The Booking League: May 2018

Your.Rentals has created the Booking League to acknowledge the great performance of our community members.

Booking League members receive a welcome pack as well marketing exposure and first access to new features and channels. Find out more about Booking League benefits.

Membership of the Booking League is by invitation only – find out what you need to do to get invited.

Newly added to the Booking League in March 2018

Read below for an introduction to Feilx and Giulio’s business, and how they use Your.Rentals to succeed.

Giulio d’Andria from Rome, Italy.

Giulio manages 11 properties in Rome through Your.Rentals, and start working with us after a recommendation from a friend.

Which Your.Rentals feature is the most important to you?

“I have been working with Your.Rentals for around a year now and the most important features for me are that it’s free to list (no subscriptions or monthly fees) and the iCal synchronisation that allows me to keep all my calendars updated at all time to avoid unwanted bookings.”

What is the biggest benefit of using Your.Rentals in your daily work?

“We had a great impact on our bookings, increasing them on a very few weeks after started to use Your.Rentals. We used to list directly on sales channels separately, but it was more difficult to manage and very time consuming. With Your.Rentals starts to work immediately after signing up and it’s so quick to build a listing”.

How do you manage your calendars across channels?

“We are using currently another calendar as main calendar and sync with Your.Rentals through iCal”

How do you set your rates to reach your booking conversion goals?

“Making a research of the market in our area of similar properties.”

How do you feel about working with the Your.Rentals team?

“We are very happy with the customer service helping us every time we had any doubts (8 out of 10) and with the service of the platform generally (8 out of 10)”

 

Felix Jeske from Friesland, Netherlands.

Felix professionally manages 41 properties in Friesland, most of them near the beautiful Lauwersmeer national park, through Your.Rentals platform for the last 6 months and he was contacted by Your.Rentals for the first time to try it out.

Which Your.Rentals feature is the most important to you?

“It’s been 6 months since I started to use Your.Rentals and to be honest every feature counts for us: It’s free to list, I didn’t have to pay to use it. The Channel Manager option with all available channels. iCal synchronisation with the rest of my calendars helping me to avoid double bookings. The accessibility: I can check and use on my phone, on my tablet and on my laptop. The simple commission structure – we only pay one commission to cover all channels -.”

What is the biggest benefit of using Your.Rentals in your daily work?

“We combine direct channels and Your.Rentals to get to more customers. It took a few weeks to start working for us and slowly started to bring bookings our way, we currently have 2% of our bookings coming from YR, and we expect to grow that margin quickly over the next few months”.

How do you manage your calendars across channels?

“I use another calendar as main calendar and sync with Your.Rentals through iCal”

How do you set your rates to reach your booking conversion goals?

“We are still figuring out the perfect way to do that.”

How do you feel about working with the Your.Rentals team?

“Support for customers in Your.Rentals is really good (8 of 10), and we are delighted with the overall performance of the software (10 of 10)”

6 Tips: What to do and not to do as vacation rental manager

 

6 Tips: what to do and not to do as vacation rental manager

Infographic

 

Set your prices

Carry out market research to establish a competitive price within your area, from similar properties.

Set a price per night based on what you think is fair or based just on what you want to earn monthly.

Photographs

Hire a professional photographer to highlight the qualities of your property and make your listing much more attractive, with at least 25 pictures.

Take 10 photos with your mobile, without paying attention to the light and the staging of the photograph, and neglecting the details.

Calendar update

Keep your availability calendar up to date entering each reservation and blocking the desired dates in real time. If possible you should use iCal to automatically synchronsize your calendar.

Cancel new reservations because another guest already booked those dates.

Listing’s title

Write descriptive titles that include the main characteristics of your property, capacity and location.

Use generic titles which don’t stand out against other properties. Fill the description up with meaningless adjectives.

Reviews

Request reviews of your property after each stay: together with the photos, reviews are the best way to attract guests when booking a vacation property.

Do not worry about what your guests think, believing that there will always be more waiting to book your property.

Distribution

List property on as many vacation rental websites as possible to maximise your distribution and increase exposure.

List your property on B.com or on Airbnb only.

