Author Archives: Lucinda Broad

Hotel rates rise in Canaries and Balearics

Hotel rates rise in Canaries and Balearics

Travellers looking for breaks in the Canaries and Balearics this year could be more likely to book a holiday home after hotels hiked up their prices by up to 12%.

A new study by Trivago has revealed that hotels on the Canary and Balearic islands have increased their nightly rates by 12% and 11% respectively. The rise makes the average price of a night’s stay on the Canaries €122 and the Balearics €113.

The Canaries and Balearics benefit from all-year-round popularity because of their milder winter temperatures compared with the rest of Spain. However the price hike still comes at a time when the rest of debt-ridden Spain is seeing hotel rates either stagnate or fall.

Prices in continental Spain

In continental Spain, the biggest price fall has been in Galicia where prices have dropped by 20%. The regions of Cantabria and Navarra have fallen by 14% and 13% respectively.

Aragón, Catalonia and Andalucía hotel prices have seen minor rises of 1%.

Hotel city breaks

City breaks in Spain paint a similar picture, with higher than average nightly stays in the Canary Islands and Balearics:

  • Palma de Majorca (Balearics): €110/night
  • Barcelona: €92/night
  • Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (Canaries): €86/night
  • Madrid: €85/night
  • San Sebastián: €84/night

Sunny Spain was a favourite for travellers in 2013 : a staggering 56.7 million foreign tourists visited last year, the highest number yet. This was partly due to the lower holiday prices, but also the instability of other usual favourites such as Egypt.

Published: 27 January 2014

1,000s of Google+ pages hijacked – check yours is ok

Has your Google+ page been tampered with?If your holiday home is listed on Google+, it’s worth checking whether your details have been tampered with following a possible security breach at Google.

An unknown third party has changed the details of 1,000s of business listings for hotels and guesthouses on Google’s monster social networking site.

The main cause for concern is that altered listings now link to a third-party booking service.

Anyone with a Google account can suggest a change to a listing, however the changes need to be verified before they go live. It’s still unclear as to how these changes were approved. See the Guardian’s article  for more details.

Check your Google+ page

Log in to Google+ to see whether your details are still correct. Any changes you make here will automatically update your Google search results, Maps and other Google services.

New to Google+? Find out how it works

Published: 23 January 2014

Sunny Spain’s a hit with tourists

Book a sunny stay at Relax Bungalow, Gran Canaria

Owners of Spanish holiday accommodation will be pleased to hear that a massive 57.6 million foreign tourists holidayed in Spain between January and November in 2013.

According to the Ministry of Industry, Energy and Tourism, these are the highest numbers yet, with the Canary Islands and Catalonia proving particularly popular.

As we reported last year, tourist spending in Spain was already up by 13.7% by March 2013. The Ministry now reports a marked increase in visits from Russian and Nordic tourists, but British, German and French visitors still lead the way when it comes to booking sun-baked holidays in Spain.

The rise in international visitors is being attributed to several factors. Many travellers seem to have chosen the safety of a Spanish break over more unstable sunny destinations, such as Egypt. And hoteliers and holiday home owners have also implemented reductions in their accommodation prices, which, alongside Spain’s fantastic weather and many other charms, have pulled in more business.

Spain’s not the only market on the up, either. Tourism Review reported a 55% rise in European visitors to Italy over the Christmas period and Travel Weekly reported a bumper 2013 summer for UK tourism. You can read more about Spain’s tourism growth on Euro Weekly News.

Did you notice an increase in visitors from any particular countries in 2013? And how are bookings going for 2014 so far? Tell us in a comment below and don’t forget to add your Home ID!

Fill up your rental calendar with short breaks

Make sure you've added nightly prices

More and more travellers are choosing frequent mini breaks throughout the year, so make sure you’ve set up your account to accept short stays. It’s a great way to fill quieter periods, particularly outside of peak season. You’ll also be in the running to pick up those all-important last-minute short getaways.

If you’ve specified your minimum stay as less than a week, it’s vital to add your nightly prices so that your listing will display accurate costs. Otherwise, guests searching for short breaks will see an amount calculated by dividing your lowest weekly price by seven.

When it comes to setting your pricing, you’re in control. So if you want to charge one rate for week nights and another for weekend nights, it’s up to you. Use local competitor prices as a guide and bear in mind that paying for single nights instead of a whole week is generally more expensive.

Going back and forth over incorrect pricing puts guests off and wastes your time. So specify your nightly prices now to provide a smooth and simple booking process and turn each enquiry into a confirmed booking!

Go to Properties > Prices to add nightly rates and fill up your calendar.

Use event tourism to boost your business

Book a Parisian studio and take in the Paris Marathon

2014 is set to be another great year for event tourism, with an increasing number of travellers booking holidays to coincide with popular events. Now’s the time to capitalise on festivals and events happening near your holiday property to fill up your calendar.

