Tag Archives: online

How to avoid phishing scams and keep your bookings safe

What is ‘phishing’?
phishing2

Phishing is the practice of sending out emails that appear to be from a trustworthy company in order to access information for fraudulent purposes.

The main aim is to get hold of passwords, personal details or credit card details. Phishing emails often look like they’re from reputable organisations including banks, social networking sites such as Facebook or online auction sites like eBay. They’re not.

See also: http://www.actionfraud.police.uk/fraud-az-phishing

How does it affect my holiday home business and my guests?

Never underestimate how valuable genuine booking enquiries are to someone attempting to run a scam. Instances of fraudsters trying to access this information are increasing, so do be vigilant.

If someone manages to hack your personal email accounts, they’ll be able to see your enquiries and take payments from potential holidaymakers while posing as you, the legitimate owner of the holiday home. It’s unlikely you’ll ever know it’s happening as hackers are wise to delete all traces of communications with your guests.

How do I know it’s a phishing email?

Phishing emails will usually ask you to update, verify or provide an aspect of your account information. Most of the time, you’ll be asked to click on a link which will take you to a bogus website. This is often a very convincing copy of the legitimate site of the company in question. Obviously, not all emails of this type are scams, but there are certain things you should keep an eye out for:

  • Email address. The sender’s email address won’t tally with the website address of the trusted organisation. It may well be sent from a completely different address, often a free web mail address.
  • Generic greeting. Instead of using your proper name, or the name registered on your account, a non-specific greeting like ‘dear customer’ is often used.
  • Sense of urgency. The email may urge you to take action as soon as possible – it may even threaten closure or suspension of your account if you don’t act immediately.
  • Prominent website link. These can either be forged or appear to be very similar to the proper address, but beware – even one different character means it’s a different website.
  • Request for personal information. Such as a user name, password or bank details.
  • Errors. The email may contain a series of spelling and grammatical errors, content that contradicts itself and is too good to be true.

I’ve been directed to another website from an email. How do I know this site is genuine?

Always check the URL (website address) in the address bar at the top of the page. A common phishing technique is slightly misspelling the domain name, so watch out for that.

We’ll never ask you to log in to any other site than holidaylettings.co.uk in order to change your advert or personal details. You should only ever log in from a secure link, either a domain name beginning https or with a padlock icon by the web address. This is the only place where we’ll ask you for your password – we’ll never request it by email.

Also be aware of any text tagged on after the main site name and before the .co.uk/.com. For example, a bogus website could be something like http://www.holidaylettings.worldwide.co.uk

Read more info about keeping your details safe online.

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.