Tag Archives: enquiries

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

Top 5 reasons why guests don’t book (and how to make sure they do!)

Finding it difficult to encourage holidaymakers to book after they’ve sent you an enquiry? We ask holidaymakers all the time about why they decided not to book. Read on to find out their top reasons and what you can do to secure those all-important bookings.

Tip #1 Keep your calendar up to date

We recently received this email from one disgruntled holidaymaker:

“Dear Holiday Lettings,

My son and I spent a considerable amount of time over three nights sifting through the villas on offer until we found exactly what we were looking for, available at the time we wanted and for at a price we could afford. Sadly, we allowed ourselves to get excited about the prospect of our sunny Italian holiday.

The reality was something of a letdown when we found that the availability dates were wrong and that the villa had been let for some considerable time. We looked again, only to find the same result. This was followed by another similar experience.”

Out of date availability is one of the main gripes that holidaymakers have when trying to make a booking. This can easily be avoided by updating your calendar as often as possible by logging into your account and going to Properties > Availability. They might keep your ad in mind for next year if it’s booked this time, but will steer clear in future if they have a bad experience.

Tip #2 Respond as soon as possible

Sadly, many enquiries that are sent through the site never receive a response. Even if you can’t accept a particular stay, responding is crucial if you want to be considered again. Speed is also key if you’re going to be the one to secure the booking before anyone else.

“The owner never responded to my request! Every time we called the mobile number provided, it just rang out to answer phone. This upset us, as obviously we wanted to book. However, we have booked another home through your site, which we are all looking forward to. Shame about the other villa owner. “

“I did not book the cottage as someone else got back to me a little sooner.”

“I have had no response from the owner of the property, I am disappointed that I have not heard anything back, I was a genuine customer wanting to let this property but because of this I have arranged to book another apartment.”

As it’s now possible for owners to take online payments via their Holiday Lettings advert, guests can book straight away. If you don’t use online bookings, you’ll need to bear that in mind and respond to enquiries as soon as they come in. Want to start taking online bookings? Find out more. You can also respond to enquiries on the go by downloading the Holiday Lettings app. This way, it doesn’t matter where you are – you’ll easily be able to respond to enquiries and booking requests.

Tip #3 Set your changeover day and length of stay

“… I did have a prompt reply from the owner but it seems that during peak periods you can only take a letting for 2 weeks min. It would be helpful if this was flagged up more clearly so time is not wasted on properties that are unavailable.”

“We have found somewhere else that was able to offer a Friday start date.”

It’s really important to make it clear on your advert what your minimum stay and changeover day is so you don’t have to disappoint anyone. It’s easy to specify –just go to Properties > Prices > General settings and give extra details if you need to in the Notes section on the same page.

Tip #4 Keep your prices up to date

“I was very interested in renting this property but the price quoted when I enquired was substantially more than that stated on the website for the period I’m interested in so I have decided not pursued this further.”

“When I had a reply the price was nearly £20 a night more than was quoted on your site, which was very disappointing as it was then over our budget.”

“We changed our minds because the price quoted on the price list was £1000 per week but it came through at £2000. We are looking at other options.”

Whether you’re using online booking or not, it’s important that your prices are right. Update often but also, keep your prices all inclusive so there are no hidden charges that might put holidaymakers off at a later date. Go to Properties > Prices to update.

Tip #5 A complete advert is an enquired about advert

“I haven’t booked, as I was hoping to see further photos of the property (only the bedroom and kitchen are shown.)”

“They weren’t clear about how I can pay. I want to know that the process is secure.”

“I did send them a message but now I’m worried because they don’t have reviews. Has someone else stayed there?”

Did you know that just one review can boost your enquiries by 40%? Find out more.

You’ve got space for 24 photos so fill your gallery with plenty of pictures of your home and the surrounding area. Log in and visit Properties > Photos upload your images.

Online booking gives guests extra peace of mind by giving them a safe and secure way of paying (and saves you the hassle of chasing up payments!). If you’re not using online booking, make sure your advert says how you accept payments, for example, bank transfer.  We recommend guests never pay by wire money transfer (such as Western Union).

