Some holiday property owners believe that the best way to ensure maximum occupancy is to place their property on every listing site, OTA and with as many property managers as possible.
In theory, the more potential customers you show your holiday property to, the more bookings you’ll get, right?
This option may work well for hotels that have hundreds of identical rooms to fill every night of the week, but a vacation rental is different. It is more than just a place to stay and potential customers are not always driven by price (although all OTAs seem to think price is the only deciding factor).
At House Parties each of our holiday properties is unique and our guests book them for many reasons – style, location and facilities are all as important as price. If a potential guest finds a holiday rental is listed on numerous sites then this can give the impression to the guest that there is a lack of exclusivity and therefore they can barter down the price.
But there are other things to consider. Listing on multiple sites can cause problems and actually cause more work for the holiday property owner.
- You need to sync all your calendars with your website (if you have one), other agents’ websites, listing sites and OTAs. While a CMS (Content Management System) can help you do this, it only works if all parties involved have the right software systems in place. If an agent doesn’t have online availability, then you are going to have to email or call every time you get a provisional booking, a confirmed booking or a cancellation!
- Changing rates/special offers – if you get a cancellation and re-market with a special offer or decide to change some of your rates, you need to make sure all the sites your property is listed on are updated. This is the easiest way to upset a customer – they could book your property only to find it cheaper elsewhere.
- Will your property be marketed the same on all sites? Many agents will change the name of your property in the hope that a potential guest will not find it listed on another website. We have all heard the stories of people booking a villa in Spain to arrive to find it’s a car park. Guests are concerned about safety and security and finding your holiday property with four or five different names won’t help and may deter them from booking.
- Different agents will have different rules, such as how long do they hold provisional reservations for? What deposit do they take? Do they take a security deposit and, if so, how much? Do they make sure they get the names and addresses of all guests, not just the lead booker? It can be hard to set rules and regulations when dealing with too many different organisations, some of whom may not have the same standards of practice.
- Information portrayed to guests either on websites or in written communications/confirmations may not all be the same. If a guest sees a property on a website and it says “dogs allowed’ only to then find the same property on another website which either doesn’t mention this or states the opposite, this will cause confusion and may lead the guest to go elsewhere.
- We all know how important reviews are; the more good reviews a holiday property has the better. Some listing sites or agents may not even have a system in place for collecting reviews, but even if all the sites you list on can collect reviews, what you will end up with at the end of a year is a few reviews scattered among many sites rather than a significant amount of reviews on one or two sites.
So, the question you have to ask is this:
Will I get more bookings overall if I adopt this approach or can I get the same level of bookings from just one agent with a lot less hassle and administration on my part and better customer service for my guests?
House Parties specialises in large, luxury holiday homes in the UK. We strongly believe that, given the significant changes in this industry over the last few years and changes to come, exclusivity is the key to achieving great occupancy and rates.