What you should know about VRMA 2018 and Vacation Rentals Trends

Attending the VRMA European Conference is an experience that every property manager in Europe should go through. More than 400 people came together in Paris to create a new attendance record.

This was the third VRMA conference that I have been to, and each time I come back with fresh ideas, projects, new knowledge about our industry and stronger relationships. As Your.Rentals was an event sponsor this year, I feel the need to share some of this experience with those who did not attend. Here are some of my key takeaways!

Available Technologies

The number of companies offering services to property managers seem to have multiplied this year – including property management software, channel managers, pricing management, operations software, insurance, etc.  Each of these companies offer more options for property managers to improve their efficiency and processes. The whole market is growing, and becoming more complicated to navigate for smaller property managers.

Google is entering the ring to compete with OTAs directly from a guest’s initial search. The introduction of Smart Home Systems, gadgets and software looking to automate some services and improve the guest experience bringing new big players in the game such as Amazon on this war to “own the guest”. The use and availability of technology is changing the rules completely and evolving the market in giant steps. Almost every presentation mentioned the words “Artificial Intelligence” which promises to help improve the earnings of property managers through smarter pricing to maximise occupancy and profits.

Organisation against rental regulation and bans

The pursuit to democratise the private accommodation industry and to put up a fight to ever stricter local regulations was another common theme.  Many of you probably have felt the pressure from your local and national authorities to register you properties and learn new ways to declare and pay taxes.

There is a quest to unite and organise managers in Europe and in the world, providing them with tools and arguments to engage in the political arena and exert some influence on policymakers. If you are interested in this you can visit this VRMA webpage for more information or read about how you can participate using social media in this article by Greg Holcomb.

European market trends

The European market is forecast to be worth €45B in 2020, having reached around €34B in 2015.  Almost half of the booking revenue generated in 2016 in Europe through rentals was sourced from online bookings. The OTAs (Online Travel Agencies), and Airbnb are leading the online bookings in France, Italy, Spain, Germany and U.K.

Some of the most relevant key facts presented:

  • Average rental stays are becoming shorter, as a consequence of the growth of city rentals market and less strict booking rules across the sector. At Your.Rentals, we’ve see the number of bookings grow dramatically while average stay has fallen from slightly less than 7 nights to around 5 nights – while average nightly rates have grown around 20%.
  • Travellers are starting to consider private accommodation as a serious alternative to hotels – and much of the growth in bookings is in urban areas. This is a direct consequence of OTAs offering more and more private accommodation in their portfolios, a higher percentage of accommodation available for Instant Booking, and the guest experience becoming more reliable.
  • The “rental by owner” segment is growing compared to “professionally managed”: more than 50% of European private accommodations are rented out by the owner directly – compared to less than 40% in 2010. This trend is forecast to continue growing and is understandable given the growing access to simple property management software such as Your.Rentals and the new generation of “young urban entrepreneurs”. However, we believe that tools such as Your.Rentals help smaller local property management companies thrive and grow their business – and we have the case studies to prove it!
  • One of the largest challenges to the industry in the next 5 years is supply growth – while private rental accommodation supply is growing at more than 27% per year in urban areas, growth in “Leisure/Non-urban” areas is sluggish at around 2% (while demand from guests is much higher9. That is a clear opportunity for property managers outside of urban areas to be aggressive about taking on new inventory.

New vs Older generations of owners

At several sessions during the VRMA, it was clear that holiday rental owners and managers are divided into 2 generations with very different attributes that can help to understand the way the offer is distributed.

  1. There is a younger generation motivated by a entrepreneurship income as well as interacting with new people, renting their own primary home apartments or flats, for a minimum length of stay of 2-3 nights, as shared spaces in an urban context.
  2. There is a more experienced segment of owners who rent out their second homes, cottages, villas or condos located in more leisure-holiday locations, renting for a minimum length of stay of 4-5 nights with the purpose to cover their costs, upkeep their properties and earn some extra income.

Both of these segments need to choose how to manage their properties: either by using a professional property management company, or managing themselves.

  • Owners who choose to use a property management company, do so mainly because they trust these companies to bring more bookings, or they don’t have the time or experience to take care of the many aspects of managing a vacation rental.
  • Owners who decide to self-manage prefer to do so in order to have major control of the rates and their guests, interact with them and save the management company fees.

