Monday, October 22, 2007

Why use Online Booking?

We get this question often. Some owners of private vacation rentals have been in business for years. So they have "some" type of system in place to take bookings and keep track of the guests coming and going. So we understand the resistance to change. But.....

THINGS CHANGE. What use to be standard a few years ago is now out dated. Look at all the technology we have now in our cell phones, DVDs, TVs etc. So why not look into a state of the art booking system for your vacation rental business.

The software is built so the owner may perform a transaction with the guest, online, and all parties are informed and all parties have the needed documentation for the transaction.

SPEED COUNTS. We all know in the vacation rental business the owner that returns the calls and emails the fastest usually gets the booking. So why would you want to put a 4-7 day freeze on that process.

Let's say you return a call of a prospect that is very interested and wants to book your unit. You call them, they ask questions and you both agree to the booking. Now you have to email or fax the paperwork to them, they must print it out, sign it and write a check and mail it back to you. This is the normal way of doing business without online booking. VERY SLOW and puts too much on the guests.

You are taking a person who wants to buy something from you and putting a 7 day period into the equation and chances are they may not follow thru. The odds are not in your favor. Is your property "pending" or do you rent it to the next person that acts faster? What if they do not return the paperwork? How long do you wait for the paperwork before you try to track the prospect down? See the problems here?

You can now get that booking online and get it when the guest is wanting to do business with you! Which is NOW! In about 60 seconds it can all be done! We have taken an online survey of guest after they have booked with the system and to date, 100% of the guest said they want to book a trip with a credit card. This is what the system promotes. In any business, if you give the consumer what they want, you will attract more business. Make the sale when the prospect is ready to buy. Not one week later. Online booking gives you that option. Online booking is the way of the future.

Most of the owners we consult with that are not doing well, have a very difficult booking process. They have too many "rules", they do not take credit cards and are slow getting back to the prospect. They do not advertise enough. There is too much competition now. The owners that are making these changes, doing online booking, taking credit cards and removing roadblocks to the bookings are getting the lions share of business.

THE PATH OF LEAST RESISTANCE. This is the best way I can describe what the automated online booking system,, can do for you. Make it easy on the guest, open the door WIDE open. Welcome them with open arms. Have your terms and conditions well written, have them agree and book them now! When the guest has you on the phone and they are all excited, that is the time to take the booking. Not 2 days later when you email them the documents and they have to write a check.

What would happen if a car dealer showed you a car you loved on the lot, you wanted to buy it and they told you to go home and wait for an email, print it out, then fill out the form and mail them a check back! They would never sell a car! So why do that in the vacation rental business?

NEW TREND. Here is the trend we see with online bookings. Owners are now removing taking a security deposits, asking for 100% up front, and they have language in the terms that they reserve the right to charge the credit card used in this transaction for any damages that may occur. The benefit here is the guest perceives a lower cost as they do not see an inflated price due to the security deposit. The owner has less work after the booking as they do not have to return a deposit. The owner has a copy of the card on file in the merchant service so they are protected. It is a win win for all involved. Again, this is making it easier for the guest and they respond by booking faster with these owners using these policies.

TRY IT. You can always go back to the OLD FASHION way. If you do not see how this system benefits you, go back to what you where doing. The owners that are using this technology to the fullest are having record years on the rentals.

Hope to see you taking online bookings soon! You will not regret it!

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