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A stronger summer, together!

It’s a peak of the season and we believe that most of you are satisfied with the results so far.
For those of you who want to increase their sales and meet the needs of today’s travelers, we suggest you realize these facts.

This summer travelers are searching for stays in June, July, August, and September as the numbers of covid cases are lower and traveling is safer. However, in these uncertain times, anything can happen that’s why it is more important than ever to have flexible rates. After spending almost a year in a lockdown it’s natural that people need to stay out of the house for a longer time.
You need to set up long-stay rate plans. We know that you are seeking safety measures, so let the guests know about it.
In today’s world, everybody is using their mobile phones for everything also for booking. Remember to add mobile rate.

Read this blog article from our partner Booking.com to make sure you are not missing anything!

Why now is the time to respond to every review?

As we have seen, guests now are spending more time searching and checking for an apartment. Safety and cleanliness became a priority for travelers and they will look for accommodation that will fulfill their requests. It is now more important than ever to have excellent communication with guests. If you didn’t have time or knew how to respond, now is the time to check all the reviews and respond properly to each of them.

Did you know that today 84% of people trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations?

Reviews of the guests who were staying at your accommodation play a big role in attracting new guests. It is best to respond to all reviews you receive, whether they are positive or negative.

When guests were looking forward to vacation and it does not turn out as they imagined, it is likely that they will write a negative review.

For a homeowner or Property Manager, a negative review can be a huge discouragement. You should always keep in mind that you are not only responding to a comment to that one guest, but to all potential future guests who are likely to read that response.

If the guest wrote something that is not true, then of course you will politely deny it and let everyone know what really happened.

Rule number 1. Always thank guests for leaving a review

By regularly and honestly responding to all reviews, you are showing that you care about your guests and that you care about their opinions. Through guest reviews, you can get an insight into what potentially needs to be changed to improve the quality of your property and services.

Since guest comments are not always positive, this is an additional reason to respond and explain the situation from your perspective. Do not forget that in this way you create a positive reputation with potential guests. Start each response by thanking the guest for staying in your accommodation and leaving a review. For example, “Dear xy, Thank you for staying at our apartment and for taking time to write this review…”

Rule number 2. Never start an argument

Whether the guest’s comment is true or not, your answer must always be professional, as objective and friendly as possible, as it suits the host. Do not engage in quarrels with guests, just briefly and simply describe your view of the event.

Rule number 3. Remind the guest of the offered solutions

When responding to negative comments, do not forget to mention that you did your best to solve the situation. Describe all communication, the compensation offered quick fixes, replacement of broken devices – briefly all the solutions you offered them while they were staying with you.

Rule number 4. Communication is the key

The worst-case scenario for a homeowner/Property Manager is that the guest does not inform him about the problem while he is staying in the accommodation, and the homeowner/PM finds it out from the review. In that way, the host doesn’t even get a chance to resolve the situation. It is best to point out on check-in that they can contact you always for help in case of any problems.

With a helpful and prompt response to a negative review, you have the opportunity to show what kind of a host you actually are. From your engagement, potential guests will see that you take guests’ comments seriously and that you wish to offer excellent service.

Since people usually are most interested in negative reviews, there is a big chance that they will read your answer, too. Use this possibility and turn the situation around to your advantage.

Advice:

Guests usually leave comments on booking pages like Booking.com and Airbnb. They also use Google Maps to leave reviews. Regularly check reviews for your accommodation on all platforms and respond to them.

Our ultimate goal is that satisfied customers become promoters of our technology

Mario Muhoberac, one of the favorite employees of Direct Booker by his colleagues and partners, introduced himself in a few sentences. Mario’s journey at Direct Booker began five years ago, and during that period, he changed four departments, which shows his multitasking skills.

“When I came to Direct Booker, I started in the Information Department. Then I became Coordinator; after that, Sales Advisor for Booker Tools. Now I am in the Property Development Department. Our department currently consists of 9 employees. Our tasks are: preparation and setting up accommodation units on booking channels, solving technical problems, education, and set up with users of Booker Tools technology, technical assistance, and support to our franchise partners. “

Tell us what you like most about your job, and what motivates you?

