Posts

Our new international partner from UK

The_biggest_advantages_that_Booker_Tools_has_are_speed_innovation_and_automation

We had a lovely chat with our new international partner VillaMore from the United Kingdom. Adam Thompson, Commercial Director, and Ian Sheekey, CEO, recently visited Direct Booker in Dubrovnik, Croatia. The senior management team at VillaMore has over 50 years of experience in the Vacation Rental industry.

“VillaMore delivers first-class villa holidays, catering for the mid to high-end market. Currently, we have over 3000 properties live across Portugal, Spain, France, Cyprus, Greece, Croatia, and Malta, with new destinations being added all the time.

Offering a diverse range of villas to suit everyone’s requirements, they aim to become a one-stop shop for all destinations, focusing on families, groups of friends, and couples looking for a first-class villa experience.

This past year has been a challenging period for travel and vacation rentals due to the ongoing pandemic, with expectations of further difficult times ahead. VillaMore has implemented new safety measures across all of their villas to ensure the safety of all visiting guests and offered flexible booking if travel restrictions change.

“We would say our biggest success is establishing the brand in a very challenging climate and working with our suppliers and guests to ensure everyone receives the best outcome in this rapidly changing environment.”

VillaMore has used the past year to focus on streamlining the business, making the guests’ booking experience quicker and easier while maintaining a safe and secure booking environment. Part of this process was to change Channel Manager due to increasing villa numbers and automation across all processes.

“We have been using an alternative channel manager for a few years but realized as we increased our offering, the limited functions and unworkable speed limited our progress. Booker Tools has been great to work with, developing the system constantly, and we are excited about the huge potential of the system as we grow the business.

Booker Tools is a Vacation Rental Software developed by Direct Booker, a globally awarded Vacation Rental company. It was completely adjusted to the needs of agencies and is intended for anyone in the vacation rental industry looking for a technological solution.

“As VillaMore grows, the speed, flexibility, and automation of Booker Tools will be advantageous for our suppliers and guests. We aim to move the business towards 100% automation, including booking, payments, reports, and additional services.”

“The market is growing exponentially, and we see our business growing the same way.”

If you’re a Property Manager looking for a quality technological solution that will help you improve your business, try Booker Tools for free 15 days.

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.

Why do you need Messaging API?

If you are unfamiliar with the Airbnb Messaging API, it allows you to respond to messages, queries, and guest requests through the Booker Tools system. And all this without the need to log in to the Airbnb platform. This way, you can save time because you don’t need to log in to your Airbnb profile every time. You have all your messages in one place.

Direct Booker, a World-Award Short-Term Rental Agency that manages over 7,800 units, has improved its business using the Airbnb Messaging API.

In addition to enabling faster and more efficient communication, faster search and review of reservations and conversations with guests, it also allows filtering by:

  • name of the apartment
  • reservation number
  • type of inquiry (reservation request, confirmed reservation, or offer)
  • query status (read, unread, sent, draft)
  • last modification

Thanks to this option, it is easier to manage many e-mails and find the one you are looking for faster.

Why message filtering is so important for Property Managers?

Filtering by day of check-in allows for a faster view and timely response to guests. When a large number of e-mails arrive, the e-mails must be prioritized according to the arrival date, as this eliminates the chance that the guest will not receive a response on time.

All in one place.

All notes regarding the facility, such as luggage, parking, check-in, are available in one place, within the platform. Access to all relevant information facilitates communication because you do not have to enter profiles on other platforms and look for the necessary information. Also, the messages are arranged in chronological order, which means that those messages that came last are at the very top.

Like Direct Booker, make a more advanced version of your business. We invite Property Managers who manage multiple accommodation units to contact us and try our Booker Tools software for free.

 

“In a job like this, the most important thing is to always understand who is sitting on the other side”

Read something more about our colleague Ana Raguž who started her career in Direct Booker at Information Department, continued in the Research and Development Department, and has recently taken a new position, as a Senior Business Developer. So far, Ana has lived, studied and worked in two world capitals.

Tell us, how did your life look like outside of Croatia?

From my early youth I knew that part of my life journey would be with a suitcase in my hand. When I was 21 years old and completed my undergraduate studies at DIU International University, majoring in International Relations and Diplomacy, I decided to go for a master ‘s degree abroad. After applying to colleges in Barcelona, ​​Vienna and other European cities, eventually I decided to go in Paris and studied master’s degree in International Business Development and Consulting.

My next destination was Belgium, Brussels, where I perfected my French with work experience, which made my life and work in France easier. France is one of the countries where you just have to know language to be able to live everyday life, and certainly the goal of my departure was to build myself in an international environment.

The most valuable things I have gained abroad besides language, are friendships that will surely remain for the whole life. and travel that were an integral part of the bucket list.

Tell us a bit more about your Department and work @Direct Booker?

I currently work in the Global Partnerships Department, as a Senior Business Developer. Although I’m in Direct Booker for some time now, my current position is from October 1st this year. The advantage of working in a company like Direct Booker is that with young staff and professionalism at a high level, perceptions do not play a major role, but only the quality of work.

There are no strict working hours or standard schedules in my Department. Access and communication with potential clients or partners are the most important in our job. Everyday brings something new on the table. 🙂

What are the goals and specifics of your business?

The goal of Senior Business Developer is to achieve cooperation with as many foreign partners as possible through communication and presentation. Our expansion model consists of two types; software Booker Tools and Direct Booker franchise.

When it comes to our franchise model, it is already a bit more challenging. We are the only ones in the world offering such a franchise model, and even the negotiations themselves and the introduction of the client into our core business require extra time and effort. But it ultimately brings a positive outcome for both sides. Partners get a brand and a successful business model. We are currently focused on international tourism fairs and summits that are going online, which we believe will return to normal in the foreseeable future.

Given the current Covid situation, meetings are conducted exclusively online, and the meeting itself is the final part, the whole process of initial communication, preparation, and the whole logistical part. Our current targets are Italy, Spain, and England.

We have set a goal and regardless of the Covid crisis we are moving towards the goal, and every working day is shaping up according to our goal.

Describe one typical working day in your Department.

We do not have the standard work schedule terminology. The workday always starts by checking e-mails and organizing a working day, holding presentations and arranging the next meetings. Since we are still in the process of organizing the whole Department, a lot of the time is taken up for preparation. We do several online meetings on a daily basis.

What is the secret to the success of mutual satisfaction, for you and the client?

In a job like this, the most important thing is to always understand who is sitting on the other side, who is the interlocutor, and then adjust your approach. As for the technology itself, customers always have the same goal, to find the best possible solutions for their business, and it is up to us to offer our PMS and Channel Manager, Booker Tools, which offers everything to a property managers, camps, ho(s)tels, or any agency needs.

If you’re looking for a business opportunity, and know a few things about short-term rentals, we can offer solutions for you: franchise, agency service or software for property management. Contact us and find out more: sales@direct-booker.com