Update: response rate calculation changed

Your response rate on Holiday LettingsSince we introduced response rate to listings a few weeks ago, we’ve been tracking very closely both its effect on booking enquiries as well as feedback from both owners and guests.

Following feedback and many conversations with owners and guests over these few weeks we’ve changed the main trigger we review in the response rate calculation. From today, we’ll look purely at recent enquiries rather than enquiries in a timeframe to measure response rate.

How your rate is calculated

  • The rate now reflects how many times you’ve responded within 48 hours to your most recent 20 enquiries (or as many as you have, if less than 20).
  • It’s based on enquiries sent after 22 May 2013.
  • Coming soon: duplicate enquiries sent within 48 hours will not count towards your rate, so you’ll only have to respond to one enquiry. We’ll provide an update on this over the next couple of weeks.

Full details are available in our Help section.

Even more than before, the power to control your rate is in your hands. Tracking recent enquiries ensures that every time you receive a future enquiry you have the influence to improve your response rate. For every new enquiry received, the oldest enquiry currently factored into the rate, is excluded from the calculation.

We have tested and surveyed extensively, and we will continue to optimise this feature as we do all elements of our product. Your feedback has been very valuable in this revision. But everything tells us this feature is the right one to introduce now.

What holidaymakers say

In 14 years, the most common holidaymaker complaint we’ve received, and still receive every day, is that they’ve not received a response to an enquiry. That’s not a great experience and it affects every owner listed with us because there’s the risk that the holidaymaker assumes this behaviour to be site-wide, not just a spot of bad luck.

Response rate gives prospective guests a heads-up. And it gives owners a self-influenced tool to say ‘pick me’.

Help is at hand

We know there are few home owners whose sole job is running their holiday let business. We know you’re busy, but we know you want to offer great service and accommodation. Our free mobile appMy Property, is designed for that very reason. If you turn on ‘push notifications’ you’ll be alerted instantly to a new enquiry or booking request the moment it hits your Holiday Lettings Inbox. From the app you can respond to enquiries and send quotes.

See more tips on responding to enquiries or watch our two-minute video.

See an example of the response rate on a listing

14 thoughts on “Update: response rate calculation changed

  1. Mark Nixon

    I have never missed a response and always respond within 24 hours either through your site or directly with the email address that you provide. I presume direct contact is not calculated in your figures as my rate is 68% which makes me look very unprofessional. This system doesn’t work.