“The job is interesting; we help partners maximize their income and improve their business. What I love about this job is the constant opportunity to learn and progress. The business environment is dynamic, every day is different, and we are constantly expanding the network of users.”

Mario shared with us how his typical working day looks.

“When I work, I always wake up at 6.50 in the morning. The first thing I do is making a shake for breakfast, which gives me energy for the whole day. After that, I drink coffee and go to the office. During the workday, I do meetings online, setup with users, and solve current problems. After work, I never miss workouts, and due to the current situation and the inability to go to the gym, I do it at home or in nature. Evenings are for my loved ones, and I try to go to bed earlier to prepare for a new workday and new challenges.”

What was your work experience before Direct Booker?

“I started working at the age of 18 in the Valamar hotel group in Dubrovnik, Croatia. I stayed there for eight years, in various positions such as janitor, pool lifeguard, tennis center coordinator, hospitality desk. All this work experience taught me how to be organized and effectively do business tasks and work in a team.”

The Property Development Department is there for Booker Tools users, as well as for franchise partners. How many BT users do you currently have and how many franchisors?

“The current number of Booker Tools users is almost 100. It is important to emphasize that the users are independent vacation rental owners with several accommodation units to those with 20 or more, then agencies similar to Direct Booker, ho(s)tels, and campsites. BT users are diverse, and more and more of them are deciding to use our technology, which is continually evolving. And as far as franchise partners are concerned, their number has grown to 22. There are franchisors from Croatia, Montenegro, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Slovenia, Italy, Poland, and Peru.”

What is the most significant benefit of Booker Tools software over other similar PMSs, in your opinion?

“Booker Tools was developed by Direct Booker, a World-Award-Winning Short Term Vacation Rental Agency. So the software is made by professionals for professionals. Users first in the market get advanced functionalities with which DB records successful business results. The quality is confirmed by numerous awards, the most recent came from Booking.com for Premier Connectivity Partner in 2021. “

Why do franchisors most often ask for your help?

They ask us to help place facilities on world booking sites, manage prices and restrictions, and solve all current problems. The department strives to be always available to its franchise partners and enable them to improve their business.

How do you measure and monitor the satisfaction of your customers?

“We monitor customer satisfaction through feedback conversations with them. By monitoring their satisfaction with our service, we strive to improve our organization and the way we work. Our ultimate goal is for satisfied customers to become promoters of our technology.”

 How do you deal with stressful situations at work, especially during the season?

“Hm, it’s not easy, but it’s much easier with my colleagues. There’s always a good mood and a positive atmosphere in the office, so one funny comment is enough to get over stressful situations. :)”

Where do you see yourself in the next five years?

“I still see myself in tourism. In addition to tourism, I would also like to continue to be part of technology development. Tourism and technology are the perfect combinations for me.”

Booking.com Premier Connectivity Partner 2021

The travel industry has been going through a rough time this year, because of that we know that strong and productive partnerships are more important than ever.

Booker Tools, software which is used to manage more than 8000 accommodation units and which was made and developed in Dubrovnik, Croatia, is announced as 2021 Premier Connectivity Partner by Booking.com, one of the largest booking platforms in the world. The ‘Premier’ category is part of the Booking.com Connectivity Partner Program 2021; a new incentive program to stimulate the performance of its partners. Premier partners are top and highest-value connectivity providers. These providers offer the most advanced systems with the widest range of products and services.

There are three tiers in this program ‘Standard’, ‘Advanced’ and ‘Premier’. Depending on the number of points accumulated in the year, the providers are classified on the relevant tier.

Booking.com has recognized the efforts and commitment we put into our work. This is just one more step that will motivate us to do better every day and reach for the stars!

“We don’t have to keep individual calendar of availability, because we have one that covers everything”

Anyone involved in Property Management knows how important it is to have a quality technology solution that will make business easier, save time, and prevent overbooking. Such solutions are called Channel Manager and Property Management Software (PMS), and Booker Tools is one of them.

