Thanks for your question!
Our most commonly booked services are car services to and from the airport, fridge stocking and portable WIFI. Guests book these services typically a week before they arrive either through our arrival forms or through Guidal, our guest app. Anything that makes the usually boring parts of the journey easier is always popular.
We’re also currently trialling a system in which a selection of Vreasy managers are assigned a real-life concierge to help their guests with finding interesting things to do during their stay. They will contact guests that say they would some guidance and expert advice, helping them find tours and activities for their family.
Vreasy managers are paid a 10% commission for every service booked.
We usually recommend doing maintenance once per year in the low season.
It’s always good to do this on a regular basis and keep your properties to a high stan of maintenance to avoid bigger costs in the long term.
I would also suggest doing an upgrade that would improve the amenities of your property to offer a better experience and to get to a point where you can increase your daily price.
It can be hard work, it can be frustrating at times, too. But, if you want to make sure that your guests have a great time in your properties, it can be one of the most rewarding careers out there.
You can also keep your business manageable by starting with just one or two properties that you manage and host in a hands-on way. For me, this is always the most enjoyable part.
As you get more confident and make your processes more efficient you can build up and eventually bring on staff to help you.
Most booking portals such as Airbnb, Wimdu, Homeaway, etc , allow their users to exchange ICALS between their master calendar and their platforms and make sure they keep their calendar in sync and avoid receiving unwanted reservations.
It is the most typical connection, however it is important to understand that when syncing calendars by ICAL, the calendars are synced at different times depending on the frequency decided by each of the booking channels which can vary from 1 hour to a few hours.
I had a group of guests arrive and the stay was fine – apart from some damage to the property and an extra cleaning required. I took care of the issues quickly and totalled that it had cost me 80 EURs extra.
I reported the damage to my guests and requested around 35% of their deposit for the cleaning fees and to replace some damaged items. There were plates in the pool, broken glasses, alcohol over the floor and dead plants. I sent the guests images and invoices for everything I’d charged them for.
I waited a few days but the guest did not accept the charges so then I was forced to involve Airbnb.
When faced with a deposit dispute, you have the option to contact Airbnb.There information you have for this point, the better. I uploaded photos and I sent the invoices to Airbnb to let them know the extent of the damage.
By this point I had already reviewed the guest, I gave a generally positive review but I mentioned the damage and the charge I had given them. Airbnb then approved the charge I made so I considered the matter closed.
But then, I received a 1 star review from my guests because of this deduction. I wanted Airbnb to remove the rating because it was based on the penalty, rather than the stay they had. At this point, I contacted them but Airbnb told me that the review didn’t breach their T&Cs so they couldn’t remove it. This was especially heartbreaking as i consider this to be my ‘best’ apartment and I’d worked hard to achieve my 5 star rating.
This meant that my last course of action was to respond to the review. I kept it short and simple and explained that the guests were unhappy due to the charge. It’s not a perfect resolution but it is often the best you can achieve in this frustrating situation.
My key tips are:
Always respond to your reviews and stick to the facts.
Keep photos and records of any damage
Get invoices for and repairs or cleaning you pay for
The last point here is an interesting one:
This review reminded me that although Airbnb is great for my business, I am forced to accept their decision here and any changes they make in the future. Having my own brand and loyal customers means that I am in control of everything. I will continue to use Airbnb but I will concentrate on developing my own brand even further.
I am currently using another channel manager system to connect to Airbnb, Booking.com, HomeAway, and Tripadvisor. It basically works well though I cannot do exactly what I have to due to a difference in the connection between platforms. Allow me to explain.
Tokeet is connected via API to Airbnb and Booking.com but in terms of HomeAway and Tripadvisor, they are connected via iCal. Consequently, in terms of the iCal connected platforms, the only information I receive is the booking dates, check-in and out dates. In terms of the API connected platforms, I receive all information related to the booking such as the amounts, email etc.
Vreasy has direct API connections to Booking.com, HomeAway, and Tripadvisor. We are finalizing our direct API connection to Airbnb as we speak, but we can offer it now through one of our partners: Rentals United.
