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Problems With Letting Agents Charges

 
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Steve1919



Joined: 24 Jun 2017
Posts: 2
Location: Nottingham

PostPosted: Wed Jun 28, 2017 8:53 am    Post subject: Problems With Letting Agents Charges Reply with quote

I have been operating holiday lets now for 13 years very successfully. However agent now are getting greedy and want you to go through direct bookings. Problems Ownersdirect:

- charge the customer up to 12% extra
- charge me an annual registration fee plus 3% on any bookings
- BLACKMAIL they say if I don't offer direct bookings then my advert will be downgraded in terms of its position on their site
- Loose the ability to be flexible, my rates change depending on booking length, how many bedrooms they want and direct booking does not deal with this.

Grateful for any suggestions on marketing elsewhere, and what your experiences have been with these changes to fees over the last 18 months or so.
Thanks,
Steve

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barbersdrove



Joined: 18 Mar 2010
Posts: 977
Location: crowland south lincolnshire

PostPosted: Wed Jun 28, 2017 5:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am with OD and do not have direct booking with them so I don't appear high enough u in their listings to get the bookings. I have had no enquiries from them for months so have now got myself set up on Air bnb for our 2 properties.

I have now had 8 enquiries from them in under a fortnight and taken 7 bookings, turning one down.

That leads me to believe that people were looking for this area but were not seeing my ad on OD.
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Jenster



Joined: 08 Mar 2016
Posts: 397
Location: Cornwall

PostPosted: Wed Jun 28, 2017 5:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Owners Direct have become no better than the likes of Airbnb, Holiday Lettings and so on. In fact they are worse as they charge a subscription fee for the same service as you get for free through the other sites. A lot of people have seen bookings drop through the floor as understandably guests have been alienated by service fees on this previously free to use site for guests.

I don't get much from Airbnb or Holiday Lettings/TripAdvisor either, perhaps because of the hefty guest fees.

However I have had a lot of success with my own website and this year have taken half my bookings directly, either through my site or by phone or email. Clever guests will find you direct. I have also had success through Facebook 'boosted posts' and adverts, which direct people to my website and have resulted in several bookings that I know about so far. Next year I may well take the plunge and not renew with OD, or go commission to keep my reviews, and put the sub fee into fb ads instead.

A Google my business listing is also very valuable, and free. It's the only way to stand a decent chance of being seen in Google searches, as Google will produce a map at the top of the search results, with all the Google my business listings for the search term (eg Holiday lets Cornwall) on it. I have had at least a couple of bookings from people who have found me this way.
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gardenboy



Joined: 02 Jul 2011
Posts: 224

PostPosted: Thu Jun 29, 2017 4:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

yes terrible service from ha. i did not populate 2018 summer rates so got a peak summer booking at my default winter rate. i declined it, was that the end of the story...

no, ha suspended my listing for declining the quote. quoted their t and cs, bla bla.

i have been with ha for 15 years, what a nice way to reward my loyalty.

sadly now looking at alternatives.
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e-richard



Joined: 17 Oct 2004
Posts: 4874
Location: Algarve, Portugal

PostPosted: Thu Jun 29, 2017 5:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

gardenboy wrote:
i have been with ha for 15 years, what a nice way to reward my loyalty.

You haven't actually been with HA for 15 years. Look at it this way:

    1. We were with HolidayRentals .co .uk for many happy years and they brought us many bookings and were very helpful.
    2. We migrated with them to HomeAway and still got a lot of bookings plus the bonus of additional sites (such as Fewo, Abritel, VRBO etc.)
    3. But now we are with Expedia and well........ Rolling Eyes

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charles cawley



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

PostPosted: Fri Jun 30, 2017 10:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Agencies are, now, in two categories.

'Low or part service agencies' and the old sort that do stuff like take photos, visit and, in many cases, actively help sort out problems. Doing this is huge for owners because it can radically reduce the emotional impact having an agent do the spade work and at hand to advise if bad luck causes guest concerns.

Big listing sites could not resist taking a bite the cherry from Guests as well as charging owners commission instead of a flat charge for exposure on their web site. They have got a bit clever charging guests on percentage basis as well.

On the face of it, this seems reasonable because a fixed booking charge to cover rentals of holiday lets from, say 300 per week to 1300 per week could be seen as disproportionate. But the standard charge has worked for decades.

Tot up booking charges and commission: and this is the real figure of what owners are, in effect, paying to use agency services. A good agency will do their best to offer value for money. The sleight of hand many listing-sites-turned-agency have tried to pull is coming unstuck.

Meanwhile, a contact in Canada tells me Air BnB is now trying out a niche approach, instead of the Mega brand ideal. It appears top of the range hotels did not like being lumped in with all and sundry.Their arrogance has already cost investors vast sums of money. Wyndham Worldwide, for all their old fashioned style, is supreme at working niche demand with brands... but AirBnB thought it knew better.


http://www.independent.co.uk/Business/indyventure/airbnb-premium-service-luxury-travel-hotels-resorts-quality-inspectors-a7802061.html

This rookie branding mistake was pointed out in an article some time back: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/brand-disintegration-cyberspace-air-bnb-danger-charles-m-cawley
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AndrewH



Joined: 12 Sep 2013
Posts: 1209
Location: Kefalonia, Greece

PostPosted: Fri Jun 30, 2017 4:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A very interesting future forecast for the mega sites in your Linkedin article, Charles. They can't go on like they are for ever without providing some real benefits for the guests and not the illusions like "book with confidence" and a 24/7 service, which you would expect to come as standard, when they advertise properties in all time zones. As you say:

These brands are only as secure as their last massive advertising spend. They do not really survive on the basis of quality or service.
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