How this holiday rental host attracts global travellers with Booking.com

How this vacation rental host attracts global travelers with Booking.com

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Uncover valuable insights from US-based host Zoey Berghoff, and see how Booking.com has helped expand her vacation rentals’ reach and revenue.

The business of vacation rentals really took me, and my husband, by surprise. We originally started renting out our properties when we weren’t there since my husband is a pilot, but we quickly realized the industry holds a lot of potential in terms of income and revenue.

During the last three years, I’ve invested more in building my vacation rental business, recently adding two more properties in the United States to my portfolio. 

From property owner to co-host

Not only do I own properties in Colorado, but I also co-host an international property in Aruba. This involves collaborating with a property owner who isn’t interested in the management side of things. They own the property and are financially responsible for it, but I take care of all the management needs.

A key part of my co-hosting role is making sure that the property is visible and the listings are optimized. After joining Booking.com and setting up the listing, occupancy went up significantly and bookings were coming in five to six months in advance. 

Why I joined Booking.com

For the Aruba property, specifically, there’s a huge amount of international traffic and exposure that comes from Booking.com. Even though we’re listed on multiple channels, the majority of our traction comes from Booking.com. I haven’t found a platform that’s able to compete with its diverse customer base and global reach – it’s been great at generating a lot of bookings for me. 

Booking.com also brings in a lot of high-value guests. For example, I’ve received a lot of bookings for family stays. To cater to this demand, I’ve invested in new amenities like high chairs, which has improved our guest experience. Booking.com has really helped me to expand my audience and, in turn, improve my occupancy.

The platform also has some great features that improve the guest experience. For example, its messaging tools help to give guests a good experience from the moment they book. I’m also able to sync my Property Management System (PMS) and send automatic responses that way, so the process can be as smooth as possible. No matter the time difference, guests get an immediate response and feel welcomed from the earliest possible point. 

House rules are another great feature that help guests to really understand my listing. It helps to manage expectations and ensure my guests have a five-star stay. 

How to encourage repeat bookings at your holiday rental

 

My advice to vacation rentals owners

Over three years of working in the vacation rental industry, I’ve definitely picked up some tricks and tips that make your life as a host so much easier.

  • Calendar syncing

My number one piece of advice is to sync up your calendars across each platform you use. If you want to avoid overbookings, don’t let a minute go by where they’re not synced up. Also, make sure you set up your availability and pricing well in advance so you get booked at the right price point. 

  • Professional photos

Ensure you have professional photos uploaded to your listing – they’re worth investing in if you don’t have them. When I started managing the Aruba property, the first thing I did was hire a professional photographer. 

  • Messaging tools

Earlier, I mentioned using our PMS to send automated guest messages from the moment they book, so you can take a step back and know the right information is reaching the guests at the right time. I always say, if a guest has to ask questions, you didn't do your job as a host and you left something up in the air. So, it's really nice to have automated messages. 

I’m currently looking into a PMS that works with AI so it can predict responses based on how you’ve spoken to previous guests – this area is constantly evolving.

  • Pricing

Dynamic pricing is hugely important. You want to make sure that your popular times are bumped up and when you have slower times, they should be lower and more accurately priced. But don't feel like you need to have your pricing done by yourself – a pricing strategy tool can be one of the best investments in your business because pricing is the biggest thing in terms of your revenue and your ROI.

  • Reinvest

As a host you shouldn’t be afraid to reinvest back into your property. You can do this in phases, updating your interior or increasing your amenities over time. By putting money back into your vacation rental, you can gradually increase your average nightly rate as you upgrade your property.  

My journey into the world of vacation rentals has been unexpectedly fulfilling. What started as a way to make use of unoccupied properties has evolved into a thriving business. Booking.com has played a crucial role in this growth by providing international exposure and maximizing my occupancy. 

 

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Takeaway
  • Booking.com helps vacation rental hosts reach a unique, global customer base 
  • The platform makes it easy to manage bookings efficiently with features like automated messaging 
  • After joining Booking.com, US-based host Zoey saw her occupancy increase significantly, with bookings coming in five to six months in advance