Tips and Tricks
Tip 121 - GST tips
1. If you charge GST it is best to note this in your rates section (eg: 10% GST included) as it may be relevant to corporate travel price comparison, because if there is a GST component corporate travellers can claim this back.
2. If you charge GST you need to make sure the prices quoted in rates etc include the GST component, so the guest doesn't get a sudden and unexpected 10% increase at payment time.
3. If you wish to indicate that you do not charge GST, then simply say No GST applicable or something similar.
Tip 120 - Help support to help you
When you send emails to email@example.com please remember to include the property name and if possible the email address that you have listed with us as this makes it easier to track. Please give us as much detail as possible and if you are talking about a specific email, forward it to us. If you are referring to a previous email or continuing a conversation, then please reply to the email rather than starting a new email. Please make sure that your subject is relevant and informative and not the whole contents of the email. This is to ensure that we can help you effectively and efficiently.
If you are calling our support line please make sure that you are logged into your account so that we can talk you through anything that you need help with. We may ask you to spell your property name or ask for an enquiry or invoice number so that we can find your property, as there are many similar property names and some people spell them differently. If we are busy and unable to take your call, please send us an email and we will try and assist you as soon as possible. We know you are busy and hold ups are frustrating, but please remember that our wonderful support staff are here to help and are doing there best to assist you.
Tip 119 - Simplify your rates
With so much talk about the economy, its only natural that guests are more focused on value. Most of the properties listed with TakeABreak already represent great value, however this may not always be clear to the guests. Many properties list extra fees such as cleaning fees, linen, extra per person, etc. Potential guests are then not sure exactly what your final price is and so they aren't confident about the value your property represents. Add these fees into your rates and guests will find your rates clearer and you will get more bookings.
Tip 118 - Request a deposit straight away
Our research shows that guests want to get to confirming a booking as quickly as possible. This is backed up by our statistics which show that on average the guest is 60% more likely to book when the initial response is a deposit request compared to an available response. So where possible send a 'request deposit' response rather than 'available'... you'll be pleased with the results!
Tip 117 - Insurance update
OK, you've checked that you're insured as we've previously recommended, but have you checked with your insurance company for any exceptions where they might not cover you? Do they cover you for young guests or for damage caused by visitors of the paying guests? Is there a limit on the maximum claim? Are there items or aspects of your property which would not be covered? It's best to know where you stand with insurance rather than finding out after something bad happens. On a more positive note, your insurance company will usually do more than just reimburse you for costs. For example, if you are sued your insurance company may act on your behalf (as they would have to pay any amount awarded). They may also assist with indirect costs associated with repairs. Find out what your company offers now so that if you ever do need to claim you have a better idea what to expect.
Tip 116 - Confirmation of Stays
Don't forget when filling out Confirmation of Stays and generating new invoices that there is a new reference number each time, which you need to use when paying by BPay. If paying by cheque, remember to put all invoice numbers on the back of the cheque if there is more than one invoice being paid. Or why not simply click on the secure link in your invoice to pay by credit card? It is easy, secure and doesn't have a processing fee.
Tip 115 - Rates - are you showing yours?
Take a moment to check your listing and see if you have listed your rates and specials. A number of listings don't, and it is a missed opportunity as visitors to the site tend to dismiss those listings without rates as being less desirable than those that disclose as much information as possible. Don't miss potential bookings... check to see that you have clearly listed your rates, with information on high and low season, if appropriate.
Tip 114 - Fresh eyes
While we are talking about listings, a great way to get a new perspective on your listing is to ask someone who doesn't know your property well to go to TakeABreak and have a look at your listing. Fresh eyes will often pick up things that you don't, such as missing information on sleeping configuration, lack of photos, rates, things to do in the area and more.
Tip 113 - A picture tells a thousand words
Is your listing telling the story of your property? People want to see images of properties, particularly interior shots, before they book. There are many listings with few photos and some have none at all. Why not go to your listing on the site itself to see how it looks to potential visitors and see if needs a freshen up such as more or newer images, changes to rates, news of refurbishment and so on. See our story 'Write with Light' for tips. If you need help, just email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Tip 112 - Does your insurance cover your guests?
We all know that insurance is vital when running an accommodation business - but have you asked your insurer if your guests' belongings are also covered under your policy? Don't find out too late that the expensive laptop belonging to a guest staying in your B&B, apartment, homestay, farmstay, cabin - or any other type of accommodation! - is not covered by your policy in the event of theft. Sometimes the language used in policies makes it difficult to decipher what is covered and what isn't... so don't take a chance, call your insurance company or broker and ensure that you - and your guests - are covered.
Tip 111 - Do you have all the necessary licences?
The beauty of running an accommodation business is that you are your own boss, however there are still people to whom you have to answer! Make sure that you have all the appropriate licences and clearances from the industry regulators appropriate to your operation. If you are unsure who to contact, a good place to start is with your relevant industry association, for example the Bed & Breakfast and Farmstay Association. They will be able to point you in the right direction to ensure that your business is properly licensed.
Tip 110 - Theme checklists
It can be hard to know if your property fits into the "accessible" category and it is important that you do not advertise as an accessible property unless you satisfy certain criteria. There is an easy way to check if your property complies - just go to our theme checklists and see if you fit the criteria for an accessible property. If not, please revise your listing. If you need help, just email us at email@example.com.
Tip 109 - Internet scam
Our thanks to Susan from Mill Lodge for warning us about this internet scam targeting accommodation operators:
Stephen Martins (JP) Christian Love Ministries, US (email - firstname.lastname@example.org) requests accommodation and sends a cheque (for more than needed), then asks you to forward the difference to an address in the Phillipines. These cheques take 6-8 weeks to clear, but as they are bogus they bounce. He apparently logged on to the Open Travel site.
Yet another good reason to use our Online Payment System as it protects from such scams.
Tip 108 - Ensure your images are not false advertising
Good images are a vital marketing tool in helping your property appeal to as many people as possible, and everyone understands that images on a listing are chosen to show the property to its best advantage. However you will do yourself and your guests a disservice if the images you use do not accurately reflect what the guest may find when they stay. Strike a balance between flattery and honesty and you are less likely to be faced with an angry guest claiming that their accommodation doesn't look anything like the photos on the website.
Tip 107 - Speed of response leads to more bookings
We have mentioned this before, but it really does bear repeating... our visitor satisfaction survey consistently mentions quick response as a direct link to bookings. One of the most important things you can do to increase your conversion rate is to respond quickly to enquiries. People who rate the operator's response to their enquiry as 'timely' are TWICE AS LIKELY TO MAKE A BOOKING as those who rate the response as 'satisfactory'. This statistic speaks for itself and is a compelling reason to reduce your response time.
Tip 106 - Update your calendar
Yes, here we go again... please keep your calendar up-to-date. As the comments above in "Quotable Quotes" show, it continues to be an issue every month that some operators are not updating their availability regularly. This hurts everyone, as the the integrity of the website comes into question, to say nothing of the damage it does to all properties listed on the site. We know how challenging it is to be an accommodation operator and how short on time everyone is, but this is truly one thing that will positively impact your conversion and reputation for professionalism.
