Online booking service


Always looking to enhance our offering we continue to investigate opportunities in the marketplace.  Something we are intermittently asked is “do we offer an online payment and booking service?”  Recently we have been approached to offer a ‘real-time booking service’ that is extremely simple to use, not too pricey and enables deposits and payments to be made online without fuss.

Before we jump in and release our technical team on trying to integrate the service with our websites… is this something you would be interested in?  Please give us your opinion and any feedback on services you may use at the moment.  Is it important to you to be able to offer easy, secure payment methods to your guests?  Let us know by emailing us or posting your comments on our blog.

10 Responses to “Online booking service”


  1. 1 S. Osmany March 25, 2009 at 12:08 am

    I have incorporated Paypal as a payment system, however am shying away from an online booking service as I advertise my property on several different advertising sites. I try and operate an availability calender and try and keep control and co-ordinate that calender in each of the sites. My fear is if for some reason customers have the ability of booking and paying on line from an out of date calender, then it will be a hassle to rectify that.

  2. 2 Tony S March 25, 2009 at 1:47 pm

    I agree, a secure payment system would be very useful, particularly one that it is universal to both stirling and euro customers. Expenses are all in Euros therefore want payments in Euros but this creates problems for those in the UK. To send by moneygram or bank transfer costs over £20 even for a 25% deposit.

    I have similar worries about how an online booking system could work as I am sure we all find we have to use more than one outlet for our advertising. In fact most of my responses come from Niumba, Ferienhausmiete & travel-library etc rather than direct through the websites. I guess enquirers would have to be directed to the websites to place a booking with instructions to check the availability only on the website.

  3. 3 Paul Emmott March 25, 2009 at 2:57 pm

    I have been using online payment by credit card almost since I started renting holiday properties and I don’t think I could work without such a system. The concept is surprisingly simple really, one booking calendar on one site, in this case Independent Owners, allows customers to reserve their desired dates, allows the owner to confirm the reservation and subsequently lets the customer pay the deposit and later the balance by credit card.

    The calendar is your main booking calendar, must always be kept up to date and you either embed the calendar in your own site for your own bookings or you direct customers to the calendar with a link. This is not at all the same as using PayPal and is not the same as opening a merchant account, but is instead using the merchant account of a third party to process credit card payments.

    You can’t do this without paying for the facility and could typically expect to pay between 3% and 4% of the amount processed. There are surprisingly few sites that offer this facility, I know of only a few and half of those are not UK based.

    One final point, if proposing such a system then I think you need to go one step further than what currently is available and be able not only to process credit card payments, but to be able to process the direct bank transfer of funds favoured by countries like Holland, Belgium and Germany where customers don’t like to use a credit card and have a system of bank transfers unknown in the UK, called GiroPay in Germany and Ideal in Holland.

  4. 4 mikecoles March 25, 2009 at 3:19 pm

    Yes I would find an online booking system very useful and also the facility of taking deposits and payments.

  5. 5 Simon G March 25, 2009 at 5:26 pm

    I like the idea and certainly need one for my property. Two points:

    1) Will a service like this be able to offer secure Escrow services as a lot of my US cusotmers ask for this?

    2) To Tony S, have you considered using Moneycorp for payments abroad? I have set-up a ‘bill payment’ style facility with them and they take care of all of my monthly bills in Spain. Also, I think as a memebr of IO you can do one-off money transfers free of any fees because I think they’re partners – but need confirmation from IO on that one!

  6. 6 iowners March 25, 2009 at 7:24 pm

    Thanks guys for your responses so far.

    Sid – at the moment when Members ask we generally point them the way of PayPal too and yes we agree it would be of paramount importance to keep the calendar linked to any online booking service up-to-date as a priority.

    Tony – our school of thought is similar. Once you have received an enquiry from any interested party you would direct them to your website for payment options. Of course if you utilise calendars on other sites these should be kept updated too.

    Paul – thanks for your feedback and suggestions. We will certainly ask any potential supplier about processing direct bank transfers.

    Mike – good to know you are interested. We will probably need a focus group to initially help test any system we introduce. We’ll keep a note of your details.

    Simon G – Thank you for your comment. Escrow eh? Another question for our potential provider. And thanks for the heads-up to Tony about Moneycorp… simply mention IndependentOwners.com when contacting Moneycorp and you’ll benefit from a zero transfer fee.

    Keep the comments coming – it helps us mould our services to your needs.

    Bob

  7. 7 Simon G March 25, 2009 at 7:52 pm

    Thanks Bob, prompt as always!

    Keep us update please.

  8. 8 Joan Carby March 29, 2009 at 7:05 pm

    I would welcome such a facility, I have directed people to paypal, not all renters are keen on this method of payment.

  9. 9 jeanette April 8, 2009 at 11:03 am

    I would be very interested in an online payment facility, as payment by bank transfer is time consuming and costly. You say there is no charge to use Moneycorp for payments, does this mean the £15 telegraphic transfer fee is not charged? I want to keep it as simple for clients as possible…do they need an account with Moneycorp? I have one already set up from when i bought my property in Spain.

  10. 10 Annette April 17, 2009 at 2:59 am

    So far we have managed with bank transfers to BNP in France, or we give them a choice of pay over the counter of our UK bank at a preferential transfer charge of £9 negotiated for our clients who pay the fee.
    I would be interested in how an integrated payment system might help with booking payments from such as Germany and other European countries. Marketing to other parts of Europe is more important than ever, now that the Euro Sterling exchange is greatly reduced.


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