Tag Archives: christmas

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?

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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How to get Christmas bookings

Cosy up on holiday at Christmas

Going on holiday at Christmas time is becoming increasingly popular. From sun seekers who want to escape the good old British weather to those in search of somewhere quieter, how can you make your ad appeal to Christmas time guests? We’ve got some tips to get you started.

Deck the halls. Invest in a few Christmas decorations such as a wreath for the door, Christmas tree, garland, baubles and fairy lights. Christmassy scented candles are great for evoking the festive mood and make the room feel warmer.

If you’ve got children coming to stay, it’s a nice idea to leave the tree decorations with a note in a box near the tree so they can enjoy decorating it themselves. You could even provide a few craft materials so they can make some of their own decorations.

Seasonal snaps. When your home is dressed for the Christmas season, take some photos of it for your gallery and add them in the autumn. If you’ve got a wood burner or open fire it’s a good idea to show that off in your photos too.

Wintery photos of the landscape and any seasonal attractions nearby, such as a Christmas market, help to get travellers into the Christmas spirit. If your home is in a warm country, pictures of a sunny beach will lure travellers looking for warmer weather. Don’t forget to swap out Christmassy pictures after the season’s ended. Log in and go to Properties > Photos to update your photos.

All the trimmings. If you’ve got a dishwasher and other kitchen gadgets to make Christmas Day easier, now’s the time to highlight them in your description. Provide a seasonal welcome hamper so your guests don’t need to worry about stocking up. Fill it with festive goodies such as gingerbread, fruit and nuts, chocolates, local cheeses, juices and wine. A box of crackers for the table adds the finishing touch.

If you really want to impress, order in a turkey for your guests to cook on Christmas Day. You can include this as part of your price or consider making it an optional extra as your guests may have other plans for their Christmas Day feast.

Update your prices. It’s always a good idea to make sure your prices are up to date ready for the Christmas period. Price your home according to how popular it is at this time. If you’re finding that you have a few empty weeks at Christmas, try offering a late deal or a special offer. Find out more about setting prices for the winter season.


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School holiday dates for your diary

UK school holidays – dates for 2013 & 2014

school_holidays2010Help holidaymakers plan their family break for the school holidays by using our handy table of UK school holidays for 2013 & 2014. Use these school holiday dates as a guide when setting your prices for half-term, summer, Easter and the Christmas holidays.

UK school holidays 2013

February half term Sat 9 February 2013 – Sun 17 February 2013
Easter holidays Sat 30 March 2013 – Sun 14 April 2013
Summer half term Sat 25 May 2013 – Sun 2 June 2013
Summer holidays Wed 24 July 2013 – Sun 1 September 2013
October half term Sat 26 October 2013 – Sun 3 November 2013
Christmas and New Year holidays Sat 21 December 2013 – Sun 5 January 2014

 UK school holidays 2014

February half term Sat 15 February 2014 – Sun 23 February 2014
Easter holidays Sat 5 April 2014 – Mon 21 April 2014
Summer half term Sat 24 May 2014 – Sun 1 June 2014
Summer holidays Wed 23 July 2014 – Sun 31 August 2014

The above dates are based on information provided by Oxfordshire County Council. See our other school holiday dates for ScotlandWales and France.