Tools to help professional vacation rental managers save time
and control who can book their properties are part of a new suite of products
launched this week by Booking.com.
Booking.com vice president Olivier Grémillon, who leads the
brand’s home division, says the company developed the tools based on input from
professionals that manage some of the 5.7 million listings of homes, apartments
and other private accommodations available on the site.
One tool created based on such feedback allows property
managers to set filters that determine which Booking.com users will be able to
book their properties - such as only guests with verified phone numbers or only
guests that have made a reservation on Booking.com in the past. Partners can
also now instantly report guest misconduct and block those guests from making
“The instant booking model, we really believe that it’s
actually what the customers want. They want to be able to book an apartment as
easily as they book a hotel,” Grémillon says.
“The partners understand the instantly bookable model gives
them more bookings as well. But one thing they told us, though, is the fact
that they want to … be able to filter some of the guests that are coming to
“We think it’s the best of both worlds, because it gives
control to the hosts on one side, and it’s still a very frictionless experience
on the guest side because they can book instantly any property that they see.”
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The system is starting with a few filters, but Grémillon
says it may enable more in the future.
“These are strictly created by Booking,” he says.
“Obviously one of the things we want to avoid is that some
partners do filtering based on criteria we wouldn’t necessarily approve of. So
we are the ones deciding on the filters.”
Property mangers can also use a new Group Connect feature that
streamlines communications with guests through message templates and automated
Another time-saver is a new bulk action capability, enabling
property managers to create cancellation policies, promotional offers and house
rules across all properties at once. The system also now has a new profile page
where partners can add personal messages about themselves, their properties and
the neighborhoods where properties are located.
All of these new features are available on all of the
platforms professional managers use for their portfolio of properties, including
Booking.com’s extranet, its mobile app for partners called Pulse or a
Looking ahead, Grémillon says Booking.com is focusing its
expansion efforts for the home division on the United States, “because we have
some catch-up to do there,” he says. Asia, primarily China, is another region in
Along with growing the rental property inventory, Grémillon
says it will continue to develop connections between Booking Holdings' tours
and activities business - boosted by its acquisition of Fareharbor in April -
and its accommodations brands.
“Right now if you book an accommodation in Booking in some
selected markets we actually propose you some of these activities - it doesn’t
matter whether you book a hotel or a home or an apartment,” he says.
“The thing we are actually doing as well for some of our
accommodation partners is if they actually provide experiences themselves, they
can list that on our platform not only to their guests but to additional
And while, in the past, Booking Holdings has acquired businesses
to provide software and tools to its hotel partners, Grémillon says that is not
the current plan for alternative accommodations.
“I would never say never, but I would say our strategy is to
partner with tools that exist that our property owners are using because the
market is very fragmented,” he says.
“We are more in the strategy of partnering with a lot of
them and having deep discussions on how to make the technology better for the
partners, for the hosts and elevating the technology by providing them better
connectivity and by also telling them what we need from their side.”
REGISTER NOW! Booking Holdings, Expedia Group, Ctrip, MakeMyTrip and others speak at The Phocuswright Conference 2018
for details, tickets and the program for this year's
event in Los Angeles, November 13-15.
Booking.com unveiled these new tools for professional property
mangers at the Vacation Rental Management Association conference in Las Vegas
earlier this week. Now Grémillon says the company will host 30 events in cities
around the world in the next few months to share the products with its partners.
“Our goal is to showcase these tools, pilot with our
partners and get feedback on the fly to continue to improve them,” he says.
“Some have been tested for months, some are new and just
released so we need to get feedback.”
Booking.com’s new tools come on the heels of a similar
announcement from Airbnb of new tools for its professional hosts and the acquisition
by Expedia Group of two companies that serve apartment building owners and
managers, Pillow and ApartmentJet.