Category Archives: Owners/Managers

Update your prices for the winter season

La Reunion holiday chalet in Bernex, Haute-Savoie

Home 625934

Winter is coming so it’s time to check your prices and make sure they’re up to date for the coming season.

Be accurate

When your pricing is accurate, travellers know straight away how much you’re charging and there’s no need for you to go back and forth with your guests clarifying out of date information.

Don’t hide away

What’s worse than inaccurate prices? No prices at all. Travellers won’t be able to book and might look for somewhere else to stay instead of sending you an enquiry.

Cater to couples

Couples are more likely to take their holidays outside of peak season, so if you haven’t already, you could consider adding a pricing table specifically for parties of two.

Plan for Christmas

Spending Christmas away from home is more and more popular with travellers. Make sure you’ve set the prices you’d like to charge over the Christmas holidays to keep your guests in the know.

Consider New Year deals

If your rental generally has a slower time of it in January and February, considering dropping your prices to attract those post-Christmas holiday-seekers.

It’s quick and easy to update your prices

1 Log in

2 Hover over Properties

3 Choose Update prices and make your changes

Don’t forget: if you’ve got some seasonal Christmassy shots of your property, now’s the time to upload a few and get travellers in the mood to book their winter getaway.

More like this

5 pricing tips for more bookings

Photography tips to get guests booking

Free photo shoots available – limited offer

Some holiday homes are eligible for a free photo shoot to help them attract more bookings. Owners who’ve already taken us up on this offer are receiving a massive 90% lift in enquiries on average.

Do I qualify for the free photo shoot?

If there’s a photographer available in your area you’ll receive an email inviting you to take up the offer. Keep an eye on your inbox and respond quickly to secure your slot.

Unfortunately we have a limited number of photographers with very tight schedules, so are unable to offer the photo shoot to everyone. The offer is mainly for new advertisers to help them get the most from their advert from the word go.

What happens next?

Once you’ve secured your slot, we’ll put you in touch with the photographer to arrange the best time for their visit.

Your new professional photos will be uploaded to your advert and a Visited by Holiday Lettings badge will go on your listing, encouraging more guests to book.

Want to find out more? Read our FAQ

Spot the difference

See how our photographers put a new dazzling new shine on these holiday homes.

Living room (before)

Before the photo shoot

Living room (after)

After the shoot: there’s more light on the living space at Brooks House.

Master bedroom (before)

Before the photo shoot

Master bedroom (after)

After the shoot: Apartment Vila Sol Village looks set to provide a good night’s sleep.

Kitchen (before)

Before the photo shoot

Kitchen (after)

After the shoot: a fresh perspective on the kitchen at 107 Royal Mile.

Front of the villa (before)

Before the photo shoot

Front of the house (after)

After the shoot: Villa No. 27 is captured in a whole new light.

7 top tips from a professional

You can get your photos looking pristine even if you’re not in line for a free photo shoot. Read Mike’s top photography tips – he’s a professional photographer who runs his own holiday home in Spain.

Photography tips to get guests booking

Villa with poolLooks matter for travellers when they’re researching their hard-earned holidays, so your photos need to show off your rental at its best.

You don’t have to be a professional photographer to take a great picture – but it helps to get some advice from one. Grab your digital camera and read seven top tips from Mike, a Holiday Lettings home owner and photographer who knows a thing or two about taking photos that sparkle…

Find some inspiration

Swimming poolFirst stop: check out the competition. When someone else’s advert leaves you itching to book a holiday, note down what’s great about the photos and try a similar approach.

Get the light right

Balcony during the dayExterior shots: it’s best to have a clear blue sky on your side. Stand with your back to the sun and snap away. You’ll probably need to photograph one side in the morning, then the other in the afternoon.

PatioInterior shots: take these during the day with natural light streaming in through the windows. If you want to show a room lit up at night, take your photos as the sun is setting – not when it’s already dark.

Forget the flash

LoungeYour flash will only light objects in the foreground, so it won’t always give you the best results.

  1. Set your camera to manual.
  2. Switch the flash off.
  3. Set the highest ISO (800 or 1600) for indoor shots, or a low setting (eg 100) for outdoors.

Cut the clutter

Dining roomMess and clutter will grab guests’ attention for all the wrong reasons, so have a tidy up before you start snapping.

Focus on your home

Dining on the patioTravellers don’t want to see pictures of someone else’s family having a blast – they want to imagine themselves there. Keep your shots super simple and free of people.

