An easy, contained, cost effective solution to drive more bookings and reach new customers, portals are an excellent way for vacation rental agencies and owners to grow quickly and maximize their bookings. But there are a fair few things to understand about these connections and how to harness the huge potential of these sites…..
Understanding how the sites list your properties
There are a number of models of payment across the portals. Sites like HomeAway and Perfect Places will offer annual subscription offers, whereby you can pay a fee to list on their sites for a fixed period of time. More and more, they are also offering subscription models whereby you simply pay a set fee per lead, with no costs to list.
Other portals, like Booking.com and Holiday Velvet, take a commission of your booking value. So for a small percentage of the value of the booking, you can reach thousands of new customers and benefit from all of their marketing expertise and budget.
Another pricing model is that of adding a fee to the existing price. So the agency sets its’ prices, then portals like AirBnB and HouseTrip will add a small percentage on the value and keep the difference. This is a cost effective way to market your vacation rentals and essentially means you can list on these sites for free.
How the calendar sync works…
Connections from a Kigo website to portal partners can be one-way or two-way. This means the direction of the updates is either single or reciprocal. A one-way connection means that Kigo will update the calendar for the portal site (so bookings that are taken on that site will be blocked out on the portal calendar), but bookings taken by the portal will not be automatically input to the Kigo calendar. So when a booking confirmation is received from, for example, Wimdu, the agency needs to update their Kigo calendar manually to ensure that all calendars are up to date.
A two-way connection means that the calendars are reciprocally updated, so booked dates made on a Kigo website will instantly be updated in the calendars of, for example, RentXpress. Equally, when bookings are taken through RentXpress, the dates will appear on the relevant Kigo calendar as booked too. This ensure that over booking will never occur. A tow-way connection is obviously preferable, but there are plenty of great sites that currently use a one-way link, and they are still really valuable sites.
Sites like Airbnb currently have an iCal connection. This means that we can provide a link that is pasted into the listing description in these sites and can then be refreshed at regular intervals to ensure that the availability is up-to-date. This is a one-way connection, from Kigo to the portal.
Photos, rates and property data
Many portals can also access the property data and photos for each property using the API. This enriches the listings that agencies and owners have with them, and is constantly synced to reflect changes made in the Kigo account, meaning that the whole online presence can be managed from one centralized place. Portals can also access prices, both basic To/From prices and detailed rates through the API, too.
So, in summary, using portals is a great way to save money on your vacation rental marketing and to reach new customers. Using this information, it should be much easier to decide which portals fit your agency or property best, and what type of payment model and connection you are looking for. Using Kigo to connect to them makes the process much more streamlined and simple, and the already large number of portals we work with is growing every day. You can find out more by visiting Kigo's Channel Manager page.
Kigo offers industry leading Channel Management solutions for vacation rental agencies. Increase property reservations by receiving bookings from 30+ Kigo portal partners. Be sure to connect with us at [email protected] or on the phone (Spain) +34 512 702 105 ‧ (France) +33 1 84 17 04 18 ‧ (USA) +1 (786) 292-0030