Why the vacation rental owners love our Finance department

Reservation payments, cancellation and non-arrival fees, refunding advance payments, VAT obligations… These are all problems that often give a headache to vacation rental owners.

One of the great advantages for the owners who choose to work with Direct Booker is that they can rely on our Finance Department at any time, which greatly facilitates their work and helps with administrative issues. Here are just some examples.

1.Credit card billing

An increasing number of guests prefer card payments instead of cash payments in the accommodation, which is also an option on the websites such as Booking.com. It turned out that the possibility to use a credit card can increase the number of reservations, as well as the average rating, because you can avoid the payment topic at the check-in.

Direct Booker is offering the owners a possibility to make payments through cards, which makes it easier for them, but it’s also one of the safest payment methods for both, the owner and the guest.

On the websites where Direct Booker can charge the guest for stay, such as Booking.com, all non-refundable reservations are charged immediately and Direct Booker makes a weekly payment to owners, regardless of when the guest arrives. Regular bookings are also charged and paid to the owners before the check-in itself.

2. Security of reservation payments

Regardless of whether they are regular bookings with the possibility of free cancellation up to a certain period or non-refundable bookings that do not have the option of free cancellation, Direct Booker offers security for all the bookings.

Security is also enhanced by the automatic authorization of reservations which we do prior to check-in, which provides additional protection for owners. In case of cancellation of the reservation within the cancellation period, we follow the cancellation policies and protect the owner.

3. You do not have to worry about VAT on the commission of foreign websites

According to law, an owner who uses the services of a foreign agency or advertiser from another EU country which issues an invoice to the owner for their services, must request his VAT number and pay VAT on the commission amount.

In cooperation with Direct Booker, the agency takes over these obligations so that you do not have to request your VAT number or submit report every month.

7 tips to improve your vacation rental during winter

For successful vacation rental, it is not enough to work only during peak season. In the wintertime, when the accommodation is mostly empty, it is a perfect time to prepare everything for the upcoming season to be more successful than the previous one.

We have prepared some tips on how to use this period to get better results in the season. 

 

1. Attend workshops for vacation rental owners. 

Workshops can help you learn about new trends and opportunities for more successful rentals. Direct Booker, in collaboration with partners, often organizes workshops for private renters throughout Croatia. Follow the Direct Booker Facebook page to find out when the workshops are on time.

 

2. Analyze the previous season and try to fix the imperfections.

Guest reviews are very important in this business and no guest should be taken for granted. Therefore, if guests repeatedly complain that internet connection is slow – then it’s time to fix that deficiency to keep your future guests happy.

 

3. Make an initial sales strategy for next season.

Compare prices from last season: from the beginning and the end. Pay attention to the dynamics of bookings – was your accommodation booked much more before the season started? If so, then that means the prices were too low. On the other hand, if the accommodation was booked late, the reason for this is probably a too high price. Take a look at which sites actually made the bookings and which did not, and try to find out why they didn’t. 

 

4. Decorate the interior.

Use an empty apartment for small or large decorating. Wall colors may need refreshments or a change to a new one. Add new decorations to refresh the interior – pillows, paintings, photos, vases, curtains …

 

5. Get new, quality photos.

If you haven’t hired a professional photographer by now, or your apartment photos are outdated, then it’s time to do it. Remember that a picture is worth a thousand words and guests book accommodation based on the photos. According to research, professional photos can earn up to 2 times more profit, and an ad with more than 20 photos is 83% more likely to receive inquiries.

 

6. Spend one night in your own apartment.

It may sound strange, but this way you will experience your apartment from the guest’s perspective. Perhaps the public lighting during the night interferes with a peaceful sleep with the light beams that enter the apartment and you need thicker curtains or shutters. You can see firsthand what your apartment lacks and what should be changed to make your apartment comfortable.

 

7. Say hello to your old guests.

Keep the contact details of the guests that stayed in the apartment (always paying attention to GDPR regulations!). Send them an email, a postcard, a birthday or holiday greeting card, connect with them via social networks or similar, and let them know about any promotions or special benefits you have. This way the old guest can become a regular guest.

What do Croatian vacation rental owners need to have in 2020.?

