Conference Dates 2017

The Vacation Rental Managers Association (VRMA) European Conference will be held in Amsterdam in 12-14th March, 2017.

Self-catering specific conferences can give you great access to educational sessions and networking opportunities which you can in turn convert to delivering superior service. The full conference schedule can be found on the VRMA website and you can register here to book your place. Some ISCF members previously attended this and thought it a worthwhile investment in their business.

If you would prefer to stay closer to home for your learning, then keep the following dates free;

ASSC 2017 Conference, Perth on 7th November 2017

ISCF 2017 Conference, Clarion Hotel, Dublin on Tuesday 14th November for 2017. Click here to read about the 2016 Conference.

Failte Ireland Free Resources

Failte Ireland have plenty of useful resources when it comes to promoting your property and region for free. You can access different styles of resources to help you learn the skills to boost your business.

Ireland’s Content Pool: is a free resource which includes ‘image, video and copy collections show people, landscapes and the Irish lifestyle across a range of experiences including festivals, activities, cities, rural life and food’. To access Newsletters, sign up here. Register for upcoming webinars here. Past webinars can also be viewed at any time on there YouTube Channel. Topics covered include ‘The Mobile Market; Advanced Email Marketing Techniques; Tips to Drive more Traffic in a Cost Effective Manner; How to Create Desire and Sales through Innovative use of Imagery & Video’. Podcasts are becoming increasingly popular and topics covered so far include ‘Seven simple steps to sales success’ and ‘Twitter — 140 character window of opportunity’.

Please contact the office if there is a specific self-catering topic you would like to know about.

Peter Downey, ISCF’s New Chairperson

Following our recent AGM of the Irish Self Catering Federation, we are pleased to introduce our new Chairperson, Peter Downey. Peter is a long standing member of the Federation and a Director of the Company. Peter’s strong back ground in self-catering and excellent interpersonal and organisational skills have made him a natural choice to lead the Federation in the coming years.

The role of the ISCF is to promote and protect the interests of its members. Members who market thousands of holiday homes across Ireland and who collectively employ thousands of people on a full time and seasonal basis throughout the Irish tourism sector. The ISCF supports members by promoting positive development of the self-catering accommodation sector in Ireland, and through cost saving benefits, marketing and PR initiatives, training and information. We recognise the knowledge and experience held within Failte Ireland and we want to avail of their guidance to strengthen our sector. The ISCF looks forward to working alongside self-caterers and supporting agencies to promote the self-catering sector in Ireland which is a much needed resource to alleviate the short term accommodation shortage.

You can contact Peter directly by email to chair@iscf.ie

ISCF members named Best Beach Holiday Home in Europe

Thatcher’s Rest

A coastal hideaway within striking distance of Dublin has been named the Best Beach Holiday Home in Europe.Thatcher’s Rest (below), one of a suite of six seaside cottages in Bettystown, Co. Meath, was a winner at the 2016 European Home Holiday Awards, held in Brussels.

the cottages bettystown.jpg

Entries from over 23 countries were submitted for the awards, which are run by the European Holiday Homes Association (EHHA).

“We’re over the moon,” said Liz Pickett, who runs Cottages Ireland with her husband Roger, when contacted by Independent.ie Travel this week.

“We had zero expectation of winning. We felt like we’d won being shortlisted, to be honest. We were up against gorgeous places ranging from Cornwall to an island in Croatia, with all the bells and whistles. It is a major wow to have won.”

The Picketts’ six cottages are a mix of old-meets-new with their own private beach access, and though they may be little known to holidaymakers here in Ireland, guides like Sawday’s and Premier Cottages have confirmed their reputation abroad.

Thatcher's Rest bedroom, Bettystown
Thatcher’s Rest bedroom, Bettystown

‘They’re basically these beautiful, 300-year-old cottages that we’ve renovated to 5-star standards,” Liz explains. “It’s a lovely, old-world feel but with cutting edge Wi-Fi, flatscreen TVs, luxury beds and linen… all the stuff you’d want to find.”

Rates at the cottages range from €420 for three nights at the Honeymoon Cottage, which sleeps two, to €1,260 for three nights at Thatcher’s Rest, which sleeps six across three bedrooms. Seven-night rentals are also available.

“We are very proud of the Picketts for their great achievement,” said Dorren Quinn of the Irish Self Catering Federation (ISCF), of which Cottages Ireland is a member.

“Irish self-caterers have reached the finals before, but this is the first Irish win.”

