Beyond Pricing Integration

To set the right price based on changes in demand, applying a dynamic pricing software seems to be the most optimum way. Zeevou, the specialist property management system, announces its integration with Beyond Pricing.

 Beyond Pricing is an automated dynamic pricing solution for Airbnb and other vacation rental sites or online travel agencies (OTAs). Its aim is similar to that of other dynamic pricing solutions, which is maximising occupancy and revenue during both high seasons and off-peaks. Since its first integration with Airbnb, Beyond Pricing has set pricing for over 120,000 listings. Data-driven price recommendations of Beyond Pricing is claimed to be similar to the calculation used for the largest hotels and airlines in the world.

How does Beyond Pricing calculate its price recommendations?

Daily analysis of each individual market based on different factors serves as a basis for price recommendations in Beyond Pricing. The variables involved include the day of the week, seasonality and local events. The recommendations are valid for one year long and become applicable to be pushed to different channels afterward.

What are the benefits of getting Beyond Pricing integrated to your listing website?

1. A detailed breakdown of every price recommendation

Beyond pricing shows you why the prices are going up or down on any day of the year. 

2. A centralised view of a year of pricing recommendations

Seeing the full year of price recommendations provides you the option of syncing the whole year’s recommendations.

3. Automated dynamic pricing

As demand changes, all of the pricing of the properties go under a well-articulated revenue management automatically. 

4. Pricing improvement opportunities

Beyond Pricing recommends prices after analysing factors such as neighborhood, seasonality, local demand and more. By having all the recommendations in one centralised table, you do not lose any of price optimisation opportunities.

How should you set up Beyond Pricing in Zeevou?

  1. Enable BeyondPricing in Zeevou.
  2. Sign up for BeyondPricing. Don’t link Airbnb or HomeAway when prompted following sign-up, instead follow step 3.
  3. Click on this link.
  4. You need your Zeevou Username and Zeevou API key. 
  5. Go to Zeevou Set -> Pricing Module Integration, and copy your username and API key.
  6. Return to BeyondPricing, enter your API details, and click on Link Account.
  7. Finalise the integration.

How much does it cost?

Beyond Pricing offers a 30-day free trial. It charges 1% of all bookings made during each month. In the case of a booking cancellation, Beyond Pricing returns the money back.  Should you want to know more details about the cost of Beyond Pricing, please read this.

PriceLabs Integration

Tweaking the minimum night stay rules and changing the nightly price for special occasions would be time-consuming and almost impossible if you want to do it manually. Consequently, any vacation rental owner needs to arm herself with dynamic pricing tools. Zeevou, the specialist property management system, is honored to announce its integration with PriceLabs.

PriceLabs is a web-based revenue management for vacation rentals. By setting the best rate for every night, there is no more need for wrestling with the calendar and rates for hours on end. PriceLabs integration with Zeevou helps you  with: 

  • Dynamic Pricing
  • Automated Price Pushing
  • Updating Direct Booking Rates
  • Updating Channel Rates
  • Preserving Channel Pricing Rules
  • Controlling Minimum Length of Stay
  • Checking Occupancy Levels

By integrating with this dynamic pricing tool, pricings are calculated automatically and you can send those to the channels. You are free to choose your own last-minute discount scheme or any other kind of customisation. You just need to click on the edit customisation link to override your own customisations for a listing, group, or account level. Please read this link for further information.

How are the price recommendations calculated in PriceLabs?

Besides all the automation that Pricelabs provides you with, you can customise settings too. For example, you can set the lowest price and the highest price and the recommendations will not go below or above those, or you can also set last-minute discounts to override PriceLabs recommendations on specific dates. To know about pricing in more detail, please read this interesting article.

The combination of the information over which you have control and some analyses that PriceLabs provides you with are two parts of the algorithm. PriceLabs estimates a base price for the listing for the first time based on its current performance.  After setting the base price, PriceLabs applies the historic demand trends (seasonal, weekend vs. weekday), future supply and demand data (occupancy levels and prices for vacation rentals and hotels for future dates), and how far a date is (last-minute discounting, etc.). Altering the base price results in the reduction or increase of the price recommendations.  