Tip 105 - Offer alternative property
Those of you who have more than one property on your account may already have noticed a new response option 'offer alternative property'.
This makes it easy for you to offer one of your other properties if you
don't have availability in the one that the enquirer originally
requested. Where you have a property with availability and it is
comparable to the one requested an 'alternative property' response can
often result in a booking.
Tip 104 - Theme checklists
It can be hard to know if your property fits into the "accessible" category and it is important that you do not advertise as an accessible property unless you satisfy certain criteria. There is an easy way to check if your property complies - just go to our theme checklists and see if you fit the criteria for an accessible property. If not, please revise your listing. If you need help, just email us at email@example.com
Tip 103 - More on being a pet-friendly property
We have spoken about the importance of making sure that your property is truly pet-friendly, but Kim & Malinda from South Australia reminded us that allowing pets inside will put your property off limits to anyone who suffers a pet allergy. Also some councils may classify cottages and B&Bs as 'food premises' which means that animals are not allowed indoors. This is clearly a very complex issue and as regulations vary across Australia we recommend that you carefully check the guidelines for your state and type of accommodation.
Tip 102 - Adding value attracts bookings
We appreciate that not everyone is able - or willing - to discount rates, and believe that another way to make guests feel that they are getting something for nothing is to add value in other ways. In fact this is how we usually recommend that operators make the most of school holidays, ski season and days like Mother's Day and we encourage you to provide a value-added package under the 'Specials' section of your listing. Think about how you can best add value... tie up with a local restaurant, spa or masseur for great deals for your guests, include a complimentary bottle of wine or breakfast... think outside the square!
Tip 101 - Minimum nights
Do you have certain days of the week or times of the year when you only accept a minimum of 2 night, or 7 night bookings? Make this clear in your listing information - in the description or rates field, so that visitors are not disappointed when attempting to make bookings that don't meet your minimum. If you have a standing 2 night minimum night stay, then please enter this information into the Rates & Specials page as then visitors will not be able to submit enquiries for less than the set number of nights.
Tip 100 - Is your property truly pet-friendly?
More and more people are choosing to take their pets away with them, and this growing and discerning market is demanding more than just a dog bowl and kennel to make Fido happy. We survey visitors to the site every month, and we are receiving an increasing number of comments relating to properties and their 'pet-friendly' status. We have included a couple of quotes to highlight the concerns of people who wish to travel with their pets.
"Are dogs are allowed inside, or only outside; restrictions on dog size; things like that. In this instance I had to make specific enquiries with the property owner. All was well, but additional information could have been provided on the listing to help me decide whether it was worth making further enquiries or not."
"People travelling with dogs need much more information about what is provided. 'Pet-friendly' is not sufficient. We need to know: are they welcome inside? Is the property fenced? Fenced balcony? Whole yard? Size of yard? An information pack about local dog by-laws such as which beaches allow dogs would be really useful, along with recommended walks for people with dogs. This is the information dog people want. I would prefer this information to be on the listing, so I don't have to disclose all of my contact details just to find out if the property meets my needs."
This is clearly an issue that needs to be addressed and those who best meet the needs of people travelling with pets will be the ones to capitalise on a increasing market.
Tip 99 - Link Google Maps to your website
Make it easier for guests to find you by utilising the excellent, free maps available via Google. It is easy to have a map on your website.
1. Search for your business address on www.maps.google.com
2. Select "Link to this page" just above the map (on top right hand side)
3. Select "Customise & Preview" in the pop-up box
4. Customise as you wish
5. Copy and paste the code at the bottom of the "Customise & Preview" page into your webpage.
If you have any problems, contact your web designer.
Tip 98 - Suspending your listing
When you suspend your listing - perhaps because you are doing maintenance work, or taking a well-earned break - you can now put in the dates you will be offline. The system will then automatically put you back online when the period elapses.
Tip 97 - Help our Support Team to help you
support team is dedicated to helping you make the most of your listing
with TakeABreak (TM). Here are a couple of ways you can help them to
*Before you call us make sure you have your TakeABreak account already open and have pen and paper handy
*Remember to turn off your auto reply as it clogs the support system, resulting in a longer response time.
Tip 96 - Bonds - what do they mean to you?
Fortunately, many of you operate properties which do not require bonds to be charged, but here are a couple of tips for those do need to impose bonds, even if only at certain times - such as Schoolies Week. Remember, the bond refund should be automatic and guests should not be required to apply to have the bond returned.
Keep bond monies safe
In most states you will be required to operate a trust account to hold monies safely and you should issue customers with a trust account receipt immediately after receiving bond money. If guests have an incident-free stay at your property and there is no dispute about the bond, you should return it within 48 hours of the customer vacating the premises, which allows you time to inspect, if necessary. Ideally the guest should be present during the final inspection.
If you do charge a bond for all customers throughout the year, follow these best-practice bond-handling tips:
* inform customers of bond terms and conditions so they know what types of damage could result in the loss of the bond PRIOR TO completing their booking;
* do not charge customers additional bond monies at check-in;
* inform customers of the process for retrieving the bond after their stay is complete; and
* have a complaint-handling procedure in place to help resolve bond disputes.
For more information on bonds, see your state Office of Fair Trading.
Tip 95 - When is a duplicate not a duplicate
Sometimes potential guests inadvertently send the same enquiry to the same accommodation operator. This is known as a 'duplicate' enquiry and should be marked off in the enquiry response system as such. However, on many occasions the guest is making enquiries for two different sets of dates, to determine availability and pricing for each date, or they may be making requests on behalf of two different sets of people. Take a look at each enquiry before you relegate it to the 'duplicate' class, to ensure that you are not missing out on business.
Tip 94 - Cooking facilities
With the rising demand for self-contained facilities, you should detail what the kitchen and cooking facilities are, if you offer them. Some people are happy to just have a kettle and a microwave and get takeaway or eat out for their meals, while some guests prefer to be able to cook up a storm and require a 4-burner stove and convection oven. Detailing the extent of your cooking facilities in the information you list will help visitors make up their mind as to whether your property is right for them.
Tip 93 - Double your bookings with a speedy response
We mentioned this valuable fact a couple of months ago, but it is such an easy way to improve your conversion that we think it bears repeating! People who rate the operator's response to their enquiry as 'timely' are TWICE AS LIKELY TO MAKE A BOOKING as those who rate the response as 'satisfactory'.
This statistic speaks for itself and is a compelling reason to reduce your response time.
