Be inspired by your guests

Whether you’ve got TripAdvisor reviews on your advert or a guest book at your home full of comments, your future guests will definitely want to read other people’s impressions of your home. In today’s competitive market, reviews form a vital part of your advertising: they offer reassurance and provide valuable first-hand experience.

You can even use your guests’ reviews to improve your advert. Here’s how:

 

“The photos don’t do it justice”

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If your guests are raving about the décor in your place but their reviews say that the “photos don’t do it justice”, it’s time to take some better photos! Similarly, if they’re talking about the local beach but you don’t have any photos of it, you’re missing an opportunity to promote your area. Read our tips on how to work wonders with your photo gallery.

 

“Walk to the apartment in 3 minutes…”

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If you usually drive around the area near your holiday home, your guests’ reviews can offer insight into the best ways of getting around using public transport. Which bus to use and how long it takes to get to nearby amenities and attractions is all valuable info for guests.

Use these tips in the How to get there section of your advert. Go to Properties > Update location info to update your advert.

 

“Beautiful sunrises and sunsets…”

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You can also use your reviews to get ideas for your descriptions. This review mentions the “breathtaking” views and the “quaint harbour town”, evoking a tranquil seaside holiday. Need more ideas for your area descriptions? Find out how to think like a local.

 

“Thank you for your feedback…”

It’s a good idea to respond to all of your reviews, even if it’s just to thank your guest for the feedback. It also gives you the opportunity to emphasise the positive points the guest has made and address any of their suggestions for improvement. Read our top tips for responding to guest reviews.

Here’s an example of a great review and response:

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More like this

Think like a local – what’s in your area?
How TripAdvisor reviews work
How to collect TripAdvisor reviews (and boost bookings!)

Red squirrel spotting in the UK

Red squirrel with a hazelnut in his teeth

Red squirrels are as rare as they are enchanting. Spring’s not far off and it’s the perfect time to spot them at their most active in their natural habitat. If you’re nuts about red squirrels, why not book a stay where you’ll be in with a chance of seeing them? We bring you some of our favourite places to find real-life Squirrel Nutkins.

Pentraeth Forest, Anglesey

By the late 1990s there were fewer than 40 adult squirrels left on Anglesey. The population has now grown to 700 thanks to conservation efforts across the area. Pentraeth Forest’s one of the best places to spot them as this was their last stronghold on the island. You might be able to glimpse a red tail vanishing up a tall tree or hear the clatter of claws along a branch.

Peer out of the forest over the vast sands of Red Wharf Bay and then join the Anglesey Coastal Path. Fancy cycling, walking or horse-riding along some if its 125 stunning miles? You can tour the dramatic South Stack Lighthouse, visit the evocative ruins of Penmon Priory or or hike up imposing Holyhead Mountain on your way.

Choose your perfect pad in Anglesey

Mount Stewart, County Down

Red squirrels have taken up residence in the park of Mount Stewart stately home near Newtownards in County Down, so why not drop by? You’re most likely to spot them behind the house and to the north of the lake in the early morning or late afternoon. Follow their trail from the gorgeous formal gardens, drifting past the lake and Rhododendron hill. The gardens have a charming Italianate feel and shelter one of the oldest vines in the UK.

While you’re in Newtownards, scale the 122 steps up nearby Scrabo Tower for views that, on a clear day, extend to Scotland, the Isle of Man and even the Lake District. Back on the ground, how about meeting adorable alpacas and petting cuddly lambs at the neighbouring Ark Open Farm? Then find out more about the First World War in Ireland with a trip down the road to the Somme Heritage Centre: their mock-up trench brings the past vividly to life.

Explore places to stay in County Down

Brownsea Island, Dorset

Sail away to this tranquil island in Poole Harbour – it’s a haven for wildlife and with a bit of luck, you’ll see sika deer and wading birds. There are over 250 squirrels on the island as they have no grey rivals to compete with here. Watch out for partially-nibbled pine cones in the wooded areas as a clue that they’re not far off.

When you’ve landed back on the mainland, try crabbing on Poole’s vibrant quayside or explore the town’s fascinating past by following the Cockle Trail. Visit the studio of the legendary Poole Pottery where you can see the artisans at work and produce your own masterpiece. And it wouldn’t be a proper trip to Poole without getting out on the water of Europe’s largest natural harbour.

Find your home-from-home in Dorset

Craik Forest, Scottish Borders

Get away from it all in Craik Forest as you saunter along the gorgeous Aithouse Burn and feel the power of Wolfcleuch Waterfall. You can also visit the forest’s excellent viewing hide and shelter while you wait to see red squirrels in their natural habitat. Will you catch them gathering and burying their supply of nuts?

