How to choose the right holiday cottage agent
Choosing which agents to let your holiday cottage with is about more than just picking the biggest name in the market.
Here are a few things we invite you to consider when you’re choosing where your place will get seen.
Different agents mean different guests
Every booking agent and marketing platform has a target audience and their own USP. Some, like Booking.com, simply want to have the largest inventory so that guests can always find somewhere to stay with them, regardless of quality. There are undoubtedly advantages to the reach that a larger platform provides, but it means that guests care less about your place than if they come to you through other channels.
Smaller agents like ourselves, with a niche focus or a speciality, are a kind of matchmaking service, communicating the feel of your place and making sure the right guests find it.
If you just want to fill as many rooms as you can, as often as you can, then it might be worth using those massive platforms, but you will almost certainly be giving up control over your rates, your cancellation policy and your ability to vet guests before they arrive. You’ll also pay a commission on every booking they provide you with.
Membership organisations like Sawday’s, ask a flat fee for listing, meaning no commission on bookings. Some will still bind you to a long contract or terms and payment schedules that are not your own. At Sawday’s we want you to run your place your way. All we do is help our loyal audience of cultured, respectful guests find you and get in touch. It’s all yours from there.
Bear in mind that every site you list your holiday cottage on is another “channel”, a source of bookings. That might sound great, but it can turn into an admin nightmare. If you’re taking bookings yourself as well as from several websites, you’ll need to make sure you can match them all up.
We offer a free calendar syncing service as part of our membership, which allows you to automatically update bookings from most other sites. If there’s a chance that a site you’re thinking of listing with will cause you double bookings, you might want to think twice about working with them.
Advice and guidance
Another distinction between mass market platforms and smaller companies is the amount of support you’ll receive. If you’re new to the industry, it’s better to choose an agent that will be able and willing to act as a sounding board for your ideas and concerns. It can be immensely valuable to have someone at the end of the phone or an email away, who can give you the benefit of their own long experience in holiday letting.
At Sawday’s you’ll always know who to call. We have all sorts of helpful information and articles like this one our Owner Hub, but there’s nothing like talking things through with a proper chat.