With more vacation rentals having come into the market increasing competition within Booking.com and from competitors listed on other OTAs like Airbnb and Vrbo, not to mention more niche booking channels such as those catering to last minute bookings only, and inflation across the globe decreasing how much people can afford to spend despite their desire to revenge travel after being restricted during the pandemic, it is more important than ever to optimize your listing and ensure your vacation rental has a significant competitive edge if you want to keep those bookings rolling in on Booking.com.
In an increasingly competitive vacation rental market, it has gotten harder to increase booking frequency and maximize revenue. Here is a three-pronged approach to getting more bookings on Booking.com.
Booking.com offers a variety of promotional tools that can help you promote your vacation rental on the channel.
Join the Genius program
A loyalty program, Genius connects your property with over 20 million high-value guests who spend more per night, cancel less, and book longer stays, providing them a discount of 10% on Level 1 and 15% on Level 2. Once enrolled, your listing will show a Genius tag and receive a boost in search rankings. Booking.com claims that Genius listings experience an increase of 70% in search result views, 45% in bookings, and 40% in revenue, with the cost of the discount accounted for.
Become a Preferred Partner
High-performing properties on Booking.com are eligible to earn ‘preferred partner’ status, improving visibility on search and showcasing your property’s status as recommended. According to Booking.com, preferred properties receive an average of 65% more page views and 35% more bookings.
Use Visibility Booster
The visibility booster tool allows hosts to receive a boost to their search rankings (for as long as it is on) in exchange for paying a higher commission to Booking.com. Many hosts use this strategically to target travelers on certain dates.
Use Focus Finder
The Focus Finder tool on Booking.com shows hosts the key dates where demand is high. Hosts can use this data to adjust their prices and capitalize on these periods, increasing bookings and revenue.
Optimizing your listing on Booking.com results in greater visibility and increases your chances of conversion.
Use Fabulous Photos
Photos can make or break a listing. Make sure you are using high-quality, standout photographs that will not only attract travelers but are presented to show your property in its best light and a potential stay as aspirational.
Earn a Perfect Property Page Score
Booking.com rewards listings with standout photos and accurate information. Accordingly, listings that achieve a 100% page score receive an increase of up to 18% in bookings.
Use Keywords in Your Description
It’s not enough to post accurate information. Make sure your copy is optimized for search by including relevant keywords. Include your amenities and unique features so you show up on the results of travelers specifically looking for them.
Loading availability near and far into the year allows you to attract guests booking in the near term as well as those who prefer planning their holidays several months ahead. The loading also allows Booking.com to market your property on Google and its affiliate partner sites based on your availability, further improving your chances of getting booked.
Make the Most of Last Minute Bookings
Booking.com defines a last minute reservation as one that is up to 7 days before arrival. You can capitalize on last minute bookings to get your empty rooms booked without giving away your best rooms until you receive a higher price by choosing the ‘Room decided at check-in’ option.
Be Flexible with Cancellation
Because travelers can filter their searches by cancellation policies, Booking.com advises offering free cancellation. However, hosts should consider this carefully and may opt to let guests change their dates for free instead. You can also be more flexible by only charging a part of the full cancellation fee.
Get Great Reviews
By providing the best guest journey, you can ensure you keep earning great reviews which will drastically improve your chances of getting booked.
Utilize Mobile Rates
Because mobile-based reservation is an ever-increasing trend in travel, Booking.com provides its partners the option to provide mobile rates at a discount of 10% on their listed rate to attract this growing guest segment. This can be a particularly useful tool when trying to attract last minute bookings to fill in orphan days.
Make Use of Country Rates
Booking.com also allows hosts to offer special rates to travelers from specific countries, which can be helpful if you are targeting specific guests or travelers from specific countries.
Discounts are not only attractive to travelers but also to Booking.com which rewards your listing with higher search rankings.
Use a Channel Manager
Using a proven channel manager like Hostaway ensures your calendar is always up to date and you don’t overbook guests or experience other errors that can leave your guests leaving angry and frustrated. Booking.com also penalizes properties that don’t keep their booking calendar updated.
Use a Dynamic Pricing Tool
Dynamic pricing is an essential pricing strategy in today’s competitive market. To successfully put the pricing strategy into effect for your vacation rental you need to use a dynamic pricing tool that will see your prices adjusted based on various factors on a daily basis.