At the Vacation Rental Management Association (VRMA) International Conference in Las Vegas, Booking.com announced key enhancements for professional short-term rental partners. In addition to the recent launch of a new business department dedicated solely to assisting partners in this accommodation segment, Booking.com is now launching new tools for partners focused on the specific, unique needs of this segment, stemming from direct feedback from Booking.com partners on the types of improvements that would be most useful and relevant for their business.
The new product features allow for a more versatile, personalized, unified platform to enable short-term rental partners to make across-the-board changes, and leverage time-saving mechanisms to fuel a user-friendly experience. Additionally, a selection of products are now being made available beyond Booking.com's partner dashboard to also be available in the brand's partner mobile app, Pulse, and through connectivity, so products are directly integrated with partner's software or channel managers. The new features, which can be found on propertymanagers.booking.com, provide enhanced control for partners and include:
• Group Connect: Save time by using Booking.com's new Group Connect feature, which includes a templated guest messaging system and an automatic scheduling system, to help streamline operations.
• Bulk Action Tools: Apply changes to all properties in your portfolio with just a few clicks. With Booking.com's new bulk action tools, accessible via the Group Connect page, partners can set cancellation policies or special offers across all properties, at once, including bulk cancellation policies, bulk promotions and bulk house rules. The bulk action tools also allow partners to implement Booking.com's performance advice and insights across all properties in a matter of minutes via the 'Recommendations' page that automatically identifies a number of actions to take to boost performance based on your unique property portfolio.
• Guest Management: Control who books your property with new tools like guest requirements, which allow for set information like verified phone numbers, address details, number of past stays with Booking.com partners and more. Through this new functionality, partners will now also be able to instantly report guest misconduct and block them from making future bookings in the unlikely event that something goes wrong during a guest's stay.
• Your Profile: A key part of the Booking.com experience is showing consumers why staying at your property is a unique choice and setting the right expectations for their stay. The new 'Your Profile' page allows partners to add a personalized message about themselves, their properties and the neighborhoods where these properties are.
• Connectivity: All features will be available to partners no matter how they connect to manage their portfolio of properties, whether it's through the Booking.com Extranet, mobile app Pulse, or a connectivity provider.
Olivier Grémillon, Vice President at Booking.com, spoke at VRMA's conference during the "Property Managers and OTAs: In Conversation with Industry Leaders" session and commented: "Property managers have been using Booking.com for years and their ongoing feedback has been instrumental in shaping our new products and services. With one million new listings added in homes, apartments and other unique places to stay since last year, Booking.com invests in technology, marketing, and infrastructure in order to build products that can fuel more revenue for property managers, allowing them to focus their efforts on creating great experiences for guests - which we then market to our global audience."
With the growth of the global travel ecosystem and traveler demand for unique stay experiences showing no signs of slowing, increased collaboration between digital travel platforms and properties is key. Booking.com recently announced it reached a milestone of 5.7 million listings of homes, apartments and unique places to stay, offering more listings in this accommodation segment than anyone else in the industry. The number of reported listings within this category on Booking.com has grown over 20% compared to the previous year, growing faster than traditional options. Recent research that Booking.com conducted in 2017 with more than 57,000 travelers across 30 markets showed that 35% said they plan to stay in more casual accommodations in 2018, further evidence that consumer demand for accommodation beyond the hotel remains strong.
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