Using PriceLabs with Zeevou is easy:

How should you set up PriceLabs in Zeevou?

  1. Enable PriceLabs in Zeevou
  2. Sign up for PriceLabs or log in to your existing PriceLabs account.
    Once logged in to your account, click “Connect to your Airbnb/PMS account” and select Zeevou.
  3. You need your Zeevou Username and Zeevou API key.
  4. Go to Zeevou Set -> Pricing Module Integration, and copy your username and API key.
  5. Return to PriceLabs, enter your API details, and click “Login.”

The Importance of Dynamic Pricing

What Is Dynamic Pricing? 

Dynamic pricing has emerged as a variation for fixed pricing and is taking precedence over fixed pricing in some industries. Hospitality, travel, public transport and retail are among the industries which have realised the importance of dynamic pricing to set flexible rates for their products and services.

With dynamic pricing, one can calculate the optimal price for their. It is an automated process that changes the price based on supply and demand. However, in order to calculate pricing, dynamic pricing applies a more advanced analysis of data rather than just taking into consideration supply and demand. Adjusting the prices according to the competitors’ is one way to determine optimal pricing. It can also be altered by the rate of a website’s viewers who have been successfully converted into buyers. If this rate is low, the decrease in the price is an alternative dynamic pricing method.

Nowadays e-commerce is the biggest fan of dynamic pricing. Apart from large companies like Airlines and Amazon, vacation rental owners are also aware of the importance of dynamic pricing to find the highest possible price that does not deter potential consumers.  

Strategies of Dynamic Pricing

Dynamic pricing might apply one of the following strategies: 

  • Price can differ based on locality and geography, meaning that the supply and demand for different items are different in different places. 
  • Price can differ based on time. Different items can be discounted on special occasions on the calendars of different nations and cultures.
  • Competitors’ pricing is useful to check if the price you set is too low or too high.
  • Prices can be adapted due to the peak of demand and the inability to supply. 
  • Pricing differs due to different behaviors shown by customers. For example, provided that the customers visit the site after filling a survey or it is the third time they visit the website in a day, the price can be discounted.  

Why is Dynamic Pricing Important in the Vacation Rental Business?

As a vacation rental owner, you need to set competitive pricing. 

Knowing the nightly price of similar properties helps compare your prices with those of your competitors’. Searching and tracking the ever-changing nightly prices set by your competitors is very demanding if not impossible. In addition, prices vary constantly with the anticipation of special events and different holidays. If you need the knowledge of the competitors’ pricing, the trends and the implications of special events and occasions, then a dynamic pricing tool would be more than helpful to you. 

 As a vacation rental owner, you need to change your rates regularly.

You might have noticed fluctuations in the rates of accommodation of various kinds both as a guest and a vacation rental owner. This is because of holidays and special events taking place on the calendar. As a vacation rental owner, you need to set different rates for your property for different occasions. Obviously, you do not sell your vacancies with the same price on different occasions. Instead of fixing your eyes tirelessly on the calendar, you just need to apply a dynamic pricing tool. It can watch out for the changes and do the job for you.   

You need an accurate minimum night stay algorithm.

In order to maximize your occupancy, you need to set exceptions for the minimum night stay rules. You can fill the vacancies in the availability calendar. Vacation rental owners do it manually whenever they expect the vacancy of their property between two bookings unless the cleaning and maintenance fees become too high. Dynamic pricing helps automate minimum night stay rules to maximize your profits. 

Zeevou and Dynamic Pricing!

Dynamic pricing tools help you tailor your revenue by maximizing the occupancy of your properties and recommending the best price per night. Zeevou has the privilege of integrating with Beyond Pricing and PriceLabs. These two data-driven pricing algorithms increase your revenue and vacation rentals occupancy all through automation.   

If these integrations look interesting to you, please follow our next two blog posts or contact Zeevou Partner Success Team now.               

Airbnb Crash and the Importance of Collecting Guests’ Direct Contact Details

Airbnb website was down last night, 9th January, 2020. According to Downdetector, Airbnb crash incidents is not limited to this single one. The website experienced outages and problems on 5th and 13th December due to maintenance or technical issues, who knows?! No matter what, the consequences of Airbnb site crash can impact both ends of the host-guest spectrum.