Tip 92 - Issues with Yahoo email addresses
Many thanks to Rose Cuthbertson from Turkey's Nest Rainforest Cottage, who advises us that Yahoo is randomly rejecting legitimate mail, particularly (but not exclusively) from business addresses – that is, mail coming via a web address, such as www.takeabreak.com.au. Although Yahoo deny this, various web forums show it is a pretty common complaint. Rose says "Replies to Yahoo addresses may not always get through, and you may not get an error report (if it has simply gone into junkmail, like my own mail did). As our initial reply to TakeABreak (TM) customers goes through you, there is always the possibility that your mail is going into their junk mail, just as ours did, and that the customer is not getting our reply."
Rose suggests that you follow-up by phone to any customer with a Yahoo address, just to make sure the reply has gone through, and we think this is a very smart strategy until the problem is resolved.
Tip 91 - Tell your guests where to go!
No, we are not suggesting that you tell your guests off, just let them know where the nearest public and accessible toilets can be found when they are exploring the area. There is a website that lists them nationally, and helps you to provide some really practical local knowledge so your guests aren't caught short!
Tip 90 - Refurbishment = increased $$$
Yes, it is expensive to refurbish your property, but it is an essential investment. If your rooms are looking tired or you are waiting for "mission brown" paint to make a comeback, it is time to update the paint colours and soft furnishings. The best way to "time-proof" accommodation is by using neutral colours on walls and floors, and providing interest through paintings, towels, sheets and quilt covers. These things can be easily updated at minimal cost and will ensure your property is always looking fresh. Don't forget that guests are willing to pay more for accommodation that appears fresh and up-to-date.
Tip 89 - Baby hire stuff
It can be expensive to provide all the babycare needs your guests require. Operators in Sydney can save the cost and hard work by using (or referring guests to) a company such as BabyHireStuff which provides prams (aka buggies, strollers, pushchairs), portacots, carseats, booster seats, toilet training equipment, sterilisers and more, for
stays as short as a day, to several weeks. Other states have similar services which will save you time and money by delivering to your property.
Tip 88 -Speed of response leads to more bookings
We receive really valuable feedback from our visitor satisfaction survey, as we mentioned in Quotable Quotes. One of the most important things you can do to increase your conversion rate is to respond quickly to enquiries. People who rate the operator's response to their enquiry as 'timely' are TWICE AS LIKELY TO MAKE A BOOKING as those who rate the response as 'satisfactory'.
This statistic speaks for itself and is a compelling reason to reduce your response time.
Tip 87 - Add personal touches to your enquiry responses
Use the "Body" section of your response to personalise your response to each enquirer and to answer any questions they might have asked. If the enquiry is for Winter dates, mention the weather. If the enquirer has children, mention great family activities nearby, etc. The system handles the basics of your response so you can focus on adding these personal touches that can help visitors decide to stay with you.
Tip 86 - Duplicate responses
Sometimes you'll get a "duplicate" enquiry or an enquiry that for some other reason does not need a response at all. When this happens, you will need to click through on the "duplicate enquiry" link so that the system registers a response. Without a response being recorded, the system will keep sending you reminders. Please don't ignore them; the reason the system sends you reminders is because it treats each enquiry as a new enquiry and thus requires a response action. If no response is detected, it automatically suspends your listing in order to prevent further requests being sent to you to which you are unable to respond. This is designed to protect both your reputation and ours.
Tip 85 - Minimum nights
Do you have certain days of the week or times of the year when you only accept a minimum of 2 night, or 7 night bookings? Make this clear in your listing information - in the description or rates field, so that visitors are not disappointed when attempting to make bookings that don't meet your minimum. If you have a standing 2 night minimum night stay, then please enter this information into the 'Rates & Specials' page as then visitors will not be able to submit enquiries for less than the set number of nights.
Tip 84 - Getting the most out of your map
You may have noticed that we have been updating the look of the website and a few things, including the map, have changed. If your map location is not quite right, here is how to fix it:
To fix your map, please log in to TakeABreak, click on your property name and go to the purple 'Details' tab. Scroll a little way down the page and ensure your property address details are correct and complete. The property street number and name field should only include street address details. If you make a change scroll to the bottom and click Save. Then at the bottom of the same page you willl find a heading 'Google map'. Click on the URL link , and click on 'Update map'. This will bring up a window showing the map. Then drag the pin icon to the right location. If the map is way off you may need to zoom out, then move the map to the right place, then zoom in again so your property location is correct and clear. If you need any help, contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be glad to assist.
Tip 83 - Holiday reminder
Please remember that your listing needs some house-keeping if you are planning on taking a break yourself. You need to log in and change your email response time, or perhaps even consider suspending your listing while you are away. Leave yourself a prominent note to update your listing again when you return from your holiday.
Tip 82 - Creating rapport
Creating rapport is one way of interacting with your customers that can help you to increase conversion - and also with repeat business.
Remember PAM ...
Present - you need to be in their world, ready to take on board and listen to them - give them your full attention
Aware - be aware of what's going on for the person that you're connecting with - want to understand this person
Match - create a connection. How to match:
* Body language
* Posture - be aware and match where appropriate
* Gestures - be aware and match
* Breathing - fast, slow, be aware, what can you tell from their breathing, are they anxious etc.
* Rhythm - aware and match
* Energy - high or low energy person - it's about moving into their world. Are they soft/loud, slow/fast.
* Language - what language do they use - feels, looks etc.
Tip 81 - What is AQUA?
When handling customer complaints remember:
Acknowledge the customers feelings – empathise.
Don’t take it personally. Remain calm. Don’t argue. Listen and let them have their say without interruption. Focus on WHAT is right not WHO is right.
Question Ask open-ended questions to establish the specifics of the problems. Find out what they want. Listen to what they say.
Understand Feed back the facts by paraphrasing what you think the other person said. Make sure you have the same interpretation of the situation.
Answer Suggest alternative solutions or actions. Agree on a solution. Never suggest something you can’t deliver.
- A satisfied customer will tell 3-5 others ...a dissatisfied customer will tell 8-20 others!
- A customer may not always be right but they are always our customer.
Tip 80 - Getting more guest comments
We all know that having positive guest comments attached to your listing makes it much more credible... potential visitors are more likely to believe what other guests say about a property, and it really reinforces the descriptions that operators provide.
An easy way to get more great guest comments is to make sure you complete the Confirmation of Stays form promptly so that your guest gets the feedback request while their stay with you is still fresh in their mind.
Tip 79 - Improve the impact of your listing
We all know that competition in the accommodation industry is fierce - so how can you improve your chance of turning an enquiry into a booking? One easy way is to make sure that your listing is doing the selling for you, by making your property description as punchy as possible. Is there something unique about your property? - if so, describe it early in your listing.
Are you pet-friendly, family-friendly, offering unique services or accommodation in the area? Shout it to the world ... in the cut-throat world of accommodation you cannot afford to be shy. You can talk about other important details such as sleeping configuration further down in your listing, but use the early paragraphs to sell your property and holiday experiences.
Tip 78 - Commercial linen - finding your way through the thread count jungle!
