Founded in 1996, Booking.com evolved into a global platform and boasts more than six million listings for homes, apartments, and other unique properties. It is one of the world's largest OTAs and arguably the leading channel for vacation rentals in both European and North American markets.
That being said, vacation rentals have been more competitive, and listing on channels like Booking.com is an opportunity to reach audiences globally. But for a vacation rental listing to be successful, the key is to secure more bookings meaning more visibility and ranking high in search results.
Let's dig deep into insights and tips that can help attract potential guests by understanding the following:
The needs of every traveler continuously develops over time and are unique. That said, Booking.com's ranking algorithm considers guest behavior as an important role in understanding and adapting to evolving demands, taking into account the current needs of the market, previous search history, and overall performance of properties on the platform.
Keep in mind, that each time a traveler logs into a Booking.com account, the algorithm is optimized to meet travelers' evolving interests based on the search journey and breaks it down into the following stages:
Explore- where each potential guest starts initial searches for short-term rentals filtering destinations, property types, facilities, prices and dates.
Compare- guest starts to compare and contrast different available accommodations and assesses which one best fulfills their needs.
Book- the guest reserves the property for the desired dates of their choice, that best matches their preferences.
Experience- the guest experience starts from the moment they book their reservation to the moment they check out from the property.
Evaluate- the guests rate their overall experience throughout their entire stay. Guest reviews are good indicators of how guests evaluate the overall quality of the property including its amenities, facilities, cleanliness, and service- helping other travelers decide to whether book the property or not.
With the help of the Booking.com Booker Insight tool, you will have a better understanding of which countries guests book from, which devices they use, and their reasons for traveling whether it is for business or pleasure. This valuable data helps identify opportunities to generate additional income. For example, adjusting rates based on the country-specific.
Maximizing conversions is no doubt important for your listings to be visible in the different stages of a potential guest search. Keep in mind, that the main indicator of how well your listings perform on the Booking.com algorithm ranking is optimized for conversions.
To increase conversion rate and engage potential guests, the following are some tips to consider:
It comes as no surprise for travelers or other words early birds to book and plan trips far ahead of time. Booking.com recommends listing out rooms or units for at least one year in advance. Doing so will add availability and potentially be visible to future guests.
More importantly, offer flexibility with restrictions that will more likely increase being seen by potential travelers searching on the platform. And if doubting about what rates will be, take advantage of Booking.com's extranet tools and copy year rates over to the next year's buying time and not miss out on possible future bookings.
To market your listings effectively, ensure the listing page is an attractive, accurate list of amenities, a complete description of your listing, and high-res photos to grab the attention of travelers.
Doing so helps travelers search listings that best match their needs while setting the right expectations if travelers booked your property. Additionally, the Booking.com Property page section in the extranet displays the property page score indicating how well you are doing with your content as well as providing suggestions to improve it.
Before booking, travelers compare and contrast listings that offer better value for money which therefore means deciding on a strategic price attracting all potential travelers that are important to your vacation rental business. Value for money does not only mean price but also flexibility in your policies. For instance, think about how flexible your cancellation policies and restrictions are.
More importantly, reflect on options that travelers might consider such as accommodations without breakfast while other travelers may prefer only hot refreshments like coffee to start the day off.
Additionally, setting a strategic and competitive price within your market is important, especially taking into account that considering rates changes the traveler's demands. To find out how competitive your rates are in comparison to other channels, feel free to glance through Booking.com's Performance Dashboard in the Analytics section of the extranet.
Being your own brand manager means managing guest expectations by relying on the content and having good communication. The guests' overall experience depends on quick responses to inquiries and personalized welcoming messages. Create message templates that allow you to save time, communicate better, and receive better guest reviews.
Remember that positive reviews play a huge role in influencing other travelers to book, filtering their searches based on review scores. In addition, when responding to reviews add personal touches whether the review is positive or negative.
Booking.com's approach to ranking and algorithm over the years has continuously improved and evolved based on guest reviews and previous search patterns. Each guest search result is tailored and presented differently in comparison to displaying the same listings to all travelers.
Moreover, the booking.com ranking system is more dynamic, personalized, and sophisticated by using tools to measure the partner’s performance. The ranking system increases the chances of more exposure and captivating travelers to book your property. Though, keep in mind, that booking.com can only present a limited number of listings per page leaving one listing to go up while the other goes down.
