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Increase frequency of bookings

Hi everyone,

Great to see this side of booking becoming more and more supported and used by the properties. A bit of help amongst us is the only way to ensure all the travellers get the best possible service from us all.

I am trying desperately to increase my booking performance so I can get a higher ranking on the site and maybe more room nights. Any ideas that have worked for the rest of you i could try?

Thanks and have a great day further.

42 Replies

1
Magda Campher

Explore the extranet for tips on boosting your ranking. Also try and attend the Booking.com roadshows. I know that we have to use better quality photos, for instance to increase our score, which will improve ranking. I am just as interested though in other partners feedback

1 year ago
1
Jude McLauchlan

This is an interesting new concept and I have been reading the stories with interest. We run the only 5 star B&B in our small town and sometimes we do struggle to be fully occupied because people like to choose the cheaper motel style and I do believe that the perception of our town is that it should be 'cheap'. My dilemma is that I don't feel that I should drop my prices to match these lower standard properties when in reality people who come to stay with us get better value for money because of all the extras we do offer eg: breakfast, excellent quality bedding and furnishings, personal service etc. All of these things are reflected in our excellent ratings and client feedback. In am not sure what I am trying to say/ask but we have excellent ranking but what are peoples thoughts on how to differentiate between us and the norm? I do think that clients have all of this information at their fingertips through the Booking.com photos/description pages but whether or not they choose to step away from what they are used to?

Thoughts/ideas?

1 year ago
1
Susy Bretherton

We have operated for 5 years or so now and each year manage to increase the bookings. Guest reviews are massively important...high scores.To get these A number of things will help ...put best photo up, ideally of what your guests will see on or from your property. Location has been a winner for us. Then make sure every room is spotless..ie no DNA left behind from previous guests. Cleaning can't be too particular! And booking.com picks up if you are listed on other sites like local info site or BnB sites.

Hope this helps.

1 year ago
1
Jan Ludemann

Hi I fully agree with all the comments posted so far. I would add making sure you identify your target market and find out how much of the market share you are actually getting. Then, for instance, if you target market is bypassing your town because of a perceived expectation of lower quality, then at least three things can be done.

1 Make sure you price comparably with your nearest competition (this is not the nearest accommodation, but the nearest similar to your offering)

2 Educate. Let potential guests know about you local area and why it should be top of their list eg nearest to, on the way to, away from the hustle and bustle, more convenient etc.

3 Emphasis the unique features of your property and area and how staying with you will ensure a better experience

1 year ago
1
Deborah Clapperton

Hi
I have found that by asking guests to comment/ review (if they wish to) could they comment on what appealed to them or what didn't. By doing this guests have a better idea of what to expect. An old post office/bnb is not for everyone but for those that like charm ,quaintness and friendliness then they tend to really like the place. Hopefully this means we are reaching the type of Guest that enjoys this type of bnb

1 year ago
1
Kirsten Warbrooke

Hi, I have a minimum price I will take and if a night is not booked 1 or 2 days out I lower the non-refundable price to this. Always works for last minute bookings but you need to be prepared for late night arrivals. This enabled us to have our first fully booked night last saturday - every one of our cabins was booked, including a teeny tiny playhouse with a camp stretcher in it!

1 year ago
1
Susy Bretherton

Great idea...I've always been hesitant to have a minimum price...night try it.

1 year ago
1
Elizabeth Lockwood

Susy, I actually put my price up lol. Then if you need goes back to original that you're happy with still :)

1 year ago
1
Wendy Morgan-Edwards

Hi

Sorry this is not in line with your thread....

I feel really daft asking this question but I really don't understand the difference between flexible and non-refundable rates. Can anyone help?

1 year ago
1
Kirsten Warbrooke

Hi Wendy, non-refundable is a rate for when it's booked, you charge for it straight away. Even if they don't show up you still get paid. Most people will use it if it's available - it's human nature to take the cheapest. I find I've less no shows when they book non-refundable.

1 year ago
1
Ron Hunter

Some thoughts based on our last 10 years as Motel business owners:

A property can never be too clean - outside as well as in

People do judge a property by its cover, and

By how the staff are dressed

A property can never be too clean - outside as well as in

Over time owners / Managers tend to attract like minded people

Those looking around for the cheaper accommodation are often the ones that make the most mess / noise

Courtesy is a right - for guests and staff

A property can never be too clean - outside as well as in

Be generous rather than mean with teas, coffees, soap, shampoo, toilet paper etc

Top up the room amenities every day

Greet everyone with a warm and friendly welcome - remember most are on holiday and wanting to enjoy their stay with you

Always respond to on-line reviews when and where you can (We feel anonymous reviews on b.com should be stopped - or that the property should at least be able to comment even if the writer does not)

MMMmmm, good to remember that these work well for an accommodation business - and that we need to keep them in mind too.

Hope this is helpful.

Rgds, Ron - Have a great day

1 year ago
1
Mona-Antoniett…

Hi Everyone

I have been operating my guest room for about 3 months and in the first 2 months bookings were slow, but our reviews were good. In the 3rd month we had great bookings and fantastic reviews, but in the last few weeks my bookings have dried up all together. I have advertised specials, increased my commission and still I have not got one booking for November. Please help.

