Despite travellers’ eagerness to get back out there, we’re seeing that travel optimism goes hand in hand with health and safety considerations. When deciding where to stay, 70% of travellers indicated in a recent survey that they’re more likely to book a property if it’s clear what health and safety measures are in place.
To help partners clearly communicate the steps they’re taking to protect guests, we rolled out three new health and safety features at the beginning of the pandemic – each designed to ease traveller concerns and help you secure bookings. Our data tells us that partners who display their health and safety measures get 11% more bookings on average compared to those who don’t, so it’s important to make sure your information is up to date.
Magnifying the fine print
At the start of the pandemic, we saw an immediate increase in need for information from both guests and partners. Some properties were forced to curtail certain services – swimming pools, gyms, spas – to adhere to restrictions imposed by governments, and they needed a way to convey this information to prospective guests. “We used an existing part of our platform, the fine print section, to very quickly enable our properties to communicate this information to guests,” says Pranay Das, Product Marketing Manager at Booking.com.
“We introduced a series of new messaging so that when guests landed on a property’s page, they were immediately aware of any facilities or amenities that wouldn’t be available due to social distancing restrictions, along with any changes in booking conditions as a result of the pandemic.”
Displaying your health and safety measures
As the pandemic grew in complexity, so too did the needs of partners. Besides implementing urgent restrictions based on authority advice, property managers were proactively taking their own measures – new cleaning protocols, contactless check in, food safety – to ensure the safety of their guests. “We needed to create a way for partners to communicate all their measures to guests,” says Das. “The Health and Safety checklist allows partners to do exactly that.”
The feature enables partners to highlight what they’re doing to create a safe stay for guests. From cleanliness and physical distancing to food and drink safety, you can indicate in the extranet the protocols you’re following. Indicating the steps you have in place can also boost your visibility, as you’ll be found more easily by customers via the Health and Safety filter, which remains a prominent search filter on our platform.
“We ask partners a series of questions about steps they’re taking, and then display those very prominently on the property page in a specially designed box,” says Das. “When guests are making their booking, they see those details and can determine if a certain property meets their needs.”
Crowdsourcing frequently asked questions
Despite the fine print messaging and Health and Safety checklist covering the major needs that are common across properties, they don’t address the aspects unique to individual properties that customers may have questions about. To address this gap, our teams expedited the development of a Question and Answer (Q&A) feature, giving partners the opportunity to answer any questions that might not be covered in their descriptions. These include (but aren’t limited to) concerns about health, safety and hygiene. To date, over 4 million questions have been answered from properties around the world.
“By default, the questions and answers are published publicly and prominently on the property page,” says Das. “The beauty of that is that other guests viewing the page can see those questions and answers and upvote them. So, over a period of time the individual property has a crowd-sourced FAQ section addressing the unique elements of their property.”
As restrictions start to ease and bookings pick up, transparent communication remains key. Openly communicating with customers and ensuring that your health and safety information is up to date in the extranet can help you appeal to today’s traveller.