At Rentals United our speciality is helping you making more bookings while saving your time. 2016 was a very successful year for us: we now distribute more than 250,000 rentals and thousands of property managers and owners trust us worldwide. Why are we the BFF of so many?

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Hi Emma,

Really interesting question and hard to answer in this brave new world, especially in cities and the increasingly obfuscated pricing on sites.

Once upon a time there was a simple way of checking rates on rates table and people adhered to them, possibly because these were seasonal and were tested year on year to see what could be achieved. Competitors followed the trend and balanced prices based on "walk to pub, parking spaces, free internet, sea views, garden, takes pets etc". Small discounts were offered of course but marginal as below a certain price its better to leave it empty (hard for corporations to figure this based on hotel mentality).

These prices were always visible on listing sites and private websites and still are to some extent. depsite the hard work to hide them, they keep reappearing as renters don't want to keep putting in dates for seasonal places, they want to see an overview per month.

Hence HolidayLettings re-introduced them and even though HomeAway is trying to eradicate them, it seems difficult. An example is here: []. This is still the norm outside of cities.

In cities the rules change as accommodation is 365 days and competition is now even more fierce. Rate managers appear to have some success (not Airbnb as their recommended prices are just not right, (but you would get a booking).

Rate managers that don't have a native connection and ask for your credentials just seem dodgy to me. I wouldn't give my passwords to my business to a third party unless it was approved. The longevity of the business also has to be questioned. Double authentication and then its curtains unless phone relays are introduced.

Rate managers are clever things and look at much more than the weather, but they also need to read all the local competition to you as this is who you are challenged by.

You could try price scanning services such as: which will source published pricing info, but its not booked pricing.

What seems apparent to me is that the company that gets the instant bookings and therefore acceptable pricing is who takes a 15%+ commission off the owner or manager (but beware many managers now lift prices), so this can give you acceptable baselines when matched with a couple of your local competitors. You can bet Priceline have got some keen data tools to push bookable properties forward even if prices are set by the hotels/VR.

The properties I know of in cities that do well, seem to have more a leaning to local transport: metro, tube and distance to centre. There is probably an algorithm that builds concentric circles out and blends with number of bedrooms and bathrooms and prices accordingly.

You could try this has some great results and from what I see in regional properties is very accurate on income, average prices etc as prices posted here are likely to be the same as on more regional sites.

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