People talk about thread counts these days as though we all have time to count them! Is a higher count necessarily better - and more importantly - worth the extra money? Our expert from Hotel Products Direct has done all the hard work for you - and summarised it in an article that will answer all your thread count queries!
Tip 77 - Guest feedback
When guests give feedback on your property - whether positive or negative, they are really doing you a favour. You need to be able to step back and accept, or at least consider, what they are saying and how it may help to improve the facilities and service that you offer.
We find that guests rarely make malicious comments, and that there is very often valuable information in this feedback for operators. None of us enjoys getting a negative comment, but we all need to be able to step back and take them on board without being defensive. Look for the silver lining - perhaps this guest has helped uncover the thing that may set you apart from your competitors!
Tip 76 - Are your rates up-to-date?
We don't receive too many complaints from visitors to the site, but there is one thing that gets them hot under the collar, and that is finding out when they make an equiry that the rates have changed from those listed on the site.
Of course rates need to be adjusted to reflect changes in the economy, however it is essential that you update your listing when you update your rates.
Feedback from visitors to the site is consistent on this... if they make an enquiry only to find that the rates are higher than those listed, it erodes their trust that the listing is accurate. Our support staff regularly field complaints on this point, so please do update your rates on your listing whenever appropriate.
Tip 75 - Make your calendar work for you
Now that the fortnightly calendar is on the summary listing, it is even more important that you keep it up-to-date. If potential guests enquire for dates that you are showing as free, only to be told that you are booked, your whole listing may lose credibility... after all, if this important detail is out-of-date, what else may be inaccurate? Why not set yourself a regular time to check your enquiries and update your calendar. Experience shows that this can really help with conversion.
Tip 74 - Customer service is key!
One of the easiest ways to secure bookings - both first-time and repeat - is to give customers fabulous service each and every time you deal with them. A good experience leaves them feeling positive about you and your property and far more likely not only to become repeat customers, but recommend you to others. Never forget that the cheapest and most effective form of marketing is word-of-mouth.
It is also a surprisingly easy way to secure bookings... if potential guests have a positive experience with you, they are far less likely to keep looking at other properties. So what are visitors looking for in their interaction with operators? Firstly, be polite when responding to enquiries, either on the phone or via email. Return calls promptly and make sure you provide the information the potential guest asked for... and more! Be pro-active - try to anticipate their questions and make the booking process clear; this can really help you secure bookings. Remember, you only get one chance to make a first impression - so make it good!
Tip 73 - How can your beds get you more visitors?
What we are talking about here is sleeping configuration, and how being specific about it can dramatically help your conversion rates.
Our surveys give us consistent feedback on various ways that operators can improve their conversion, and this is one thing that really stands out! Don't just describe your property as "2 bedroom" or say "sleeps 6 adults".
Being specific about the sleeping configuration, such as saying "Bedroom 1 has a queen bed" and "Bedroom 2 has 2 singles" or "Third bedroom has a double bed and a sofa bed" gives potential visitors a much better idea as to whether your property will suit their needs. In fact, details like this tend to stop people searching further for another property.
So why not log in and update your listing to make sure that you have included details that will help potential guests make a choice in your direction!
Tip 72 - The devil is in the detail!
Another thing that potential guests appreciate is detailed rates, as it means there are no nasty surprises - they know exactly what they are getting for the money they pay. If your property has a bond, say so upfront and say what the conditions are. Do you charge for cleaning or do they have the option of cleaning themselves and so save some money?
Do your rates differ for weekends, public holidays and school holidays? Most do, so spell that out in your listing so potential guests know upfront the total costs of staying in your property. So why not log in and update your listing to make sure that you have included details that will help potential guests make a choice in your direction!
Contact us at support at takeabreak.com.au (replace 'at' with '@') if you need any assistance.
Tip 71 - Make it easy for international guests to book with you
We have an increasing number of enquiries coming from overseas, so make it easy for them to contact you by providing a fixed line number with the appropriate international prefix, eg +61 2 6100 7709. If your only contact number is a mobile, then list it so overseas visitors know how to contact you, eg +61 414 xxx xxx
Contact us at support at takeabreak.com.au (replace 'at' with '@')if you need any assistance.
Our Online Payment System allows you to take credit card deposits - a great way to secure international bookings.
Tip 70 - Try some "slipstream marketing"
We all have limited promotional budgets, but sometimes you can piggyback on another event to help your own business. As Max Hitchins, The Hospitality Doctor, says "Get in the slipstream of some event that has already had an enormous amount of publicity." The recent Earth Hour was an opportunity for operators to promote themselves as supporting the initiative to reduce global warming, by doing something as simple as providing candles to guests and dining by candlelight in their restaurants. The event received widespread publicity and is an example of how easy it is to piggyback the idea and perhaps look for local coverage to promote your property. Look out for other opportunities such as this.
Tip 69 - An up-to-date calendar is crucial
Reminder - update your calendar in 2 clicks after you respond to an enquiry. Updating your calendar each time you respond to an enquiry is really quick and easy. After you click 'send' the next page which shows has your calendar there. Just select any dates you're booked-up and click 'no vacancies'. No need to log in especially. This makes it easy to block out any bookings which have been confirmed since the last time you responded to an enquiry. Updating your calendar is important so that enquirers aren't disappointed by finding out you are not available. With an up-to-date calendar you'll actually get more bookings because you'll have a higher conversion rate and therefore be listed higher on the page, where more people will see your listing.
Tip 68 - Getting the Most from TakeABreak
How can you set yourself apart from your competitors?
Remember that old saying... "You only get one chance to make a first impression"? This is especially true of the accommodation industry, and anything you can do to impress your guests will result in a happier guest - and we all know that happy guests not only return, they make recommendations to their friends.
An easy way to set yourself apart is to offer things your competitors don't, such as linen. For a small outlay and some house-keeping, you can offer accommodation where guests don't have to bring their linen from home, making their holiday preparations easier.
To make this really worth your while (and theirs!) ensure that the linen you supply is good quality, and always freshly laundered. Sinking into bed made up with quality linen (and not having to make it yourself on arrival)... heaven!
Keeping guests happy will keep them coming back!
Tip 67 - Link to your own listing
Do you have your own website? Cross-promotion increases visibility in search results on the web, ultimately improving the chances of bookings. Linking from your own website to your listing on TakeABreak.com.au will help your own listing get ahead. For more information on how to do this, just ask us at support at takeabreak.com.au (replace 'at' with '@')
Tip 66 - Consistency is the key
Little things count and they are often the key to repeat business and word-of-mouth referrals. No matter how large or small your operation, it is important that everyone who works with you is consistent in their manner of greeting guests, both over the phone and in person.
In person, greet guests with "Good morning/afternoon" and their name - and of course a smile! As for the phone, train yourself and your staff to smile as you pick up the receiver (it reflects in your voice!) and use a simple greeting that gives all the important information, such as "Good morning, Paradise on Earth, this is John". Your potential client now knows they have the right number, to whom they are speaking and that courtesy is a priority. Simple, but effective!