Visit the 16-century Drumlanrig Tower in nearby Hawick and discover its important role in defending the region. There’s also a 120-year old working weaving mill in the town where you can learn how tweeds are made. Alternatively, relax in the pretty walled garden of neighbouring Wilton Lodge Park.

Locate your dream holiday let in the Scottish Borders

Travels inspired by a good book

Has anything you’ve read recently made you start planning your next holiday? From Jessie Burton’s The Miniaturist to the fascinating history of Mona Lisa: A Life Discovered by Dianne Hales, we suggest some recent books that will give you some great ideas for your next trip.

Florence, Italy

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Dianne Hales’ Mona Lisa: A Life Discovered

You know her elusive smile but what about her story? This book unveils Lisa Gherardini, the Florentine housewife who became the world’s most legendary artistic subject. It’s a fascinating portrait of a Renaissance everywoman swept up in the social scandals and political dramas of Florence’s most turbulent times.

Fancy following in her footsteps through Florence? Stop in Via Sguazza, the seedy street where she was born, and at the beautiful Baptistery where she was christened: Michelangelo dubbed its doors the “Gates of Paradise”. You can also tour Leonardo da Vinci’s birthplace in nearby Anchiano and soak up the gorgeous landscape of sundrenched vines and olive groves.

Find your model place to stay in Florence

Georgia, USA

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Frances Mayes’ Under Magnolia

Under Magnolia is a poetic and and atmospheric memoir that oozes the hot, lush Deep South: you can almost taste the squishy pot of beans disintegrating in salt pork. Is that the sweet smell of honeysuckle? And how about the overripe peaches wafting through the balmy night air?

Follow in Mayes’ footsteps and take a leisurely saunter along the banks of the Chattahoochee River. You can also tour the Heard County Historical Center and Museum housed in the Old Jail for a fascinating glimpse into the heritage of this rural community.

Locate your own Georgian adventure

Amsterdam, The Netherlands

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Jessie Burton’s The Miniaturist

It’s 1686 and Petronella Oortman has just moved into her new husband’s elegant townhouse in Amsterdam’s most affluent district. Her husband gives her a cabinet-sized replica of their home as a wedding present and she commissions a mysterious miniaturist to furnish it. How can the miniaturist’s little creations reflect the household so familiarly? And what secrets do the eerily closed doors conceal?

You can check out the real cabinet house that inspired the novel at the city’s Rijksmuseum. The materials used and precise proportions are impressive. It’s only a couple of minutes walk to the excellent Van Gogh Museum where you can absorb masterpieces such as Almond Blossom and The Bedroom.

Choose your own pad in Amsterdam

Oaxaca, Mexico

ancient Mayan ruins temple of Tulum in Caribbean turquoise sea shore
Chilli Notes by Thomasina Miers

Feel the heat with the latest recipes from the founder of the Mexican street food cantina, Wahaca. They follow her delicious travels through Oaxaca, Mexico’s culinary capital, and around the rest of the world. Can you honestly resist the chilli-chocolate brownies as an indulgent late-night treat or the rose-scented slow roast lamb for the perfect Sunday lunch?

If you like it hot, you’ll love Oaxaca’s famous mole sauces and giant balls of quesillo cheese ribbons. They are delicious whether you get them from a simple stand in the Central de Abastos market or a lively café. You can always pick up some tips for your own kitchen adventures at the nearby La Casa de los Sabores Cooking School.

Explore places to stay in Oaxaca

Think like a local – what’s in your area?

iStock_000006078276Medium“What’s the area like?” is an inevitable question that pops into travellers’ minds when choosing a holiday. It doesn’t matter whether your place is surrounded by a variety of tourist attractions or whether it’s a secluded rural retreat, your guest will want to know why they should choose your home over one in a neighbouring area.

It’s all about giving your guest a feel for your neighbourhood. Is it quiet? It is busy in summer? Are there shops nearby? What’s the local pub like? If you’re lacking in local knowledge, guests may look elsewhere. Here are some top tips to help your guests feel like a local.

1. Your favourite places to visit in the area. Start by making a list of where you like to go nearby. This could include:

  •         The nearest beach
  •         The local park
  •         Your favourite pubs and restaurants
  •         Shops and cafes
  •         Places to go walking
  •         Museums, theme parks and other tourist attractions

Next, write a few lines about why you enjoy them. For example, maybe the shops in the area include artisan bakeries, vintage clothing shops and delis. What’s the sand like at the beach and does it have Blue Flag status? Is there a walk you can recommend and if so, what can you see along the way? Is the food good at the local pub?

