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Florida Villas and Vacation Rentals

8 good reasons to keep your holiday rental calendar updated.

Forget holidays for a moment. Let’s imagine you have a big celebration planned and you’ve noticed a new bakery open up in your nearest town with a mouth-watering window display of cakes all worthy of a place as a show stopper in the Great British Bake Off final.

Confident that you’re going to find something suitable for your party, you pop in the week before only to find empty shelves inside the shop and be told, ‘Sorry – we sold out a week ago and there’s no actual cakes available till next month’. Would you go back? Would you recommend the shop to your friends? Probably not!

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Now let’s go back to your holiday home advert – your very own shop window. You have spent time and money making sure you have the best photos to showcase your property (more tips on this another time) and hours with the thesaurus so that your description is fit to grace the page of any glossy holiday brochure  - but are you letting your customers know just when they can come and stay? There’s a good reason that a calendar option is included on listings adverts  . . . . . because the guests you are trying to attract to book your home want to see it!

If someone has taken the time to trawl through the options to find the perfect place to stay on their next holiday – including the dates they are able to travel – there’s nothing more frustrating to be told that actually, the property has been booked for months and they need to go back to the drawing board and start their search over again.

Unlike some other sites, Direct Villas UK don’t knock you down the pecking order for not updating your calendar BUT if you are displaying nothing but empty shelves or long outdated information behind that shop window, are you simply turning away frustrated holiday makers? We have heard several reasons why owners choose not to use the calendar function but in today’s competitive market place, is it time to change your tactics?

So here they are –  8 good reasons why you should update your calendar regularly!

 

1. A busy calendar can encourage more bookings.

If a holiday maker can see just how popular your property is they will want a piece of the action too!  A calendar showing lots of dates already booked is almost as good as a recommendation. If all those other people are already planning to stay there, then there must be a really good reason to book. And when they tell their friends about it  . . . . ‘We were so lucky to get this’ . . . there’s a whole new group of potential guests hankering to book next year!

2. Speeds up decision time.

If your potential guests are limited with the times they can travel and can only see a few small windows of opportunity, they are more likely to move quickly to secure their dates before someone else snaps them up.

3. Helps confirm the property is genuine.

An empty calendar can make a potential guest uncomfortable. Are they going to turn up to find the home does not really exist?  If the home has no bookings, is there a risk the owner will go bust before next years planned holiday? Or will they turn up to find that there booking has not been recorded and another holiday maker is occupying the home?

While Direct Villas UK offers a free service to guests to confirm ownership and location of the vacation homes listed, a regularly updated calendar goes a long way to reassuring holidaymakers you are genuine owners before this stage.

And just how excited will they be to see their confirmed dates added to the calendar as they count down the days to their visit?

4. Is there something wrong with the home?

OK – checks done and your potential guest is happy that both you and the vacation rental are genuine. But with no bookings showing and no updates for months – just what is the catch? If the home is as fabulous as the description says, why aren’t people queuing up to book?

If they are queuing up to book then perhaps it’s time to shout about it and make that line even longer!

Don’t panic if you have no bookings for genuine reasons. Perhaps you’ve just purchased the property? Or maybe you have only used the home for personal use in the past? Just make this clear in your description and turn it into a selling point that helps fill that calendar quickly. Use phrases like, ‘New to the vacation market’ or ‘Be one of our first guests in this new home.’

5. Saves time in the long run.

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We understand that many owners have several calendars to update and lots of other commitments to juggle, but how much time are you wasting sending ‘Sorry, we’re unavailable replies’?

Wouldn’t it be much more productive to be able to send a quote to the majority of enquiries you receive? Of course there will always be people that haven’t taken the time to check the dates available but this is less likely where a calendar is obviously updated recently and regularly.  And if your calendar is up to date – what better excuse to give them a call? Get them to revisit your listing while on the phone and talk through the available options – selling your other great features at the same time of course! It could mean a decision from them there and then!

