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Values of bookings taken in December 2016
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charles cawley



Joined: 21 Sep 2010
Posts: 1205
Location: Herefordshire, Shropshire, Borders

PostPosted: Wed Jan 04, 2017 9:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks, Coys.

Investors will get burnt.
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greenbarn



Joined: 30 May 2009
Posts: 5901
Location: The Westmorland Dales, Cumbria

PostPosted: Wed Jan 04, 2017 10:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Charles - interesting stuff from you as ever.
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charles cawley



Joined: 21 Sep 2010
Posts: 1205
Location: Herefordshire, Shropshire, Borders

PostPosted: Mon Jan 09, 2017 9:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The replies to this post caused me to write at greater length on market disruption and booking patterns.

The first part of the blog repeats quite a bit of the above but the second part does have some new observations. I hope it's useful.

http://www.holidayletsforsale.com/possible-reason-changes-booking-patterns/
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harrishill



Joined: 11 Jan 2017
Posts: 5
Location: Isle of Lewis

PostPosted: Fri Jan 13, 2017 8:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nemo wrote:
Forward bookings for the last couple of months have been hugely down on the same timescale last year. Looking back two years however, I'm up on the booking front. No rhyme or reason, there really isn't. Just holding one's nerve is the key!


Hello Everyone! First post so hope this is right!
We started 2 years ago, very seasonal in the Outer Hebrides, basically April to October, first year was great, booked over 20 weeks which we were very happy with, we have the web site hosted on Promote My Place and we are just on a handful of other sites such as 'The Cottage Guide' and 'Walking Highlands' that link with our web site. Last year was much the same, we had nearly a third of our bookings by this time last year, we have had a good proportion of foreign visitors and 2 repeat bookings. This year - everything is the same but nothing! I have just gone live on Holiday Lettings and Airbnb (found the Air site awful to set up and personalise your requirements). So the phrase 'holding one's nerve' sums it up!! Confused
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charles cawley



Joined: 21 Sep 2010
Posts: 1205
Location: Herefordshire, Shropshire, Borders

PostPosted: Mon Jan 16, 2017 8:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello, Harrishill.

This is an excellent forum, welcome.

As most people say, don't panic. It is easy to say but we have seen some very strange patterns over the years. The key is to keep an eye on the comings and goings of different listing sites and part service agencies, such as Holiday Lettings and AirBnB along with your own efforts and things like AdWords.

2017 is no exception. It is already showing strange patterns. In the old days, back in 2012 and before, January always started with a bang. It, now, varies. Sometimes early January is busy tailing off in week 3. Sometimes its the other way around.

Market disruption caused by the vast loss-making AirBnB in its mistaken drive to advertise rivals into extinction has not helped.

Two things. Keep your nerve and always keep looking around for new ways to advertise. We were burnt by Facebook 6 years ago but are still looking at it as a possibility because things change... but there are no plans yet. It is a mistake not to keep up to date all the time.

Early Adwords were bad news, for many, they are now quite useful. We would be in difficulty without them. They have become vastly more sophisticated but you do need to spend quite a bit of time learning how to use them to avoid losing a heap of cash.

Feedback is, now, huge. Getting it onto web-sites is absolutely essential. We have even used www.feefo.com (there are alternatives), despite being a small business, and it has done us no harm whatsoever. It is not suitable for go it alone people, but it makes the point.

Marketing holiday lets is a surprisingly interesting but complicated business.
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harrishill



Joined: 11 Jan 2017
Posts: 5
Location: Isle of Lewis

PostPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2017 8:02 pm    Post subject: Values of bookings taken in December 2016 Reply with quote

Many thanks Charles, you can not be complacent, you have to keep adjusting to the market, I think I am learning that and not to panic when you see other places booked up! When we started, assumed we would get just a handful of bookings the first year and gradually it would build, that hasn't happened so far, best year was first year!
Seriously considering going with LHH, self catering exclusive agency for Scotland, had a long chat with them today.
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Giraffe



Joined: 26 Jun 2016
Posts: 322
Location: Cornwall, England

PostPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2017 10:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As Charles says - there are strange patterns. Having had not one enquiry for 2 months, lo and behold I've just got 3 confirmed and 1 provisional booking within the last week ( plus 2 others I had to reject as they were for weeks already booked.)

