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We restarted our own online bookings in parallel with Owners Direct. You can now book on either because we keep the calendars in sync. Bycar is more friendly and flexible on options and we accept payment by bank transfer (or cheque). Owners Direct bookings are by debit or credit card.
When you book through either site we compile a rental agreement on bycar.com. This asks you to log on using your email and a password.
It is important for several reasons: your insurance, our taxes, avoiding mistakes, and exchanging details that may enable us to add value to your holiday. Above all it avoids any confusion because we may not see all emails that purport to be from us.
This is a completely new website. We kept the same content and appearance but completely re-coded it for an Appache/php platform because the original windows/asp server had become unreliable and we find commercial sites too limited.
We aim to be one port of call for all the information you need (useful even if you book elsewhere).
For example, several different commune websites provide webcam links and lift & pistes status for their own domain, but we collect all that information together and re-arrange it to correspond with the lift pass areas.
On our apartments page you can specify a date and number of people to see which apartments are available and at what price.
We display the daily snow reports as published by the tourist office but we also automatically compile a record for the season, and compare it with the averages we have recorded over the last decade.
We had to start using Owners Direct bookings system because big brands have spent millions to dominate search engines. (Owners Direct is now part of Expedia which owns the biggest online bookings sites).
It took ages to align with their assumptions and creates far more work than our own system - but otherwise they have hidden us by becoming the place to look. They increase lock-in by promoting fears about security (ironically, Bycar had handled 1000 online bookings with no problem but big operators became targets).
After some false starts, we found a way round rigid Owners Direct rules to provide a fairer, and more flexible pricing structure that kept our weekly prices unchanged (based on a fixed amount plus price per night).
To combat dramatic decrease in bookings following 2003 heat wave.
Bycar.com topped the major search engines and filled 90% of our availability.