ISCF had the pleasure of attending the SuperControl Boot Camp in conjunction with the Northern Ireland Self Catering Holiday Association (NISCHA) last Wednesday represented by ISCF Chairperson, Peter Downey and myself, Dorren Quinn. A warm welcome was given by Tom Houston of NISCHA who is keen to develop a great cross-border relation between trade associations.
Robert Kennedy, Development Director of SuperControl, led the Boot Camp and spoke of many changing trends relating to running a self-catering business and how SuperControl can effectively help you manage operations. Time management is an imperative skill as owners and managers come under pressure to be masters in marketing, social media, reviews, webmasters, corresponding with guests and that’s all before you leave the office when you must manage properties and look after current visitors! It makes complete sense that you would have as many systems in place to help you manage your time and the complexities with maximum efficiency.
Over the day, SuperControl staff members presented on several distinctive features of the online booking and management system. One of the main advantages offered by SuperControl is the synchronisation with many different international booking engines which gives property owners increased exposure. Without synchronising calendars, double bookings can be costly to your business in more ways than you can initially imagine as you may not have considered the damage to your search engine ranking. On that same topic, visitor reviews are even more important than your property description. UpFront Reviews is an independent verified reviews service for rental properties, available exclusively to SuperControl users.
SuperControl recommended that owners and managers list on as many channels as possible and integrate with all. The main channels discussed were Booking.com, Airbnb, HomeAway and TripAdvisor, not to forget the smaller niche sites. It is important to know what type of guest you are attracting, such as families or high end and then tailor your marketing to suit. Each booking engine engages with different audiences, with exposure to millions of visitors each month. With this said, it is still important to have your own website for credibility. Overtime you can encourage more direct bookings and avoid paying commission as you build a direct relationship. Keep your own booking website simple with an obvious ‘call to action’ button.
Booking trends are rapidly changing and it is important to be flexible in your offerings to appear in as many such results as possible. Be flexible with the length of stay and your pricing. Maintain rolling pricing to get bookings for next year and offer short stays throughout the year. Other features which SuperControl spoke about where the automated correspondence, special offers and the many integrations to pull your operations together.
Booking.com also presented at the Boot Camp and gave an informative talk on how they are working to support self-caterers so that searches will show more self-catering properties in addition to hotels. However, this is also dependent on the end user’s search history and whether they have shown an interest in self-catering holidays before. Both Booking.com and SuperControl staff were on hand at the end of the day to deal proactively with individual queries.
ISCF are delighted to join forces with SuperControl at our Conference in November when they will be offering practical workshop for existing and potential customers. ISCF members currently listing on LetsGoSelfCatering.com have the benefit of sampling the basic SuperControl package and if you are considering upgrading, then Robert and the SuperControl staff will be on hand to help you explore the most suitable option to support your business.
If you want to learn more about SuperControl before the ISCF Conference in November, you can get in touch using the following details;