Every vacation rental owner must comply with certain legal norms in order to be able to carry out the business legally. From year to year, these rules change slightly, but you always have to keep up to date. When the inspection arrives, the various obligations are being reviewed, so please check this list carefully and make sure you have all of these items in your accommodation unit.

 

Property classification certificate– New vacation rental owners should know that this is actually the most important document for accommodation renting, a kind of work permit. The request for issuance of the certificate can be submitted to the nearest County Administrative Office.

Standardized Blue Board – A standardized blue board is an inscription indicating the type and category of the object, as registered in the classification certificate. It should be displayed in a conspicuous place.

VAT ID Number – Under the Catering Act of November 2018, the owner is required to obtain a VAT identification number. When advertising with taxpayers from the European Union, the owner must point out the tax ID or VAT identification number.

House Rules – Rules of conduct, obligations, and rights of the guest, but also of the host, should be placed in a prominent place, in Croatian and English.

Price List – The price list for services should be expressed in HRK, and the equivalent in other currencies may be indicated. It should include the price of services by rental period, information about the type of accommodation and the owner, the amount of the sojourn tax (if included in the price, then it should be emphasized), and must be signed by the owner.

Copies of invoices – The owner is obliged to give an invoice to the guest for the service of accommodation and keep copies of the invoices for at least 11 years and, and enter the data into the EP Form.

eVisitor check-in and check-out. If you are visited by Inspection, you may be asked to list the eVisitor system guest list, which must match the number of guests currently staying in the apartment and the number of invoices issued by that date.

Notice of Collection of Personal Information – Promoted on a visible place,  for the purpose of registration into the eVisitor system,  and also related to the General Data Protection Regulation – GDPR

Customer Complaint Notice – Instead of a complaint book, guests should be given a way to make a written complaint, with a blank space to enter their home address or e-mail, so that the owner can respond within 15 days.

Evacuation Plan – The most simple way is to show it as a floor plan of an accommodation unit with indicated openings and exits.

First Aid Box – If you have more than one unit within one facility, it is sufficient to have only one box, but it is recommended to have one in each unit. 

 

How to name a vacation rental?

Being present on OTA’s today is essential for a successful rental business. However, many vacation rental owners make the same mistake: they think it’s enough to just set up your property and wait for reservations.

Branding an object is a very important step to achieve optimal results and stand out from the crowd. Apart from photos and reviews, the name of an apartment or holiday home is very important. We’ll try to give you some tips to help you to come up with a name for your vacation rental.

 

AVOID “BASIC” NAMES

If your vacation rental has a generic, common name, such as Apartments Ana, Rooms 1 and 2 or Guest House Split (any similarity is coincidental), the chance to stand out from the competition and be noticed is reduced.

Naming an apartment after close person may be significant and symbolic to the owner, but to a person who’s looking for a place to stay, it isn’t – it doesn’t give any info about the accommodation itself. For this reason, it is recommended that the name of the apartment contains some information related to the characteristics of the accommodation, e.g. if the apartment has a terrace with a beautiful view – it would be advisable to include this information in the name, or with the feature of the destination, if it is located in the city center, it would be good to use it in the name as this way the guest will immediately know the apartment is located in the center.

 

 

THINK ABOUT YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE

The name may be suited to the type of guests the apartment is intended for, e.g., a studio apartment is not intended for families but for couples, and to stand out from all the other objects, this information can be used by calling the apartment Couple’s Getaway or similar. Too long names are not good because they are difficult to remember, it is recommended not to use more than three words.

 

GOOD EXAMPLES

Few examples of good names for an apartment: Odore di Mare or when translated from Italian, Scent of the Sea. From this name we can conclude that the apartment is located near the sea, and for non-Italian speakers, it will be interesting because of its sonority. Heart of Dubrovnik is another good example since this name tells us the apartment is located in the city center. Central and Quiet – we can conclude two things from this name: that the apartment is located in the center and in a peaceful area. 

 

A SMALL TRICK

There is no one-size-fits-all formula for optimally selecting your apartment name. These tips can help you create a name, but the owner should know best what makes his apartment special and, based on that, create a name that will stand out among the other apartments. If your creativity is low and you have no idea when choosing a name, then a name generator might help. The generator contains a search engine where you insert terms that describe the content and, based on those terms, the generator creates a name.