Give the full picture

BedroomYou don’t get a real sense of a room if all you can see is half a bed and a door. Stand in the corner of the room and set your camera lens to its widest to take in as much of the room as possible. You can use a tripod to keep your camera steady.

Be creative with angles

Bathroom photoTake a few photos while standing on a chair or holding the camera above your head. Now try tilting the camera. Do any of these approaches bring the best out of that bathroom?

Got your photos sorted?

We know 260 million travellers* who’d love to see them

When you create your free Holiday Lettings listing, your ad will also appear on 23 international TripAdvisor sites. Now that’s an easy way to get your rental noticed.

Find out about listing with Holiday Lettings

*Google Analytics, Worldwide data, July 2013

Using your message templates

As you might already know, your account contains default messages for your guests – one to accompany your quotes, one when the guest pays a deposit and one when they pay the full balance. You can edit these templates to make them more personal and to answer any specific queries a guest has raised.

Where are my message templates?

Go to Bookings > Update booking settings then click the arrow next to Messages to guests to view your templates.

How do I edit my templates?

Follow the steps above, type in your updates and hit Save.

You’ll always have a chance to review and edit your message for each guest before sending.

Can I send a message with a quote?

Definitely. It counts towards your response rate when you respond to an enquiry with a quote. This means you don’t need to send a separate reply.

What should I include in my messages?

When replying to an enquiry with a quote, make sure you clearly answer any questions the traveller has asked. Even if you think the answer is obvious on your advert, be patient – travellers often skim-read details for several homes at once and sometimes need confirmation.

It’s a good idea to thank your guest for their interest and encourage them to pay. Be friendly and polite to increase your chances of confirming each booking.

If you’re running a special offer, you could include that in your message to encourage bookings at that time.

What shouldn’t I include?

Don’t paste in large blocks of text, such as detailed terms and conditions – the booking contract will cover this sort of information.

Do I need to worry about dynamic text?

Not anymore. We’ve simplified our message templates. Instead of presenting the dynamic fields like this: ***GUEST NAME*** or ***DUE DATE***, you’ll now see the info written out in full as your guest will see it.

More like this

Video guide to responding to enquiries with a quote

Trade secrets to keep guests coming back

Garden gnome

“The keys are under flowerpot.”

It sounds straightforward enough. Well, that’s until you arrive to find it’s pitch black, there are 30 flowerpots and the keys are actually under a gnome.

When it comes to greeting guests, we all know what not to do. But what should you do to give guests a welcome that makes them rave to their friends and come back for more?

Holiday Lettings interviewed holiday home owners and picked out three super successful letters with invaluable tips for greeting guests. Discover how Linda (winner of a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence 2014), Mike and Ian create a first impression that’s memorable for all the right reasons.

Meeting and greeting

“I live next to our cottage, Greenbanks, so I meet and greet guests myself. They often comment that they appreciated this, but my main advice for owners considering this approach is to be aware of the amount of time you’ll have to commit – especially at weekends, when a lot of guests arrive.” – Linda, owner of Greenbank

“If your property isn’t near where you live find yourself a reliable property manager; someone local who comes recommended and can sort out any problems when you’re not there. It’s also worth fitting a key safe for late arrivals.” – Mike, owner of Casa La Torre

Pre-ordered shopping

“I’m increasingly finding that guests like to order their groceries online in advance of their stay. If they want it to be there before them, I make sure I’m around to receive it so they can arrive to a fully stocked house.” – Linda

Welcome hampers

A welcome hamper“Welcome hampers can be a challenge if you’re remote, but I try to leave a few basics: cooking oils, spices and charcoal for the BBQ. If I know someone’s come for a special occasion I ask the lady from the local delicatessen to set up some things for their arrival. She’s got a key so it’s no problem to organise.” – Ian, owner of Meadow View Barn

“When you’ve got a group of 8-10 guests a bottle of wine doesn’t go far. So instead I bake a cake. Our place is in Yorkshire so this year I made a special Tour de France cake for the guests who came to watch the race. I also always leave Yorkshire tea, fresh flowers, milk and sugar. If you’ve travelled a long way the first thing you want is a cup of tea and a cake.” – Linda

Welcome cards

“We’ve got a stack of cards, showing our cottages, painted by a local artist. I normally leave guests a card with a message relating to their stay – such as “Happy birthday” or “enjoy the races”. I think these little details help make each stay special.” – Linda

Remote controlled heating

“Remote controlled heating means that if we get a last minute booking in the winter, it doesn’t matter where we happen to be – we can still make sure it’s warm when the guests arrive.” – Ian

We know 260 million travellers*, all looking for a warm welcome

If you can wow them like Linda, Ian and Mike, you could be looking at years of return bookings from previous guests and their friends. Advertise with Holiday Lettings for free and your ad will also appear on 23 international TripAdvisor sites.