When I get concerned at lack of interest my son always says - don't worry, the bookings will come. Different words for "holding your nerve".
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charles cawley



Joined: 21 Sep 2010
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Location: Herefordshire, Shropshire, Borders

PostPosted: Thu Jan 19, 2017 8:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Giraffe.

After a quiet start to January, we've seen a sudden rise in bookings in the last 4 days. (Mid January onwards) The month may not be returning to the time when it was the greatest value of bookings were fixed but it is, now, quite volatile.

February, hopefully, will be less erratic.

We did an advertising experiment with Adwords over the last 14 weeks and, because the first week of this year was so quiet, I watered it down quite a bit just in case the problem was more to do with my cunning plan than the way the market was behaving.

Although you can do quite a bit with adwords to target possible business even there, sales and marketing is still a bit of a dark art... you do need a bit of luck but can avoid making costly errors, at least, by taking steps to learn how they work.

Much of the logic and system is not unique to Google, making it more worthwhile learning
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Giraffe



Joined: 26 Jun 2016
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Location: Cornwall, England

PostPosted: Thu Jan 19, 2017 12:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Charles, very helpful. I am a Luddite when it comes to technology. My son does all the necessary at the moment. But I am going to have to learn other options as the major listing sites fail to deliver for us.
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charles cawley



Joined: 21 Sep 2010
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Location: Herefordshire, Shropshire, Borders

PostPosted: Thu Jan 19, 2017 1:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If its Adwords.. and some very small operators do use them, the trick is negative key words as well as positive key words and start off with a very few positive ones to avoid things running away.

Finding where to put in the negative key words is, surprise, not that clear or easy. You can start by spending small sums like 10 a week to get a feel for it.

The trick is to work out the the positive key words most likely to result in conversions. Many start out using only 'exact matches'.
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Robin S



Joined: 20 Jan 2015
Posts: 190
Location: The Cotswolds

PostPosted: Sat Jan 21, 2017 7:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ABB regularly send me emails telling me to reduce my minimum stay and their dynamic pricing regularly tells me to lower my rates. Slamming that inventory full is all these guys and gals are worried about...

... but, their access to market data, occupancy rates etc and their ability to drive analytics through and insight from that data is fascinating.

Our own websites are built on top of a www.myvr.com, a US tech start-up. We're big fans. They're looking at providing dynamic pricing recommendations for informational purposes to owners. I imagine the data will be most relevant and robust for the US to begin with, but a cool data point for us to help consider our pricing strategy moving forward.
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Martha



Joined: 16 Apr 2006
Posts: 2168
Location: Chamonix

PostPosted: Wed Feb 01, 2017 3:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting thoughts as always, Charles.

After two quite slow years, we were considering switching our places round, or at the very least adding locks on the bedrooms so we could let easily for six or eight to increase our range - normally we sleep ten.

Lots of discussion with friends locally confirmed this approach was a good plan. I think I might have talked about it here too. I think people are travelling less in big groups that need to book way in advance, at least outside the peak family weeks, so we decided to accommodate smaller groups too.

Literally the same day we decided to do it, and as I began to work out the prices and structure before advertising, someone called and booked three winter weeks. Over the next month, we sold almost the entire winter season (I have one week left, in March). By the beginning of December I had sold almost the entire summer. I currently have four weeks reserved for the 2018 season.

It's quite an anomaly locally as many places are having a bad time with the unreliable snow (though at least we do have some).

Switching back to commission on HA was a factor, I am sure. But I've taken a lot of direct bookings too. I have no explanation at all, nothing has changed really.

Strange patterns indeed. Also, whilst some are smaller groups, and I've offered them a lower price for less bedrooms, they have all opted to have the full chalet and have extra space.
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