Imagine a newlywed couple heading out to their Airbnb cabin to set out their honeymoon journey to be remembered for a lifetime, and all of a sudden all connection with their host is lost, and they wind up wandering around worrying how to check in. Booking confirmation, check-in and check-out instructions, reporting maintenance issues, payments and all related issues will be impacted following Airbnb crash of whatever sort. As a result, as a host you will be left with a swarm of complaints you could easily avoid and use as a competitive advantage or a unique selling point had your guests’ direct contact details, what Airbnb fails to deliver to you.

Airbnb Email Addresses

According to Airbnb, in order to “help build trust, fight scammers and protect your personal information,” they create an anonymised, temporary email addresses for both the host and the guest once a reservation is made. This way Airbnb also makes sure the chances of receiving direct bookings through the host’s website are minimised to the slightest degree. Quite an ingenious scheme to kill two birds with one stone, right?!

But what if you, as a host, could take the initiative and change the rules of the game? This time around, contrary to the past, you can get your hands on your guests’ real contact details whether they make a reservation on Airbnb or on other OTAs and property listing websites. Good news is not only being able to contact your guests during Airbnb or other platform outages, but also possessing a sought-after database of real email addresses to marketing purposes. You wouldn’t want to let hard-earned money slip through your fingers again and again in the form of commissions to Airbnb and the rest of OTAs.

 So, what can be done during Airbnb crash?

Zeevou’s 5-Step Booking Confirmation Process is designed in such a way to ensure GDPR-compliant contact details collection, what each and every one marketers in the industry desperately look for! Guests receive a copy of the booking information, and are invited to make any corrections or additions as necessary. Any forwarding email addresses provided by OTAs or booking agents are hidden, and the guest is asked for their real email address. They are also prompted to provide an estimated time of arrival, and to opt in to GDPR marketing. If the person who has made the booking is not the one who will be staying on site, then the main guest’s details are also requested. Moreover, this step allows you to ask whether it’s a Leisure or Work booking.

You would never leave the fate of your vacation rental or hotel business to luck, or worse in the hands of industry giants like Airbnb! So, why not play by your own rules and join Zeevou, the Direct Booking Revolution, in 2020?

5 Factors to Look Out for When Choosing Arbitrage Properties

If you are thinking about expanding your vacation rental business you might find there are many aspects that you need to bear in mind. In this blog post, our Team at Zeevou have synthesised five factors to look out for when choosing arbitrage properties.

1. Customer Segmentation

First of all, you need to know who it is that is going to be staying in your property. Will you be targeting:

  • Corporate executives,
  • Contractors,
  • Family visitors,
  • Tourists,
  • Traveling nurses,
  • Or academics?

Each of the abovementioned groups has certain requirements which should be considered while thinking of adding a property to your portfolio of vacation rentals.

2. Amenities

For each segment of your customers, you have to provide certain amenities. However, there are a few facilities which are guaranteed to always be welcome.

Parking

Having a private parking space in a safe and secure corner is always counted as an added value for the majority of your guests, especially for local tourists and those who are on a business trip.  

Internet Access

Nowadays, the importance of having internet access is equivalent to having a bed or a bathroom in your vacation rental. It is quite essential to be able to provide Wi-Fi internet access and to ensure that the signal is strong enough to enable guests to use their mobile phones. If a guest is to complain about something, you’d rather have them complain about not having a bed and a mattress, than about not having internet access or having a poor signal.

Room Size

Size of the room is one of the factors to look out for when choosing arbitrage properties. With regards to the size of the bedrooms in the property, make sure it has enough space for a double bed to fit, and ideally additional space for a foldable bed.

Common Spaces

Check the sanitary facilities.  Make sure there are enough showers and bathrooms for the maximum potential occupancy of the property. As regards the kitchen and common areas, there should be enough sitting and working space for at least half of the guests to be able to use them simultaneously at any given point.

