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Seeking advice re booking sites

 
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Tymawrfarm



Joined: 25 Jul 2012
Posts: 27
Location: Monmouthshire, Wales, UK

PostPosted: Tue Jan 24, 2017 3:12 pm    Post subject: Seeking advice re booking sites Reply with quote

Hi all
We are now well and truly up and running and have been getting pretty good bookings with a local booking agent but would now like to fill the year up as much as possible. We are really unsure about the best booking site to use. A browse of this forum makes me slightly queasy about using any of them.... but thinking of Homeaway. Any other suggestions? Tips? Anything gratefully accepted. The advice I've had in the past has been invaluable, so thanks to those who helped.

Here's our place if anyone's interested.

http://www.wyevalleyholidaycottages.co.uk/ty-mawr-holiday-barn-with-views-near-chepstow
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ClareW



Joined: 18 Feb 2016
Posts: 79
Location: Malvern, Worcestershire

PostPosted: Wed Jan 25, 2017 11:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi- your place looks really beautiful- not too far from us in Malvern. We are also newly available and I am running it myself not through an agency. So far I have had quite a few bookings through Airbnb and a couple of direct bookings from my website but am looking for another listing site and have also been scared off Owners Direct and the other big ones by comments on this extremely helpful forum! Have decided to contact Independent Cottages this afternoon with a view to trying them...
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rigmover



Joined: 23 May 2015
Posts: 39
Location: St Margaret's at Cliffe

PostPosted: Wed Jan 25, 2017 6:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

House looks great, we use Sykes Cottages, they seem to get bad press on this site be we have never had a problem with them.
Did you do your web site yourselves? great looking site.
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charles cawley



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

PostPosted: Fri Jan 27, 2017 11:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tymawrfarm

It is worth being prepared if you use, for instance, Owners Direct. We tried it a year ago and, from one listing out of some 70 cottages people asking and often expecting rate cuts, special deals and so on, created at least 75% of wasted time.

The type of guest varies depending on the source. Although the exercise was profitable, we cancelled the listing because of the sheer waste of time, emotional disturbance and a perceived higher danger of upset owners.

Smaller agencies have survived and many are prospering, despite the big agencies thinking they could advertise them out of existence. The question worth asking is how this has come about. It relates to quality of service and the trust the public put in smaller, better managed operations with closer more local relationships with owners.

Most large agencies will refuse to act in tandem with other agencies but if you push them they will often give way. The Holiday Cottages is one such.. but it is only medium sized. Many agencies privately refer to owners holiday lets as 'stock' which speaks volumes about attitude.

Although you are looking for a large business so we do not qualify, we cover Herefordshire and Shropshire, so know local conditions quite well.
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stewart-sandeman



Joined: 29 Dec 2015
Posts: 17
Location: Scotland - highlands

PostPosted: Mon Jan 30, 2017 3:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have certainly found Independent Cottages are good, and generated a few bookings for me last year. I also sold a few weeks on ebay (see seperate post) which also worked well, and was good at gap filling.
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susanj



Joined: 23 Jun 2008
Posts: 161
Location: Estes Park, Colorado

PostPosted: Thu May 18, 2017 8:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

For over 15 years I used VRBO (now combined with Homeaway ) with great results. I am in the U.S. With recent changes, this year has been way down and I had to branch out to Airbnb and TripAdvisor (vacationhomerentals).
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Stewart



Joined: 11 Jun 2011
Posts: 85
Location: Fife, Scotland

PostPosted: Fri May 19, 2017 6:36 am    Post subject: Shop Around Reply with quote

We have been doing this for nearly fives years. Sites that work for some do not for others. If you have the time and appetite you need to experiment. Also depends on how hard you want to drive to achieve your business model. Then once you have sifted the chaff from the wheat those good performing sites start to fail (HL's absorption into TA reduced our business through that channel from 25 to less than 10% of sales).

Don't forget to push your own site and keep it fresh.
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COYS



Joined: 06 Jun 2015
Posts: 745
Location: Greek Islands

PostPosted: Fri May 19, 2017 6:42 pm    Post subject: Re: Shop Around Reply with quote

Stewart wrote:
Don't forget to push your own site and keep it fresh.


