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

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.

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.

Which 5 Sites Bring The Most Bookings?

Which 5 sites bring the most bookings is a question that is often asked and discussed within hospitality circles. Any hospitality owner will be aware of the importance of driving their direct bookings. At the same time, it is common knowledge that it is not sufficient to only count on them. Almost no short term accommodation provider can survive without advertising their offering on Online Travel Aggregators (OTAs).

The detailed breakdown of actual figures depends heavily on where you are located and who your target market is. However, below is a rough guide as to which sites will get you the largest number of bookings flowing through (ranked alphabetically rather than in order of importance):

1. Agoda

Agoda is Asia’s largest online travel agency, so it’s sure to bring you some good bookings. The number of bookings you receive may not be as high as some of the others on this list. However, its customers generally seem to be happy to pay high price tags for properties that they like. Hopefully this will land you the odd high-value booking!

List your property on Agoda by clicking here.


2. Airbnb

Airbnb is a very large listing site based in the USA. It started off as Airbed And Breakfast (the idea being that you could rent out spare rooms in your home to travellers. The site has quickly grown to become one of the largest listing sites for entire homes. It is very popular with tourists and travellers. More recently, Airbnb has been attempting to cater to business guests. It has also launched Airbnb Plus, a hand-picked list of curated homes.

List your property on Airbnb by clicking here.


3. Booking.com

Booking.com is a relatively young company, and it has grown aggressively over the past few years and is now the leading booking site for hotels and alternative accommodation providers such as holiday homes, vacation rentals and serviced apartments in Europe. Most channel managers and property management systems link to Booking.com. It can bring a large amount of bookings with a healthy mix of leisure and corporate customers.

List your property on Booking.com by clicking here and get 5 commission-free bookings!


4. Ctrip

Ctrip is probably the least well-known out of this list of sites. It is China’s largest online travel agency, so if you list on here make sure to try and cater to things that Chinese guests may find appealing. Top tips include providing slippers and pot noodles. Make sure to take a close-up photo of a pot noodle and add it to your listing. If you’re ready to tackle this massive market and are up for a challenge in how to attract a larger number of guests, you want to look into this.

List your property on Ctrip by clicking here.


5. Expedia

Expedia is a massive group that owns dozens of other sites, and distributes your inventory across all of them. This site can help you attract a fair amount of corporate clients. However, as there are often many systems involved in the distribution of inventory and retrieval of bookings, it is not always easy to make contact with the guest booking the accommodation ahead of time, so if there is no reception at the property, you need to spend some more time and energy in trying to make contact with the guest through Expedia once you get a booking.

List your property with Expedia by clicking here.


Note: Some of the above sites manage payments and security deposits for hosts, others manage them partly or not at all. If you wish to automate the distribution of your rates and availability, retrieval of bookings and processing of payments, security deposits, communications, and guest vetting, you may wish to take a look at Zeevou Book‘s 5-Step Booking Confirmation Process.

Which 5 Sites Bring The Most Bookings? Is Yours One Of Them?

In this article we have been talking about 5 OTAs and large listing sites where you should be advertising your properties. This will help you increase your occupancy levels for your short term rental. However, the number one site that you should be focusing on is your own website. Promoting this correctly will help you drive direct, commission-free bookings. Many softwares for Serviced Accommodation operators or Guesthouse/B&B owners will automatically generate a website for you (for example, take a look at Zeevou Show).

Always Book Direct

However, not every provider will give you a website that is good enough to rank highly on search engines such as Google. Moreover, it will not necessarily provide a good booking engine. You should be looking for one that allows you to offer promotions or voucher codes for direct bookings. You may be unhappy with what your channel manager or property management system currently has on offer. If this is the case, take a look at the Boostly Websites. Furthermore, Boostly allows you to easily set up your own #bookdirect website which will attract the attention of bots and humans alike. Finally, it allows you to link that up to your booking engine to convert interested visitors to your site into paying guests.

NB: If you’re looking for a hands-off solution, then you may wish to enquire about the Boostly Done For You Websites. If you’d like to find out more about this service, which includes a free marketing review, fill in this form and a member of Boostly will reach out to book in the job and explain the process.