3. Location

Depending on the customer segmentation, you need to think about different factors when trying to select a good spot. You need to try and predict the buying pattern of the guests who are going to stay at your vacation rental. Each segment has specific requirements.

Proximity to Public Transport

One of the most important factors for tourists is the Bus Stop and Metro Station accessibility. In addition, being in the main zone of public transportation is also vital for them as no one wants to stay in outer zones of public transportation when time is at a premium.   

Proximity to Tourist Attractions

The further away from tourist attractions the property is located, the less popular your vacation rental would be. Tourists are in the city to spend time visiting attractions, not to look at underground tunnels and other bus passengers.

Proximity to Central Business Districts

If you are trying to target business travellers, try to see what areas of town are likely to attract them. You need to be located in the vicinity of the central business district; there is one or other areas with high concentrations of offices.

The Average Age in the Neighbourhood

Considering the average age in the area is quite important as you may otherwise find yourself located next to a retirement home. In this case, you risk facing heightened complaints from neighbours about the noise caused by frequent check-ins and check-outs.  Therefore, it is better to avoid districts which are exclusive to one specific age group.

Seasonality

Depending on the location of the building, the flux of your customers may vary throughout the year. This seasonality may lead to fluctuations of the income that you are generating from the rentals. A building close to the sea has the highest occupancy rate in the summer, while the one close to the mountains is appropriate for skiing resorts, and would thus be most popular over the winter months. A centrally located vacation rental offers the best accommodation for the tourists. Location bears a direct impact on the seasonality of your business.

4. Operations

Thinking about your ability of serving your guests to an appropriate standard down the line is one of the factors to Look out for when choosing arbitrage properties. Will you be able to

A. Find a local cleaning company in the vicinity of the property?
B. Manage the check-ins and check-outs remotely, either through meet & greets or via a self check-in mechanism?
C. Check the property for damage shortly after each check-out?
D. Find maintenance personnel who are able to respond promptly when required?

5. Does the Deal Stack?

Similar to every business owner, you need to check whether the income is likely to be higher than costs associated with renting the property as you are considering adding to your vacation rental portfolio. Below you can find a list of items to take into account, which we will go into in more detail in upcoming blogs by Zeevou.  

  • Rental level
  • Predicted bills
  • Insurance costs
  • Turnover costs
  • Upfront investment
  • Software costs
  • Staffing costs
  • Nightly rates
  • Occupancy levels
  • Seasonality
  • Return on investment
  • Return on risk

Remotely Monitoring of your Airbnb’s Cleanliness

Any owner of a vacation rental business must be aware of the importance of offering an impeccably clean property to guests. Guests are also looking for a homely and welcoming experience. They will not compromise on their expectations when it comes to hygienic standards. It is very common to receive negative reviews due to slight issues like a barely visible hair on a pillowcase, or grime on light switches. Deep cleaning after every check-out or engaging professional cleaning services involves a huge amount of work. But if positive reviews matter to you, cleaning will become an integral part of your business. Thankfully, the growth of the vacation rental market has meant that there are solutions available to Remotely Monitoring of your Airbnb’s Cleanliness.

Local Professional Vacation Rental Cleaners

By just googling you will find a list of local vacation rental cleaning companies available in your vicinity.  Although you have many options, it can also be confusing and difficult to choose the appropriate cleaners. Having an Airbnb cleaning checklist in hand will make the process of finding the right cleaning service easier.  Probably checking the reviews left for the cleaning company, and a bit of trial and error will allow you to find the group that can fulfill your expectations. Finally, after making your choice, you have to follow a procedure. You should ask the cleaner to follow your cleaning checklist, sending pictures to the supervisor to show the work status.

There are multiple cleaning checklist templates available on the internet. While items including the kitchen, wet areas, exterior, and sleeping areas are musts on any cleaning checklist, Zeevou has a detailed cleaning checklist template which it provides for cleaners, including items beyond the standard ones found on most checklists. If you want to read the article, please click here.

 Cleaning Apps for Vacation Rentals

Vacation rental cleaning apps are a good choice when operating and tracking short term rental cleans from a remote location. With a cleaning app, you can schedule the cleaning tasks, check the quality of the cleaners, and also find all available local cleaning companies. 