Booking.com's objective is to assist guests in enjoying their trip and find travel services they need. And to ensure serving that goal, Booking.com states its ranking algorithm takes into account multiple factors:
A host's property appears in search results depending on the host's performance, the competitor's performance, and the evolving demand in the market.
Depending on which filters or sort options the guest use, a host’s property can appear higher or lower in the ranking for any search therefore the guest's behavior play a huge factor in the ranking algorithm.
More importantly, for listings to get noticed and rank, ideally it begins with an eye-catching vacation rental listing. This means:
Create a dynamic description for your vacation rental listings including full details of the property's facilities and amenities.
Identify your target audience or a particular niche group, for instance, hosting business travelers, or digital nomads to your property. When focusing on your target niche, ensure to create a listing that directly caters to their needs which ideally may limit your reach. However, doing so will increase your visibility and ranking among your target niche whose goal is to book similar accommodations just like yours.
Ensure house rules are clearly stated if you have any. Doing so avoids guests to be taken back by the information when arriving at the property. Moreover, this reduces the risk of last-minute cancellations.
Take standout and high-res photos of the property. Remember, a picture paints a thousand words. That being said, ensure to have a professional photographer taking the best shots in the best light including covering all aspects of your property.
Go the extra mile and provide guests with welcome baskets and welcome book providing directions and information on local hotspots, coffee shops, parks, etc. Doing so will gain notice and appreciation before guests arrive.
Regardless of the angle, customer satisfaction is essential and the main focus of OTAs like Booking.com to ensure happy and satisfied travelers. Responding to guests quickly ensures less likely cancellation of guest bookings resulting in good customer service. Moreover, quicker responses more likely lead to a favorable review.
That being said, an algorithm that considers metrics like these indicates guest satisfaction, more successful bookings, and higher ratings paired with excellent customer service is all but guaranteed.
Increasing conversions for you means increasing conversions for Booking.com, which both invested in helping you thrive. Through Booking.com's Extranet, the administrative hub provides a number of tools to help manage properties.
One of those tools breaks down each property's "journey" into eight steps, from potential searches to net revenue (which accounts for lost revenue due to cancellations). Booking.com compares your properties with similar listings by setting a benchmark and then offers advice to help improve your performance throughout the process.
This tool gives real-time insights into current guests and their booking behavior, including sales statistics. It is possible to compare your results against your competition.
With this tool, you can track how well your listings perform on the site, from visibility in search results to conversion rates making it easy for you to evaluate your property's performance.
Price Performance Dashboard
This tool help identifies pricing discrepancies across listing channels, such as additional fees or promotions on other sites that may not be accounted for in your Booking.com rate.
To help ensure listings remain attractive to potential guests, use these metrics to understand market dynamics. Moreover, Booking.com states to regularly check your price-quality score, the flexibility of your policies, guest reviews, promotions, property page score, and inventory to make sure you’re providing guests with the right offering at the right time.”
To optimize your listings, Booking.com offers exclusive programs to property managers or hosts that solely flourish on the platform.
It is an incentive program that boosts listings' extra visibility and ranking as a recommended thumbs-up on the property page. To enjoy the benefits of the program a set of criteria must meet the requirements.
Additionally, preferred partners will receive up to 65% more page views and 40% more bookings.
An exclusive loyalty program gives listings more exposure through special tagging, ranking boosts, and various marketing investments on Booking.com's platform. That being said, eligible partners in this program benefit from an increase of 45% in bookings and 40% in revenue with the cost of the discount accounted for.
Pushing toward increasing your listing's visibility often requires short-term solutions to get more bookings on your calendar. That being said, tools like Booking.com's visibility booster allow you to promote or boost listings whenever or wherever you choose to, especially on low or high-demand periods pushing up visibility to a higher ranking for a small commission rate.
Alternatively, you can also offer travelers special promotions or discounts such as last-minute deals to captivate travelers. Doing so will increase the visibility of your properties.
Investing the time to grasp its data-driven insights on Booking.com's platform allows you to ensure listings are optimized. Keep in mind, that the higher the ranking, the more conversions are maximized especially if you are willing to pay a commission on Booking.com.
Moreover, make the most of Booking.com's intelligent tools such as exclusive programs to help boost your rankings and improve conversions.
More importantly, use a channel manager like Hostaway to effortlessly manage your listings effectively while boosting visibility. Not to forget, as Booking.com Premier Partners, reach out to the support team to find out how to list your property on Booking.com via Hostaway.