Photos, amenities, property descriptions, cancellation policies, number of rooms, number of beds. The list could go on and on. There are tens if not hundreds of small pieces of information that need to go into a listing to make it ready for OTAs.
The more information you provide about your property, the more appealing it will be to guests and the more bookings you’ll get. It’s that simple – or is it?
When you manage more than a handful of vacation rental properties, it becomes impossible to keep track of your listing content and make sure it’s complete.
Unless, of course, you have a tool that’s specifically designed to help you find gaps in your content and create perfect listings optimised for conversions: like the Rentals United Quality Checker.
In this blog post, we’ll tell you everything about why we built this tool and how you can use it to get your inventory online fast and improve your performance on sales channels.
What is the Rentals United Quality Checker?
The Quality Checker is a tool within the Rentals United platform that automatically assesses the completeness of your listings and flags missing pieces of content.
It’s extremely helpful in noticing gaps in your property content so you can fill them in quickly and your properties can go live as soon as possible.
Once your listings have been checked, you’ll know if they meet the requirements of most sales channels – and if they don’t, the Quality Checker shows you what you need to improve.
Optimising your listings in this way helps to improve your conversion rate on OTAs and avoid delays in connecting to your chosen sales channels.
The Quality Checker is especially useful when:
- Starting to work with new owners and adding new properties to your portfolio.
- Listing your properties on new channels that you haven’t advertised on before.
Using this tool is the fastest way to get your new inventory online or go live on new channels. With the Quality Checker, you’ll never miss out on opportunities because of time wasted on onboarding.
Why we created the Quality Checker
At Rentals United, our primary goal is to help property managers get more bookings. Instead of simply distributing your listings across sales channels, we want to give you all the tools you need to succeed on OTAs and achieve the best possible conversion rate.
Throughout the years we’ve spent working in close partnership with major OTAs and niche listing sites, we’ve seen time and time again that better listing quality means more conversions. The more complete a listing, the more attractive it is and the more likely that someone will book it.
That’s why we started thinking about adding a tool such as the Quality Checker to our platform: to help our clients create the perfect listing that will improve their performance on OTAs and listing sites.
The second reason was that sales channels have their own requirements when it comes to minimum content quality. We noticed that connecting new properties to a sales channel (or existing properties to a new sales channel) can be a huge bottleneck if the content requirements of said channel are not clear.
We wanted to eliminate any unnecessary delays and back-and-forth communication between our property managers, the sales channels and us. So we created a tool that allows our clients to automatically check the quality of their listings and make sure that their content is up to scratch.
How does the Quality Checker work?
There are two places where Rentals United users can check the quality of their listings in our platform: under ‘My Properties’ and ‘Services’.
Here is the process that we recommend you go through when checking the quality of your listings:
1. Go to ‘My Properties’
The ‘My Properties’ tab shows a list of all the properties you currently have in Rentals United.
Here, your properties are checked against industry best practices for content. The checklist we created was based on the most common OTA requirements and designed to ensure quality across most platforms.
Next to the name of your property, you’ll see a status icon that shows whether it’s ready to be connected to sales channels or needs some work.
- Green check mark: your listing is ready. It meets all our requirements and is eligible to go live on most sales channels.
- Yellow exclamation mark: your listing is incomplete. It needs improvement before it can go live.
If your listing needs improvement, hover over the ‘Improve’ button with your cursor to see exactly what pieces of information are missing and need to be added.
For example, you may need to add your availability, your cancellation policy or the number of beds in your rental.
But what if you have tens or hundreds of listings? Do you have to go through them one by one?
Don’t worry, we’ve thought about that, too. A great thing about the Quality Checker is that in ‘My Properties’ you can export a report that will help you make improvements to your listings in bulk.
All you need to do is click on the ‘Quality Check’ button and put in your email address. A spreadsheet will be sent to your email with an overview of the quality of your listings and a list of recommendations for each property.
2. Go to ‘Services’
To complete the quality check, you also need to go to the ‘Services’ tab.
Here, your properties are checked against each channel’s individual requirements before they are deemed eligible for going live on a specific channel.
