiries with a quote.

 

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5 easy ways to refresh your listing

Why updating your calendar is the key to securing bookings

 

 

How the response rate works

Most people now have access to the internet through a mobile device, so sending and receiving messages quickly has become the norm. When booking a holiday online, travellers will expect the same quick response and won’t want to be kept waiting, especially if they’re trying to make travel arrangements at the same time.

The response rate on your ad is there to encourage travellers to enquire as they can see that, if a response rate is good, they won’t need to wait too long for a reply.

Where can I find it?

Your response rate appears by your name on your listing. It appears after you’ve received your fourth enquiry.

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It’s based on whether or not you’ve responded within 24 hours to your last 20 enquiries or booking requests. If you’ve not yet received 20, the percentage is based on those you have received.

Your response time is displayed on the conversation page and your average response time for the last 20 interests.

Why is it important?

Travellers are much more likely to book with you when they receive a fast response to their enquiries.  We’ve provided a 24-hour window for you to send a response, but responding within six hours doubles your chances of a booking. And there’s more:

  • Responding quickly shows you’re proactive and don’t like to keep guests waiting. Not only will you be more likely to confirm the booking, it bodes well for a good relationship with your guests resulting in repeat bookings and glowing reviews.
  • Your response rate is the biggest factor affecting your position in the search results. Maintaining a good response rate means that more travellers can easily find your property.
  • If your response rate is poor, travellers who’re looking to book last minute will shun your ad in favour of another with a higher response rate. Getting a reply quickly is even more important when time is limited.
  • If travellers repeatedly have to wait a long time for a response, we’ll have no choice but to remove the advert to avoid any further frustration.

How to improve your response rate

Reply within 24 hours to every enquiry and booking request (or better still, within the first few hours) to get a 100% response rate. We know you’re busy and this isn’t always easy, so here are some helpful tips:

  • Have a smartphone? Our free mobile app makes it easy to manage bookings from your iPhone or Android device. Download the app to respond to enquiries on the move.
  • Log in often and make sure your ad is kept up to date so you don’t need to worry about checking any details before confirming a booking.
  • As you probably already know, your account contains default messages for your guests to accompany your responses. Make sure you’re happy with them so you’re less likely to need to make any edits before responding.

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Response rate: time for 24 hours

Using message templates

The mobile app – an owner’s review

 

Is your listing unique? If not, Google knows it.

Google is far and away the most used search engine, so we work hard to help your advert appear in search results. But when a listing contains copied text, it doesn’t stand a chance: Google removes it from their search results and bookings take a nosedive.

When you’ve taken the time to take great photos of your property, why skimp on your description? When owners copy and paste descriptions into their adverts from other websites, it’s a lose-lose situation for everyone involved. Here’s why copied text is bad for business and bookings:

  • Whether your descriptions have been copied from somewhere on the internet (such as a tourism site) or they’ve been taken from another advert on Holiday Lettings, copied text is against our terms and conditions. We hope it doesn’t come to this, but if an advert infringes intellectual property rights, we may have to remove it from the site.
  • If Google receives complaints of copied text or detects the use of duplicate content, they’ll remove it from any searches. Travellers can’t book what they can’t find. It’s easy to find duplicate content by putting it in inverted commas and doing a simple Google search.

Copying descriptions is tantamount to stealing. What’s more, when a sentence here and a paragraph there has been copied, the overall effect is a description that doesn’t sound right and could set alarm bells ringing for travellers.

If you’re setting your advert up in a hurry, here are some top tips on writing descriptions that travellers will love and that won’t land you in hot water:

  • Go to your local tourist information centre and pick up some leaflets. Use these to find out what there is to do in the local area and describe the attractions in your own words.
  • Do your research. If you’ve found some info on the web about places to visit nearby, there’s no harm in using it, but you need to paraphrase it so it’s in your own words. Just copying and pasting isn’t allowed.
  • Cover the main points and come back to it later. You don’t have to have a finished advert from the outset. You can edit your descriptions at any time, so don’t worry if you haven’t got time to write lots of information to start with. It’s more important that whatever you do write is original and in your own words.
  • Use your photos and reviews for inspiration. Sometimes guest reviews will mention local things to do that you might have missed. You can use these as inspiration for your descriptions by logging in and going to Properties > Update description or Properties > Update location info.