Are your holiday rental bookings down this year?

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(Marina Millar) #1

Are your holiday rental bookings down this year, not sure why? Your still marketing you're French holiday home on some of the main holiday rental listing companies and paying higher listing fees to be featured higher in their search results?

If you are using Homeaway or one of its sister companies this could be the reason your bookings are down. Homeaway was purchased by Exedia at the end of last year for $3.8 billion, yes that's with a B.

Since then they have been pushing they're new online booking payment system, even telling some owners that this now determining placement in search results. In the U.S they have rolled out a 4%-10% guest service fee. According to the company this is to protect guest so they can book with confidence, then why not provide the option to pay for travel insurance?

So the format that worked for many years for owners and guests is being changed to be more like Airbnb. So be aware of the changes, as in the U.S they didn't even inform the home owners, hence the First Class Action Lawsuit in U.S District Court of Texas against Homeaway.

Expedia whose business is booking rooms, our now after yours. If you want to keep control of your home,

stay in control of who stays in it and how you get paid. Start looking for smaller regional holiday listing sites to promote your accommodation.


(Barbara Deane) #2

I left Owners Direct/Home and Away.

It is hard work finding the right maerket for your property.....B and B or gite.


(Marina Millar) #3

Barbara,

I think there will be more owners leaving, Expeida have to find ways to recoup the 3.8 billion.

I have a holiday cottage I rent out in Burgundy. My background is sales and marketing in the travel industry . I have been asked by friends to be included on my website, so I think this will one way to promote your holiday rental by joining forces. By giving the holiday traveler owner direct pricing they get the best value, cutting out the "middle man"; i.e. no booking fee,no commissions, etc.


(Barbara Deane) #4

Why not start something on your own?

I would BUT I am hopeless at tech things.

But I had an idea called on location.....re location which would involve stay, relax, dine-fine and learn from your host the tricks of their trade.

So hard to find allies here!


(Marina Millar) #5

It's so easy now to put together a website and the cost to self hosting a website works out about €50.00 a year. There are many program to help you build a beautiful and responsive site, all you need is the time and the ideas. Have a look at one of my site www.burgundyretreats.com, this uses a very simple theme to build pages.


(Michael Archer) #6

Yes but how long does it take for people to find it when the big boys fill the first 3 pages of the search engines, making it very dificult for anybody to find small or indepentent sites, I used to book all our holiday accommodation though owners direct but not anymore, i find what i am looking for and then spend a lot of time trying to find the owners phone number so that i can book direct.


(Dory Dickson) #7

I think people who can afford to come on holiday put convenience and maybe the security of booking throgh a big company above cost. I have a website but nearly all of my bookings are through holiday lettings or airbnb. I try to hint to people that they can book more cheaply if they search for the website and book direct, but very few do. My bookings are not down, in fact I already have some for next year, but I find people are looking for more value for money, e.g. 2 families sharing a gite, and less demand for b&b.


(Marina Millar) #8

Michael,

That's where owners fall down thinking that just listing on these supermarket sites is enough to get them bookings. Instead of building their own branding and making sure all information regarding there holiday rental is easily found. I hate going through web page after web page just to find a telephone number. Phone conversations generate more profitable bookings according to recent survey taken in the U.S. When I worked for an airline, passengers were always grateful when I answered the phone and I could give them information about the island, they were going to visit for the first time. I think people and these large companies forget we are in the hospitality business.


(Marina Millar) #9

Hi Dory,

Homeaway are taking the booking fee and also offering insurance, it's just a money making venture.

Listing your holiday rental on one of the supermarket branded listing sites you become part of the supermarkets generic brand, sitting on the self waiting for a booking. These sites don't give you the opportunity to forge direct relationship with your guest as they clock the travellers e-mail address. The moment that direct relationship is established, neither the host nor the guest is tethered to the platform and the power is lost.

Building your own brand is very important, this takes effort and time, but the sooner you start you can move away from these sites. If your guest are looking for value, then you have to offer that to them directly without the middleman.


(Michael Archer) #10

Marina.

I typed "Holidays in Burgundy" into the Google search engine hoping to find your site, i gave up after 20 pages looking for it, you do know that 90% of people do not go past page 5.

So please tell me how can we beat these supermarket sites, because i will not book though them, they have pushed prices up by 15% but not a cent of that goes to the owner.


(Marina Millar) #11

Good morning Michael,

Sorry you couldn't find me, but you are using a very generic term. My website only went live in January 2016, and the google bot has to find me. If you had put in "Holiday Rentals Burgundy" on Yahoo I am ranking on page 2. Google takes into account many things in its ranking of sites and SEO is an important part of this, As I add more pages and content I hope to move up the list. If you had put in "Retreats Burgundy" I am page 1.

As I said, there are many ways to promote your holiday rentals in today's marketplace. I don't want to be part of a supermarket brand and if it means it takes longer to establish my brand I am happy with that.

I never fly Ryan Air it might be cheap, I just don't like the experience. The same with supermarket listing sites, I don't want to become a slave to them.

Remember you save when you book direct with an owner.


(Michael Archer) #12

Hi Marina.

I am just a average Englishman who only really uses Generic Terms, i have never used Yahoo as a search engine and i don't know many people that do, i wish you good luck with your new adventure but for now it is a case of looking at the supermarket sites finding what we both like and then do detective work to find the owners phone numbers.


(Paul Dorey) #13

Owners Direct have sold themselves and all their loyal customers 'down the river'! Their 'sign up for payment via HomeAway' pop up is very difficult to navigate beyond, it's no longer OWNERS direct, it's become 'Homeaway direct' I will certainly be looking at alternatives!


(Marina Millar) #14

Yes, Paul your holiday home is now theirs. Make sure you remove your crdeit card details from auto renew, just in case you forget. Lets hope their is a EU law they are breaking.

Lets see how the American lawsuit goes:

Homeaway is being sued for breach of contract, breach of duty of good faith and fair dealing, fraud, fraudulent concealment, violation of Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act, Violation of Cal. Consumer Legal Remedies Act, Violation of Calif. Unfair Competitive Law, and Breach of Implied Covenant of Good Faith and Fair Dealing. This lawsuit also asks for terrible damages, injunctive relief, pre and post-judgment damages, exemplary damages, and attorney's fees and costs.


(Lois Carrington) #15

I wondered what was going wrong. My annual payment expires in June and I will not renew. Today it was quite difficult to just update the calendar unless I went to the page to tell them my details for payment through them. NO way!

I started with another smaller agency this year and have all my bookings through them. I pay just £29.00 per booking, can negotiate and speak with the client before I go ahead, and it all seems fine.

Bye Bye Owner's Direct.


(Marina Millar) #16

It would be interesting to know just how many owners are jumping ship. Could you PM the name of your new booking agent, they sound interesting.


(Michael Archer) #17

Marina, have a look at the owners direct forum.

There are a lot of owners having a good moan about the new set up.


(Marina Millar) #18

Michael, Many thanks I will.


(Paul Dorey) #19

i used to advertise throughChez Nous when they were catalogue based, but their switch to Web based was not good.I'm thinking of investigating alternatives to OD/HA and returning to Chez Nous is one posssibility.

I wonder if us with French holiday homes to let could share our experiences through a special section on SFN. Might be worth asking James if that would be feasible?