This step is necessary because some sales channels have a higher minimum content requirement than others – and in some cases, even higher than what we’ve defined as the industry standard. For example, some channels require higher-resolution photos.
As a result, sometimes your property may appear as “ready” in the ‘My Properties’ tab, but when you attempt to push the property to the sales channel, you may not be able to.
To make sure that your property is ready for a specific sales channel, go to the ‘Services’ tab, select the sales channel and click ‘Property Settings’. Here you will see a list of your properties and the status of your connection.
If the ‘Activate’ button is grayed out, it means that something is missing for your property to go live on the sales channels. All you need to do is hover over the ‘Activate’ button, click on ‘Go’, and the Quality Checker will tell you exactly what is missing and how you can improve your listing.
For example, you may need to add larger photos or a higher quantity of photos to meet a particular sales channel’s requirements. The parts that need attention will appear in red on the left side of the screen.
Insider tip: We’ve noticed that many of our clients forget to add the ‘Kitchen’ amenity to their listings. Double-check to make sure you’ve added it.
3. Add all missing information
That’s it! Once you’ve gone through your listings in both the ‘My Properties’ and the ‘Services’ tab and added all the missing pieces of information, you’ll have made sure that your listing is ready to go live.
For a step-by-step tutorial on how to complete the process we just described, watch this video:
Things to know if you connect to Rental United via a PMS
Whether you connect to Rentals United manually, via a self-built PMS or a third-party PMS, you will have access to the Quality Checker, as well as all other features of our platform.
However, for our PMS clients, it’s important to know what is synced from your PMS and what isn’t. This is different for each PMS and it determines whether you need to fill out your content gaps in your PMS or directly in Rentals United.
That’s why we recommend reviewing what is synchronised between your PMS and Rentals United. Here’s how to do it:
- Click on the drop-down menu in the top right corner.
- Select ‘PMS Settings’.
- Here, you’ll find a list of content that can be synced. The boxes that are ticked represent the property content that’s currently being synced from your PMS. You can untick a box if you’d like to manage a specific field in Rentals United instead of pulling it from your PMS.
- The grayed-out boxes represent the content that cannot be pulled from your PMS. These are the fields that you’ll need to manage in Rentals United directly.
- Amenities can be pulled from your PMS and extra amenities can be added in Rentals United – just select the ‘Combined’ mode at the bottom of the page.
- Click ‘Synchronise’ or ‘Save’ if you’ve made any changes.
Once you know what content is being pulled from your PMS and what isn’t, you’ll know which missing content fields you need to fill out in Rentals United and which in your PMS to get your listings ready to go live on OTAs.
For a step-by-step tutorial on how to review the property content sync between your PMS and Rentals United, watch this video:
What’s next for the Rentals United Quality Checker?
As we said above, our main goal is to help property managers get more bookings.
In the future, we will continue working towards this goal by enhancing the Quality Checker and turning it into a tool that doesn’t just check for minimum content requirements but helps you optimise your listings in more advanced ways.
Exciting movement in the pipeline, at Rentals United, we understand how important content quality is. We want to help our clients gain more transparency and understanding of how they are performing and what they can do to improve.
While you can be connected to a channel, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you will perform well and get a multitude of bookings. Many things come into play, and you need to nurture all those moving parts in order to have a prosperous vacation rental.
What our health cards will do is, is allow you to have a bird’s eye view of elements that make a difference, such as: the first photo a prospective guest is going to see, how many days has it been since you last got a booking; what’s the maximum number of guests that can stay at your property based on what’s being fed from your PMS to channels; what is the rate mark-ups that you are utilising on specific channels; what kind of amenities should you be offering to get the most visibility etc.
The idea behind the health card is to provide our clients at any given time the tools to create a report tied to their properties data. This will allow them to pinpoint what’s missing from their listing that we know would make the listing more successful from a conversion standpoint.
Once this new health card is out, we are sure it will become an indispensable tool for managing your listings on OTAs. You’ll wonder how you’ve gone so long without it!
To find out more about the Rentals United channel manager and how its suite of features can help you get more bookings, watch a demo of our platform.