Firstly let us start by wishing you a very happy new year. We really hope that you got some downtime over the holidays and enjoyed precious moments with your family. :)
We have been working hard behind the scenes over here and many of you may have already had a look over our new website. This is far from our end goal this year, but it is a huge overhaul of our old website and we have a ton of new features for owners and guests. :)
Let's dive right in and tell you about a few of the new features in our website really excels in.
1. PHOTOGRAPHS AND VIDEOS
During the 2022 season, we spent a lot of time taking additional photographs of the villas to update all the photos so they sparkle for guests. During the start of 2023 once the properties are open we will be updating any that maybe didn't make the cut but also we will be doing night photos at the properties. Our main aim is to have a variety of both staged and natural photos to be able to enhance your listings but also use them as part of our advertising campaign on social media. Another huge feature coming in 2023 is property walkthrough videos and more video footage of the villas.
2. FRESH NEW LOOK AND RATES
Part of the reason we wanted to rebuild our site was to offer guests a more simple way of booking, this area may look very similar to our old setup but works a lot more efficiently. You will see the nightly rates are based on a higher seasonal rate as opposed to your lower season rates. These may change within the coming weeks and this will probably change to your May rates. Currently, it is based on your base rate, so if someone tried to book a period that didn't have a rate your highest rate would show so they are not getting a low quote in August for example. Over the coming weeks, we will be in touch to go over your rates and make changes where necessary. Prices can be set for 2024 and/or 2025 from now as well which means you can take advantage of bookings for weddings that are in the future.
3. EXPLORE CYPRUS
This is an area of the site that is being rolled out in phases throughout 2023 and updates will happen as it goes along. We have a lot of photos and videos now that deserve a space on our website and both our guests and your guests deserve to be able to experience these places. Over the years we have sent guests to amazing places to check out and every time we have enormous feedback from them so this is by far an area we want to push for our guests. Since cruises now depart from Limassol as well, pre-cruise and post-cruise stays are becoming more of a thing and although this guest tends to only stay once, they do love to explore. For our repeat guests, it's good to be able to share new places for them to fall in love with the island all over again.
4. CHANNEL MANAGER
This is maybe the biggest change for us and comes with some huge benefits when taken advantage of. A channel manager means we are able to sync our calendar in with sites such as booking.com, Expedia, vrbo, Airbnb and google which means when a booking is taken it gets blocked off from everywhere. You might be thinking an Ical link is the same, but ical links sync every 2 hours and not in real-time. That being said, we will be asking all owners that advertise as well to provide Ical links so our sites are always up to date even in 2-hour increments. In 2023, we don't want to be turning away guests for not updating calendars. For those that solely use us for advertising we will be rolling out the instant book feature for you, this means your guests will be able to book instantly - which is much more likely to get a booking than waiting for a 24 / 48 hour response time to confirm a booking. We will also be able to push these properties on sites such as google bookings, Expedia and booking.com. For those who advertise as well, we will contact you individually to discuss instant booking and the requirements for you to be able to join this program as well and take advantage of the additional exposure.
5. GOOGLE BOOKINGS
This is a new one for 2023. When you search for a hotel on google it gives you the option to book with say booking.com with rates and availability. Google will also be pushing this feature with property rentals with a channel manager (like us haha). The AMAZING NEWS is this is going to be offered free... yup - the guest will be able to book directly through our website/google and they will not be taking commission so the guest gets the direct booking rates! Remember sites such as airbnb and vrbo have a markup on top of the prices for commissions so this is anywhere from a 13 - 15% markup on the price for guests. THE CATCH - well its not really a huge ask but you have to have the instant book so they can book instantly so that the calendar is always up to date. A small price to pay for such a huge exposure.
6. GUEST RELATIONS
This is an area we wanted to heavily focus on for 2023 and make a lot of changes to how we used to work. During the pandemic seasons, things became very manual and communication with guests changed as there were so many questions that were individual that we actually spent a lot of time sending WhatsApp and emails to booked guests. We love to be able to offer more to our guests and give them real information that is actually specific to them (such as directions to the closest shop to where they are staying as opposed to a list of shops they can find in the area). So for 2023, when you send us a booking or we get a booking the guests will get an introduction email from us, just basically telling them who we are. The arrival instructions email for all the properties has had a huge overhaul taking into account the comments from previous rental guests to make the journey even more smooth and these are now automated to go out 2 weeks prior to arrival. The next new area for guests is what we have in the pipeline for the early season which is detailed information on your villa that guests can access at any time, with much more information from simple things like how to use the water or find the key box but more detailed videos on how to use the tv and washing machine. Following this will be more information on things guests can do in the area. We will also have QR codes and website links available at all the properties to see more information.
we have been assisting many of you with getting your tax numbers/property licenses as well. For those who haven't got a license yet, we will reach out this week to get this started as the deadline is 1st February 2023. Once you have your license number you will need this to be displayed at the villa as well as on all adverts or social media.
If you go this far, thank you for taking the time to read it all, and may 2023 be an amazing one for us all. :) As we role out new features (believe me there are is a lot going on right now) you will be the first to know about it. Just a teaser for some of the other things planned for later in 2023, new window stickers for those that didnt get them in 2022, guest books, slate welcome slabs for wine and new property signs for outside the villas. We also have some more owner features we are working on as well but there are only so many hours in a day so lets start with finishing the current projects before we move on to the rest. ;)