Cooler weather has arrived in many
parts of Australia and people are thinking about planning their winter
holidays. Now is a great time to have a look at your listing and see
if there are ways that you can adapt it to reflect the time of year. It
doesn't take long, and it keeps your property listing looking fresh and
relevant. So if you have open fires, gas heating, extra duvets - say
so! It may be the thing that makes a prospective guest choose your
property and not another.
The other thing that consistently
comes up in our research as a way to maximise your bookings is to keep
your calendar up-to-date. You may think we mention this all the time -
and we do - because it is so important! Please remember to update your
calendar, it not only helps you to get more bookings, it also gives a
much more positive and professional impression of your property, long
before guests walk in the door.
Until next time,
The TakeABreak Marketing Team
| Quotable Quotes
users of the site every month and we always get valuable feedback that
can help us - and you - to improve the service we offer. Below are a
selection of recent quotes from customers.
of the properties I enquired about (3 out of 4) showed that they were
available for my selected dates, but then the operator advised there
was no availability for the dates requested. This was annoying and a
waste of time.”
love that there were so many places to choose from on the site, but
we were still able to liaise with the owner/manager of the property
itself, so you could ask questions before you booked. It's much more
personal than other sites .”
have a category of child-friendly, but I need to know if it is
child-SAFE. Fenced yard, safety gates if stairs or heaters with guards.
We have been to chalets where potbelly heaters have been without safety
surrounds despite telling them a 2yr old was coming!!! It makes for a
holiday mistake and waste of money and time. So perhaps this could be
stipulated to narrow down the search. Many families I know have the
same issue and won't book to go away anywhere, because of the
difficulty in finding somewhere safe."
| What's New & What's News
brochures and leaflets is an expensive business and can be even more
expensive if you have to re-print due to an error. Proofreading is a
pretty specialised talent and it pays to outsource to a professional
who is used to picking up common spelling and grammatical errors, as it
is much cheaper to invest in professional proofreading than to reprint.
Lingo Dingo is a new company that specialises in proofreading for small businesses, especially accommodation operators. Why not see how Lingo Dingo can help you?
New theme in search panel
have now added wakeboarding/waterskiing to the "Holiday experiences"
dropdown box on the search panel. If your property can offer access to
these activities, make sure you log on and add it to your list of themes and activities.
Domestic tourism audit
of Australia’s foremost market researchers for tourism, Research
International, recently conducted a survey in all states to study the
travel behaviour, barriers and motivations of Australian travellers in
regard to domestic and overseas travel. The findings are very interesting and have great importance for the tourism industry overall.
| Tips and Tricks - Maximise Your Business
Bonds - what do they mean to you?
many of you operate properties which do not require bonds to be
charged, but here are a couple of tips for those do need to impose
bonds, even if only at certain times - such as Schoolies Week.
Remember, the bond refund should be automatic and guests should not be
required to apply to have the bond returned.
Keep bond monies safe
most states you will be required to operate a trust account to hold
monies safely and you should issue customers with a trust account
receipt immediately after receiving bond money. If guests have an
incident-free stay at your property and there is no dispute about the
bond, you should return it within 48 hours of the customer vacating the
premises, which allows you time to inspect, if necessary. Ideally the
guest should be present during the final inspection.
If you do charge a bond for all customers throughout the year, follow these best-practice bond-handling tips:
inform customers of bond terms and conditions so they know what types
of damage could result in the loss of the bond PRIOR TO completing
* do not charge customers additional bond monies at check-in;
* inform customers of the process for retrieving the bond after their stay is complete; and
* have a complaint-handling procedure in place to help resolve bond disputes.
For more information on bonds, see your state Office of Fair Trading.
When is a duplicate not a duplicate?
potential guests inadvertently send the same enquiry to the same
accommodation operator. This is known as a 'duplicate' enquiry and
should be marked off in the enquiry response system as such. However,
on many occasions the guest is making enquiries for two different sets
of dates, to determine availability and pricing for each date, or they
may be making requests on behalf of two different sets of people. Take
a look at each enquiry before you relegate it to the 'duplicate' class,
to ensure that you are not missing out on business.
the rising demand for self-contained facilities, you should detail what
the kitchen and cooking facilities are, if you offer them. Some people
are happy to just have a kettle and a microwave and get takeaway or eat
out for their meals, while some guests prefer to be able
to cook up a storm and require a 4-burner stove and convection oven.
Detailing the extent of your cooking facilities in the information you
list will help visitors make up their mind as to whether your property
is right for them.
More business tips...
| TakeABreak Updates|
Confirmation of Stays
are always trying to improve the service that we offer and listen to
suggestions on ways to make the site easier to use. We are happy to
advise that Confirmation of Stays can now be completed at any time for bookings up to that date. The next time you login or are sent your Confirmation of Stays
form it will only include bookings which you have not yet confirmed.
