How To: Activate Payments by Booking.com


Having your unit listed in other platforms aside from Airbnb is a good practice.  Let’s face it.  Not everyone knows Airbnb exists.  Most travelers would just turn to google to find a place to stay.  And if they do, one of the sites that sit atop that search page is Booking.com

Previously, guests from Booking.com are littered with “No Show Guests.”  These are folks whose travel plans are not yet final but since Booking.com does not require upfront payment to reserve a unit, nor do they have that ubiquitous “Chat with the Host” option, guest would just book.

Booking.com also allows guests to pay upon check-in which drives reservation from their site much higher than with Airbnb.  It is all up to the host to contact the guest, negotiate for a deposit and pray that the guest would at least reply.

Good news though.

Recently, Booking.com revamps their site and made it a little friendlier for home-sharing hosts.  They now require guests to put in credit card details to make reservations and provided an option for them to collect the payment from the guest and transfer it to the host.

Every 15th of the month, Booking.com would transfer all payments collected from guests that had successfully stayed in your unit the month prior.  All commissions owed to Booking.com would be deducted and the difference transferred to the host’s nominated bank account.  Convenient!  It’s still not at par with Airbnb, where you can get your payments promptly, but it’s a start.

To enjoy this benefit, a host would need to activate the Payment by Booking.com option from their Extranet account.  To do so, follow these steps.
1.       Log in to your Extranet account.

2.       From your Home tab, look for the Payments by Booking.com promotion button, which usually sits on the right side panel and click the link.

3.       Fill in the details of your bank details where you wish to receive your payout.


That’s it! You’re done.  Just wait for a confirmation email from Booking.com saying that you’ve activated the payment facility.

Zoom in on the photo for answers to your questions.

How To: BPI EMV ATM Card Errors & Solutions




There were several readers here who encountered errors after activating their new BPI EMV ATM Card, hence this post.

I will try and update this for new errors encountered with the much needed solution for them.  Some solutions were crowd sourced while others where from BPI Customer Service via their twitter handler @Talkto BPI.

·       Problem 1:  Error right after activating your EMV ATM
·       Solution:  The new EMV ATM needs 24 hour before it becomes active.  So, better do all your withdrawals and other transactions using the old ATM card before doing the activation.

·       Problem 2:  NPIN Error after the 24hour time limit.
·       Solution:  Do the activation again, starting with inserting your old ATM card.  The activation and change PIN must be done right after the other for it to work successfully.





Got more errors? Send them in thru comments and we’ll try to bug Customer Service for the right solution.


Photo courtesy of:  BPI

https://twitter.com/angeLjmie/status/1018681053995646976

The New BPI Mobile App



After multiple prompts from BPI, I’ve finally decided to go ahead and download their new BPI Expressonline companion app, or simply the New BPI Mobile App.  


After installation, the app will walk you thru its 3 main features, namely:  Fund Transfer


Bills Payment



and Smart and Secure Log-in



On the log-in page, use your BPI Expressonline username and password.

It will require you to register your device by sending a 6-digit one-time pin (OTP).





The façade and feel looks very similar to their new BPI Online Beta website, which I’ve talked about before in here.

Just tap the Menu icon to show the different transactions available to you.

Opening each account would give you access to the account’s transaction history, plus an option to do transfer and pay bills right under the account.  Similar to the original mobile app, transaction logs are updated real-time, making it very useful for those with online business.

Plus, it allows you to send funds to any BPI account without the need to enroll them at absolutely no additional cost.  Great for your day-to-day business or remittance activity.

The new app made it very easy to navigate thru your account with less tap or click to accomplish them.

If you’re phone is equipped with finger print scan technology, you can activate the same log-in feature by going to the Fingerprint Login menu.  Easy-Peasy.

After successfully logging-out, the app will redirect you to a survey page; which, by this point is already tedious since it's exactly the same set of questions from the BPI Beta website.



The New BPI Mobile App is available and free to download from the Google Playstore and Apple Appstore. 