Do you own a Scottish holiday property within easy reach of Glasgow’s upcoming Commonwealth Games site? Or maybe you rent out the ideal Californian base for Coachella festival-goers to escape to when the party’s over? All you need to do is tell people about it.

First stop should be your listing: regularly update your summary for search results and your main description with the names of upcoming local festivals and events. This way search engines will pick up your listing whenever travellers are looking for accommodation for an event you’ve mentioned. You should also add seasonal events to your own website if you have one, making sure they feature prominently on your homepage.

A few months before a big local event, put up a few posters to showcase your property as a great base for the festivities. It also pays to be social-media savvy – your friends on Facebook and followers on Twitter can raise your profile for free.

Don’t forget to leave business cards for your guests to take with them, and always gather feedback by requesting a review just after the stay. This will help you spread the word about your place – if this year’s Paris Marathon tourists give you the thumbs-up, it’s likely you’ll be booked up for next year.

With so many great events scheduled for 2014 – Shakespeare’s 450th birthday celebrations in Stratford-upon-Avon, the Ryder Cup in Gleneagles and Brazil’s 2014 FIFA World Cup – now’s the time to capitalise on event tourism and make this your best rental year ever!

Why we visit our holiday home out of season

Rowena discusses her Swiss Franc mortgage

Holiday homeowner, Rowena, tells us how the out of season visit to her property was for more than just a holiday.

We’ve just returned from a week’s visit to our holiday home in Cyprus, and what a wonderful time of year to visit. Unfortunately, the week we picked happened to be the coldest weather of the season, with snow falling on the mountains.

Typically, it’s back to glorious sunny days again now that we’re home! However, we were still able to get a couple of days of sunshine, catch up with neighbours and visit the tourist places that we’ve never seemed to have time to do on previous trips.

The benefits of a winter visit

I think it’s important to visit your own home at different times of the year so you are able to prepare your house for all seasons and also be able to give your guests information on what they can expect during that season, what the weather is typically like and what they can see and do.

As a result of our visit we bought an electric heater for the evenings to keep the home nice and warm. It’s surprising how quickly the temperature can drop once the sun comes down. You can blast hot air through the air conditioning units but this is an expensive way to heat the house. We also made sure there were plenty of fleecy blankets to keep people warm at night.

Cyprus at Christmas

A gallery for all seasons

We took some photos so we can show people what our home is like in the winter season. We also made a few home improvements, something we try and do every visit. We brought out with us a new hairdryer and extra games for the playstation, checked the fly screens, which were fitted earlier in the year and changed both the shower curtains. We bought a new lamp and cushions for the lounge and gave the kitchen a deep clean ready for the new season.

Mixing work with pleasure

The most fun we had was seeing Cyprus in December with all the Christmas lights, including the village of Anarita where we are located. We also managed to enjoy some quality time with our neighbours, including a Christmas party, and Stewart and Ann who manage our property so well throughout the year.

All in all a very successful trip – my only wish was that we could have stayed longer!

All the best!

Rowena

Holiday home entrepreneurs: finding your niche

Beach Sun Retreat in Dymchurch, Kent

Working in the hospitality industry can be really rewarding. But getting your holiday let up and running can take a lot of investment and hard work.Identifying and developing your property’s key selling points will help you find your niche and attract all the right guests to your business.

Owner Karl Emanuelsson lists the Beach Sun Retreat on holidaylettings.co.uk and spoke to Metro newspaper recently about his family’s investment in a run-down seaside hotel in Dymchurch, Kent.‘It was a complete wreck and we’ve had to make lots of internal changes,’ he reports, but bit by bit the property is being restored and revamped into something a bit special.

Beach Sun Retreat is now flourishing and enjoys around 80% occupancy levels. It comes complete with quirky features, such as the property’s unusual ‘sun room’, which provides a simulated safe sunbathing environment all year round.This flamboyant getaway has carved its own niche,in particular with group parties drawn to the high-spec interior and the rare feature room.

But you don’t need to pack your holiday property full of quirky features to make it a success. Bringing out your unique selling points in your listing through your photos and description, whatever they are, will ensure you attract the guests best suited for a stay at your place. Check out these five tips for refreshing your ad.

Got an interesting story about developing your holiday letting business? Leave us a comment below and don’t forget to include your Home ID.

 

Seven top tips for holiday home owners entering their first peak booking season

7 tips

Are you about to enter your first peak booking season? Want to make sure you secure as many bookings as possible for 2014? Then read on…

After the presents have been unwrapped and the turkey’s been eaten people’s thoughts often turn to their next holiday. The period immediately following Christmas and New Year is always one of the busiest times for holiday home owners, but what makes guests book and why would they choose your property over someone else’s? Here are some tips to help you fill up your calendar for 2014.

