emphasize reviews to improve rankings
use multiple OTAs
use ALL social media options, and link back to your website.
personalize your responses and respond to everything.
don't be afraid of the telephone!
integrate listings when you can - manually maintaining listings is time consuming!
focus long term on listing site independence by driving traffic to your own website.
never link back to a listing site from your website.
have a newsletter
update content regularly.
Going after the returning guests is a great strategy! Call past guests, even if from a previous owner, not with the intent to book, but to introduce yourself, ask them for their story / experience staying in your place, and to let them know you're there for them and how to reach you!
Follow up with an offer for them to subscribe to your newsletter?
@Sallie-Mitchell Hi Sallie - good question. My opinion, but I think the biggest question is whether to use a custom field in the first place. Generally speaking, a custom field is appropriate if:
You intend to use the same value (text, file upload, html code) in more than one place. E.g. If you put your custom field "Wifi Password" in your booking confirmation email and your welcome email.
You want a different value to show up for each property - either in an email or on your website. E.g. You have a custom field "Property Video Tour" you want to show up for each property page on your multi-property website; you have 5 properties but you want one welcome email template that has the custom field "Wifi Password".
We don't have the problem with pot, but our Greek properties have the problem with guests who assume that since in Greece you can smoke everywhere, they are allowed to do as they please since "everyone else does".
After learning the hard way early on, we've been able to counter the issue in advance (prior to arrival/booking) with strict wording in our agreement and our house rules:
The booking contract says:
The interior of the apartment is NON SMOKING. Smoking is permitted on the balconies, verandas and the roof terrace (see house rules regarding the terrace). Guests are responsible for discarding smoking materials. Evidence of smoking materials anywhere in the apartment, balcony, terrace or veranda will result in a fee of $500.
The interior of the apartment is NON SMOKING. Smoking is permitted on the balconies, verandas and the roof terrace. Since AlphaPlus & Beta share the terrace, we expect you to respect your neighbor. Please do not smoke on the terrace when in use by them if you aren't all smokers.
Guests are responsible for discarding smoking materials. Evidence of smoking materials anywhere in the apartment, balcony, terrace or veranda will result in a fee of $500.*
We've had rules like this in place for almost 10 years and have not had any issues.
MyVR's credit card processing fees start at ~2.99% on the new plans. These are only for transactions that go through your Stripe merchant account connected to MyVR.
For Airbnb, there is no credit card processing fee charged by MyVR because we do not process the credit card transaction. So the cost at MyVR for Airbnb transactions is the 1.49% channel management fee.
Airbnb charges a host fee which, I think is accurate to say, essentially covers their credit card processing fee. There is no incremental credit card processing fee at MyVR.
Sorry, I know it's tricky because the channel integrations all work a little differently (based on what the channel supports), and WHO processes the money is not the same for each. Does that make sense though?
Ah, yes, I have those setup - I just never noticed what they looked like when input into a template - I thought maybe there was a secret "key" to MyVR that had the "code" for extra data ... Like you, I am very much in need of the ability to create customized data pertaining to specific bookings
@David-Illig Good question. Once you get to 3-4 properties, the question of whether to go with an Home Owner plan vs. a Property Manager plan requires some thought.
Very generally, I'd start by figuring out which of MyVR's features you want to use and how many properties you want to accommodate for right now, as this will serve as the basis for which plan makes the most sense. Then I would use that to determine which Home Owner option and which Property Manager option (all options here) make the match your requirements best. With those two plans chosen, you can evaluate how they compare price-wise and make a choice.
A couple key considerations:
How rapidly do you see your business/number of properties changing? This could influence both which features you need and whether you can commit to an annual subscription term.
Do you plan to advertise on both HomeAway/VRBO and TripAdvisor/FlipKey? With those subscriptions included in the cost of the Everything Bundle for Home Owners, the economics of that option can be very attractive.
Lastly, I altered the title of your post so others looking for this information can more easily find it.
The bookings for both my cabins were hit hard in the Fall 2015. HA/VRBO had generated most of my bookings. In December 2015, I integrated MyVR's Flipkey channel. I was able to salvage some of the losses from the major decline in bookings.
I really liked MyVR's format to manage my properties with Flipkey. I took the plunge in January 2016 and integrated MyVR's HA/VRBO channel. Being able to bypass the traveler's fees has really boosted my bookings. I am on track to match or exceed my highest annual revenues.
I have noticed a trend that bookings are no longer made far in advance. My high season generally books 6 - 9 months in advance. Other times are booking 2 -6 weeks in advance.
I feel it is to my advantage to be seen by as many travelers as possible. So, I just integrated MyVR's AirBnB channel. I'm excited to see results!
I just signed up through MyVR for AirBnB. My new listings are still pending.
I have two cabins in Gatlinburg, TN. Like you, my cabins have historically been booked 80-90% annually. My main booking source was HomeAway/VRBO, prior to moving those listings to MyVR earlier this year. I knew, through Matt Landau's vacation rental blog, that changes to HA/VRBO were imminent. That is how I found MyVR in August 2014 and began building my property listings.
My cabins, which were always at the top of the search results with HA/VRBO, were some of the first affected by the Google search blunder and Expedia buyout. Luckily, I had prepared and was able to rely on my new Flipkey accounts through MyVR to make up the difference.
As soon as my sites are published on AirBnB and I start receiving bookings, I'll update my feedback.
I look forward to seeing other owner's experiences with AirBnB listings.
I also use it as a reminder to me about add-ons they've requested, such as extra parking passes, a high chair and/or Pack N Play, or perhaps if I think of something I'm going to want to email them about later.
I've also used it to note when someone has sent a partial payment outside MyVR since I can't enter partial payments without changing reservation terms.
No worries. There's a fine line between asking "Can MyVR do XYZ?" and saying "Hey MyVR, I want you to do XYZ". We get that!
We don't currently support adding custom fields to the reservation flow. Feel free to suggest this as a feature request, as outlined in my comments about on feature requests in the forum rules post.
You can, however, set up automated emails to request this info via form immediately upon a reservation. You could collect and store it some place like google or wufoo. Check out this thread on a related topic, as it will point you in the direction of how you might accomplish this, if it seems like it'd help.
@Jonathan-Frost Thanks. Agreed with all that's been said here and it's high on our list. For this or other Feature Requests, please cast your vote by using the "Suggest a Feature" tool in the Support section of the product. Thanks!
We have a rental application that asks for the primary guest name, occupation, employers name and address, the names and ages of all guests including pets, plus home insurance details. The house rules are reinforced on the applicaiton and they must sign and date. This allows us to screen guests more comprehensively and allows our property owners to feel more secure about the folks staying in their homes.
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