    Reply
  2. JML

    Heres mine and its a long one but lots of issues to address: I find it ironic that Holiday Lettings periodically sends out survey requests to owners when you don’t listen to the owners. Clearly from the comments herein and those on a number of forums, you can see that your owners are not happy with your service, but i think many would like to continue using it if only you would make the necessary changes which i have brought to your attention several time but which you continue to ignore – despite my masters(distinction) in creative advertising and marketing and 15 years front line tour high end market tour operations background in corfu. I query how many employees own a villa on a greek island, or even any property overseas. I ask this because it is also odd that you habitually dictate the workings of villa marketing to owners, some of whom have been in that position for many years. My issues, which are relevant to all owners, are: 1) On trip advisor (which you incorrectly claim is a free listing because we only receive it if we pay a premium) you display a section on each owners page which is called – ‘TOP RATED VILLAS’ suggesting that those properties are better than mine / ours etc. This is highly damaging to a villa owners business. We are paying you to advertise OUR homes, which are immensely expensive businesses to run. You may therefore advertise other properties on pages we are paying you for. Also, and i any case, you have never been able to justify the basis upon which you find these other properties to be “TOP RATED” because for certain, some of them, often all of them do not have as many reviews and sometimes. I have five 5 star reviews so far but some of the ones you call TOP RATED have only two 5 star ratings. A viewer looking at my trip advisor page is likely to see the TOP RATED VILLAS banner and may well look there and book one of those. Thus you have damaged my business. 2) The response rate system is morally wrong. The only way it will increase for us is if we respond to enquiries using your method. Holiday Lettings does not have the right to dictate to owners their method of response. Mine is always, initially, by phone, if a number is provided and IF the enquiry is genuine, which a disturbingly high percentage are not! I therefore have a 100% response rate. 3) I have been sent a screen grab from a client, showing that when an enquiry is made the prospective client receives a notice confirming their enquiry has been sent to the owner. On that same page you tell them “YOU’LL ALSO LOVE” and you provide them with 4 other suggested properties. Once again, we are not paying you to advertise competitors homes. 4) Despite claims of being the largest company you provide me with 10 % or less of the enquiries and bookings compared to owners direct. This despite having the Trip Advisor attachment. 5) You have constantly failed to take action to prevent scam enquiries, of which you have the lions share. One way to reduce this is to make a genuine telephone number a pre-requisite on the enquiry form, with a polite notice attached stating the reason for it, i.e. to ascertain the enquiry as genuine and for security of the owner. Genuine enquirers should not take issue wit this in my view. 6) I feel that you also seem to encourage a discount culture. This is bad practice. Villas are not part of the bucket shop holiday market. As an owner, and i speak for every owner, we do not receive discounts on bills, other running costs and mortgages! If owners wish to discount thats fine, personally I would advise against it became it drags the market down and may often attract the wrong sort of clientele. Also you should not encourage discounting for smaller groups which is bad practice and i can sight several cases from other owners that discounted in this way and found for example two people booked and 6 turned up, or two people managing somehow to use 4 bedrooms and put all the air-conditioning on. It happened to me three times so I stopped discounting and it hasn’t affected the bookings. In fact last year it was 22 weeks in the summer season on Corfu. But to my fellow owners, I ask you which is better: 10 weeks at £3000 per week, or 20 weeks at £1500 per week?? Of course the former – wear and tear and running costs are double in the latter. In conclusion I believe that some of your activities are simple failures because your staff and inexperienced in the market they are communicating with. But in other practices i sense that you are heading into the realms of multiple claims for loss of earnings and implementation of practices which have a negative / damaging effect on a business that is paying you for a positive service.

    Reply
    1. Kate Stinchcombe-Gillies Post author

      Hi John, thanks for taking the time to write down your thoughts. Allow us to touch on each of them: 1 – every listing on Holiday Lettings now also appears on 13 TripAdvisor sites worldwide, this has been the case for over a year. The sum or fee paid to list with Holiday Lettings and TripAdvisor is for us to market homes to the largest possible audience – your home will also appear in relevant sections of the site, other than your own listing page, to ensure travellers see the fullest range of inventory relevant to their search. It isn’t the case that travellers book the first home they see or enquire about (for many a reason), so to ensure they come back time and again we give them the greatest selection of homes, hoping they’ll book one on our site rather than one elsewhere. 2 – there are three ways you can respond to enquiries in order that the response is counted, more info here: http://www.holidaylettings.co.uk/content/faq/view/Coming-soon-24-hours-to-respond 3 – as per point 1, to generate as many bookings as possible we have to provide and protect the traveller experience. Because sadly we can’t guarantee that every owner will respond to every enquiry, we ensure that visitors to our site have options in the event they don’t hear back from their original choice. Your home appears in these features too. 4 – perhaps we can help you review your listing to see if we can improve things for you 5 – we actually have pretty good spam filters, but obviously methods evolve. We encourage owners to reply to all enquiries and if you’re absolutely certain it’s spam copy spam@holidaylettings.co.uk into your response. Plenty of guests send a generic enquiry requesting more info to multiple homes. Owners often ask us if these are spam because they’re not specific to their proeprty, but they’re genuine. 6 – sorry you feel this way, it is not our intention. Last minute discount offers do work well to fill imminently vacant periods for many owners, but these are for specific periods only.

      Reply
  3. Carla Moreira

    I’m not happy with the response rate you created. I always answer in a few minutes (except, maybe during the night, when I need some hours) and my response rate is at 90%. The only situation I can think about to understand this 90% is when I got multiple enquiries from the same person, but this is an error of your system, so why should the responsability be on me? I agree with Peggy: your response rate is 0%, so it’s a little bit ironic your decision of calculating the hosts response rate. Comparing to other similiar services, HolidayLettings’s customer help system is incredibly weak.

    Reply
    1. Lucinda Broad

      Hi Carla, This should have now been fixed but please let us know if you’re still having problems. Apologies for any inconvenience.

