Category Archives: Owners/Managers

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

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.


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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.

 

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Video guide to responding to enquiries with a quote

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.