Love it or hate it - you cannot ignore the increase in the popularity of online booking software. It's been a while now since the number of independently-owned holiday cottages booked online exceed the number booked manually.
These days, it is not enough to have a website with an enquiry address and phone number. People want to book straight away and, if they can't, they look for another suitable cottage that does have that all-important online booking option. And one thing we can all be sure about, is that there is plenty of choice out there!
My Favourite Holiday Cottages already allows owners to display their own online booking calendars to get bookings direct from their listing (without any commission charges or booking fees applied either, I might add).
If you are still managing bookings by hand, it's probably a reasonable assumption to say that you are now missing out and losing revenue. One of the benefits is that you get the full contact details of your guests as addresses have to be congruent with their payment card details.
Where Do you Start?
If finding the right booking software is the first challenge, so you should find this report from Rentals United a helpful starting point.
This is as good a place to start as any: The report entitled 'Top 40 Vacation Rental Management Software 2018' contains a healthy number of Online Booking Software packages available to UK Holiday Cottage Owners.
Your other option is to look a the sites of some of your competitors and see what options they are using (and how well-filled their calendars are). If you look at properties further afield, in areas where your cottages will not be considered competition, you can even call an owner to ask for their personal feedback. You'd be . surprised at how many people continue to use software they are not completely happy with because they haven't got round to searching for a better one!
For what it is worth, here at My Favourite Holiday Cottages, our personal software favourite is SuperControl, although this is more expensive in comparison with other options. If you own multiple cottages, then it is a much more viable option, especially as the financial reports it produces will help to keep your accountancy bills down! It's definitely the all-singing, all-dancing option with a friendly and experienced support team waiting in the wings to offer free advice whenever required.
Here's what it looks like on a listing: Sunnycliffe House, Woolacombe.
If you already have an online booking function, or would like to ask questions about it, then use the comments section below to find out what others have to say. NB: We moderate this to ensure that replies are relevant and not simply an excuse to advertise!