1) Entice guests with a stand-out summary
When a guest searches for a holiday home on Holiday Lettings, they’ll arrive on a search results page listing all the relevant properties. You have up to 300 words to sell your home in your search results description and encourage people to click through to your main ad listing. Make sure this is written as effectively as possible, outlining your home’s unique selling points, nearby attractions and any special offers.

2) Help people to imagine themselves in your home with fantastic photos
The more your guests can imagine themselves relaxing by your pool, eating breakfast on the balcony or reading on your comfy sofas the more likely they’ll be to book. You can upload up to 24 images on your ad – the more the better. Make sure you’ve included a good selection of both the exterior and interior of your home and remember to set your best image as the lead photo, as this is the main picture that will appear on the search results page.

3) Get your prices right
No one’s going to book your place if they could stay at a similar property nearby for half the price, but at the same time you don’t want to charge too little. Check out the competition to see if your prices are reflective of the area your home is in and make sure you’re aware of school holiday dates or any events happening nearby which could justify you charging more at those times.

4) Collect reviews
Even if you’re new to Holiday Lettings, your home can feature reviews starting from any time in the last two years. Ads that have just one recommendation receive up to 40% more enquiries than those that don’t, so if you’re in touch with anyone who’s stayed in your home over the last year why not ask them to write a quick review?

5) Quick communication is key
Once you’ve perfected your ad and the enquires have started pouring in, you need to make sure you secure those bookings!

Always try to respond as quickly as you can – ideally within 24 hours. Guests will often enquire about several properties when researching holiday lets and the owners who respond quickest are more likely to get the bookings. Plus, if you respond quickly you’ll maintain or improve your response rate on your advert, increasing trust and encourage even more people to get in touch.

To find out about new enquiries as quickly as possible, check your emails regularly, make sure you’re set up to receive SMS notifications and download the My Property app.

6) Respond to enquiries with quotes
If a guest sends you a message asking for more information you can respond not only answering their questions but by providing them with a quote detailing exactly how much they’d have to pay for their stay. A guest can book and pay for their stay instantly upon receiving a quote – it’s the fastest way of securing their booking. Watch this video to find out more.

7) Familiarise yourself with how to accept booking requests
If a guest is sure they want to stay at your home they can send you a booking request. Watch this video to learn how to accept a request to secure the booking.

What are your tips for making the most of the peak booking season? Tell us in the box below.

Helping you run your holiday let on the go: additional enquiry reminder

Additional SMS alert for enquiry reminders

Great news! If you’ve signed up for free SMS alerts you’ll now receive an additional text message to help you keep on top of your enquiries and get more bookings.

Life’s busy when running a holiday let and if your place is in high demand you could have requests coming at you from all angles. At the same time you want to respond quickly as an indicator of the service you provide your guests. But we understand that sometimes things just get in the way.

As you know, we already send an SMS text message when you receive a new enquiry or booking request from a holidaymaker. But we realise that you’re busy, so from now on we’ll nudge you with a reminder 26 hours after the first one in case that first notification passes you by. Leaving it any longer means you’re at risk of losing the booking because guests expect a same day response.

Nobody wants to miss out on a potential booking, so hopefully this will help you at busier times – especially with Christmas just around the corner. Obviously you’ll only receive a reminder if we’ve noticed you haven’t responded yet.

Enquiries lead to bookings

Hopefully you don’t need us to tell you that every enquiry you receive is a potential booking and that every response counts. We mean this both in terms of your response rate shown on your listing but perhaps even more importantly in the impression the guest has of using Holiday Lettings and enquiring about your home.

By acknowledging their contact you’ll ultimately increase the likelihood of holidaymakers returning to the site and booking your home again. What’s more, replying to guests within 24 hours means you’ll also protect your response rate, which guests can clearly see on your listing.

Here’s another important fact: if you respond to an enquiry within 6 hours you’re twice as likely to turn it into a booking compared with replying 24 hours later.

Not receiving SMS?

  •  Go to Account > Account preferences > Free SMS alerts to your mobile
  •  Enter ‘+’ and your country dialling code, followed by your mobile number minus the zero, e.g. +447890000000 
  •  You’ll receive an email asking you to confirm the change to your account details
  • Just click on the link in that email to approve the update

New and improved search results page

Improved search results for more bookings

We’re always working hard to improve our website so we can maximise enquiries and bookings for our home owners. So we’ve made some updates to our search results page to make it even easier for holidaymakers to find and book your holiday let!

The new design shows users where to add their dates and points them towards handy tabs where they can find out all about each property. We’ve also moved the search filters to the left-hand side of the page and featured the Spotlights in slot four in the results, giving the search bar at the top more prominence.

A better search results page is good news for you and for your guests: they find the perfect property more easily and you can reap the benefits in quick and confident bookings.

The new design has arrived just before peak booking season begins – is your listing ready? Give it an update today!