The short term rental industry has been completely transformed over the past few years. Hotel platforms such as Booking.com have opened their doors to the short term rental community allowing us all to list our properties right next to some of the biggest names such as the Hilton or the Marriott. These platforms offer huge benefits while presenting a unique set of difficulties that must be managed properly to get the most out of them. Here is our Booking.com review for short term rentals in 2018.
Benefits of Apartment Rentals On Booking.com
Booking.com is an incredible platform that will allow you to market your property to high-end clientele who are willing to pay a premium for hotel quality service.
A major benefit of using Booking.com for apartment rentals is the increased earnings you can make from positioning your property correctly to appeal to these high end clients. In big cities, the hotel prices are extremely high during peak season often averaging around $500/night. This creates an environment where your apartment rental priced at $350/night seems like a great deal. Given many residential apartments feature amenities such as fully equipped kitchens and ensuite laundry, they can appeal to many customers when compared to a traditional hotel.
Great Host Customer Support
Booking.com has made significant investments in customer service and its paying off. They have large teams specializing in servicing accommodation providers and all staff are well-trained and knowledgeable of their processes. You can message them through your private Extranet (host portal) or call them and in both cases you will often have your requests dealt with without much hassle or headache. Because the accommodation inventory is more consolidated on a hotel platform (i.e. hosts and hotels have multiple rooms), Booking.com has more business risk associated with one of its accommodation partners having a bad experience than Airbnb. This is very evident in the exceptional service the company provides on the host side. While the platform itself is far from perfect, the customer service is very strong.
If you position your listing properly and use the right settings and special offers, you can drive large multi-week bookings at very high rates. Booking.com has a great international presence with customers who are extremely price insensitive. When companies are looking to book multi-week stays for their employees, a platform like Booking.com is what they know best. When a family from overseas is planning their trip a month in advance, and want a property that is located in a specific neighborhood with one or more bedrooms, a full kitchen and a unique environment.
Drawbacks Of Booking.com Apartment Rentals
Even though there are many benefits of using this platform, it’s important that our Booking.com review for short term rentals to include the drawbacks that we’ve found.
Booking.com provides guest credit card information and hosts are expected to use their own credit card processor to charge the reservation price. In addition to the manual process involved, cards can sometimes get declined and the reservation remains valid until the guest uploads a new one or 24 hours pass by. The biggest headache for the new host can happen after the reservation if a booking is fraudulent and a chargeback occurs. While the seasoned Booking.com host knows how to effectively manage payments, far too many beginners end up learning these lessons the hard way.
We do give Booking.com a ton of credit for actively investing in its payment processing capabilities and working on several initiatives designed to make things easier in the future. In certain markets, their payments capabilities are improving which is a positive sign that they may close the gap on this drawback in the near future. But as for the time being, this is been one of the main reasons keeping many hosts from utilizing their platform.
Booking.com charges most hosts fifteen percent of the booking fee and those that are part of the ‘preferred program’ (which brings higher search rankings) pay eighteen percent. Similar to many other platforms, the overall commission amount is high and really encourages bigger property management companies and hotels to get as many direct bookings as possible. We do recommend Booking.com to lower its commission for medium term stays (e.g. 2-4 weeks).
Prevalence Of Fraudulent Bookings
Booking.com doesn’t do much to verify that a booking is not fraudulent and almost entirely leaves this responsibility up to hosts. You must have a very detailed fraud prevention process if you’re using Booking.com or else chargebacks will occur. The average Airbnb host who is inexperienced with Booking.com can easily get discouraged and never realize the full potential of the platform.
It’s also important to note in our Booking.com review for short term rentals that the guest communication on the platform can sometimes be challenging. Guests often make a booking and then forget about it altogether until check in day. It’s important to reach out to guests by phone and give them a call to arrange for their check in day. Ensuring they receive a 5-star experience in your property is a must for these premium guests.
Mastering the art of multi-channel distribution takes years. To know how and when to sell on each platform and how to leverage them in the most optimal way is not always an intuitive endeavour. However, when it’s done properly the potential for earning beyond your initial goals can become a consistent reality.
If you are looking to list on Booking.com and other hotel platforms such as Expedia don’t hesitate to reach out to Guestable for help. We can allow you to overcome the hardest parts of operating on these platforms so that you can fully experience the benefits without the hassle.