Here in Boston, city-dwellers are benefiting from new, automated technologies. We can beat the heat by setting our thermostats to activate while we’re miles away, we can hail a taxi by clicking a few buttons on our phones and we can pay for lunch by holding them up to restaurant’s readers. Though the vacation rental industry values relationships and personal interactions, we can still draw on emerging technologies to create a more seamless booking experience.
Accepting online payments has long been a vision of ours. In the past few months, we’ve built a platform that enables our clients to accept credit card payments from within their FlipKey listings. We’ve tested it, and are nearly ready to offer FlipKey Payments to property managers.
This tool offers travelers the gratification of confirming and paying for their stay immediately, removing one of the barriers that sometimes turns them to hotels. Online payments are secure: once the customer’s credit card is authorized and the traveler checks in, the money is placed in your account, eliminating the financial risk and fees of bounced checks. What’s more, online payments offer fraud protection and assures consumer confidence. For these reasons and more, we believe FlipKey Payments are a needed, practical solution for the vacation rental industry.
Stay tuned for an announcement about how you can integrate this development into your FlipKey listings. As always, we welcome your feedback about this new feature!
An analysis by Frank Langston, President of PayByGroup
Property managers lose bookings every day — most of the time without knowing it’s happening, much less why. At most, vacation rental managers may know someone visited their website or saw their FlipKey listings, but they don’t often have good insight into why there was no booking.
In response, PayByGroup interviewed over 200 travelers to understand their vacation rental booking choices. We then created a service to overcome a consistent hurdle: getting real commitment from family and friends.
The problem starts with coordination –how do you get family and friends on board if you don’t have a property locked down? But how do you choose a property before you know who is coming? It’s a classic chicken-and-egg problem and the all-too-frequent solution is the easy way out: the trip doesn’t happen.
Our research demonstrates that the solution is to enable group members to commit financially without being charged until the rest of the group has committed as well. To do this, PayByGroup tracks the entire booking party and provides easy access to information about the group’s booking progress.
That’s the beauty of it: once the fear of forfeiting upfront money is eliminated, bookings come together quickly and easily.
In this case, a pain for travelers is an opportunity for property managers to convert more bookings, to capture detailed information about who is staying in their homes and to provide a valuable service that adds convenience for their guests.
When you make your guests lives’ easier, you help your business. The secret is finding hidden barriers – like the challenge of getting commitments — that keep bookings from happening and then using innovative solutions to eliminate them.
FlipKey is a vacation rental marketplace with more than 240,000 rentals around the world. Find the perfect place to stay for your trip, and get great value along with the space, privacy and amenities of home.