The award will be presented by Carlos Villaro Lassen, Secretary General of the European Holiday Home Association, during the ISCF Annual General Meeting and workshop day taking place on Thursday, 17th November. He will also address the attendance with an overview of the European Self-catering Industry while other speakers will seek to give guidance to members of this rapidly growing sector within the Irish Tourism business on the pursuit of excellence. The event will also be supported and attended by a number of leading service providers and suppliers to the self-catering industry.

The ISCF welcomes members and non-members alike to participate in the Workshop event. Full details can be found on:  http://iscf.ie/conferences/ or by phoning ISCF administrator Dorren Quinn at +353 47 32042.

See iscf.ie and cottages-ireland.com for more details. The full list of European Holiday Home award winners is available on holidayhomeaward.eu.

Card payment surcharges

 – do you pass them on to your guests?  

Article courtesy of  

We get asked many questions when discussing the benefits of taking online payments:

  • What about the charges?
  • Should we pass the surcharge on to our guests?
  • What do your other customers do?

There are legal implications whatever you decide to do, so make sure you are up to date with current law.

How many pass it on?

 

Of our customers that accept card payments, one-third of them do pass on a supplement to their guests to pay. The majority charge between 2% and 2.99%. To be legally compliant, you must take care that your supplement does not exceed the direct cost borne by you.
Looking at the profiles, it’s the owners with fewer properties that are more likely to pass the charge on as a surcharge. Two-thirds (67%) of those that add the supplement on to the amount a guest pays have between one and three properties; 15% have between four and 10 properties; 6% have between 11 and 25 properties and 12% have more than 26 properties.

What if you don’t?

 

You can encourage your guests to pay by another means. Even if you take the deposit payment by card, you could add a note in your Booking summary, for instance, encouraging guests to pay the balance by bank transfer.

Whatever you do, be open

 

In a recent article – Two in five Brits wary of travel scams – ‘no hidden fees’ was the top holiday booking trust trigger with 91% of respondents saying this is important to them when making a
decision about booking a holiday through a holiday provider.So it is really important that whatever you decide to do, you are transparent about any charges your guests will incur. Be sure that all fees and charges are shown separately at the time of booking to avoid guests abandoning placing a booking at that crucial moment.

Refund protection now offered on LGSC

Offering 100% refund protection on bookings to give complete peace of mind to you and your guests.

Booking Protect refund protection provides your guests with a guarantee that enables them to apply for a refund should they have to cancel their holiday for pre-defined, unforeseen reasons beyond their control.

This facility has been applied to the lgsc logo site with guests already availing of the option. View full terms and conditions.

All admin is handled by Booking Protect so, in the event of a refund, the guest needs to contact them not LetsGo or you.

Benefits to guests

The benefits to guests are obvious. Anything from illness to bad weather can give them good reason to have to cancel their holiday plans. And, refund protection means they won’t be out of pocket if this happens. Plus:

Simple sales process.

  • Comprehensive refund protection of up to £1,500 per person.
  • The entire booking value is covered (inclusive of all options and extras).

If you have your own SuperControl account and would like to start offering your guests booking protection, log in to your SuperControl account and go to Integrations > Booking Protect to set up the integration.

If you want to know more, then view the Booking Protect video  https://vimeo.com/145885241 .

Members as Employers

by Maura Costello – employment law consultant & ISCF Member

As employers, members need to be mindful of the fact that they are responsible for ensuring all their employees receive certain basic employment rights. If you employ people or are setting up a business that will employ people you need to be familiar with your responsibilities as an employer.

The Citizens Advice website (www.citizensinformation.ie) is a very useful resource for information relating to the relationship between you and your employees. Members need to be mindful that full time and part time employees are protected by legislation. Likewise employers need to be mindful of their obligations under Health and Safety legislation.

There are many types of relationships between employers and employees; full time, part time, fixed term, independent contractors. Each category has significant implications for both employer and employee in matters such as employment protection legislation, taxation and social welfare. Members should familiarise themselves with their obligations to their employees and vice versa. Very often employers only seek information or guidance when a problem arises. Given the vast array of legislation in this area members need to cognisant of the fact that “ignorance” of the law is no defense and can quite often leads to costly claims.

Some of the basics to be considered are;

  • the obligations to provide a written contract of employment .
  • the need to consider basic rates of pay
  • the provision of “ pay slips”
  • maximum working hours and  “ rest periods” during working hours
  • provision of holidays, public holidays, various forms of leave such as parental leave, carers leave, maternity leave
  • the deduction of  the correct amount of tax, PRSI, and Universal Social Charge from your employees’ wages and remitting these to Revenue using the PAYE system
  • the keeping of certain records
  • the duty to ensure employees health and safety at work as far as is reasonably practicable
  • the provision of an employee’s handbook
  • disciplinary and grievance procedures
  • employers liability insurance.