Tip 65 - Communication prevents complaints
The vast majority of complaints that we receive from guests are quickly resolved once the lines of communication are open. An example is a guest complaining about something they wanted, which you could have easily provided had you known. If you make it easy for guests to make their needs known, either buy dropping in or calling, you can stop potential problems before they start. Little things like this can turn a "slightly grumpy" guest into one of your biggest fans!
Tip 64 - Set a definite date for deposit payment
A relatively common cause for disputes is when you confirm a booking, but do not take a deposit immediately. Sometimes the enquirer fails to follow up and the booking lapses. It has happened that the enquirer comes back days, weeks or months later and expects that their booking would have been held. An easy way to prevent this is to specify how long you will hold a tentative booking when you request a deposit, such as "You must confirm within 24 hours to secure this booking." The TakeABreak "request deposit" template handles this for you, and it even allows you to take credit card deposit payments - just sign up for our Online Payment System.
Tip 63 - Are you protected against fire?
Coming into line with legislation already in VIC and SA, from 1 May 2006, all NSW residents must have at least one working smoke alarm installed on each level of their home. This includes owner occupied, rental properties, relocatable homes or any other residential building where people sleep. Property owners now have six months to comply with the new laws, otherwise they can expect to cop a $550 fine. QLD will apply the legislation by July 1st 2007 and no doubt other Australian states will follow.
Tip 62 - If your attachment is important, tell them
In the enquiry response system you are able to add attachments to your response e-mail. You can add an image, or perhaps your terms and conditions, more information on your property etc. If you have added an attachment to your response, you should also mention this in the text section of your response so that the person who makes an enquiry realises it is there, otherwise they may not realise and simply ignore it.
Tip 61 - Is your listing accurate?
Visitors to TakeABreak expect that your listing information is up to date and accurate. We know that things change, especially prices, but it's important to do a regular review and ensure that all of your listing details are up to date. Misleading images are also another thing that guests point out. If you have an image of a beach, the visitor expects this to be the view from your property. If in fact the beach is 10km away you need to ensure that this is made clear. Honesty and accuracy in describing your location, facilities and features is the key to getting great business and great guest comment reveiws.
Tip 60 - How to decide where a booking came from?
Sometimes visitors make multiple enquiries with the same property via the one, or a number of websites. Obviously they are either a) trying to get the best deal or b) not aware that they have already made an enquiry with you. TakeABreak.com.au's policy regarding this is that you should respond to the first enquiry that you receive and then mark any other enquiries from the same off as duplicates in whatever system you are using. Any booking fee due should go to the website that provided the first source of enquiry. Other websites no doubt have other policies but we believe the above to be the only fair and ethical way to approach the situation, and we hope that you see this the same way.
Tip 59 - When is a booking a booking?
TakeABreak.com.au provides booking enquiries to you, these are not confirmed bookings, they are enquiries and require a confirmation that you are available to accommodate the party, and a confirmation of pricing. In order to confirm a booking you should ask for a deposit eg 25-50% to be payed within a certain timeframe, otherwise you should make the dates available to other enquirers. Some properties 'hold' dates until they have received the deposit, others will 'hold' dates for up to 7 days, this is up to your own judgement. Once you have confirmed a booking (received a deposit, or are 'holding' dates) you should block out your TakeABreak calendar - just select the dates and click 'no vacancies'.
At the end of each month you will still be asked to confirm with TakeABreak which bookings and/or booking enquiries resulted in stays and which did not.
Tip 58 – Verified?
Is your property listing verified? Only verified properties get listed as the Hot Property on the home page of TakeABreak, are listed in the Specials section of our monthly Holiday Inspirations newsletter and have the opportunity to participate as a Hot Deal or Hot Property in the newsletter. If you have not sent us verification documents and a yellow V for verified does not appear on your detailed property listing, contact us today at support at takeabreak.com.au (replace 'at' with '@')
and find out what you need to do.
Tip 57 - Bounce, bounce?
Have you ever received an enquiry and the e-mail address bounces? Sometimes enquirer's get their email address wrong. When the response bounces as a result of this we will send the bounce back to you, along with the original message. In this case you should contact the enquirer by phone regarding the response... even if it is just to say that you do not have availability. It would also be polite to mention that the enquirer's e-mail address, as supplied, is bouncing, as often the enquirier is not aware there is a problem.
Tip 56 - Not available but still available?
If you receive an enquiry that for one reason or another you can't accommodate, but you do still have rooms available, use the 'not available' reply template, but remember to untick the box that says 'block these dates', otherwise the dates will automatically become blocked.
Tip 55 - Schoolies - love them? don't like them? don't care?
A number of operators have commented that they are unwilling to accept 'schoolies' into their properties, but don't feel they can show prejudice by saying they are not allowed. A couple of practical suggestions that might help (or might not work for your property) with regard to schoolies:
a) just block out the dates and accept that you won't get a booking for that week from TakeABreak.com.au (this would save you time and stress)
b) make it very obvious in your rates that you ask for a hefty security deposit up front that they would probably be unwilling to put up and probably cannot afford.
Tip 54 - Information, information, information
Want an easy way to impress guests to your property? Provide them with a comprehensive information pack. Standard in the hotel/motel industry a 'compendium' is usually a plastic covered folder that is set on the hall table, kitchen bench or other 'obvious' location where a guest will easily find it. It sets out information about the property, local facilities, attractions, things to do as well as feedback forms, instructions for appliances and emergency contact information. Many comments that guests make (if asked) after their stay relate to the fact that they did not know where to go to access information. Most local information is readily available at your local visitor information centre.
Tip 53 – Minimum nights
Do you have certain days of the week or times of the year when you only accept a minimum of 2 night, or 7 night bookings? Make this clear in your listing information - in the description or rates field, so that visitors are not disappointed when attempting to make bookings that don't meet your minimum. If you have a standing 2 night minimum night stay, then please enter this information into the 'Rates & Specials' page as then visitors will not be able to submit enquiries for less than the set number of nights.
Tip 51 - Getting HELP
Do you need help? TakeABreak.com.au support is close at hand - by phone between 9.30am and 5.30pm AEST Monday to Friday on (02) 6100 7709 (Canberra), (07) 3102 3759 (Brisbane), (08) 9467 4392 (Perth) or simply e-mail us on support at takeabreak.com.au (replace 'at' with '@'). For the best response make sure you include your name, the name of your property, the nature of the problem or other detail such as enquiry number, invoice number etc. The more detail you provide the more quickly we will be able to assist you.
Tip 50 - Tailoring your templates
The TakeABreak.com.au Booking Confirmation System automatically uses the standard response templates to help you reply quickly and easily to enquiries. For a simple way to customise your response, use the 'Request more information' response so that you can add more detail into it.
If you would like you can also create your own templates for some or all response types (available, not available, etc). You can even set up more than one template for each response type and choose which one to use when responding.