Booker Tools is a Croatian product designed for agencies, ho(s)tels, camps, and vacation rental owners. It was developed by a World-Award-Winning Short Term Vacation Rental Agency, Direct Booker, which was recently placed on 7th place on the list of TOP 50 PRIVATE ACCOMMODATION RENTAL AGENCIES IN THE WORLD by world-known Rentals United. The software was completely developed for the needs of the agency so it can be said, it has everything one property manager needs for a successful business.

One of the users of Booker Tools is Hotel Storia from Čapljina, Bosnia and Herzegovina that has 25 units with 60 beds. The hotel is situated by the Neretva River, surrounded by the natural beauty of Herzegovinian vineyards. We decided to talk with Tamara Glavinić, the hotel’s Marketing Manager about their experience with BT software.

“Regarding the fact that we are a new company on the market, we were looking for a technological solution that will make our business as easy as possible. Following the recommendation of the Direct Booker office in Mostar, we found out about BT. “

Overbooking, manual management of reservations, prices, and availability of accommodation for each booking channel separately, are a thing of the past.

“BT has solved the problem of overbooking and enabled us to manage availability data from one place, synchronize price lists on all platforms and automatically receive an e-mail when the reservation is made.”

The biggest advantages of BT are the automatic synchronization of reservations, prices, restrictions, availability, and content on the world’s largest booking channels; communication with guests from one system (without logging in each individually), direct reservations… All in one place.

“We don’t have to keep an individual calendar of availability for each online booking platform separately, but we have one that covers everything. All this makes the job less stressful because we don’t have to check multi-page calendars every day. When entering a reservation into our program, we simply go to Booker Tools, reduce the number of available rooms for that date and we are sure that everything has been updated on Booking, Expedia, and other platforms.”

Except for the top-notch technology BT offers, there is also a Department of Customer Support. They are always available to all users if they have any questions related to the software.

“Customer support is impeccable, in fact, I think the people who work in that Department are responsible for us being your client. They are always available, kind, and willing to help. I highly recommend Booker Tools, because of its ease of use, reasonable price, and already mentioned customer service.”

 If you also manage an agency, ho(s)tel, campsite or private accommodation and check Booker Tools options. Try it free for 15 days. We look forward to the partnership and expansion of the network of satisfied customers.

Camp Management Software

If we would ask travelers all around the world what is their first thought regarding bookings and travels they would definitely answer Booking.com, Airbnb, Expedia… For managing sales in short -term rentals it is necessary to use reliable technology, for example, our Property Management Software (PMS).

There are several solutions worldwide, and one of them comes from Croatia.

Booker Tools is a Croatian software developed for the needs of World-Award-Winning short term rental agency, Direct Booker. Channel Manager and PMS are used by thousands of users connected to 8000 properties in 9 countries.

It is a big challenge for finding a suitable technological solution for camps because of specifics in their accommodation units and business models. We asked Maggie Bačelić, Business Manager at a company that rents mobile houses for camps that are located in Pirovac and Vodice.

“I was looking for a technological solution that would make my business better. While I was googling PMS, I came across Booker Tools, which fits perfectly to all my wishes and requests.”

Booker Tools solutions are based not only on the needs of various users but also on the needs of Direct Booker, one of the most successful short term rental agency in the world, based in Dubrovnik, Croatia.

“The Direct Booker reference was a key component in choosing the software, as well as the fact that the software has proven itself in several countries, for several types of users and accommodation units with an annual turnover of more than 100 000 reservations. All of the above gave me the answer to my question – it is a proven and reliable software.”

Thanks to Booker Tools, a small company Direct Booker achieved enviable results of savings and revenue growth. Software was also offered on the market for camps, agencies, ho(s)tels and vacation rental owners.

“Booker Tools is a simple and practical technological solution to increase business efficiency – with an emphasis on saving time and a significant increase in the number of direct bookings. We have all regulations, invoices, fiscal cash register, calendar, guest details in one software. Booker Tools allows you to manage units in multiple locations and fulfils all the needs of users with more than 30 accommodation units. “

You can forget calendar’s manual closing, concerns about overbooking, price modifications and restrictions in each separate sales channel. Booker Tools allows users to automatically synchronize bookings, prices, restrictions, availability, and content across the world’s largest sales channels, communication with guests from one system (without individual login), direct reservations… All in one place.

