Tag Archives: prices

Things to consider when setting your prices

Rowena, Cyprus holiday homeownerWhat do you consider when setting prices for a stay at your holiday rental? Rowena, who owns and runs a holiday home in Cyprus, tells us about how she’s already setting her prices for the 2015 season.

When you factor in the mortgage, maintenance fees, management fees, cleaning and laundry charges, plus electricity and water bills, it can sometimes be difficult to break even and make money from your holiday home. So it’s crucial to set a price that will cover your costs.

It would be great to be able to offer our house at a bargain price, but in reality it’s not possible, and especially in a hot country like Cyprus. Our prices are higher in the summer and this is not because it’s a popular time of year to go, but because the price of running the air conditioning in the hot summer months is extremely expensive – we have to make sure the price we charge covers this additional costs.

Check the competition

We always check to see what prices other people are offering in our area and although we have to ensure we are covering our costs, we also want to be competitive and not price ourselves out of the market. At the same time we don’t want to undervalue our home and guests may question the quality of our property if our prices are too low.

It’s also not always possible, or viable, to match what other people are offering. We had an enquiry last year via Holiday Lettings from a guest. They enquired about our property and another in neighbouring resort in our village at the same time, and told me that (although they preferred the look of our property) the other homeowner had offered them a deal they couldn’t refuse. I weighed up all the factors and came to the conclusion that we just couldn’t match the price they had offered. It wouldn’t cover our costs and, as tempted as I was to reduce the price and secure the off-peak booking, I still believe I made the right decision.

The guest went to Cyprus and viewed our house while they were there. They’ve subsequently stayed with us twice since, as they are regular visitors to Cyprus and much preferred the look of our home. So although we didn’t get that particular reservation, we have as a result got further bookings from them and are still able to cover our costs when we quote.

When are the flights released?

Another point to consider is when to set your prices. Ideally you need to do this as soon as possible as many people like to book in advance.

Next year I have three potential bookings, who are all waiting for the EasyJet flights to be released for 2015. So for me it’s very important to ensure our property has up to date prices when those all-important flights are launched. Plus, at this time we will put some extra effort into advertising and promoting via our social media channels.

What about your prices?

I would be interested to hear how you set prices for your holiday rental and what your reasoning is behind them. 2015 seems a long way off, but in reality it’s just round the corner!

5 pricing tips for more bookings

Don't miss out on bookings - read our top tips for pricesHow much will it cost? Alongside ‘Where is it?’ it’s the burning question guests ask when they’re booking a holiday.

So do guests get the answer when they click Prices on your ad? If they don’t you’re wasting their time and yours. But most of all, you’re losing out on bookings and revenue.

With online booking guests can query the price by entering their holiday dates and number of guests. However some guests will look at your table of prices if they’re not quite ready to book so it’s still important for the prices to be crystal clear.

How unclear prices mean missed bookings

Guests are unlikely to book if they can’t easily see how much their holiday will cost. In fact, they’ll probably go elsewhere to find and book another property.

If a guest is still interested in your property, they can contact you to find out how much a stay will cost, wait for an answer and then decide whether to book. Most guests have a shortlist of a few properties to choose from, so while you’re emailing each other about the price, there’s a high chance that they’ll book elsewhere.

Having clear prices lets you seal the deal much more quickly and makes the whole booking process a lot easier for both you and the guest.

5 pricing tips for more bookings

#1 Update your prices

Make sure your prices are bang up to date and you’ve listed prices for forthcoming dates. No guests are interested in what you charged in the past but all guests want to know what you charge now!

#2 Simplify your prices

Put your prices into blocks, e.g. summer, weekends, high season, so it’s easy to see at a glance what it costs to stay at your property.

#3 List prices for short breaks

If you do nightly or weekend lets add prices for these so a guest can easily work out the cost of the 2-night stay and doesn’t waste valuable time asking you.

#4 Think long term

Guests like to get ahead with their holiday plans so list your prices well in advance so they can book with you. We recommend at least 12 months, more if you can.

#5 Make everything clear

If your property is booked for the immediate future or you’re not taking bookings for the moment, say so on your calendar and price lists. And add prices for the dates when you’re able to take bookings again.

Get up to date with your prices now – log in and go to Properties > Update prices.