To set up custom response templates, log in and go to the Response Templates tab at the 'account' level. Click 'new' to add a response template. You can set up response templates for a selected response type and choose whether to use that response for all properties or just for selected properties. You will find detailed help on how to set this up on the right hand side of the page. Response templates are an advanced feature; the standard responses should be adequate for the great majority of accommodation operators.
Tip 49 – Promote "Special Occasions"
Take advantage of 'special occasions' to build your occupancy. A promotion for Australia Day, or Valentines Day gets people thinking about taking a weekend or a long weekend. Rather than simply discounting, add value by putting together a special package. You can promote your special packages on your TakeABreak.com.au listing by adding them under the 'Rates & Specials' tab.
Tip 48 – Follow up by phone
Make the most of the opportunity when someone makes a booking enquiry. Respond with detail using the template reply system and then follow up within the next few days by phone. This will maximise your chances of getting a confirmed booking and also cater to visitors who may not check their e-mail regularly. Remember that many visitors make enquiries with more than one property, so using the phone as a secondary follow up may just help you clinch the deal.
Tip 47 – Sick of 'No-shows?' - don't take a booking without taking a deposit
Are you sick of 'no-shows'? Protect yourself by taking a deposit in advance (and make sure your terms and conditions clearly cover the refund conditions of this deposit). If you don't already take a deposit, either by cheque, direct deposit or credit card, in advance, start doing it today and you will find your 'no-shows' will drop dramatically... you will be amazed! When a visitor wants to secure their booking, give them 7 days to provide you with a percentage of the booking amount (between 10 and 50% is commonly acceptable), or one night's accommodation, so that you can confidently hold the accommodation for them. Our Online Payment System provides a great way for you to easily take credit card deposits to secure the booking.
Tip 46 – Smile, you're talking to a customer!
Did you know that you can hear a smile in someone's voice? Try smiling next time you are talking on the phone and even you will notice the difference. To ensure the best possible 'first impression' for a potential guest, stop and smile before you pick up the phone.
Tip 45 – Tariff information accuracy
Whilst we all want to be able to present our 'best deals' upfront, it is important to show the variety of room options and prices that your property has to offer. To increase your own conversion rate don't just quote the cheapest price and then try to upsell - this is a common complaint from potential guests. Be honest and accurate from the start so that visitors know whether they can afford to stay with you.
Tip 44 - Respond to every enquiry
Responding to each and every enquiry, even if you cannot meet the guest's needs, is basic courtesy and professionalism. It also gives you the chance to get a booking from this person another time. Surprisingly, around 1 in 20 times a booking results even after the initial response is "not available" or if the operator offers alternative dates. You will also need to respond to each enquiry that you receive through TakeABreak.com.au in order for your listing to remain active. We take our visitors' interests very seriously and it is in your interest to ensure that every enquiry gets a professional response.
Please note that near-duplicate enquiries or enquiries where the enquirer contacts you directly must still be marked off as responded by clicking through and selecting the appropriate response category in the operator administration system.
Tip 43 - Take advantage of promotional opportunities
TakeABreak.com.au organises promotional opportunities which can promote your property in exchange for you supplying some free accommodation. For example, you might provide a free weekend accommodation for two which is then featured in a radio or magazine giveaway promotion. Typically these are a highly cost-effective way to promote your property as you gain exposure which would otherwise cost thousands of dollars. To be informed of these opportunities, just log in, click on the yellow "details" tab, select "yes" for "Notify me about promotional opportunities" and click OK.
Tip 42 - What to do if the enquirer calls you
Sometimes the person who has made an enquiry calls you, or e-mails you before you get to respond. You will still need to click on the link in the e-mail we send you to acknowledge that you have dealt with the enquiry. Just select the "Respond by Phone" option and click OK/Send.
Tip 41 - How to handle enquiries which need no response
Sometimes you'll get a "duplicate" enquiry or an enquiry that for some other reason does not need a response at all. Just select the "Duplicate enquiry, no response necessary" option and click OK/Send.
Tip 40 - Check if there are any more requests
If you're not sure if you responded to all recent enquiries, just click on the "Pending Requests" tab to see a list of any requests which have not had a response yet.
Tip 39 - Update your calendar when you respond to enquiries
When you've made a response you're still logged in to the administration area so its a great time to click on the "Availability and Enquiries" tab and update your availability. Just select any dates for which you are already booked and click "no vacancy" to easily block out dates, especially for peak periods.
Tip 38 - Add personal touches to your enquiry responses
Use the "Body" section of your response to personalise your response to each enquirer. If the enquiry is for winter dates, mention the weather. If the enquirer has children, mention great family activities nearby, etc. The new system handles the basics of your response so you can focus on adding these personal touches which help visitors decide to stay with you.
Tip 37 – Going away?
Will you be away from e-mail for an extended time? There are a number of options to help you with this. You can:
a) Temporarily change the address to which enquiries are sent;
b) extend your 'response' time as shown in the 'details' section of your listing;
c) change your enquiry notification to 'SMS' (a small charge applies per SMS) so that you can still respond to enquiries while you are away or
d) put your listing 'on-hold' while you are away, relax, sit back and enjoy your break!
To update your details, login to the Operator Administration system at http://www.takeabreak.com.au/ologin.htm To temporarily 'suspend' your own listing, or to change the e-mail address to which enquiries are sent, or your response time, go to your property and click on the 'details' tab, make any changes, scroll to the bottom and click on OK.
Tip 36 – Changing contact details?
Make sure you update your listing on TakeABreak.com.au at both the ‘account’ and ‘property’ level. If e-mail enquiries are being sent to the wrong place, and the person cannot contact you by telephone, then you are missing out on business. To update your details, login to the Operator Administration System at http://www.takeabreak.com.au/ologin.htm
Tip 35 – Make the most of your listing
Many operators do not take full advantage of of their listing on TakeABreak.com.au . Did you know that there are up to six fields where you may enter detailed descriptions and information:
- 'locality' (you can change the heading of this field)
- 'property' (you can change the heading of this field), and
Ensuring you provide as full a description as your space allocation allows will ensure you receive maximum levels of bookings and enquiries. So, what are you waiting for... improve your listing today!
Tip 34 – Be upfront with your Terms and Conditions
Do you have clear terms and conditions so that you and your potential guests know where they stand if something goes wrong and for some reason they need to cancel their booking and/or the accommodation is unavailable?
Supplying a written copy of your terms and conditions in advance is the best way to ensure that misunderstandings do not occur. A sample terms and conditions is available at for you to adapt for your own use http://www.takeabreak.com.au/OwnerResources.htm (please note that this does not constitute advice which you should seek from your lawyer).
Tip 33 – When in doubt, spell it out
Do you have a ‘pet friendly’, ‘accessible’ or ‘nudist’ listing? Make sure you get qualified enquiries by spelling out in your ‘description’ exactly the facilities you provide. Many people want to be reassured that even though you are in the ‘pet friendly’ category, for example, that you allow pets inside or out, or, if you are an ‘accessible’ property, that you have fully wheelchair accessible rooms. Don’t leave potential visitors in doubt.