+1. Excellent advice.
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rosebud



Joined: 14 Mar 2012
Posts: 543
Location: Steyning, West Sussex

PostPosted: Sun May 28, 2017 9:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

More than 50% approach me directly through my web site.

Owner's Direct are still my best performing listing site - some people see me there then contact me directly.

Other sites that bring me occasional bookings are the Cottage Guide (subscription), Independent Cottages (subscription) , Holiday Lettings (commission)and AirBnb.
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Jenster



Joined: 08 Mar 2016
Posts: 423
Location: Cornwall

PostPosted: Tue May 30, 2017 4:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Similar to Rosebud, I have about 50% from my website and most of the rest through OD/HA. I have online booking and payment with OD so the service fee is applied but some people seem to prefer this. I hope to increase my website bookings to nearer 100% through Facebook advertising over the next 2 years but not sure if this is realistic.
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COYS



Joined: 06 Jun 2015
Posts: 745
Location: Greek Islands

PostPosted: Wed May 31, 2017 6:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jenster wrote:
Similar to Rosebud, I have about 50% from my website and most of the rest through OD/HA. I have online booking and payment with OD so the service fee is applied but some people seem to prefer this.


I imagine its acceptance rather than preference, but I think much of it depends on the marketplace. If, for example a visitor is charged a few percent of a few hundred pounds, they may be more willing to suck it up safe in the knowledge that they have a cast iron 'guarantee' for an extra few quid.
If however, a visitor were charged (eg 9%+vat) of a couple or sevreral thousand pounds or up the 'limit' of 249+vat for no discernible value then I'd imagine your scrutiny would be a little greater & your dissent a little louder.
Without a shadow of doubt the 'service fee' (among other things obviously) has had a dramatically negative impact on enquiries/bookings across some sectors, while for some it has had little or none.
As always - different strokes for different folks.
Back to the OP - if you think you can make it work on the OTA's then jump in & see how it goes, but definitely don't put all your eggs in one basket.
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Eclipse247



Joined: 29 Aug 2016
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Thu Jun 01, 2017 9:47 am    Post subject: Booking sites Reply with quote

Hi we get most enquiries from HA/OD. Very few from AirBNB or HL.

We get a noticeable amount from Group Accommodation. We have just registered with Country Cottages Online.

We have a larger property ideal for groups.

Any ideas about other sites please?

www.trimnellshouse.com
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KHCottage



Joined: 04 Oct 2016
Posts: 21
Location: Pembrokeshire

PostPosted: Thu Jun 01, 2017 10:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

We have been going since Apr and all bookings have been through Sykes no problems so far.
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pilou64



Joined: 25 Jul 2017
Posts: 12
Location: France and Spain

PostPosted: Fri Jul 28, 2017 8:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

We are on HA since 8 years with 3 properties. I also think that HA becomes too greedy: subsrciption plus fee traveller plus fee owner per booking.

I really hope that a new site will be born soon, a site with reasonable fees and where the owners have still freedom concerning cancellation policy etc.

I hope that soon holidaymakers will see that they pay a lot extra to HA and HL.
We had a lot enquiries and people asked us if they could book directly with us. Now this is no longer possible with HA.

Airbnb' fees are reasonable, but Airbnb decides wether damage will be covered by the damage deposit (my own very bad experience) and their cancellation policy is valid.

The perfect holiday site would be:
1 reasonable fees
2 more direct contact with the owner
3 without the "government and judgement" of Airbnb

I believe when a good new holiday site would be born, most owners would no longer continue with HA , HL and Airbnb.
Do not forget, these sites make a fortune because the owner invested a fortune in their home to let!

For 2018: We will leave OD but stay on Abritel, but nog longer on subscription base.
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AndrewH



Joined: 12 Sep 2013
Posts: 1292
Location: Kefalonia, Greece

PostPosted: Fri Jul 28, 2017 9:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

pilou64 wrote:
I hope that soon holidaymakers will see that they pay a lot extra to HA and HL. We had a lot of enquiries and people asked us if they could book directly with us. Now this is no longer possible with HA.

Presumably direct owner contact is not possible because communications through the HA site will blank out your phone number, your private email address and your personal website address (if you have one).

As we are talking about Homeaway, register your property with "Staysavr", which is free of charge. In that way the guest can (using the recommended browser(s)) see all your contact details when he/she looks on the HA site, whether HA like it or not.
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