More help with prices

Need some help with updating and adding your prices? Watch this video guide.

Published: 29 April 2014

UK school holidays 2014 & 2015

Attract more family bookingsAn easy way of attracting more family bookings for your holiday let is to arrange the price bands on your calendar by the school holiday dates for 2014 & 2015.

Most travellers can relate to school holiday dates – whether they’re families booking for when the kids are off school or other travellers, like couples or groups of friends, wanting to get away when the roads and resorts are not as busy.

The school holiday dates below are the combined holiday dates for schools in England, Wales and Scotland and can be used as a guide for your price bands. For example, use them to determine when your Easter price band should start and finish, or when your peak summer season should begin.

UK school holidays 2014

Easter holidays Sat 5 April 2014 – Sun 27 April 2014
Summer half term (England & Wales only) Sat 24 May 2014 – Sun 1 June 2014
May weekend (Scotland only) Fri 23 May 2014 – Mon 26 May 2014
Summer holidays Wed 25 June 2014 – Mon 1 September 2014
October half term Sat 11 October 2014 – Sun 2 November 2014
Christmas and New Year holidays Sat 20 December 2014 – Sun 4 January 2015

UK school holidays 2015

February half term Sat 7 February 2015 – Sun 22 February 2015
Easter holidays Sat 28 March 2015 – Sun 19 April 2015
May weekend (Scotland only) Fri 22 May 2015 – Mon 25 May 2015
Summer half term (England & Wales only) Sat 23 May 2015 – Sun 31 May 2015
Summer holidays Start from Wed 24 June 2015 (Scotland)

Tips on naming your price bands

Setting cheaper prices for quieter times of year is a great way of enticing guests to book outside of the peak times. Consider whether you want to include off-peak prices and when they would be. What you decide should be based on who you’re marketing your property at.

Here’s one way of arranging your prices for 2015:

  • Winter 2015
  • Spring & Easter 2015
  • Summer 2015
  • Autumn & Winter 2015
  • Christmas & New Year 2015

However, seasonal price bands don’t work for everyone, i.e. English summers don’t match the Australian ones in temperature or time of year! Instead you could simplify your price bands by using the names of the month for each of the seasons, e.g. ‘Mar-May 2015′ and ‘Jun-Aug 2015′.

Other events and bank holidays

To attract more interest, your price bands could even include bank holiday weekends, or big events or festivals that are happening nearby. For example, consider arranging some prices around the public holidays in France or Spain.

But remember… keep things simple

Easy to follow price bands are always a big plus for travellers. A long list of overcomplicated prices can be a big turn-off – the key is to keep things simple.

Log in and go to Properties > Update prices in your account to make your changes. Read more tips on setting your prices.

Please note: this list of UK school holidays above combines the dates from three councils in England, Wales and Scotland and should be used as a guide only.

Published: 22 April 2014

Hotel rates rise in Canaries and Balearics

Hotel rates rise in Canaries and Balearics

Travellers looking for breaks in the Canaries and Balearics this year could be more likely to book a holiday home after hotels hiked up their prices by up to 12%.

A new study by Trivago has revealed that hotels on the Canary and Balearic islands have increased their nightly rates by 12% and 11% respectively. The rise makes the average price of a night’s stay on the Canaries €122 and the Balearics €113.

The Canaries and Balearics benefit from all-year-round popularity because of their milder winter temperatures compared with the rest of Spain. However the price hike still comes at a time when the rest of debt-ridden Spain is seeing hotel rates either stagnate or fall.

Prices in continental Spain

In continental Spain, the biggest price fall has been in Galicia where prices have dropped by 20%. The regions of Cantabria and Navarra have fallen by 14% and 13% respectively.

Aragón, Catalonia and Andalucía hotel prices have seen minor rises of 1%.

Hotel city breaks

City breaks in Spain paint a similar picture, with higher than average nightly stays in the Canary Islands and Balearics:

  • Palma de Majorca (Balearics): €110/night
  • Barcelona: €92/night
  • Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (Canaries): €86/night
  • Madrid: €85/night
  • San Sebastián: €84/night

Sunny Spain was a favourite for travellers in 2013 : a staggering 56.7 million foreign tourists visited last year, the highest number yet. This was partly due to the lower holiday prices, but also the instability of other usual favourites such as Egypt.