Airbnb Lesson 8: Setting Your Airbnb Price, Part 1


What are the factors that would affect my Airbnb price?



Pricing is tricky since there are plenty of factors to consider.  By listing all the factors related to owning and operating an Airbnb unit, we can arrive to a base price.  This base price is very important since it will set the bar on how we recuperate our investments, make that investment pay for itself and possibly have a little something left for profit.

It is also good practice to list down all expenses and revenue generated by your Airbnb.  Not only would it help in pricing your Airbnb accurately, it would also help you know if your investment is profitable or not. 


Based on my experience it boils down to the following factors.  Take note that a host must learn to adjust their base price depending on history and seasonality.

·       Monthly due – most Airbnb rooms in the Philippines are condo units bought thru mortgage, and as such the goal is to collect as much room fee as possible enough to cover the monthly due.

·       Association due – on top of your monthly due, there’s the condo association due.  This should be added on your computation.

·       Insurance – yes, if your mortgage is thru bank or you’ve decided to get a separate insurance coverage for the furnishing on your Airbnb, this must be included in your base price.  As most insurance are paid annually, get the monthly price by dividing this to 12.

·       Real Property Tax – don’t forget the tax

·       Parking lot fee – if you have a dedicated parking lot, you can either add this to the base price or set a separate fee on your Airbnb list for parking.

·       Utilities – this includes electricity, water, internet, cable, Netflix subscription if you’re offering Netflix or other streaming service.  Electricity and water might be a bit tricky to price.  A 1 bedroom unit with a 1HP aircon, water heater and induction cooker can consume between 300kWh to 400kWh a month, or P3,500 to P5,000.  While water consumption is in the 30 to 40 cu.m range, or P300 to P500.

·       Laundry – whether you do your own laundry or have it down professionally, it should be part of your nightly price.  If you’re doing your laundry, base the price on how much you would pay had you sent it to the laundry shop.

·       Toiletries – this would include shampoo, soap, dish washing liquid, toilet paper, etc.

·       Pantry – coffee, tea, bottled water, cookies or fruits.  For those who allow cooking and stock their pantries, a weekly pantry fee for the cooking oil, salt, sugar, pepper etc, should be included.


Another factor to consider is the difference between the room cleaning fees you’ll be charging versus the actually cleaning fee you’ll pay to your care taker.  The price varies between 0 since you’re doing your own cleaning and P500 when hiring a professional to do the job.


Collect the entire price or at least set a budget for the items you can’t accurately predict.  On my next post, we’ll do the math and compute the minimum base price for your Airbnb and the maximum for weekends and holidays.

Got questions on how to set-up your own Airbnb unit? Shoot me a comment and I'll answer it or direct you to the appropriate post.

Airbnb Lesson 7: Multiple List With Calendar Links


This post is for our fellow hosts who has multiple rooms in a single house and would like to rent out each room separately or the entire house as one.  Let’s use Cassey as our fictional host.

Cassey has a two-storey house in Cebu with 2 bedrooms, each with their own bath and toilet, plus a common room and kitchen downstairs.  Each room has a double bed, with enough space to sleep 4 adults. 

On peak seasons, it is very easy to find guests to fill the entire house.  However, during lean seasons, guests are not willing to pay for a 2 bedroom house when only 1 room is enough for them.  To maximize, Cassey is locking the unrented room.  The problem with this comes from Airbnb locking her calendar when one room is booked.  So she decided to create separate listing for each room, dubbing them Room A and Room B.

Another issue arises when a guest would need to book the entire house.  Cassey is left manually blocking the calendar for both listing.  Oftentimes, a potential inquiry from a guest leads to several back and forth messages on how many people the house can accommodate, and how much the pay would be.

Got the same scenario?  Then try this.

1.       Maintain the original separate listing for Room A and Room B.
2.       Go to Calendar >> Availability Settings >> Sync Calendar >> Export Calendar
3.       Copy the calendar link for each of the listing on your Notepad
4.       Create a new list for the entire house.  We’ll call it House.
5.       Again, get a copy of the calendar link for House.