Make updating  your calendar a habit. Once you’ve banked your booking deposit, log into your owner’s area and update your calendar with the new dates. Adding dates as you confirm them is less a much less daunting task than you might think. Have your owners dashboards bookmarked on your computer so you have easy access to all adverts and don’t miss one out by mistake! Not only that – keeping them all updated regularly means you are less like to double book because you’ve forgotten to make a note on the one and only calendar you have been using.

6. Helps target enquiries to the dates you want to fill.

Perhaps you’ve had a very successful spell and your home is fully booked well into next year. Great news! This gives you a little breathing space, but don’t leave it too long to start marketing future months and make sure you keep yourself ahead of the game. If your calendar does not reflect the dates you have booked, you could find you’ll still be sending out ‘sorry we’re booked’ responses until those future dates have become late availability! Show your full calendar and start attracting the guests already planning a year or more in advance! If it’s a long haul flight, most people will be saving the pennies well in advance anyway. Even within the UK a get-together with friends or a trip away for a special celebration may be planned more than a year in advance.

And if you do have close up dates that you need to fill – DO make sure they can be seen clearly on your calendar. If a garage has a car they need to sell to make room for a new delivery they don’t park it around the back! What about shopping on Amazon? How often do you see ‘only one left in stock – buy now’? There’s many a time this has pushed me into a quick decision!

Those people without commitments like school holidays to work around, may well be encouraged to travel next week if they can see clearly that’s the only time your home is available for months. Even with children, I’ll still stop to look what’s on the late deal window in the travel agents! You may want to consider using the late deal feature available on Direct Villas UK – more on promoting late deals and special offers another day!

7. Re directing enquiries back to your listing.


OK – so you have updated your calendar and an enquiry has still come through for dates already booked and they’re a little vague on how flexible they are with travel times. Redirect them to look again at your calendar for the dates you do have and work with them from there. Keep in touch with a polite response and even if you can’t offer them the right dates this year – if they admired your home and liked your service this time – you could have captured their attention for the future!

There’s no point in redirecting them to look again at your holiday home if they have to go through the same frustrating process and find their alternative dates booked too. They will soon give up and move onto someone who does use the calendar. Don’t make your potential guests play guessing games just to get a quote. All they want to know is what dates you have available and how much to book!

Don’t forget – if you can only do some of the dates requested – still send a quote for those that you can. If your home is the overall favourite they may be able to juggle flights, or consider a twin centre or perhaps even a couple of nights in a hotel exploring further afield until your home is available.

8. More security not less.

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Some holiday home-owners worry that showing the times their home is empty on the internet, leaves it vulnerable, perhaps to theft or ‘uninvited guests’.  So instead they show a home that’s potentially empty at all times! If using your calendar is helping to bring in the bookings then you have less reason to worry about your home security as it will be regularly occupied – making it less likely to be targeted either by  internet scams or passing opportunists in the neighbourhood.

And if you are not close enough to check on the home yourself, then isn’t a regular check on the home one of the things you pay your property manager good money for?

Still not convinced?

If you still have outstanding reasons not to update your calendar, then please, please do make this clear on your listing.

If you only use the calendar on your own personal website or a stand-alone calendar and booking page for example, then add a link from your listing page directing them to where they can check the latest availability. (Make sure you add a link back to your listing page and not a general search page so they can jump quickly back to the original information and not get distracted with a new search!)

Or point out that you don’t use the calendar and ask them to contact you directly for up to date availability. A visible phone contact can help in this case. Make sure you have an answerphone machine when you can’t pick up  . . . .  And don’t ignore the flashing light to let you know there are messages waiting when you get home!

Do be prepared to send a reply whether you are available for the dates requested or not. Don’t leave them hanging around too long. They’ll have moved on and booked elsewhere and you’ve missed the opportunity to sell alternative dates!

 

 

If you would like help and advice on updating your calendar use the contact form on site or email info@directvillasuk.com

If you are looking for more enquiries for your own holiday home in Florida or the UK, contact Sarah or Tracy on +44 (0)333 2400797 to find out more about advertising with Direct Villas UK.

 

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Direct Villas UK Limited
Newham House
Dudley Road
Darlington
DL1 4GG

UK Company No. 06009413

T: +44 (0)1325 527 275

info@directvillasuk.com

Skype: directvillasuk