The reason prices are not consistent is because they show the lowest possible rate on their search page .
They're dealing with a seasonal business and it seems they have lost touch with that their practices are the problem.
We have 30 day rentals that book for $6k in the off-season and $15k in July & August. But a surfer sees "Starting at $200 per night" when they perform a search for August.
Most of the experienced guests have figured it out. It's the new customers they are losing through poor programming, not inconsistent pricing.
Hey all - I wanted to share a brief update regarding channel management billing & refunded transactions...
As you might have seen in our in-product announcement, we ultimately decided not to implement the 25% cap on the usage of booking fee credits. Instead, 100% of your credits will be applied to your channel fee invoice.
If your credits don't cover your invoice for this month, we will also waive any remaining commission fee charges beyond that. In short, no channel management fees for April and May. Full details (including eligibility) are in today's product announcement - so please check that out.
We'll also extend that to next month's billing, too (May bookings, which are invoiced on June 1). If you still have credits remaining after June 1 billing, you can apply 100% of them to future invoices. No cap...
Thanks for bearing with us! We received a small PPP loan and are going to absorb this substantial drop in revenue for a few months in an attempt to share the love and show our support as best as we're able. I know it's not much but hopefully it helps those of you who are struggling financially right now.
[note: my earlier post with an illustrative example of how these account credits are applied has been updated]
@carl-vidal Interesting as my Partner just mentioned them to me yesterday. Apparently, they had e-mailed us.
First off, we do have quite a few travelling medical professionals coming to our area. So, the idea piques my interest.
My suggestion would be to look at the competition for your area and decide whether it would be a good fit.
We took a hotel live last year, and put it on AirBnb as well as the usual suspects (Booking.com, TripAdvisor, Expedia Network) because there were only 75 other hotel rooms listed on the Monterey Peninsula. 95% of our bookings came from AirBnb.
I only saw 77 listings for my area, and most of them are not quite up to the standards of what our current traveling Medical Pro's rent from us.
So, I called them and due to the size of our portfolio, they are offering us a discounted rate. They are also providing us with the Search Data for our area which makes the decision process much easier.
I thought I'd share a few things we've seen.
The folks at KeyDataDashboard.com are publishing some graphs on what they're seeing industry wide. Look for the "Virus Impact" at the top of their website. E.g. here's their latest graph on bookings in North America vs 2019:
(source is KeyDataDashboard)
Lastly, I'll share that platform-wide we've seen bookings are down almost 70%.
There is also a massive spike in cancellations (10x the normal amount), with the peak cancellation volume coming around 3/16 - 3/17 after Airbnb allowed, and Vrbo encouraged, full refunds.
To put that in perspective, across all properties, we've seen some weeks in March and April hit cancellation rates as high as 80%. Cancellations appear to be focused mostly on travel within the following 30-45 days. Cancellation rates for June-July-August are still under 20% - not significantly higher than cancellation rates from prior years. Hopefully summer travel can be salvaged and we don't see a wave of cancellations for that in the coming weeks and months.
Amy Hinote at VRMIntel held a webinar yesterday that was mostly property managers talking about what they're seeing and how they're responding. Here's a link to the recording, if anyone wants to watch.
I would be interested in hearing what others are seeing and hearing.
@julie-booher If there are mandated dates you can not accept bookings, the best thing to do is block off your calendar. You can create a basic "unavailable" event for the date range you want to prevent bookings within and leave the remaining dates on your calendar open. This will ensure you can still get bookings for next year, for example, while preventing bookings during your mandated closure.
IN my market, I look at it this way. If I’m always fully booked and not working to get repeat guests, then this would be a loss. But only short term.
But if I’m playing the long game, this is an opportunity for me to strengthen my reputation and develop loyal, returning guests. I learned during hurricane MICHAEL some powerful lessons. When others were holding firm and reminding guests they should have purchased travel insurance, I fully refunded payments and had personal conversations with each individual. I not only had nearly all of those guests book again, but many other guests in the area heard that I refunded when “their owner” didn’t, and so THEY booked with me in the future too. Social media threw around company and owner names right and left. I don’t ever want to be “that owner” that angers guests during a community disaster and ends up on the “naughty list” on all the social media forums.
This time I gave guests a choice between future credits or a refund, and surprisingly more than half asked to reschedule.
But that’s just my opinion.
Just gonna enter a two cents here and say that the PPC game does not have to be in direct competition with the OTA's -- it's all about picking keywords that reflect what you offer but are not TOO popular. I can't do "Branson vacation rentals" but I can do "Branson condos with indoor pool." Just something to consider. I actually am a blogger IRL and it does take time to develop organic search placement, and it's not only about writing something and throwing it out there. You gotta include appropriate images (that can't just be copied from somewhere else cuz copyright is a thing), you must choose a search term and use it appropriately, it must be the appropriate length, divided into easily read paragraphs... the list goes on. Then there's social media marketing of said blog post, which also factors into whether Google will show it or not. DEFINITELY more time than it's worth, imho, for the vacation rental business. People aren't reading blog posts to find out where to stay; they're reading them to plan their activities, which generally comes AFTER they've already reserved something. I think the PPC game will give you more bang for your investment (because the time of blogging is worth something, too, so why not spend the money rather than the time) if you can find even just a few keywords that resonate. It takes trial and error but the right combo can really make a difference. #fwiw --Ann
@carole Hey there! I haven't seen any come through, but can say that as I onboard and train our new customers, all of them use instant booking - even for the optional channels like TripAdvisor and Vrbo/HomeAway. It appears to be something most people have become comfortable with (which I know doesn't help in terms of giving detailed use-cases for you) as they try to limit the back and forth.
@Mike-Wesling one other thing to add is that if you are working with Stessa and know a contact there, you can see if they'd be willing to build to our API. Several of the partners who we integrate with went this path - so it may be worth putting directly on their radar.
Thanks all for the help! We ended up going with a Schlage lock as they have their own app that supports multiple properties and isn't subject to our guests downloading an app, but they may use a code we provide. It seems to be working great so far!
Hey @Brett-Beckman - When we thought through this scenario, we decided it made the most sense for Property Managers to have the ability to keep the damage deposit and charge for the damage protection premium at the same time. This would double down on protecting your property as you have both the renter's personal cash and the damage protection coverage.
That option is the third and final setting before activating insurance.
You'll see that we recommend to intelligently disable the damage deposits - we do that because you're likely to see a higher conversion if the cost of the rent is lower. However, we realize that it's not always as clean-cut of a decision. Hopefully this helps!
@darrell-looney112 - very well said. I've spoken with guests that still choose to book through the OTAs the first time, for security purposes. So far, on later visits, they book directly. Perhaps we need to offer guarantees as a start like the ones the OTAs offer?
@michelle-clark If you need to add another night to the booking, or add a new charge to the existing reservation, it will want to requote with the new rates, so be careful if that is something you do regularly.