More about listing with Holiday Lettings

*Google Analytics, Worldwide data, July 2013

School holidays in England 2015 (by county)

Booking a family holiday? If you’re based in England, our up to date list of English school holiday dates for 2015, county by county, is below. Click on the county to skip to the dates for your area and then start your search.

The dates below are a useful guide, but it’s important to double-check with your child’s school before booking a holiday.

Buckinghamshire
Cambridgeshire
Cumbria
Derbyshire
Devon
Dorset
East Sussex
Essex
Gloucestershire
Hampshire
Hertfordshire
Kent
Lancashire
Leicestershire
Lincolnshire
Norfolk
North Yorkshire
Northamptonshire
Nottinghamshire
Oxfordshire
Somerset
Staffordshire
Suffolk
Surrey
Warwickshire
West Sussex
Worcestershire

Buckinghamshire

Spring half term Sat 14 February 2015 – Sun 22 February 2015
Easter Sat 28 March 2015 – Mon 13 April 2015
Summer half term Sat 23 May 2015 – Sun 31 May 2015
Summer holidays Begin on Thurs 23 July 2015

Cambridgeshire

Spring half term Sat 14 February 2015 – Sun 22 February 2015
Easter Sat 28 March 2015 – Mon 13 April 2015
Summer half term Sat 23 May 2015 – Sun 31 May 2015
Summer holidays Begin on Thurs 23 July 2015

Cumbria

Spring half term Sat 14 February 2015 – Sun 22 February 2015
Easter Sat 28 March 2015 – Sun 12 April 2015
Summer half term Sat 23 May 2015 – Sun 31 May 2015
Summer holidays Begin on Sat 18 July 2015

Derbyshire

Spring half term Sat 7 February 2015 – Sun 15 February 2015
Easter Sat 28 March 2015 – Sun 12 April 2015
Summer half term Sat 23 May 2015 – Sun 31 May 2015
Summer holidays Begin on Sat 25 July 2015

Devon

Spring half term Sat 14 February 2015 – Sun 22 February 2015
Easter Sat 28 March 2015 – Sun 12 April 2015
Summer half term Sat 23 May 2015 – Sun 31 May 2015
Summer holidays Begin on Sat 25 July 2015

Dorset

Spring half term Sat 14 February 2015 – Sun 22 February 2015
Easter Sat 28 March 2015 – Sun 12 April 2015
Summer half term Sat 23 May 2015 – Sun 31 May 2015
Summer holidays Begin on Wed 22 July

East Sussex

Spring half term Sat 14 February 2015 – Sun 22 February 2015
Easter Sat 28 March 2015 – Sun 12 April 2015
Summer half term Sat 23 May 2015 – Sun 31 May 2015
Summer holidays Begin on Thurs 23 July 2015

Essex

Spring half term Sat 14 February 2015 – Sun 22 February 2015
Easter Sat 28 March 2015 – Sun 12 April 2015
Summer half term Sat 23 May 2015 – Sun 31 May 2015
Summer holidays Begin on Thurs 23 July 2015

Gloucestershire

Spring half term Sat 14 February 2015 – Sun 22 February 2015
Easter Sat 28 March 2015 – Sun 12 April 2015
Summer half term Sat 23 May 2015 – Sun 31 May 2015
Summer holidays Begin on Tues 21 July 2015

Hampshire

Spring half term Sat 14 February 2015 – Sun 22 February 2015
Easter Sat 4 April 2015 – Sun 19 April 2015
Summer half term Sat 23 May 2015 – Sun 31 May 2015
Summer holidays Begin on Fri 24 July 2015

Hertfordshire

Spring half term Sat 14 February 2015 – Sun 22 February 2015
Easter Sat 28 March 2015 – Sun 12 April 2015
Summer half term Sat 23 May 2015 – Sun 31 May 2015
Summer holidays Begin on Thurs 23 July 2015

Kent

Spring half term Sat 14 February 2015 – Sun 22 February 2015
Easter Thurs 2 April 2015 – Sun 19 April 2015
Summer half term Sat 23 May 2015 – Sun 31 May 2015
Summer holidays Begin on Sat 25 July 2015