“I would highly recommend Booker Tools to all camp owners. The software enables automation and increases business efficiency. I can easily see all bookings and details on one screen. There is a mobile application with which I can have control over my objects at any time. Plus, online device management in multiple locations and automatic entry of guest data. I need one user account for all objects with an overview of all important information in one place and automatic synchronization with Phobs.”

Booker Tools PMS can be connected to other channel managers for a better and complete software solution. It was exactly the ideal solution for this user, who connected it to the Phobs channel manager. At Phobs, they develop tailor-made tourism solutions and their customers are hotels, hostels and campsites.

“Booker Tools and Phobs are the perfect combination for my business due to the specific camping connections that Phobs has. The combination of Booker Tools and Phobs solved the problem of 24-hour booking control. I am delighted with the combination of Phobs and Booker Tools, which makes my job very easy. Previously, all reservations had to be entered manually via the web in the PMS software. It was not easy to track availability on our site, so we had fewer direct bookings. “

Booker Tools is more than just technology or software. Our customer support consists of professionals who, based on many years of experience working in the short-term rental business, offer consultation and constant customer support.

“I’ve been using a different channel manager for many years. I stopped using it for several reasons; one of them was the negative customer support experience. On the other side, Booker Tools customer support is excellent, with issues resolved as soon as possible. “

If you also manage a camp, agency, ho(s)tel or private accommodation, and want to check Booker Tools options, try it for free 15 days. We look forward to new partnership and expansion of the network of satisfied customers.

Booking.com – Recovery guidelines and tips

Since this is a rough and uncertain time for tourism caused by Covid-19, one of the biggest online reservation platforms, Booking.com, has created Recovery guidelines and tips which you can read here.

Through the special offers, you can increase your early bookers, last-minute reservations, as well as encourage guests to make their reservation for a longer period. Booking.com offers different options when it comes to special offers, but depending on the terms which your vacation rental unit has to satisfy for a certain type of promotion. Booking.com promotes those objects which use promo actions in their global campaigns via emails and partner sites. Using this type of strategy, your vacation rental becomes more visible and accessible to potential customers.

Take a look at the special offers to increase the number of your reservations on the Booking.com platform.

Early bookers – First-minute offer 

Attract those guests who book their accommodation far ahead of the others. One of the ways how to attract this type of guest is by setting discounted deals for the upcoming period like a next season or a year.

Genius – Loyalty program 

An exclusive loyalty program that brings vacation rental owners closer to Booking.com`s most frequent bookers. As a Genius partner, your property will get a special Genius tag with which you will accomplish better visibility and a ranking boost in search results on the Booking.com website. Your property will be displayed to the type of travelers who travel more often, book further in advance and spend more when booking.

Last-minute bookers – Last-minute Deal

One of the most effective ways how to easily fill up empty rooms and attract bookers searching for properties up to seven days in advance or closer to arrival. Setting up options like no address details or no credit card will make bookings through mobile devices more agile and easier.

Mobile rate – Mobile rate 

Bookings made through Booking.com mobile application continuously exceed those made on the desktop. This is an ideal option for attracting the fastest-growing segment of bookers. All you have to do is offer a discount of at least 10% for all mobile users.

Country rate/GEO rate – Rates for specific countries 

The best way to attract guests from specific countries and tap into new markets. Country rates represent targeted discounts which you can offer to guests from the market of your choice.

Preferred – Preferred partner program

The preferred partner program is an exclusive program that brings greater visibility to the top 30% vacation rental owners. There is a specific set of criteria that must be fulfilled to join. Properties listed within this program get greater visibility in the search results and receive a special “thumbs – up” icon which acts as the Booking.com certificate of approval.

Property Page Score – Page quality ranking 

The content of your property page has to tell a story and persuade a potential guest that you are worth staying with. Showcasing the right information you are setting the real expectations for the guests, which in turn brings satisfied guests, exquisite reviews, and new bookings.

Flexible policy – 5 days 

Choosing this option helps your bookings grow since the cancellation policy is flexible. It is used in times of uncertainty to give a little push to travelers to book since this option enables free cancellation up to five days before the arrival.