It might seem obvious to you but remember that your guest might not have been to the area before (or even heard of it) so you really need to familiarise them with it. And don’t forget to make your descriptions unique

2. Use your reviews. Have a read through your reviews and use tips left by previous guests as inspiration for your descriptions. Insight from former guests can be invaluable. They might mention attractions in the area you might not have considered and may offer information about public transport timings. Take a look at this example:

“The location of the apartment is perfect to get around pretty easily, There is a bus stop a minute from the apartment which runs very regularly, we would get the bus to the main street and get off just after a restaurant called Da Luigi’s, cross over the road to lots of little cobbled streets very close to Piazza Navona, such a vibrant area and lots of places to eat”

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Haven’t got any reviews yet? Find out how to start collecting them.

3. Be a good communicator. It can be a little daunting staying somewhere you’ve never been before, especially if you’ve got small children in tow. Even if you’ve written a detailed area description, be ready to answer any questions your guests have about how to get to your home and what the area is like. Is there parking nearby? Are there any safety concerns? Can you arrange a pick-up and drop-off service for them? Considering these points in advance will make responding easier and you’ll be able to put your guests’ minds at rest.

4. Give directions and pinpoint your map. When your guests aren’t busy getting excited about what there is to see and do in the area, they’ll be planning how to get to your place. It’s really important to complete the How to get there section of your ad, which shows your nearest travel links such as the airport, ferry and train station. This will help travellers decide on the best mode of transport. Also, if you haven’t already, make sure you’ve put your place on the map. You can update your area info by going to Properties > Update location info in your account.

5. Provide a welcome pack. A great place to start building a welcome pack for your guests is at your local tourist information centre. You can usually pick up plenty of leaflets providing info on local attractions and free maps of the area. Go the extra mile and invest in a few souvenirs, such as pens and notepads, so they can plan their itinerary based on the local knowledge you’ve armed them with.

 

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Location, location…where exactly are you?

How TripAdvisor reviews work

Don’t let your listing disappear

iStock_000053559666MediumAs the saying goes, you’ve got to be in it to win it. If your advert isn’t coming up in searches, you won’t get any bookings. Here’s how to help your home the attention (and the bookings) it deserves:

1. Tell guests how much it costs

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 travellers search for specific dates.

Log in and go to Properties > Update prices and click on Set seasonal prices.

Read about how to set your seasonal prices and watch our short video guide.

2. Respond as soon as possible

Travellers tell us all the time that having to wait ages for a response to their enquiry is their biggest bugbear. Because of this, your response rate has a big influence  on where your ad appears in searches. Find out how the response rate works and read our tips on how to improve it.

3. Collect reviews

Did you know that travellers can sort the search results by reviews? Even one review is enough to make sure your ad appears in these searches, but the more reviews you have the better.

Reviews help to build trust and there’s no better recommendation than the words of a happy guest. Start collecting reviews to get your advert noticed.

4. Keep your calendar current

Not only does it mean that your home will appear in all relevant date-related searches, it also stops travellers getting frustrated if they send an enquiry for dates that should have been marked off as booked. A recently updated calendar reassures travellers that your information can be trusted. Watch our short video to find out how to update your calendar or read our FAQ.

 

Find out more

Prices – how much to charge

Why updating your calendar is the key to securing bookings


Location, location…where exactly are you?

haystack2If you haven’t pinned your holiday home’s location on the map, finding your place can be a bit like searching for a needle in a haystack.

This is because ads that aren’t using the pinpoint map feature won’t appear in Map view searches and will only show in the List view.

Location is the deciding factor for many people when booking a holiday. You need to make it easy for them to see how far your place is from local facilities and attractions such as the beach, airport, museums, theme parks and restaurants. It’s especially worthwhile adding a pin for travellers who are planning a stay for a specific reason, such as a wedding, so they can check how close your place is to the action.

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Example of a Map view search

It’s really important that travellers can find your advert, however they choose to search our site, and it’s as easy as pie to add a pin:

  •         Go to Properties > Update location info in your account
  •         Zoom in and click to pin your place on the map
  •         Click Save

If you don’t want to give your property’s exact location, you can show the general area so potential guests still have enough info to make a booking. Just check the tick box: Don’t show travellers the pin on the map.

And remember: your property’s address details will never be published on your ad or shared with travellers who don’t have a confirmed booking.

A pinpoint map tempts travellers and boosts bookings

When you’ve pinned your place on the map, travellers looking at your ad can easily see nearby attractions and restaurants. They can take a look at them on TripAdvisor and get more info. Seeing what there is to do in the area can be the difference between them looking elsewhere or making a booking with you.

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Example of a map on an advert

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Give your guests the gift of local knowledge

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.


More like this

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:

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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.

 

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Video guide to responding to enquiries with a quote

Strictly dance fever: the best places to go dancing

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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