Lancashire

Spring half term Sat 14 February 2015 – Sun 22 February 2015
Easter Sat 28 March 2015 – Sun 12 April 2015
Summer half term Sat 23 May 2015 – Sun 31 May 2015
Summer holidays Begin on Fri 24 July 2015

Leicestershire

Spring half term Sat 14 February 2015 – Sun 22 February 2015
Easter Sat 28 March 2015 – Sun 12 April 2015
Summer half term Sat 23 May 2015 – Sun 31 May 2015
Summer holidays Begin on Sat 11 July 2015

Lincolnshire

Spring half term Sat 14 February 2015 – Sun 22 February 2015
Easter Sat 28 March 2015 – Sun 12 April 2015
Summer half term Sat 23 May 2015 – Sun 31 May 2015
Summer holidays Begin on Thurs 24 July 2015

Norfolk

Spring half term Sat 14 February 2015 – Sun 22 February 2015
Easter Sat 28 March 2015 – Sun 12 April 2015
Summer half term Sat 23 May 2015 – Sun 31 May 2015
Summer holidays Begin on Wed 22 July 2015

North Yorkshire

Spring half term Sat 14 February 2015 – Sun 22 February 2015
Easter Sat 28 March 2015 – Sun 12 April 2015
Summer half term Sat 23 May 2015 – Sun 31 May 2015
Summer holidays Begin on Tues 21 July 2015

Northamptonshire

Spring half term Sat 14 February 2015 – Sun 22 February 2015
Easter Sat 28 March 2015 – Sun 12 April 2015
Summer half term Sat 23 May 2015 – Sun 31 May 2015
Summer holidays Begin on Wed 22 July 2015

Nottinghamshire

Spring half term Sat 14 February 2015 – Sun 22 February 2015
Easter Fri 3 April 2015 – Sun 19 April 2015
Summer half term Sat 23 May 2015 – Sun 31 May 2015
Summer holidays Begin on Thurs 23 July 2015

Oxfordshire

Spring half term Sat 14 February 2015 – Sun 22 February 2015
Easter Sat 28 March 2015 – Sun 12 April 2015
Summer half term Sat 23 May 2015 – Sun 31 May 2015
Summer holidays Begin on Tues 21 July 2015

Somerset

Spring half term Sat 14 February 2015 – Sun 22 February 2015
Easter Sat 28 March 2015 – Sun 12 April 2015
Summer half term Sat 23 May 2015 – Sun 31 May 2015
Summer holidays Begin on Tues 21 July 2015

Staffordshire

Spring half term Sat 14 February 2015 – Sun 22 February 2015
Easter Fri 3 April 2015 – Wed 15 April 2015
Summer half term Sat 23 May 2015 – Sun 31 May 2015
Summer holidays Begin on Sat 18 July 2015

Suffolk

Spring half term Sat 14 February 2015 – Sun 22 February 2015
Easter Sat 28 March 2015 – Sun 12 April 2015
Summer half term Sat 23 May 2015 – Sun 31 May 2015
Summer holidays Begin on Wed 22 July 2015

Surrey

Spring half term Sat 14 February 2015 – Sun 22 February 2015
Easter Sat 28 March 2015 – Sun 12 April 2015
Summer half term Sat 23 May 2015 – Sun 31 May 2015
Summer holidays Begin on Wed 22 July 2015

Warwickshire

Spring half term Sat 14 February 2015 – Sun 22 February 2015
Easter Sat 28 March 2015 – Sun 12 April 2015
Summer half term Sat 23 May 2015 – Sun 31 May 2015
Summer holidays Begin on Sat 18 July 2015

West Sussex

Spring half term Sat 14 February 2015 – Sun 22 February 2015
Easter Sat 28 March 2015 – Sun 12 April 2015
Summer half term Sat 23 May 2015 – Sun 31 May 2015
Summer holidays Begin on Thurs 23 July 2015

Worcestershire

Spring half term Sat 14 February 2015 – Sun 22 February 2015
Easter Sat 28 March 2015 – Sun 12 April 2015
Summer half term Sat 23 May 2015 – Sun 31 May 2015
Summer holidays Begin on Tues 21 July 2015

 

More like this…

School holidays in Wales 2014 & 2015

School holidays in Scotland 2014 & 2015

School holidays in France 2014 & 2015

Calendar sync is now live: less admin, more bookings

calendar-imageWe’ve added a new calendar syncing feature to make it easier for you to keep your calendar updated and ready for bookings.