One example, I use trigger emails in my daily operations but via Tokeet the trigger email system only works with the API connected platforms thus guests via HomeAway and Tripadvisor do not receive my trigger emails. This is a problem.
Given that we have API connections to HomeAway and Tripadvisor, you get all of the guest data in the booking in Vreasy. One advantage that comes with using HomeAway is that they even provide the guest language so you can use our automation platform to set up message templates that are automatically sent to your guests in their own language.
With Tripadvisor, even though we have the API connection, Tripadvisor does not display guest information in their API response so we do not have a way of getting the guest data automatically. We are set to implement the new API with Tripadvisor which should give us this functionality in the very near future.
Another thing I need is an API based integration between my chosen channel manager and Zoho Books (my accounting software), is this possible via Vreasy?
At the moment our API is not connected to Zoho. That being said, we do have an easy to implement and transparent API, see our API docs here: https://www.vreasy.com/docs/public-api/ – We do offer support to anyone wanting to implement our API so you could connect any external system to your Vreasy Account.
PAYMENT COLLECTION FROM BOOKING.COM / STRIPE
Can I automatically collect payments/prepayments from bookings via Booking.com, HomeAway, and Tripadvisor? Currently, it is manual in terms of Booking.com meaning that I have to enter the card details manually. In terms of HomeAway and Tripadvisor these platforms collect payment on my behalf (I prefer handling this internally as the current method is time-consuming).
We offer Stripe as a payment solution in Vreasy. You can automate payments for Booking.com and we use our own payment platform: VreasyPay ( connected to Stripe). This means that for every new booking that you receive, Vreasy can charge the credit card of the guest automatically based on your Booking.com prepayment/cancellation policy.
We do fully automate payments for HomeAway as well, however, Tripadvisor does not offer this flexibility. Tripadvisor only works with PayPal payments in Europe which are automatically sent to your bank account or Bank Account payments in the US. In both cases, they take the money from the guests and pay you out.
I have signed up with Stripe and as I understand it should be possible to block a security deposit using Stripe, but how is this done via Vreasy? Again, my goal is to have the leanest possible organization thus as much as possible must be automatized.
Depending on the portal, you can charge the security deposit using Stripe.
However, this is rather manual for the time being. As most portals do not pass security deposit information through the API you would have to manually add this to your booking in Vreasy and then use Stripe to charge and refund it yourself, but it is entirely possible to do it using Vreasy
I saw something on your website about up-selling before and during the guests stay via an app or something, this interests me a lot. Could you please send over some more details about this feature.
As we have an automation module in our PMS System, you can use Vreasy to sell extra guest services to your guests. I am myself a property manager in Barcelona and I let Vreasy automate the upselling of services to my guests.
My guests are automatically being offered car services, portable wifi, fridge stocking and many other services and Vreasy splits the commissions 50-50% with my business.
Let’s say one of my guests buys a car service from the Barcelona airport for 49 euros. The driver would be paid 35 euros and the remaining 14 euros are split between Vreasy and the property manager.
I have a three bedroom property located in Auckland, New Zealand. Could you give me some advice about listing on Airbnb and Ctrip?
Room by room listing or whole property listing? If listing room by room and whole property, will it be confused? As one room is booked, will the whole property be marked as unavailable?
I have a similar setup myself.
In terms of managing the setup, it’s far easier to list each bedroom individually, or the whole apartment separately. If you do the setup this way then the calendar sync is instant and automatic.
However, in terms of maximizing the occupancy of your property it is best to advertise all at the same time, Have one listing for the entire apartment and three listings, one for each of the bedrooms individually.
It is very important to understand that when advertising both options at the same time you need to manually keep some of the calendars in sync.
Whenever you get a booking for the entire apartment you can configure to automatically block the individual rooms, so that all 3 individual rooms get blocked at the same time. However, when you get a booking for any of the individual rooms you will need to manually block the calendar of the entire apartment.
This way, although you have an extra manual step in terms of keeping the calendar in sync and you need to avoid working with instant booking, at least you have more options in terms of increasing the occupancy of your property.