New Booker Tools connection, Hotelbeds

Booker Tools has expanded its connection to Hotelbeds, B2B portal which is focused mainly on the vacation rental owners and hotels. From now on vacation rental owners and tourist agencies can use Booker Tools to increase the visibility of their accommodation units to an additional 60 000 new travel agencies worldwide.

Hotelbeds portal is one of the biggest portals with a 15 % global market used by 180 000 hotels in 185 countries worldwide, and it is focused on selling the vacation rental properties.

Users of Booker Tools operation system increase the visibility of their vacation rental properties since they can advertise automatically on portals such as Hotelbeds and its partners. This way vacation rental property is positioned on the best possible spot.

This feature is useful because f approximately 100 000 unique online users monthly view this platform. What is the additional advantage of big portal is in distribution and expansion of reservation channels.

Hotelbeds is of course just one of several reservation channels with which Booker Tools has competition among. Among other competition are Booking.com, Airbnb, Expedia and more, and on each separate portal user has the inability to set prices based on the portal success and percentage of cancelled reservations, and how they are shown on each portal.

Additional advantages of channel manager are in the display of available units of system in real-time while simultaneously promotes all available vacation rental units through the portal which the user has chosen.

As final note why using channel manager is the key for the success of agencies and vacation rental owners is the information accuracy of vacation rental properties within the system.

Ivan, Booker Tools IT manager

The leading regional private rental agency, Direct Booker, focuses on technological solutions to make it easier for vacation rental owners.

They are barely thirty years old, all highly educated and enthusiastic, information technology is their daily preoccupation, and presenter Ivan Bogoje, 37, is the eldest in the eight-member team. Regardless of the time of year, the IT department of Direct Booker, the leading regional private accommodation rental agency, is always active.

Direct Booker is a combination of a travel agency and IT company.

Locals from Dubrovnik still perceive us only as a travel agency, however, since 2016, the company has been more focused on the technology. We have successfully combined the services of a private accommodation agency, with which we have been present on the market since 2010, and the development of high technology, keeping pace with global trends –  says Ivan.

Direct Booker was named the third fastest-growing company in Croatia last year by Lider Magazine, and prominent magazine Rentals United had classified it among the top 10 property management agencies in the world. Direct Booker franchises are present in 8 countries, but the company also has big plans for the future:

The future development of the company is based on four directions of development.

The first is accommodation management on the leading accommodation booking portals.

The second direction is developing service Booker Tools for owners who manage their units independently, and agencies similar to us.

The third direction is to further develop the franchise: our business model can work anywhere in the world where there are supply and demand for private accommodation, and fourth is our booking site for direct reservations, for which we have big plans in the future.

As an IT department they are particularly proud of independently developing  Booker Tools, a technology solution for renters who manage their units by themselves.

We started developing Booker Tools in 2017, and a lot of effort has been put into it. Years of experience and knowledge were applied on the product for those who do the same business as we do – renting private accommodation.

Today it is a complete technological solution, an all-in-one tool for vacation rental owners, as well as other agencies.

This is actually the same technology used by Direct Booker employees and our 22 franchises, just packed into one simple and easy-to-use web / mobile app.

It is very difficult for owners to function today without the right technological support.

There are many advantages of using tools like Booker Tools.

For example, if a reservation is made through Booking.com, the owners must go to 5 or  6 other online channels and close the calendar to prevent overbooking – Booker Tools do this automatically. Also, there are other useful services, such as managing prices from one source, logging in / out of eVisitor, invoicing, “booking engine” for your own website, etc. This ultimately means a big time saver for the owner and a minimal amount of effort, with a reduced chance of error.

The Booker Tools system is currently integrated with booking sites such as: Airbnb, Booking.com, Expedia, HomeAway, HostelWorld and TripAdvisor, and new channels are coming soon.

Integration with E-domizil and Hotelbeds platforms, as well as modules for enhancing guest communication and direct sales is currently under development. Let’s not forget that Google is growing and becoming a bigger player in the industry. So over the next half year to a year, we will be integrating with Google to provide user as many direct bookings as possible.