Thursday, March 19, 2009

Vacation Homeowners Share Rental Enquiries

Incircle Rentals has launched a service that allows vacation rentals homeowners to share rental enquiries. When you receive an enquiry for a time that your vacation home is already booked, you can share with other vacation homeowners in your locality. In return, you can bid on enquiries provided by other fully booked owners.

Although the concept is attractive, my experience is that vacation homeowners are in practice somewhat reluctant to share leads with others. Even if the owner is fully booked now, that renter might come back later to try and book with the homeowner, so why give them the opportunity to develop a relationship with a competitor?

On the other hand, if it can be made to work, this can improve overall bookings for the vacation homeowners in the circle. For example, different owners might be advertising on different vacation rentals sites, therby allowing broader overall access to potential renters.

Incircle provides a free 90 day trial, so you can try it out to see if it works. After that, it costs $199 per year.

Right now, Incircle does not provide any incentives for referring leads: I think this might be a useful enhancement. For example, high rate of referrals could result preferred status (first option?) for receiving enquiries. It is possible that something like this might emerge as users get experience with the service.

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