You can do this by logging into your account and going to the invoice
tab, then click on the ‘Click Here’ to review the outstanding bookings and generate an invoice for all enquiries to date.
visitors will appreciate knowing if you speak their language and it is
a service that might make them choose your property over another. You
can now make a selection from our language list and specify if
your command of a specific language is basic or conversational. Go to
the Themes & Facilities tab and choose Languages Spoken. It is also possible to add in new languages. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you need any assistance.
Honesty checking campaign
We have upgraded our enquiry follow-up survey to ascertain whether guests have made bookings through TakeABreak (TM),
in order to be able to monitor and improve booking conversion rates for
you. As a part of this, we will be following up with operators who have
indicated that a guest did not stay (when they have told us they have
made a booking), or where they have made a guest comment associated
with the booking. This is designed to improve the overall booking
conversion rate and
to ensure that stays are reported correctly.
Do you know of a great property for TakeABreak?
already have a great range of wonderful properties, thanks to our
dedicated operators, but you just might know of someone else who could
enjoy the benefits of being listed with TakeABreak. If so, leave the
hard work to us! Just click here
to let us know the name of the property, and we'll do the rest! Don't
worry about checking if they may be listed with us already - our system
will take care of that.
| Business Growth|
Customer feedback is a gift to you
one likes to hear complaints about their property, service or the way
they do things. However feedback is a gift that allows you to modify
and improve the service you offer, and to see things from the
customer's point of view. It is an opportunity to take stock and look
at doing things differently. Also, those customers who bother to
complain or give you feedback are also giving you the opportunity to
fix it, before they tell others of their negative experience. If you
accept feedback - positive or negative -
with good grace, you have taken the first step in turning the situation
8 steps for handling customer complaints - Recovery...
R eally listen.
E xpress gratitude for the feedback and the opportunity to make things right.
C ommunicate your understanding of the problem
ffer an apology — an apology is not an admission of guilt, it simply
lets the customer know that you are genuinely sorry for their
V erify the information and that you understand the issue.
E xamine the issue and correct the problem quickly
R eview the solution with the customer.
Y Ask ‘WHY’ the problem occurred and feedback the information into continuous improvement programs.
With thanks to Brett Whitford and My Business magazine – February 2008
| Environmental Care|
Environmental Care checklist
tourism operators we are dependent on the sustainability of the tourism
market Australia-wide. Many tourism areas are located in or near
important regional areas that rely on natural attractions for tourism,
such as the Blue Mountains or Margaret River.
We would like to encourage you, as operators, to think about the environment too, as well as to have a practical impact.
Print guest information and other office information on recycled/unbleached paper
Only print documents where necessary and retain other documents in electronic formats
Use environmentally-friendly (bio-degradable) cleaning products for both operator and guest use
Supply recycled/unbleached tissues and toilet paper products
Become involved in community environmental initiatives such as the Tidy
Towns Competition, Clean Up Australia Day, and National Tree Planting
Use recycling bins in your office and provide recycling bins for guests
Use compost bins in your kitchen and provide compost bins for guests
Install ‘key tag’ switches and/or timers for lights, electrical appliances and heating/cooling systems; OR
prominently place reminders for guests to turn off lights, appliances and air-conditioners when not in use
Install energy-efficient lighting (eg compact fluorescent)
Install low water use products or water flow control devices on taps and shower heads
Regularly check and maintain taps and toilets to ensure there are no leakages
Offer natural ventilation (through doors and windows) as an alternative to air-conditioning
Install energy-efficient white goods (washing machine, dishwasher, refrigerator/freezer, etc.)
Only provide guest newspapers on request, or have a display copy accessible in common areas only
Offer guests the option of re-using bed linen and bath towels rather than automatically changing these on a daily basis
These are just a few of the ways we as tourism operators can positively impact the environment. Click here for more tips and information.
Go to Keep Australia Beautiful tips on Sustainable Travel.
Melbourne & Sydney top sports venues
International has named Melbourne the ultimate sports city for 2008.
Sydney came third in the international rating system, judged on the
number and prominence of the major sports events won or held from
2004-2012. We are in great company as Berlin placed second, London
fourth and Vancouver fifth on the list. Melbourne also won the award 18
Queensland Tourism Awards Workshops
Queensland Tourism Awards Workshops are being
held around the State. For further details including dates and locations, visit the QTA website.
A DVD will be available for entrants who are unable to attend or those
who are located in a region where a seminar is not being held.
Operators interested in entering tourism awards in other states should
contact their relevant tourism authority.
For more information on why entering awards can help boost your business, see our article on Why Awards Matter.
Tourist attraction signposting
Is your property close to a tourist attraction that could be a drawcard for visitors, but is not signposted? There is a committee in NSW
to deal with issues such as this and they can be contacted to advise of
potential tourism signposting oversights or difficulties. Check with
your local state tourism office for similar assistance.