Calendar sync automatically imports updates to your Holiday Lettings calendar from other calendars. This will also automatically update your TripAdvisor calendar.

You can sync your Holiday Lettings and TripAdvisor calendars with HomeAway, Google, Airbnb, Yahoo and any other calendar that uses iCal technology.

(Please note: your Holiday Lettings and TripAdvisor calendars won’t push out updates – only import them.)

More about how calendar sync works

How to sync your calendars

Log in, go to Properties > Update calendar and select Sync with other calendars

More about how to sync your calendars

What’s in it for you? How calendar syncing gets you more bookings

Sync your calendars and you will…

1. Receive better quality enquiries
When travellers can see your true availability, they can send more relevant and specific enquiries your way. You’ll save their time and yours – no more “sorry, we’re booked for those dates”.

2. Accept more booking requests
Sick of having to turn down good money because you’re already booked? Fully updated and synced calendars mean no more misunderstandings getting in the way of you and paying guests.

3. Give travellers the confidence to book with you
When your calendars are synced, the ‘Calendar last updated’ date on your ad will refresh every day. Potential guests will see this and know you’re on top of your game.

More about the benefits of keeping your calendar in shape

How TripAdvisor reviews work

How TripAdvisor reviews workThere’s no better way of tempting a traveller to book than showing them reviews from happy guests who’ve stayed at your place. You may already know how to collect reviews, but here’s a bit more about how the reviews process works from start to finish.

  1. Your guest can write a review via your Holiday Lettings or TripAdvisor advert. When they click on the button to write a review, they’ll be taken to a form on TripAdvisor.
  1. Your guest will start by adding a few details such as the name on the booking and their date of stay. This is so you can verify the reviewer actually stayed at your home (more on this later). The rest of the form guides them through completing their review.
  1. When the guest hits ‘submit’ at the bottom of the form, they’ll be asked to sign in to TripAdvisor. If they don’t have a TripAdvisor account, they can create one for free or sign in via Facebook or Google.
  1. Your guest will know if they’ve submitted their review correctly because they’ll receive an email from TripAdvisor. TripAdvisor checks the review to make sure it meets the posting guidelines. This can take a little while, particularly during busy seasons.
  1. When the review is ready, you’ll get an email letting you know. You’ll then have five days to verify that the guest stayed. Log in to your Holiday Lettings account and go to Properties > Manage your reviews. You won’t be able to read the review at this point (more on this in ‘Need to know info’ below). If you don’t verify the review within five days, it will be posted to your advert automatically.
  1. The review will be displayed on your Holiday Lettings advert and your TripAdvisor advert. The review will appear on your Holiday Lettings advert as soon as you’ve verified it (or when the five days is up). It might take a little longer for your TripAdvisor advert to update and display the review.
  1. You can post a response to the review by logging into your account and going to Properties > Manage your reviews. Find out more about responding to reviews.

Top tip! If you haven’t written a review on TripAdvisor before, it’s a good idea to have a go. You can review accommodation, restaurants and attractions: http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/

Need to know info

Why do guests have to sign in to write a review? The vast majority of websites that allow people to comment now require some kind of sign in. This is to stop any misuse of the system, take away absolute anonymity and make sure that owners can’t post fake reviews about their own home.

Why can’t reviews be read before being posted? To make sure that the reviews posted are a true reflection of other guests’ experiences, you’re not able to read the review before it goes live.

If you’ve received criticism and respond well to the review, that’s just as appealing to potential guests than having lots of glowing 5/5 reviews. It shows you’re willing to take on board feedback and make improvements. You’ll be able to see the guest’s name and their holiday dates before the review goes live. More about verifying reviews.

Where’s the review? If your guest has told you that they’ve written a review, you’ve been waiting for a while and you’ve not received it, make sure that:

  • Your guest wrote the review on the correct advert.
  • They received a notification email from TripAdvisor thanking them for their review (if they didn’t receive this, they may not have completed the review properly or signed into TripAdvisor).
  • The guest is aware of the posting guidelines. They can check the status of their own review by visiting their TripAdvisor account.

If, after checking the above, you still haven’t received the review it could be that it didn’t meet the guidelines. In that case, your guest can try and resubmit their review.

Check out our help section for more information on how reviews work.

More like this…

Collecting reviews

Responding to reviews