Properly is a cleaning app known for its photo integration. You can take photos and add notes on the parts you want to flag or clean again.

TurnoverBnB is another cleaning app that is currently available only in the US and Canada. It has integrations with major OTAs, providing a cleaning schedule linked to coming bookings, check-ins, and check-outs.

MaidThis, Handy, Airtasker, Doinn, GuestPrep, and Airhosta are among the many other cleaning apps for vacation rentals you can look into in your area.

Integrated Solutions Like a Comprehensive PMS

Choosing the right Property Management System with an integrated cleaning solution reduces your management workload. Instead of paying for separate applications, and incorporating them manually into your workflow with the attendant problems that can result from the integration of different systems, why not choose a comprehensive, all-in-one solution?  

Zeevou is an easy to use online platform that automates hospitality management. The cleaning module of this PMS is incorporated into this exceptional system. Zeevou Clean links automatically with all the other parts of the PMS, from marketing to bookings, to operations.

Zeevou Clean compares favourably with existing solutions tailored for the vacation rental industry.

  • It has a developed algorithm for allocating tasks to the housekeepers, asks you to input the time needed for each task, and considers the travel time between properties if the staff have to follow a cleaning itinerary in a day.
  • You can create bespoke teams for certain tasks within your system.
  • The cleaners can access the list of their cleans on their mobile apps, making communication more efficient. 
  • Zeevou records the cleaners’ GPS during the time the task is under progress. The cleaners should upload photos of each room to check the quality of their job.
  • Housekeepers can also report other maintenance issues through their mobile apps, which are then fed into Zeevou Fix. Zeevou Clean enables you to manage housekeeping tasks remotely. It takes advantage of your housekeepers’ presence to deal with any issues your vacation rental property might have faced.

Are you interested in knowing more about how Zeevou helps you Remotely Monitoring of your Airbnb’s Cleanliness? Please read this page. You can also contact Zeevou Partner Success Team as we can’t wait to show you around!

Is VAT Applicable on Cancellations and No-Shows?

Is VAT applicable on cancellations and no-shows?

UK government put into effect a policy regarding VAT charges for non-refundable deposits of canceled or no-show bookings on 1st March 2019. This came as a surprise to many short-term rental managers, affecting their accounting and revenue-related calculations. But VAT and Tour Operators’ Margin Scheme (TOMS) complexities should not deter you from tracking the tax rules of the hospitality sector. Besides, Brexit and the UK withdrawal from the EU make TOMS not applicable anymore in the UK thereafter. So one needs to consider all these factors when devising a sensible approach to tax accounting.

How have non-refundable deposits been treated to date?

HMRC used to follow a policy of exempting vacation rental businesses from paying VAT on non-refundable deposits received through canceled or no-show bookings. This exemption was justified by the fact that there was no direct connection between the non-refundable deposit and the supply of the items and services provided for the guests.

How are canceled bookings and no-shows to be treated going forward?

An article dated January 4th 2019 on the BDO UK website states:

“HMRC has confirmed a new policy that VAT remains due on a deposit, even if the customer does not use the goods or services for which it was paid”.

https://www.bdo.co.uk/en-gb/insights/tax/vat-and-indirect-taxes/vat-to-be-chargeable-on-all-non-refundable-deposits

So this means that as a vacation rental manager, in case of cancelled or no-show bookings, you will now have to pay VAT on non-refundable deposits. The article goes on to say that the change will primarily affect the hospitality industry,

 “which will soon be unable to recover VAT charged on cancellation or ‘no show’ charges…”

https://www.bdo.co.uk/en-gb/insights/tax/vat-and-indirect-taxes/vat-to-be-chargeable-on-all-non-refundable-deposits

How does VAT on cancellations and no-shows affect my vacation rental business operations?

UK governments implemented the VAT on cancellations and No-shows on 1st March 2019. Most noteworthy, if you have not considered this new VAT policy, be sure to take it into account in your business plan.

