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Switching

 
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akwe-xavante



Joined: 01 Jul 2015
Posts: 261
Location: East Yorkshire

PostPosted: Fri May 26, 2017 9:45 am    Post subject: Switching Reply with quote

Seriously thinking about switching away from using a letting agent "Cottages.com" / Wyndham Vacation to doing things myself.

Not because I'm having issues with them, in fact I think they are very good. Thinking about moving away from them because of the loss of income brought about by booking fees and the commission they charge. It's a lot of money.

Hoping that someone here may be able to offer help and advice.

To get out of my contract I believe I have to hand in my notice before 1st May 2018 to terminate the contract on the 1st January 2019. I need to clarify this with them.

So I have plenty of time to research this and prepare for the switch.

At the mo I'm making a few assumptions:

I'll need an online calendar.
A Merchant service to take card payments online and or by phone presumably.

Business bank account (I gather this is mandatory when taking card payments).

I'll need to advertise my cottage in one or several ways online which presumably incurs costs.

What would your way forward be?
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Hells Bells



Joined: 30 Apr 2005
Posts: 13143
Location: French Alps

PostPosted: Fri May 26, 2017 10:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

For payments and invoicing, have a look at Waveapps, which uses Stripe as a payment provider.
Start building up a presence online long before your contract expires. A Facebook page, website and Twitter or Instagram account. Promote My Place (www.promotemyplace.com) for a website.
PIMS (www.holidayrentalmanagement.com) for an online calendar and bookings engine.
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Giraffe



Joined: 26 Jun 2016
Posts: 391
Location: Cornwall, England

PostPosted: Fri May 26, 2017 10:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi akwe-xavante. I left my local agent in 2015, not because of costs but because of lack of bookings. It was quite scary to begin with. My son offered to do any "techi" bits for me. We kept it simple to begin with, just registering on 2 sites - OD (subscription at 399 + VAT) and TA (commission around 3%) in Feb 2015. Also we are offsite, 240 miles away, so we get bookings from friends and relatives. We had a poor website to start with, but have a new one this year.

Managed 17 weeks bookings in the first year. One third TA, although these have now seriously dropped off, one third OD and one third personal contact. As I only have one holiday let ( plus I am an IT Luddite) I don't have any sophisticated systems:

. Payments can be made by bank transfer, PayPal or cheque. Yes, some visitors still use cheque! I don't therefore require a business account. Most customers pay by bank transfer.
. We just update the 3 calendars individually, plus I keep a manual diary of bookings. Doesn't take that long. And I don't do any online direct booking via OD and TA so I'm not in danger of double booking.

It probably seems very old fashioned to some owners, but it works for me. Good luck with going it alone.
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Giraffe



Joined: 26 Jun 2016
Posts: 391
Location: Cornwall, England

PostPosted: Fri May 26, 2017 10:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

PS. We also now use Promotemyplace for our website. My son found it very easy to use.
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Ludwig



Joined: 27 Nov 2015
Posts: 16
Location: North Norfolk

PostPosted: Fri May 26, 2017 1:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If they're good, I'd be slightly cautious about doing it yourself. Why not try to negotiate better terms with them first?
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akwe-xavante



Joined: 01 Jul 2015
Posts: 261
Location: East Yorkshire

PostPosted: Fri May 26, 2017 1:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank to those that have replied thus far.

Ludwig wrote:
If they're good, I'd be slightly cautious about doing it yourself. Why not try to negotiate better terms with them first?


Tried this and I'm told that if I want better terms I need several properties with them to get a discounted commission.
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