Tip 32 – Reply in FULL
People who have bothered to make an enquiry for your property expect to be treated with respect. We know that not all enquiries convert to bookings, but a simple technique to help make sure more do is to treat every enquiry as if it IS the one that is going to make a booking. Reply in detail and in full, answer any questions that are posed in the ‘comments’ field and make your availability and pricing clear. Restate the obvious if you need to - it is a potential customer you have in hand!
Tip 31 – B&B? Make it clear what type of property you are!
According to the Australian Bed and Breakfast Council “Australian bed and breakfast and farmstay accommodation come in all varieties and are present in most places throughout Australia: Homestay – the ‘traditional’ B&B; Farmstay; Country Homes; Guesthouses or Inns and self-contained apartments, suites, cottages and cabins.”
If you are a B&B, make sure you make it clear exactly what type of B&B you are in order to set correct expectations. For more information on this, the NSW Bed and Breakfast Council has an information sheet entitled “What is Bed and Breakfast Accommodation?” http://www.bedandbreakfastnsw.com/bandb_accommodation.html
Tip 30 – How do you rate?
Do you have an AAA rating? Displaying your current AAA stars rating makes it easier for visitors to select an appropriate place to stay. If you have a rating, go to the ‘details’ tab under your property listing and indicate the appropriate number of stars. If you do not have an AAA rating why not contact AAA Tourism on http://www.aaatourism.com.au and find out how to get rated today! Please note that if you do not have a current AAA Tourism rating then you cannot display the stars.
Tip 29 – Want to know how you’re performing?
Statistics are available for the past 24 months for your website listing on TakeABreak.com.au and are constantly updated. Statistics do not include operator bookings and enquiries or bookings and enquiries made through the stand alone calendar. Login to your account, click on the relevant property and go to the ‘statistics’ tab to view:
Summary views - The number of times this property has been viewed on a summary page for each month.
Detailed page views - The number of times this property's full details page has been viewed each month.
Enquiries - The total number of nights for which TakeABreak enquiries were made during each month.
Bookings - The total number of nights for which TakeABreak bookings were requested during each month.
Tip 28 – A map for those without a map
If you don't have your own map, we are linked in to Google maps to display a location map for your property.
To fix your map, please log in, click on your property name and then scroll down the 'details' page to a few lines from the bottom where you'll see a heading on the left 'Google map'. Click on the link 'Update your map'. This will bring up a window showing the map. Then drag the pin icon to the right location. If the map is way off you may need to zoom out then move the map to the right place then zoom in again so your property location is correct and clear.
Tip 27 – Pay your invoices by Credit Card
Each month, TakeABreak gives you the choice to pay your invoice by Credit Card, BPAY or Cheque. Due to the costs and overheads involved with matching payments, and physically depositing cheques, these payment methods attract a processing charge – did you know that there is no additional charge if you pay by Credit Card. Just make sure you include the INVOICE NUMBER in your reference when depositing funds, otherwise the money will not be credited to your correct account.
Tip 26 – Improve your text
Don’t underestimate the importance of a well-written property description. Errors in spelling and grammar are unprofessional and distract from your message. A small investment with a good editor can pay big dividends. See the following advertisement for a proofreading service.
Tip 25 – Promote yourself offline
Make it even easier for guests to refer you to their friends, create your own, good quality business cards, easily and cheaply. If you don’t have your own website, publish your TakeABreak website on your card – it gives you your own webpage address. http://www.valueprint.com.au is a great resource for quality business cards.
Tip 24 – Sick of wasting your time saying ‘Sorry we’re full’?
Keeping your TakeABreak calendar up to date, and displaying it on your own website too, will ensure that you only receive enquiries for dates you are actually available. Visitors can only make enquiries for dates that are actually available, so there is no need to go back each time with a ‘sorry we’re full’ message, which can become time-consuming.
Tip 23 – Keeping your accounts up to date
Part of the mechanism used to determine your property’s ‘ranking’ within the Take a Break system is confirmed and paid guest nights. To ensure that your payments are correctly allocated to your account you must put the invoice number as the reference when paying by direct deposit, or write the invoice number on the back of your cheque if paying by cheque. Some properties have names that are similar (or even the same!), so please do not rely on this as the only reference. To check the status of your account, simply login, go to your ‘account’ and click on the ‘invoice’ tab.
Tip 22 – How do you space a phone number?
When enquiries are sent to you, your contact details are sent to the enquirier, to make it easy for them to contact you by phone if you choose. You should space your phone number for easy readability eg Mobile phone is 4 digits, 3 then 3 like 0412 819 376, other phone numbers are 2 digit area codes and then two lots of 4 digits like 02 6100 7709.
Tip 21 – Keeping your calendar up-to-date
If your calendar appears totally blank, this usually has one of two effects: people either assume it is not kept up-to-date and therefore may not enquire as they might not feel they will get a speedy response; or that you are not very popular and hence question the quality of the place, ie "Why don't they have any bookings?" Perhaps neither of these is true, but it would help to block-out dates on the calendar to show some activity.
Tip 20 –Display quality photos
A really striking photo can have a big impact on your success. In one region a property with an excellent photo regularly gets twice as many enquiries as similar properties – we believe the explanation is the striking photo. If you are getting photos done professionally ask your photographer to provide one in the right format for your listing page. You will be amazed at the difference a professional image can make!
Tip 19 – Use an e-mail ‘signature’
Don’t you just hate receiving e-mails from people and you have no idea who they are, they simply sign off “Joe Bloggs” – well, a little secret, other people hate it too! Particularly for those of us (that’s you) running professional businesses, you should sign off with your name and business name as a minimum and additional contact details such as telephone number or e-mail address if you can. Make it easy for people to contact you and reinforce your business name at every turn.
Tip 18 – Say “Thank you”
Every time you receive an e-mail enquiry, start your response by first thanking the person for making an enquiry. They may not end up staying with you this time, but they may return another time. You need to treat your visitors exactly as you would like to be treated yourself. So, give it a try. “Dear XYZ, Thank you for your enquiry…”
Tip 17 – Include the information that counts
I recently saw a reply to an enquiry that said: “we are all booked out, (insert name), (insert property)”. No wonder so many visitors get frustrated. The above is unacceptable for a number of reasons, but rather than dwelling on the negative, here’s how to improve it:
* Address the person who enquired by their name, you have it in the booking enquiry form.
* Thank them for their e-mail and enquiry.
* Apologise if you are unavailable – they expect that your calendar is up to date and not that you would simply reply that you are unavailable.
* Reconfirm the dates they have enquired for and if unavailable, suggest alternative dates. If available, obviously provide details of how they can confirm the booking.
* Finish the e-mail, certainly with your name and that of the property, but also with something like, “thank you once again”, “sincerely”, “let me know if we can be of further assistance” or some other similar remark.