1.  First of all, review your cancellation and no-show policy, and check its terms and conditions.

2. Also, ask your accountant or VAT counselor for advice on how to change your accounting procedures accordingly. Most probably you will need to include non-refundable invoices from canceled bookings in your accounting system or software.

How can I minimise the disruption on my business?

Each time you face a new VAT policy, you need to review the way you operate your vacation rental business. Hence, this time HMRC’s new policy regarding charging VAT for non-refundable deposits of canceled or no-show bookings is going to add to your accounting workload. From now on, you will have to include the invoices for those types of bookings in your VAT declaration.

Luckily there are solutions available. While drawing up invoices is time-consuming work, accounting software such as Xero is a handy solution to the problem. You find it probably even more advantageous to entrust the operation of your short term rentals. You need an all-in-one channel manager. A channel which integrates with an online accounting program to make your tax life hassle-free. Zeevou is an easy-to-use online platform that automates hospitality management. At the time of booking, Zeevou generates a beautifully designed draft invoice for every customer. Even if the guests do not use the services you provide for them, you have the invoice in your database. If knowing more about how Zeevou can help hosts seems interesting to you, please click on this link.

Airbnb Custom URLs

Airbnb Custom URL

Airbnb hosts are starting to be told that they can employ custom URLs as Superhosts. Airbnb enables eligible hosts to take advantage of this opportunity to create an airbnb custom URL for each of their listings. However, the airbnb Superhost can create only one URL per listing and it is valid only so long as their Airbnb account is active. This also means that airbnb can remove it anytime they decide to do it.

Therefore, Airbnb’s long listing URLs that look like anonymous addresses, and do not make any impression on guests, will eventually be replaceable by ones using the airbnb.com/yourlistingname format, unless someone else has already used that particular name. This functionality was supposed to be released in the fall of 2018. As a matter of fact, that never happened, and Airbnb has still not announced an exact date. According to hosts, emails from Airbnb claim that the final release is coming soon and you can use airbnb custom URL.

Setting up your own custom URL Steps

Setting up your own custom URL is relatively easy.  Before starting the process, bear in mind that you are eligible to create only one Airbnb URL per listing. So if you have three listings, you have to make sure you choose three URLs which direct people to each listing you host.

On every listing page, you will find the following items: Amenities, Accessibility features, Title & Description, and Custom Link.

Click on Custom Link and then click on “type your link”, shown in a different color similar to the picture below. Please be aware that you only get to do this once for each listing, so you should make sure to read the terms and conditions of Airbnb Custom URL Policies in detail first.  

Alternatively, you might receive a message on your dashboard stating: Promote Listing by a Custom URL. In this case the message will guide you through the steps. 

Are Airbnb’s Custom URLs of any use?

What are the pros and cons of using Airbnb’s custom URL? Does an Airbnb’s custom URL improve your SEO?

The advocates of Airbnb’s custom URL say that it will help your listings rank higher. It looks much nicer to have a short and memorable link that can be printed on your business card. you can use it to promote your listing and direct more guests to it.

Opponents of Airbnb’s custom URL criticise some of its features.  First of all, the opportunity seems to be unreliable. The existence of this link depends on Airbnb policies; which means it can be suspended if the host loses the Superhost status, or if, for any reason, Airbnb decides to discontinue it. Similar problems have been experienced by entrepreneurs setting up a business through Facebook.  Secondly, the opportunity does not benefit all Airbnb hosts. Getting Airbnb’s custom URL is exclusive to Superhosts on Airbnb. While some plus members of Airbnb already have a custom URL, the others have to wait for the new announcement.

Finally, the custom URL does not affect ranking on search engines.  When someone clicks on a custom URL, they are simply redirected to your Airbnb listing’s main URL. There are many tutorials on setting up a domain name for your Airbnb listing, which claim to give a personalised character to your vacation rental business and you can google to find also how Airbnb URL Shortener works, but at the end of the day these  benefit Airbnb to grow.

And in reality, that’s all it does. The main advantage of using a custom URL seems to be the fact that you get a memorable link that you can share with family, friends, and regular guests. If you are looking for a memorable URL to spread around and help Airbnb strengthen their position in the marketplace and earn more in commissions, this seems to be a great way to go!