The list is not intended to be exhaustive rather a “steer“ in the right direction.

http://www.citizensinformation.ie/en/employment/

ISCF working on behalf of our members

 

Recently one of our ISCF members had some concerns about the PSRA which governs all Property Services Providers (PSPs). These are persons involved either in:

  1. The purchase or sale, by whatever means, of any estate or interest in land (including buildings) wherever situated;
    2. The auction of private property other than land;
    3. The letting of any estate or interest in land wherever situated;
    4. The provision of property management services.
    The regulatory environment provides for a comprehensive licensing system covering all PSPs.

The query raised by the ISCF member was whether self-catering holiday rental accommodation falls under the PSRA and if people renting these properties need to hold a PSRA license.

The ISCF contacted the PSRA on behalf of our members and the response was as follows;

Section 3(1)(l) of the Property Services (Regulation) Act 2011 provides:

3.—(1) This Act shall not apply to—

(l) a property service consisting solely of a short-term letting to a person where such letting—

(i) does not exceed or is unlikely to exceed 8 consecutive weeks, and

(ii) is for bona fide tourism or other leisure purposes,

Members of your association who own holiday homes don’t need a license as they are the owners. Regarding agents who act solely on behalf of holiday home owners providing the rental service for their properties. They do not need a license to do the lettings as long as the letting meets the criteria set down in Section 3(1)(l) of the Act.

ISCF AGM & Conference 2015

A huge thank you to everyone who took the time to attend our conference on the 20th of November, it was a great success and a wonderful opportunity for members to meet each other and our business partners.

Once the AGM was completed, the attendee enjoyed very professional and relevant presentations from our key speakers from Failte Ireland, SuperControl, BeSmart.ie and Helen Cousins, Financial Advisor and ISCF Member. Helen Cousin’s presentation slides on costing short breaks are available by request. Helen has had also done a blog post about the same topic, but for those who are already selling online. Please click on the link to view Pricing and Revenue Generation in the Digital Age.

Our conference this year was sponsored by:  FBD, Yapstone, SuperControl and Relate Software, we thank them for their continued support. We would also like to thank the Trade Suppliers who attended; Premier Utilities, TUI, My Home From the Sky and JSK Cleaning who could not attend.

We thank those who completed the AGM & Conference Feedback back and we were pleased to view such positive feedback. Congratulations to Stephen McGovern and Michelle Devaney on winning the spot prizes for completing the Feedback form. The main area which we would like to improve on next year is the attendance. To that end, we are discussing possible venues which are more central to our members such as Athlone. We welcome your ideas on the matter as the function is run purely for the members to give you the opportunity to share ideas and network with other self-caterers and ISCF trade Suppliers.20151117_115944_resized 20151117_145016_resized 20151117_145205_resized 20151117_145314_resized 20151117_145442_resized

 

EVENT KINDLY SUPPORTED BY:

SuperControl - booking and management system

Online booking and management system suitable for all sizes of business, this self-catering system enables you to show live availability and online booking on your website and provides administrative, marketing and management information at your fingertips. 10% discount in the first year to ISCF members.

Holiday Rent Payment

HolidayRentPayment is an online payment solution specifically tailored to the needs of the holiday rental industry. Powered by the YapStone™ payment platform, the HolidayRentPayment team brings 12 years of industry-specific payment processing expertise to more than 300,000 holiday rental properties in 14 countries, processing in 4 currencies. By delivering the convenience of electronic payments, HolidayRentPayment has become a go-to payment solution for property managers, owners and their guests.

FBD

FBD has over 40 years insurance experience and has grown into one of the country’s largest insurers with over 500,000 loyal and satisfied customers. With local sales offices nationwide, telephone and online support, FBD’s quality customer service is never more than a few steps away.

As an insurer we have led the market in terms of offering unique and unrivalled insurance protection for car, home, business and farm insurance. In addition to insurance, FBD have a dedicated team of highly experienced investment and pension professionals to offer advice to both individuals and businesses.

ISCF Survey and Feedback

Thank you to all of you who completed our recent ISCF Survey and Feedback. Our aim to get a better understanding of the needs of our members. In particular we wanted to ascertain if we could work together to get additional bookings through tour operators. Since then, we have begun communication with some of the leading tour operators and we are also hoping to tap in to the expertise of you, the members.

If you still haven’t had a chance to complete it then it’s not too late. Please click on the link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/YT9F7XB.

We hope to compile our final findings for the AGM & Conference 17th November 2015.