There are also hybrid set-ups, where owners want to retain some control over the guests who stay in their property and have a say on who stays in their property, while allowing a property manager to fill in the gaps. If this sounds familiar to you as either a property manager or an owner, you need to be very clear about:

  • Who is managing listings in each channel.
  • Ensuring that you share the same calendar – which is updated in real time – to remove double bookings.
  • A clear acceptable guest profile (if that is important to you) so that booking requests can be accepted by either party.
  • Who collects guest reviews that can be used to improve booking conversion over time.

Your.Rentals is working on some simple tools that allow the owner or Property manager to both have access to the same calendar and also for both parties to be notified of booking requests and confirmed bookings – stay tuned.

These are a few of the trends and important issues I’ve found interesting to share.

I would like to invite you to share as well your experiences or questions on these or any other subjects regarding the VRMA European Conference. Please don’t be shy let me know your thoughts.

The Booking League: February 2018

Newly added to the Booking League in February 2018

These are two different profiles from very successful community members of Your.rentals. Read on to learn details on how they get the best results managing their properties with Your.Rentals.

Booking League Vittorio Borgazzi

Vittorio Borgazzi from Ferrara, Italy.

Vittorio Borgazzi manages one small suite property in the heart of the city of Ferrara in Italy (located 50 km north from Bologna and 115 km southwest from Venice), and has shared with us the way he succeeded with Your.Rentals.

How did you hear about Your.Rentals and which is the most important feature to you?

“It’s been around 3 months since I began to use Your.Rentals. I first saw an ad on Facebook, clicked on it and very quickly created my account to start testing it.”

“Having so many options available through the channel manager and being able to manage my listing in all of them at once from one single platform is the main feature for me. It only took me half an hour to build my listing within Your.Rentals and it started to work immediately for me.”

What is the biggest benefit of using Your.Rentals in your daily work?

“Before Your.Rentals, I used to publish my listing on each single sales channel and it was very time-consuming and difficult to organise. Now, using Your.Rentals I am in full control of my bookings and my listing across all portals and I have enormously reduced the time I need to invest to manage it. ”

How do you manage your calendars across channels?

“I use the calendar available in Your.Rentals as the main calendar and I update all the other bookings (offline) manually in it”

How do you set your rates to reach your booking conversion goals?

“I always have a very competitive price.”

How do you feel about working with the Your.Rentals team?

“Your.Rentals customer support is excellent and has always solved all my doubts. Your.Rentals is more than what I have expected and I am very satisfied with the results, 9 points out of 10.”

Booking League - Pol Thomas

Pol Thomas from Barcelona, Spain.

Pol is a successful professional property manager working for a Catalonian property management company, currently managing 11 high-quality properties through Your.Rentals, all of them in the beautiful and busy city of Barcelona.

How did you hear about Your.Rentals and which is the most important feature to you?

“I found out about Your.Rentals through the internet and it has been almost one year since I first joined. And it was fast to build all my listings in the Your.Rentals platform.
For me the channel manager is the most important feature, allowing us to quickly list in all major websites such as Airbnb, HomeAway, Booking.com, TripAdvisor and all of them from one single platform.”

What is the biggest benefit of using Your.Rentals in your daily work?

“We were used to working with HomeAway platform to manage our listings, but we found Your.Rentals easier to use, clearer and effortless to manage. With Your.Rentals it started to work immediately and we have increased the numbers of reservations.”

How do you manage your calendars across channels?

“I use an external calendar as the main calendar and I synchronise it with Your.Rentals calendar to avoid unwanted bookings. I update my calendar every time I receive a notice to do so or when we receive a new booking.”

How do you set your rates to reach your booking conversion goals?

“Based on my experience.”

How do you feel about working with the Your.Rentals team?

“I am satisfied with the service from Your.Rentals, and I am sure they will keep on improving it as they have done so far.”

Your.Rentals has created the Booking League to acknowledge the great performance of our community members.

Booking League members receive a welcome pack as well as marketing exposure and first access to new features and channels. One lucky member will receive a special prize at the end of 2018. Find out more about Booking League benefits.

Membership of the Booking League is by invitation only – find out what you need to do to get invited.