However, you may wish to consider setting up your own website to increase direct bookings of your vacation rental business instead. In this way, you will be able to charge your guests more and at the same time offer them a discount, as there’s no middle man that needs a share of the pie!

Increase your Direct Bookings.

A number of channel managers and property management systems for vacation rentals and serviced apartments also offer booking engines. Zeevou is an easy to use online platform that automates hospitality management. One of its aims is to decrease hosts’ dependency on OTAs and listing sites by driving direct bookings. Vacation rental managers setting their website up through Zeevou can use their own domain. The rich SEO tools offered help maximise the chances of showing up on top of search results. Zeevou creates a beautiful, SEO-friendly, modern website which expands visibility and increases the hosts’ profits. If you are interested in knowing more about how Zeevou can help hosts, please click on this link.

Why you need to be looking at the solo traveller market for your SA business

Solo travel is already on the rise, and it’s the next big thing. In this article we are going to walk you through why you need to be looking at the solo traveller market for your SA business In 2017, it was reported by Hostelworld that there was a 42% increase in solo bookings over the previous 2 years. Solo travel was a major 2019 trend, according to booking platform Klook. According to the 2018 date, more and more women and baby boomers are opting to travel alone.

Read on to find out how you can take advantage of this solo travel trend and the solo traveler market, so you can find out how to optimise your business and get more bookings from a totally new demographic.

Be female-friendly

Solo Traveler

More than ever before in history, solo travelers are female. The reasons for this is vast, but include technological improvements and social progress. For you, it means you can increase your bookings and know the solo traveler market. After knowing that a lot, if not most, of your solo travellers will be ladies, will allow you to tailor your services, experiences and offers to women’s interests.

If you’re a regular reader of Boostly, you will know that I am all for leaving gift baskets for guests. But knowing you will have a female solo traveler, will allow you to prepare a gift basket specifically aimed at women. For example, you could include coupons to woman-focused businesses, female hygienic supplies, chocolate, cosmetics, and more. 

Women may feel they face more safety challenges while traveling than man. Journeywomen, an online travel resource, suggest that women keep the door to their room deadbolted, and avoid underground parking lots. Taking from these ideas, you could offer your female solo guests free valet parking, and installing one-way peepholes in your rooms. According to Travel + Leisure, one thing that The Grange does is to offer women female-only staff while they are traveling solo.

Host extra social events

Solo Traveler, Travel alone

Travelling alone is certainly a thrill. You can make your own schedule, nobody tells you where to go, and you never have to do anything you don’t want to. However, a solo traveller is likely to get a bit lonely too, after the novelty wears off.

This is where you can really optimise on the solo travelers and the solo travel market. You can draw singletons out for social activities with other travellers, if you have a central area. For example, you can organise a dance class, movie night, or meet and greet that can give your guests the local flavour they crave while also putting them in touch with others. They won’t just remember you for your great service, but for the friendships that they made whilst staying with you. Hospitalities that offer group activities, like Thai cooking classes and kitesurfing, leave an impression, according to Hostelworld. On top of this, your guests might even want to come back to meet up with their new travel buddies in the future.

Depending on where you are in the world, you could really increase your bookings due to solo travel. Intrepid shows that people don’t actually want to travel in proper isolation, which is why they offer group tours for people travelling by themselves. It is sure to be a hit to offer extras that bring singletons together. Consider how organising an activity will bring in those extra bookings.

Make singleton room bookings attractive

Hospitality business

Most hospitality businesses charge by the room rather than by the guest. Since you know that you’re going to get more single travelers in the near future, consider trying a lower price for them. Airbnb follows these guidelines, so if you hold out for a higher price, you could well miss out.

Be mindful of the dreaded single supplement, which will also drive solo guests away from your hospitality. Since solo travel in the hospitality business is becoming a bigger deal, the market is going to respond quite fast. Your competitors are likely to lower their room fee for singletons immediately once they catch on that you won’t. After all, solo travellers are going to boost revenue at the most important time of the year: the off-season.

Focus on the off-season and identify solo travel market more!