      Reply
  4. Jill Sterry

    I agree with all the comments left by previous property owners, in particular, Penny Robinson on October 5th – so reflective of my own opinions, I thought I’d written her critique myself under a pseudonym. I think Holiday Lettings should scrap this whole dumb idea as the statistics do NOT represent the true picture of owners’ responses to their enquiries. I too sometimes respond in minutes and certainly within a few hours of an enquiry. No point in trying to phone Holiday Lettings or sending an e-mail either, to complain, as their response rates are abysmal. Owners who don’t reply in good time get no bookings – that’s the measure of their success or not. We are paying for our ads and we don’t want this!

    Reply
  5. Anne

    I think the whole idea is horribly flawed giving no allowance to owners in different time zones to guests yet you can yourselves harm the business of the people who are paying you to help them get enquiries. How is that fair? Increasingly its begin to feel you view your advertisers as working for your site rather than the other way round, which is unfortunate indeed.

    Reply
  6. Caroline Snell

    Please hurry up with re calculating the response rate percentage by discounting multiple enquiries from the same person. I had 4 enquiries from one person and replied to one, so now I look as though I haven’t responded promptly. It could be detrimental to my potential bookings.

    Reply
  7. penny robinson

    I am not impressed by your response rate for my property. 86%. I respond to potential guests 100% of the time within 48 hours (normally within 12 hours at the very most) as I sometimes contact them by phone if I am away and explain that I will email them immediately on my return; for example, when I took my first summer holiday this year for 10 years. Did you not think of this when you constructed an absolute figure? I am, to be honest, getting frustrated by your inability to then answer a phone call. Your email contact details do not appear anywhere on the website. I did not have a FAQ and then the only way to contact you is by phone. You do not have a very good response rate yourselves. Maybe think of this before accusing others of being slow. Your current rates are now extremely expensive compared to other sites. I think property owners, who, like me, work 7 days a week, should be able to contact you at weekends. Sometimes this is the only available time to speak to someone. We do not work, as you do, only 5 days a week at normal working hours. To then throw a figure onto our webpage, which we are paying alot of mony for, is a disgrace. If you wish to check my reviews, I think you will find that I offer an excellent service at my property and you are now trying to take control of bookings through response times. Potential guests can choose to read reviews and make their own minds up. They can contact the owner and make their own minds up. I have previously made enquiries to other holiday lettings properties and not had a response so I know how frustrating it can be. This is a large part of the reason I respond quickly. I respond through my email, which is forwarded from the holiday lettings inbox. I do not want to have to log on to holiday lettings every time to respond. I should be able to respond how I always have done, with no trouble and 100% response rate.

    Reply
  8. Bob Pettit

    My response time has gone down to 94% from 100% I had an inquiry at 23.15 last night and replied before 0900 this morning yet still my rating has dropped, could someone explain??????? No contact e mail for holidaylettingsalso is a pain also!! bob

    Reply
  9. sarah

    i feel it unfair that a response rate should go down when we have to sleep between 10.30pm and 7 am in the Uk. Is there anything that can be done to change this.

    Reply
  10. alastair

    Not sure how this response rating is working. I answer all emails within the period of time and get a 90% rating I continue to answer all emails and the rating drops to 85%. Also can you advise on how to make owner to owner contact?

    Reply
  11. Nigel Dean

    There are problems with your response rate calculation 1. I have enquiries from the other side of the world while I am asleep and cannot respond within the 2 hours You need to take this into consideration if you continue with this 2. Sometimes there are follow on questions in a thread, are these counted towards the response rate? 3. It is unfair to consider enquiries from before your implementation date as some of us don;t reply through your Inbox as we already have fully functional independent booking systems tailored to our needs. 4. I think owners should be able to opt out of this response rate calculation if they want to . 5. How many guests are using this? I think it is more a tool for the owner rather than the guest and it would be better visible from the Dashboard than the advert itself. J

    Reply
  12. Marian

    We use our own response method to enquiries ie we don’t reply through Holiday Lettings system for every enquiry but we do respond/reply to every enquiry within hours of receiving it, therefor unfortunately for us your method of calculating a response percentage does not work and shows us up in a poor light!

    Reply

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