Tip 16 - Getting enquiries for times you are booked out?
It's easy to keep your calendar up to date with our 'No Vacancies' button. Simply login to your property via http://www.takeabreak.com.au/ologin.htm and go to 'bookings', select the dates for which you are booked our (eg Christmas week) and click on the "No Vacancies" button - no further information is required.
Tip 15 – How to get your listing to the top
The higher your property is listed in your region the more enquiries you'll get. The order properties are listed in depends on a number of factors including the property's popularity. A major factor is the confirmed stays for which your invoice has been paid. So paying your invoice promptly will result in much higher listing.
Tip 14 – How to attract visitors in the ‘off-season’
Most of us have a ‘peak’ and a ‘trough’ – whether we are by the beach or on the snow, there are times when our business is slow. In order to maximise your occupancy at these times, give the following ideas a try…
* Ensure your information includes things to do in the off season, whether this is bushwalking, golf or local museums and galleries. Make sure you list events that are on during this time, and ensure they are listed on http://www.events.takeabreak.com.au
* offer ‘packages’ that enhance the visitor experience and make it easy for them to stay and convenient to stay longer.
* Finally, at slow times consider a site-wide banner ad on Take a Break to give huge exposure for just $50 per month.
Tip 13 – Converting enquiries to bookings
How do you consistently get strong conversions from enquiries to stays? “I check email 4-5 times a day and always reply as soon as an enquiry arrives. I always provide 2-3 accommodation options (depending on how specific the request is) and include photos and Park info with the reply. I also throw in the odd freebie (i.e. a free night as per web site special or a breakfast hamper),” says Brigette of Stawell Park Caravan Park in Victoria, just one of the successful properties listed on Take A Break.
Tip 12 – Confirming a booking from an enquiry
If you receive a booking enquiry that comes through www.takeabreak.com.au and it turns into a booking, you can transfer the details to your ‘bookings’ list and thereby block out your calendar dates. All you need to do is to login to the Owner Administration system at www.takeabreak.com.au/ologin.html, click on your property and then enquiries, click on the enquiry number for the enquiry that you wish to confirm and click on ‘yes’ next to ‘convert this enquiry to a booking’. The booking will then appear in the ‘bookings’ list and your calendar will be updated.
Tip 11 – Getting the message through
Have you received bookings and/or enquiries that appear to have an invalid e-mail address and just bounce back? Did you know that the person who sent the enquiry may not even know that they have incorrectly typed their address? Don’t just let the enquiry slide, it could easily turn into a confirmed booking! Pick up the phone and call the enquirer and the booking could be yours. If you feel you are missing out on enquiries due to delays in the e-mail system, sign up for SMS or fax notification today and get a jump on your competition.
Tip 10 – Manage your ‘last minute’ listing actively
You can turn your last minute listing on and off easily, and set the latest date for which the last minute discount will apply. When your occupancy is high, you may not want to offer the last minute discount (although if it fills your last room, even at a discount, you will be ahead). At quieter times, offering a substantial last minute discount can increase your occupancy level. To make it even easier to control last minute bookings we have added a new facility that allows you to put in ‘last minute’ conditions (eg: discount only available on stays of at least 2 nights) along with your last minute offer.
Tip 9 – Are you conforming to the privacy laws?
Remember that all enquiries that come to you through Take A Break are enquiries for people to stay at your particular property. Take A Break does not provide these contact details to third parties, they are sent directly to property owners and used by Take A Break to communicate regarding the Take A Break System only. Please ensure that you are not providing details of people who enquire to you to third parties, or using them for purposes other than which they were intended!
Tip 8 – Maximise the impact of your listing
... so that you stand out from the crowd, and so that visitors looking for specific things can find you. Ensure that your ‘specials’ are up-to-date, that you have more than one image, detailed descriptions, and that you check all ‘themes’, ‘facilities’ and ‘property types’ that apply to your accommodation. As more and more listings appear in your locality, visitors will start to narrow down their search by searching on specific criteria, or using the ‘advanced search’ option. This makes it important for you to list under all criteria that apply, so that you come up in the search results they see.
Tip 7 – Having trouble keeping track of password details
Passwords for too many things? Take A Break makes it easy for you to find out your login details if you have inadvertently misplaced them. Simply go directly to www.takeabreak.com.au/ologin.html and enter the e-mail address your account is listed under into the third (last) box on that page, click on ‘get password’ and your password will automatically be e-mailed to you. Please note that account names and passwords may include numbers, letters and symbols, the easiest way to make sure you are entering the correct details are to copy and paste them from the e-mail into the login boxes.
Tip 6 – E-mail difficulties?
Do you have trouble downloading your e-mail or are so inundated with viruses that you dare not open a thing? The best way to protect yourself is to pay for an updateable virus protection software such as McAfee http://au.mcafee.com or Symantec http://www.symantec.com.au/region/au_nz/smallbiz . However, the best way to avoid viruses is to simply not open attachments unless you have arranged in advance that you will be sent one, even when you recognise the user name.
Tip 5 – Want to know how the V for verified appears on your listing?
Send us a copy of your rates bill, electricity notice, tourism rating or something similar that indicates your address so that we can verify the existence of your property. If you have not done so, please fax your relevant document to us on 02 8569 1505, or e-mail us at support at takeabreak.com.au (replace 'at' with '@')
if you have any questions.
Tip 4 – Making the most of booking enquiries
Most users of the Internet are used to fast turnaround and they expect quick responses – and we mean hours, not days. Typically visitors to our site make multiple property enquiries in the one session, for alternate places to stay. So the quicker you can respond, the more likely you are to get the booking. Prepare standard e-mail responses in advance and suggest alternate dates if the dates requested are not available.
Tip 3 – Making the most of your listing!
We have talked about the importance of adding images, but what if you don’t have one at hand? If you have images on other sites you can copy them by clicking on the image with your ‘right’ mouse button and selecting save. You can then use the image to upload onto Take A Break. The best format to add images in are .gif and .jpg. If you only have hard copy images we can arrange for them to be scanned so that you have a digital image to upload. If you need assistance with scanning or uploading, e-mail us at support at takeabreak.com.au (replace 'at' with '@'). If you don’t already have images on your listing, go to www.takeabreak.com.au/ologin.html, log in and add some now.
Tip 2 – Keeping your booking calendar up-to-date
This really helps to manage your bookings. To block-out dates booked through other systems or for owner bookings, you can login any time by going to www.takeabreak.com.au/ologin.html and put in owner bookings (for which Take A Break does not charge). This not only filters enquiries so that you are not getting enquiries for dates you are not available, but it also means the quality of enquiries is higher.
Tip 1 - Photos are worth their weight in gold ...
... really! Based on experience, properties which have images online receive far more booking enquiries than properties without images. S
|June Winter Special
|For stays from 1 Jun, 2013 to 30 Jun, 2013
|stay for 4 nights for the price of 3 or stay for 5 nights for the price of 4