Solo Traveller

HolidayPirates, a company that sells cheap vacations, report that most solo bookings happen away from the holidays. This makes perfect sense,  since people travelling single might be doing so to get away from the crowds. This means you should modify your business practices to take this into consideration and consider the solo travel market for your SA business.

Single travellers rooms and singles events might do best during May and June, or even October and November. Hotel News Resource, did say that most travelers are looking at the winter holidays, so use your own business’s past performance to determine your off-season. You should look for ways to attract travelers who are looking at booking at odd times of the year, as well as exploring new geographical locations. If your business is in a place with unusual seasonal events, for example, harvest festivals, you should take advantage of those. Your solo travelers will feel even more special for figuring out about a secret local tradition that those mainstream travelers did not know about.

If you would like more tips on how you can increase your direct bookings, then please reach out. I have a free 5 step blueprint on how you can cut down on commission costs and increase your heads on beds. Go to boostly.co.uk/5steps

Come and say hi on Instagram>> instagram.com/boostlyuk

This is a guest blog post by Mark Simpson. It has been a pleasure.

#BookDirect

Mark Simpson

Boostly

How to Collect Guest Email Addresses

Are you wondering how to collect guest email addresses? Why bother? You can message them directly through the app of the site they booked through, right? Not quite. Keep reading.

The Importance of Collecting Guest Email Addresses

Ping – a new booking has come in through Airbnb. We all love that sound. Payment taken care of. Sit back and relax until arrival date. Airbnb sorts it all out for us. How nice. Or maybe not quite? Have you ever wondered why Airbnb conceals as much as possible in way of contact details of your guests? You’re surely aware that all you get sent is a forwarding e-mail address that usually ends in “@guest.airbnb.com”. Booking.com adopts a similar trick.

While this is all done under the guise of safety and preserving anonymity, there’s probably an underlying reason. And that is the power of data. If the booking site keeps your guests’ contact details to themselves, they’re effectively not your guests. The guests will, very likely, just book through the booking site again, even if they are looking to stay at your property as a repeat guest. If you are trying to increase your direct bookings, it is imperative to start thinking about how to collect your guests’ email addresses. Once you decide to do so, the next step will be to try and automate this, so that it does not take up any of your precious time!

How to Build Up your Marketing List

OK, great. we could convince you. You’re going to take a deep breath and have a nice chat with every guest. when you go to check them in with a Meet & Greet. You could ask where they are coming from. Or perhaps, what they’re in town for, and, once you’ve made friends, what their contact details are. Except for – hang on – what if you’re a single bloke and it’s a young lady staying? That might not go down too well. And, what’s more, you actually let people check-in by themselves, so doing a Meet & Greet just for this seems like a lot of extra work…

Well, perhaps it’s best to contact them before arrival, or even at the time of booking, and just ask them for their contact details upright to collect guest email addresses. But how are you going to keep track of it all? Perhaps you could use a spreadsheet and record them there. Alternatively, you could use a Google Form and send the link out in the booking confirmation email. Why not be even smarter and sign up for a free Hubspot account so you can arrange things even more neatly in there? That way you’ll be able to easily follow up with your customers in the future. But, hang on, that makes it the third form that your guests have to fill in! Plus, Hubspot won’t tell you where or when they stayed, or how much they paid, or whether they’ll be coming back again!

Automating the Collection of Guest Email Addresses

So, is there a neat solution? The answer is, it depends on whether your channel manager or PMS can handle this for you. For example, Zeevou Book‘s unique 5-Step Booking Confirmation Process fully automates the collection of guests’ email addresses. Zeevou identifies hidden email addresses of guests in OTAs websites. While it uses the forwarding address to send the guest an initial email, the forwarding address is hidden from the guest when they are shown the details that you hold for them. There is an obligation in Zeevou for guests to provide you with their real e-mail address. It helps you to update your record. To help ensure compliance with GDPR requirements, Zeevou also enables you to collect consent for future marketing from guests, allowing them to unsubscribe from any marketing emails sent through Zeevou.

To find out more about Zeevou’s features, you can request a Free Demo by clicking here.