One of the best parts of my job is being able to talk to so many vacation rental companies and their employees, whether they are using Barefoot Vacation Rental Management software or another competing product. This industry is changing so fast for so many of you, with more and more costs, margins that are being squeezed, and the absolute mandate for you to look for additional sources of revenue.
There are lots of good ways to create new sources of revenue. I encourage you to think beyond pricing and consider who else might help you book your properties.
What if you were able to leverage outside sources to help you with your bookings?
The simplest example of this is of course the old model of travel agents. The old model of agents who match travelers to accommodation still has its place in certain markets. But consider some other examples:
- Does your area have a unique opportunity for a specialized activity? This may include deep sea fishing charters, zip lines, whale watching or ice climbing? If this is the case, do you have a relationship with the company that offers these services because quite often travelers will vacation based on their hobbies and be looking for the activity before the accommodation. Either provide them with a secure access to making reservations in your system (clearly marked as a reservation type associated with that activity and its inherent rules). You can even add the cost of the activity into your folio. They get a sliver of the pie and the use of your backend technology and you get direct bookings.
- Is there a local charity that you have a relationship with? If yes, great. Arrange with them to receive a piece of commissions for bookings that come through you. Couple this with a program where you direct all of your employee’s relatives to book through that site and all of their employees to book their relatives and friends through the portal. It is a win-win scenario.
- Is your vacation rental company in a remote location that would require travelling medical professionals? You could provide placement companies with the ability to create reservations in your system that may really increase bookings during your shoulder or off season.
- Is your local rotary active? One of the primary dictates of Rotary clubs is their charitable component. Again, they could encourage their friends and relatives who are planning on visiting to use a booking tool off of their rotary website or a direct link to book themselves into a property. Again, the Rotary will get a piece of the commission and another way to raise money. You will be an integral partner with this and community recognition.
Those are some ideas for how you might engage other entities to help you increase your bookings. Now you need a tool to help. Barefoot has a Referral Agent Network module, that we call RAN. It functions with all of the ability to maintain our client’s unique booking rules and reservation types (think taxes and PCI Compliance and the arrival and departure communication management). It is just another way to securely present your backend Barefoot system out to third parties to increase bookings.
If you have questions about this functionality, or have another idea of how functionality like this might be used, I would love to hear from you in the comments section or reach out directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.