Instant booking pros and cons

How to communicate with your potential renters - how to turn site visitors into enquiries, and enquiries into bookings.
newtimber
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Post by newtimber »

Joanna wrote: On ABB I can have 'restricted check-in days' but it seems be a blanket setting - I can't see how to have different days for different seasons. I don't use it much so I can never remember where everything is.
ABB is limited with what you can do on their site. You would need a booking system which has API linking to do what you require.
Joanna
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Post by Joanna »

Thanks - we're using PIMS which supports ical to link our calendar to the main OTAs if we wanted to do that, but I think that's as far as it goes.
Jo

Joint owner of Baker's Cottage in Chester & Chandler's Cottage in Sidmouth
newtimber
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Post by newtimber »

Joanna wrote:Thanks - we're using PIMS which supports ical to link our calendar to the main OTAs if we wanted to do that, but I think that's as far as it goes.
PIMS is great and cheap but if you are listing on lots of channels and want different arrival dates and prices and avoid double bookings (with ical links it's possible to get 2 bookings from different sites for the same dates as the calendars are only synced every so often), then you'll have to pay more for a booking system that has API links.
Joanna
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Post by Joanna »

We use the OTAs so little these days that it's probably not worth the cost and hassle of getting a different booking system at this stage.
Jo

Joint owner of Baker's Cottage in Chester & Chandler's Cottage in Sidmouth
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Nemo
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Post by Nemo »

Just adding in my thoughts as I haven't popped in here for ages. I am listed on many sites and have no desire to do instant booking as it risks double bookings without being API connected. An ical update is simply not quick enough to rely on and sometimes only happens once or twice a day and that's what I currently have.

Airbnb as an example is aimed at instant bookers and yet I still get many bookings from it without. Ironically with many sites and particularly VRBO, people think when they've enquired that they have actually booked as they have been asked to enter their card details. I've had several confused conversations with guests explaining that no they don't have a booking until I've accepted their enquiry.

I've had a long phone call from VRBO in the past trying to persuade me to instant book, flexible cancellations etc but actually that's all the reasons why I won't change. I don't want more bookings via the big sites, I want more direct bookings. Therefore if the guests still book me through the big sites without instant booking and strict cancellation policies, then those are the bookings more welcome than any number of more flaky ones, that instant booked, without reading or understanding the terms etc, and possibly wanting to cancel nearer the time!

Despite the hype these sites give out to try and make us join the masses, currently there is still a place for those of us that don't instant book, as long as you are prompt in your responses and have up to date availability.
Joanna
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Post by Joanna »

I agree Nemo - we will carry on as we are & hopefully will find enough bookings to keep us going. We get plenty of repeats so we don't need dozens of new bookings.
Jo

Joint owner of Baker's Cottage in Chester & Chandler's Cottage in Sidmouth
Sunbeam
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Post by Sunbeam »

I agree too and have made similar points.

Hopefully VRBO will eventually realise that they are missing a trick by telling guests how great instant book and flexible cancellations are - which - though sounds atractive to guests - is normally not in guests best interest - especially for larger or more unique properties. It is so important for owners to check that the listing details/terms and conditions have been read and understood to save issues down the line and to make sure the guests are booking a place that really suits them to help them have the best possible holiday.
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