Now, we’re going to link the Calendars of each room so if Room A is booked for the night, Room B will remain open, while House would be locked.
1.       Open the House listing
2.       Go to Calendar >> Availability Settings >> Sync Calendar >> Import Calendar
3.       On the Calendar Address (URL), paste the calendar link for Room A.
4.       Name it Room A, and click Import Calendar
5.       Do the same for Room B

What we just did, was link the calendars of Room A and B to House.  So if any of the rooms got booked, no other guest can book the entire house for the same date.

Then, do this for each of the Rooms calendar.
1.       Open the Room A listing
2.       Go to Calendar >> Availability Settings >> Sync Calendar >> Import Calendar
3.       On the Calendar Address (URL), paste the calendar link for House.
6.       Name it House, and click Import Calendar
4.       Do the same for Room B.

This would automatically block the calendars of both Room A and B if a guest books the entire house.

Do I need to link Room A to B?  Nope, since we want them to be booked separately.

What if a guest inquired from Room A or Room B, but wishes to book the entire house?  Just direct them to your profile, where they can see all your listing and have them book the House instead of each room.

Ohhh, and don’t forget to adjust your pricing your each listing accordingly.  The same goes for the number of guest each listing can accommodate.

Still confused? Send me a comment and I’ll try to answer them immediately.


Photo courtesy of:
Dreamstime

Airbnb Lesson 6: Airbnb Import & Export Calendar


If you’re listing on multiple sites, syncing your calendars might be a good idea.  This means that your booking on another site would automatically block the same date on your Airbnb calendar.  However, this would only work if the other site supports iCal.

To do so, first you’ll need to get the iCal URL of your listing from the other site.  Airbnb is kind enough to include instructions on how to find and get the iCal URL from different sites.  To do so, just follow these instructions:

1.       Go to Calendar >> Availability Settings >> Import Calendar
2.       The links on how to get the iCal URL from other sites are show below
3.       Just paste the calendar address, give it a name and click Import Calendar

You should be good to go after that.  Any booking from the other site would block the same date on your Airbnb calendar.  But note that doing the above steps does not sync your Airbnb calendar to the other site.  You’ll have to do the same uploading of your Airbnb iCal URL to that site for it to sync.

Pros:
·       No double booking from different sites
·       Less calendar to monitor
·       Sync your Airbnb calendar to your Google calendar; check here to know how
·       Create multiple room list that allows for guest to book single of multiple rooms at once

Cons:
·       If the other site does not automatically collect payment from guests to book, this might pose an issue.  Since, unpaid bookings or pencil in reservations would also cause your Airbnb calendar to be blocked, and there’d be no way to unlock it, unless the guest cancels.
·       Increase chance of ‘no show’ guests.

Weigh your pros and cons and check if calendar sync is right for you.

Airbnb Lesson 5: Essential Amenities Required


Back in May 2018, Airbnb sent out a mailing list to its host mentioning a new requirement that would take effect come July 1, which is the list of essential amenities that each Airbnb host should provide their guests.  The list includes:

·       Toilet paper
·       Soap
·       Towels
·       Bed sheets
·       Pillows

You might be surprised to think that the above are typical amenities you would expect to be provided if you stay in an Airbnb, but actually it’s not.  Yes, they are typically provided in hotels and even bed and breakfast rooms but not in an Airbnb.  Being a flexible platform, Airbnb allowed its hosts to tick the list of amenities they’re willing to provide to their guest during listing.  If you need a refresher, head over to Lesson 3.

There are actually a lot of Airbnb homes with none, or only some of the items listed provided to their guests.  Reasons varies from location, type of home and even culture.  However, in Airbnb’s bid to compete with hotels and after its lunch of Airbnb Plus, the company decided that hosts should provide the above basic comforts to paying guests.

If you still haven’t provided any of these items, or you’re lacking one or two, check back on your unit and stock on them.  Lastly, update your unit listing.  It's a must and helps boost your rank in search.

What amenities do you provide? Tells us thru the comment section.


Photo courtesy of:
Airbnb
Dreamstime