Monday, January 30, 2012

Cities Reference's Fees and Commissions

Cities Reference's Commissions

Following recent changes and Property Owners requests on Cities Reference Facebook page for ever increased transparency and clarity here follow the details of how our commissions work.

Most of you seem to know already that our Commissions and Fee can range from 3% to 20.5% and that owners can decrease it by 25% in one go when activating the Instant Booking. But you're unclear on how exactly you can push the rental fee downward, besides the promotions Property Owners can make and the discount coupons travelers can enjoy, that are detailed in our discounts post. Here follows our best attempt at shedding some light on the whole process.

Commission is composed of a fixed and of a variable factor,  Fee is one and only and it's 3% levied from the traveler on those apartments that are listed at annual flat fee. The fixed part of the Commission depends on the booking system you apply to your listing (Instant or On Request), the variable part on the total rent amount of your booking.  
The Variable Commission subtracts from the Fixed Commission in inverted proportion to the final rent cost.

The Fixed Commission

Instant Booking apartments are charged 16% of the price posted on Cities Reference's websites.
On Request apartments are charged 20.5%.

The Variable Commission

The above commission will decrease by 10% every 50% increase of the rental cost heading down to the set minimum 9%.

The Fixed Fee

 As of 2013 Property Owners have the option of paying a flat annual listing fee per apartment as opposed to the above commission structure and the fixed fee levied per booking will go down to 3%.

Please note: When comparing our fees to others please make sure their fee structure is clear, there often is a double charge, some to the owner and some to the renter. We only charge one flat fee.

Find furter information on Cities Reference help page.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Test Pricing

Test Pricing has been moved under the Pricing tab.

When activating a new fee or discount always remember to test the pricing to avoid unintended results. Just click on 'Test Pricing' and input the dates you want to check and the number of people. You'll see the net you'll receive for your rent itemized by the single fees or discounts you have activated.

Any doubts? Seek answers in Cities Reference FAQ page or Contact us.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Apartments' ranking algorithm change to be launched tomorrow

Don't be surprised if your apartment will rank different tomorrow.

In our bid to be as transparent as we can here follows the exact break down of ranking factors.

  • 30% will depend on our recommendation
  • 20% on whether you're listed as Instant Booker
  • 30% on bookings, ie how often and for how long for your apartment gets booked. Note that booking logs are erased shortly after check out, so the ranking you earn with bookings is not there forever.
  • 10% on reviews, ie how often and how well your apartment gets reviewed by clients
  • 10% on interaction with Cities Reference, ie how often and how deeply you interact with our website.
Please note: In August 2012 we added the Priority Owner status as a ranking factor affecting an additional 10% on total.

Got more questions? Find more answers in Cities Reference help page or through Cities Reference contact page.

Best tip to gather rankings fast? Get bookings. How do you get bookings even with a low rank? Competitive rent price, many travelers sort by price...

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Monday, January 2, 2012

Happy New Year!

Wanted to check back with our followers that dig into our analytics. New year comes with plenty of nice surprises. Let's check it out

Cities covered are now 33! We're looking at a growth of 267% compared to the same day last year.
Apartments listed are now 3,651! We're looking at a growth of 346% year on year. Nice!
Instant apartments are 816, the ratio is 22.4% of total, we'd like to grow this dimension fast.

Roman Reference kind of stable at 58,000 (growing 11.5% year on year)
Cities Reference losing some ground at 63,000
Paris Reference losing ground at 118,000
the rest are way lower

Cities Reference Facebook page has 1,331 fans/841 talking about it (more than doubled in the past couple of months!)
Roman Reference Facebook fan page is at 438 fans and 4 talking about it

Analytics Rome

  • Rome grew unique traffic by 5% and 
  • number of bookings by 18%, although the 
  • goal value is broadly stable due to the fact that commissions have gone down dramatically under pressure from the competition
  • conversion rate with the new website and lower commissions and apartments inventory up 55% grew a meagre 7% in Rome. It must be the crisis, or maybe it's just me and expecting more than 7% growth on conversion rate is not realistic despite all the investments made to that purpose.
  • Weight of adwords on overall site traffic grew from 13.6% to 18.2 (grew 50% nominally year on year). Adwords weight of revenue and transactions on overall site results in the past year has been 24%, last year was just 14.6%. Nominal growth of adwords generated goals has been 73.5% year on year spreading up nicely when compared to the 50% growth on traffic. Adwords conversion rate grew 18% year on year and has been 32% higher than site average. CTR has improved 47%; CPC is up 26% (to 1.9 from 1.5), Impressions are equal. Adwords investment grew 79% year on year, it's ROI grew 490% (from 115% to 680%) Margin grew 63% (from 53% to 87%). Overall spreads on site average are looking good, year on year improvement on performance of adwords is looking nice pretty much on all dimensions especially considering the deepening of the global crisis and the increased competition.
 Analytics Paris

  • Unique visitors grew 2.5%
  • number of bookings grew 33% though with goal value going down 20% because of lowering commissions
  • conversion rate is up 15.5%
  • Adwords on Paris is a losing game our inventory is not competitive and competition looks too hard. Stable at ca 5% of total traffic. Conversion rate although growing 75% from .49 to .86 is still in negative ROI and below site average (!).

    Rome apartments are 815. Growth year on year is 55%, which is quite remarkable. We launched the new website with improved apartments listing wizard last March, since between 2010 and 2011 the growth had only been 15%, it is fair to assume that the new wizard makes listing a whole lot easier and allows a 5X growth in apartment listing inventory for a mature website.
    Instant Ratio is 42.3%. Growing! We can't wait to hit that benchmark of 50% which we're heading to, certainly before the end of this year we hope.
    Visitors per apartment/month: is 15, lower than usual in low season. It's 35 on Instant Booking apartments.
    Conversion rate is 1.38% on e-commerce and 82.7% on online bookings slightly better than the last update.
    Booking requests went below the psychological benchmark of 600 briefly last month and they're now back up to 645, still worryingly low. Crisis is hitting all of us after all. It must be remarked that spikes in growth of apartments are usually coming together with lows in bookings. This period is no exception.
    Apartment reviews 2,421

    Paris apartments are 347. Growth year on year is 120%