Blocking dates versus missing bookings
Do you find yourself in a dilemma between blocking dates on your calendar and missing bookings?
The TakeABreak.com.au calendar system is designed so that you can block out dates in order to a) show that your property is in-demand and popular and b) to prevent visitors from making enquiries for dates that you do not have availability.
In instances where a property has more than one rentable unit, it may be that you prefer not to block out dates in order to fill your property, however, once you no longer have availability for certain dates, it is better to block these out.
Some operators are of the opinion that they should keep all dates showing as available, as that way they get the potential customer's contact details and have the opportunity to 'sell' them into other dates. We would like to stress that this is not a productive business practice.
W hen a visitor to the TakeABreak.com.au website comes to your property details page, at a glance they can see available dates. If they are looking to stay at your property, or in your area, and you are booked for particular dates, they are unable to select those dates to make an enquiry with you.
- If the visitor is flexible with dates, they will select another set of dates and make an enquiry with you.
- If the visitor is NOT flexible with dates, they will move on and look at another appropriate property.
If a visitor is not flexible with dates and you have not blocked out the calendar they will be FRUSTRATED at hearing that there are no vacancies. If a visitor IS flexible with dates and their initial selection is blocked out, they will simply choose other dates, keeping the calendar unblocked is not the best way to deal with this.
Visitor Feedback on this topic includes (a small selection of a large group):
"all properties showed availabilities for the dates I was after but when I received feedback they were all booked up - frustrating!"
"the information is often incorrect. Availability for houses is not updated"
"not impressed. I booked for 2 different location. Both locations had no bookings shown on the calendar. Both bookings were unsuccessful, presumabley due to a booking already having been made. Why were these bookings not shown on the calendar at the time of booking? Significant time delays were encountered each time leading to much ringing around to confirm somewhere to stay."
"I find it frustrating that some properties don't update their available times on the website, which can lead to wasted time enquiring. I tend to avoid enquiring about those properties that don't have any bookings showing because you don't know whether they have no bookings or they just don't update it and you'll be wasting your time! (Feel free to pass that on!) "
"Ensure that booking calendars are accurate. I tried to conact a number of property owners in relation to dates show on the online calendars as available only to be told the property was booked."
"Take a break is one of the best sites I have found for this purpose, I can't think of much else to make it any better. Although it would be handy if all property owners specified if there has to be a minimum of nights to stay and if there calender with available dates are always up to date."
"We made an enquiry on a house listed with TakeABreak. It has a calendar at the bottom of the property, which outlined which days the property was booked and when it was free. We made a tentative booking for the accommodation. When the owners got back to us they informed us they hadn't made up their minds, whether they would be using the accommodation themselves. They told us they would make up their minds in a day or so. They we have to wait for their reply.... When the owners finally e-mailed us it was to tell us the accommodation was no longer available, as they would be using it themselves. If they had simply blanked out the calendar at the bottom of the accommodation, to indicate the properyt was being used in that time, it would have saved us a lot of time and bother and we could have selected other dates. We were not impressed, nor happy to say the least"
"Some listed properties have tenancies which have not been blanked out on the calendar. This wastes valuable time in inquiring about properties that appear available - but are not."
â€œHaving the availability chart for each property us to date is great, so you do not waste time looking at properties that are not available for the dates you are interested in.â€
Please note: This type of comment is the BIGGEST complaint that we receive about properties listed on TakeABreak.com.au. Visitors continue to complain to us that calendars are not kept up to date and that this is a waste of time.
All calendars should be kept updated, especially during peak periods of Xmas and Easter. Not only do visitors get disappointed if you are not available and your calendar shows that you are, it also adversely affects your conversion rate and hence ranking amongst other properties on the site.
First Impressions are Lasting Impressions
You will note from the above comments that these visitors are not happy. Specifically, they are not happy with the properties who have not bothered to keep their calendars up to date, in fact much of the feedback we receive names the properties concerned and tells of the visitor's disappointment with the property in question.
Far from obtaining an extra booking by keeping your calendar showing as free, the effect is to leave visitors unhappy about their communication with you, and ready to tell others how unprofessional you are. This is not good for your reputation or for trying to grow your business by getting more bookings.
Protect Your Reputation
Protect your reputation by ensuring all information contained on your TakeABreak.com.au listing, including availability, pricing and response times, is accurate.
Upating Your Calendar
Your TakeABreak.com.au calendar can be blocked out in a number of ways:
- To block out dates if you do NOTwant to enter a record of the booking details into our system, Login and go to the Calendar & Enquiries tab, select the dates you want to block out and click on the 'no vacancies' button.
- If you do want to enter a record of the booking details into our system. Login and go to the Calendar & Enquiries tab, select the dates you want to block out and click on the 'operator booking' button.
- If you want to block out the dates corresponding to an enquiry, Login and go to the Calendar & Enquiries tab, select the enquiry you want to convert to a booking, select 'Yes' where it asks if you want to 'Block these dates on calendar', scroll to the bottom and click on 'Update'.
Getting enquiries from too many sources and you just can't keep track??
You can add the TakeABreak.com.au availability calendar functionality to your own site at no charge. Click on the Yellow 'Own-site Calendar' tab in your login to find out more.
The TakeABreak.com.au own-site calendar allows a property operator to show availability and take bookings from websites other than www.takeabreak.com.au. All bookings from other websites do not incur Take A Break fees but are entered into the TakeABreak property management system and can be easily managed from there.
We are able to supply calendar documentation and code samples which you can supply to your web developer.
There are four types of calendar links you can generate:
- Pop up calendar - displays a link on your web page which when clicked makes the calendar pop up in a new window.
- Direct link - displays a link on your web page which when clicked loads the calendar into the current window. - Inline - uses IFrames to embed the calendar in your web page. IFrames may not work on older browsers (eg. pre IE 5.0)
- Frameset - displays the calendar in it's own frame as part of a frameset. You can then place your own content in the other frames. (Note: the Frameset code will require substantial customisation to work correctly with your website.)
Your calendar display can also include additional information as entered into your TakeABreak account. You can display any or all of Rates, Specials and Last minute deals. Simply check the boxes for the information you wish to include, or don't check any if you wish to just display the calendar.
If you require assistance with any of the above, please contact us on email@example.com or between 9.30am and 5.30pm AEST Monday to Friday on (02) 6100 7709 (Canberra), (07) 3102 3759 (Brisbane), (08) 9467 4392 (Perth).
Login and update your listing now.
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