See more tips about keeping your ad in shape to keep the bookings rolling in all year round.

Convert those enquiries to bookings

responding_quicklyWhen you’re managing bookings and payments yourself, response time has never been more important. As it’s now possible for owners to take online payments via their Holiday Lettings advert, guests can book straight away. If you don’t use online bookings, you’ll need to bear that in mind and respond to enquiries as soon as they come in. Want to start taking online bookings? Find out more.

Guests looking to book usually like to keep their options open. They’ll probably contact several owners at once to test the water, so it’s a good idea to get ready to secure bookings quickly before your competition can.

Responding to enquiries

  • Speed is key. The easiest way to make sure you’re getting back to your potential guests quickly is to download the Holiday Lettings app. This way, it doesn’t matter where you are – you’ll be able to respond to enquiries and booking requests when you’re on the move.
  • Sign up to SMS alerts in your account under Account > Account preferences > Free SMS alerts to your mobile. This way, we can send you text messages as soon as enquiries or bookings come in.
  • If the holidaymaker has provided a phone number, it probably means they wouldn’t mind you giving them a call (they don’t have to provide a phone number when they send an enquiry). This is your opportunity to sell your home to them and answer any questions they have straight away. Hopefully, you’ll be able to confirm the booking over the phone too!
  • Check your junk mail folder every so often just in case an enquiry has got caught up in your email provider’s spam filters.
  • Respond to every enquiry, even if you can’t accept a particular stay. Holidaymakers may consider you next time if you acknowledge their interest.
  • The quickest way to convert an enquiry into a booking is to respond with a quote straight off the bat. You can still add a message to your quote and the guest will have all the details they need to be able to book and pay online. If you’re not already using online booking to take payments, go to to Account > Bookings > How it works to find out more and get started.

Before an enquiry comes in

  • Write a list of answers to common questions you’re likely to get, such as how far your home is to the nearest shops/beach and if you can provide cots/highchairs.
  • Have some standard email responses ready to provide more details about your home or the next steps in the booking process and personalise them accordingly. Take a look at our sample email responses for inspiration.
  • Keep your calendar up to date so there’s no chance of disappointing potential guests if your home’s not actually available.
  • Display a contact number on your advert by ticking the relevant box under Account > Account preferences > Contact preferences. Some owners set up a mobile number especially so they can distinguish enquiries from personal calls. You could also set up a voicemail thanking guests for their interest and saying you’ll get back to them soon.

Securing bookings when offering online payment

responding_quickly

When you’re set up to take online payments via Holiday Lettings, you’ll receive booking requests and enquiries. The former from people who are keen to book and pay quickly, the latter from those seeking a little more info before parting with their cash. In the case of booking requests speed of response is paramount because the guest wants confirmation that they don’t have to continue their search. With enquiries speed is also paramount but in a slightly different context – it’s likely the guest has sent multiple enquiries in order to keep their options open.

Key to booking conversion?

  • Speed is key. The easiest way to make sure you’re getting back to your potential guests quickly is to download the Holiday Lettings app. This way, it doesn’t matter where you are – you’ll be able to respond to enquiries and booking requests when you’re on the move.
  • Sign up to SMS alerts in your account under Account > Account preferences > Free SMS alerts to your mobile. This way, we can send you text messages as soon as enquiries or bookings come in.
  • Common courtesy: respond to every enquiry, even if you can’t accept a particular stay. Holidaymakers may consider you next time if you acknowledge their interest.
  • The quickest way to convert an enquiry into a booking is to respond with a quote (payment request) straight off the bat. You can still add a message to your quote and the guest will have all the details they need to be able to book and pay online. Our handy video guides you through the process:

 Before an enquiry comes in

  • Write a list of answers to common questions you’re likely to get, such as how far your home is to the nearest shops/beach and if you can provide cots/highchairs. You’ll be ready to answer any common questions quickly.
  • Customise your auto responses. Log in and go to Account > Payment preferences > Receive payments to personalise your messages.
  • Keep your calendar up to date if you receive bookings from elsewhere. This way, there’s no chance of disappointing potential guests if your home’s not actually available.