Published: 27 January 2014

Don’t miss out on bookings – add nightly prices!

calendarHow much does it cost? This is one of the most important questions in the holidaymaker’s mind when they’re looking to book. So if you accept short breaks, make sure both your weekly and nightly prices are always up to date.

This is especially important if your home is bookable online: if holidaymakers are searching by date and your nightly prices haven’t been entered for the dates the guest is looking for, they won’t be able to send you a booking request and will have to email you first. Keeping everything up to date as far in advance as possible simply speeds up the booking process for you and your guests.

You may have noticed that we display a ‘from £XX/night’ price at the top of your advert (even if you don’t accept nightly stays). This is because holidaymakers like to get an idea of how much their holiday will cost them on average per night – we’ve seen an uplift in enquiry levels across the site since adding this feature.

Go to Properties > Prices to add nightly rates for your home.

Make the most of your Holiday Lettings advert

Draw holidaymakers to your advert and boost bookings with these simple tips:

think_like_a_holidaymaker

  • Pick great pictures. Your first photo should be the best as it appears next to your home summary text in the search results page – this picture has the power to draw holidaymakers to your advert. Pictures of unique selling points such as a pool, roof terrace or sea view work well, but keep it relevant to your home: those sea views will look much more appealing if your garden is also in shot.

Impress guests with your first four photos as these appear on the search results page. Choose high-quality pictures that show off different aspects of your place and really shout ‘holiday’.

Keep your photos fresh: remember, you have 24 photos to play with so why not update a few throughout the year to reflect the coming season? Quality seasonal photos really help holidaymakers to imagine what their stay will be like.

  • Write to excite. Your home summary appears next to the photo in search results – this is your chance to entice holidaymakers in around 30 words. Talk to your target audience, say what makes your place special and add keywords for a search engine boost: well-chosen words can boost your bookings.

Most holidaymakers head straight to the gallery before reading the rest of your advert, so use captions to set that holiday mood. Rather than simply writing “Terrace”, why not “Start the day with breakfast in the sun”?

  • Consider how your ad looks at a glance. Guests browse lots of ads before choosing which to read in depth. Try looking at your ad in the search results; does it jump out at you? If everyone else has a pool picture, maybe your beautiful bedroom will catch the eye?

Refine your search data, add reviews and keep your prices competitive to stand out in the search results and tempt holidaymakers to pick you out of the crowd.

  • Draw on local knowledge. Tell holidaymakers about things to do in your area to tempt them to book. Many holidaymakers want to go beyond the guidebook’s advice and your local knowledge can give your place an edge over the competition.
  • Collect reviews from your previous guests are so powerful. That extra testimonial could persuade a holidaymaker to book your home over another, so get collecting! Ask your happy guests to write a review for you through the Reviews page in your account. Find out more about collecting reviews.
  • Keep your pricing structure simple and easy to follow. Make sure your table is as short as possible and group time periods together giving them a name for easy reference. E.g. ‘Summer’ or ‘High season’. The easier your pricing is to understand, the better the experience for the guest.

Prices – how much to charge?

Capture

Do your research. Checking out other holiday homes in your area is a good place to start. Check that you’re not pricing yourself out of the market, but also not selling yourself short. Use the search filters to find properties with similar facilities in your area. If you have a pool, for example, you can expect to charge higher rates than homes without. Get to know the market and make sure you’re always competitively priced.

Keep your prices seasonal. Peak seasons vary from country to country and even region to region. Local events, weather and school holidays are all big influencing factors to consider when deciding on your prices. Keep an eye out for any local events such as festivals and sporting events that are likely to draw crowds to your area.

Try to be all inclusive. Rather than offering a low rate with extras that soon add up, try to keep your rates all inclusive so you’re more likely to secure the booking quickly. Your potential guests may have a set budget and might not be expecting to pay for extras. Also, if your pricing structure looks simple and easy to understand, you’re more likely to get an enquiry/booking request.

Be prepared to compromise. Think about the lowest price you could charge in order to cover costs and start making a profit. It’s quite common in recent times for holidaymakers to haggle, especially during peak seasons when demand is lower. If you can foresee weeks when demand is likely to be lower, think about lowering your rates or offering a special discount – such as a late deal – to attract guests out of season.