It’s been an interesting year in the holiday rental market. We’ve seen very strong growth in owners developing their own sites and trying to take more control over the booking process. There seems to be a general feeling that the big boys are trying to squeeze the lemon a little too hard with excessive booking fees and owner charges.
One of the criticisms we regularly hear, is that of the big portals treating individual holiday rentals as a simple unit of inventory. Quite understandably, many owners and agents like to think of themselves as offering something a little more unique. By promoting themselves through their own websites and focusing on the uniqueness of their properties and the experiences they offer, helps maximise both bookings and revenue (especially for the repeat bookings market). And at the end of the day, the more bookings taken through your own website, the more profitable the business becomes.
It’s also good to see that guests are becoming a little more tech savvy. I talk with many people who understand they often get a better deal by searching for a properties own website having first found the accommodation on one of the big portals.
We talk with owners and agents on a daily basis and we’re always keen to hear your views on what’s happening in this market space. If anybody out there has any experiences they’d like to share, we’d be pleased to hear from you.
It is our understanding that as of the new year, it will be illegal to charge a surcharge to guests who choose to pay via credit or debit cards or even online payment providers. Please see a copy of the Government legislation here: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2017/752/pdfs/uksi_20170752_en.pdf . Page 134 is the relevant section. Please understand that this is purely our understanding of this legislation and you should not rely solely on this input. You should do your own research to clarify your position with regards the changes.
Booking Forms for Mobile Solutions
Last year we introduced a new set of fully responsive availability and bookings forms to make everything suitable for mobile viewing. If you’re still using the old forms, now might be a good time to swap to the new forms. They’re much easier on the eye, work better on mobile devices and offer more configurability in terms of what is displayed on your website. If you need any guidance on how to do this, please feel free to give us a call.
Website Design and Development – New Website Builder
Over the last few years we’ve had an ever increasing number of people requesting web development services. Until now, whether it’s been a single property website or a multi property agency site, we’ve always done bespoke developments. I’m very excited to announce we will be releasing out own website builder in the new year. When released, you’ll be able to choose from a number of existing designs or, if you feel a little more ambitious, you can start with a blank canvas and let your creative juices flow! Watch this space for details after Christmas. Our aim is to provide a one stop shop for your entire online presence.
That’s all for now folks. It just remains for me to wish you all a very Happy Christmas and a healthy and prosperous new year.
With kindest regards, Ross
Christmas 2017 Newsletter