1 year ago
1
Annie Brain

Hi

I have read through all the above comments and agree with all the observations. I particularly agree with the comment on anonymous reviews, I think it gives the opportunity for people to cause problems and as the owner of my business I can't defend any criticism, so I agree this should be stopped. We are in a difficult area which is not a big holiday destination, so yes pricing has to be carefully done. We have kept our prices to reflect what we offer but far below what we could charge in other areas - I think this is a fact of life. I haven't undercut competitors but have stayed in my zone (may change my views as time goes on) - it's all a bit of trial and error. I have advertised specials for November but no takers, its cold the weather is awful so maybe people are staying at home.

Don't worry Toni spring is coming and hopefully for you and us things will improve with bookings increasing. Have you thought of offering something for Christmas? Try updating your photos if you think you have better ones that are eye catching. It is also a good idea to take up on as many opportunities offered by Booking.com.

I'm new to the accommodation business so this partner forum is a very good idea!

1 year ago
1
Angus Brits

I agree... anonymous reviews should not be allowed ... owners/managers have to have a right of reply ...

1 year ago
1
Mona-Antoniett…

I agree with what everyone is saying here. I have been operating for 4 months now and it has been going very well, but I have not had a single inquiry in more than a month. My reviews are great, but like other people that do not like the anonymous reviews, I find these to be very unfair and the fact that I cannot reply makes it even more frustrating. The one guest said that he looked out on to the street, when the ocean is directly across the road. He also said that they were cold. I have a gas heater in the room and an electric blanket on the bed with 3 extra blankets, should they need them. I do not advertise breakfast, but I do provide a small continental breakfast as an added extra. When someone has given me a low rating for value for money I have phoned the people and asked why. They tell me they were disappointed with the breakfast. The biggest problem is that people do not read what they are booking. My pictures are of a very high quality and my cleanliness is of a very high standard.

I would appreciate any comments or suggestions.

Thank you to bookings.com for starting this forum.

1 year ago
1
Marie Hertzog

I agree... anonymous reviews should not be allowed and I have really no desire to reply on it.

1 year ago
1
Daniel Hobden

I would highly recommend contacting your guests on departure, offering them a discount on a future booking if they can give you some feedback on your property before reviewing you publicly. This leaves you with two scenarios:

1. The guest is happy with their stay and you kindly ask them to leave you a review on Booking.com. For this, you will give them a 5-10% discount up to the value of 'x' off of their next stay with you. This allows you to encourage a future booking from the client and you ensure you receive a good review (You must be aware this does eat into your profit margin as a strategy)

2. The guest is not happy with their stay and had some issues. You offer them a 10% discount on a future booking up to the value of 'x' as an apology for any shortcomings and try to reconcile the guest by letting them know you'll work extremely hard to provide an excellent experience on their next booking. You may find doing this that the guest will not review you harshly or at least give you an excellent staff rating. You once again encourage the guest to stay at your property a second time.

It's worth noting that giving a further 5-10% off a booking.com booking will hurt your profit margins. Sometimes you do just have to suck this up when you want to quickly create an effective campaign in reviews and damage control. At the very least you will not be losing money by doing this as having the rooms full should at least cover your running costs for the day.

1 year ago
2
Liz M Lockwood

After being a BnB host for one year now I'm not sure what I'm doing right but I must be. I've struggled with the "bad" guest reviews but I'm still at 9.6 so not too bad. I'm in the fortunate position that I know exactly who wrote the anonymous review. I've also been advised if I decide to respond not to let them know I know who they are! The ones who complain are always complainers, ...the sand was too sandy, the birds chirp too much in the country etc etc. I have started to use the promotion page and helped heaps to fill some gaps. A really good set of rules in a template and good communication before and during can be the difference between a good and bad review.

1 year ago
2
Holiday

Reviews are nowadays the most important tool for any BnB/guesthouse/hotel. In order to get good reviews I strictly follow the following rule: UNDER-PROMISE and OVER-DELIVER.

Furthermore, in order to get more bookings: try promotions, play around with visibility booster, be pro-active by trial and error and find out what works for your property. Eventually your ranking will improve and you get more bookings.

Good luck :)

1 year ago
1
Slayleigh

I missed out on an opportunity but had to pay more interest, as we are only small and doing well what commission we pay I felt was enough. However on not joining though good reviews we fell down the page and search filter. My friend suggested using twitter and instagram and FB though a pain we are back up to rankings and joined the opportunity. You could only join this if you were above 70%. Try my tactics it works it took a month to get back up :)

1 year ago
2
Bridgewatermotel

As this is our "down" season I have found that using discounted rates as a promotion only hurts our profit margin so dropping our rates as I see the trend, tends to put "heads on beds" much better and covers our daily costs to maintain stability until our high season begins in January. We receive primarily excellent reviews barring the "can't be satisfied" guest that we all get and do take the high road when responding. We are very strong on the cleanliness of our rooms and property and go beyond with staff to provide excellent - professionally friendly - customer service.

I am always interested in seeing what others are doing to promote bookings and do some interaction with our very active Convention and Visitor Bureau Event Planning Committee. Helps to give me more of a heads-up when special events are coming to town so I can change rates and perhaps reach out to market our facility.

1 year ago
1
Reception

I also agree about anonymous reviewers. It is very frustrating not being able to reply. I have contacted booking.com and provided feedback about this previously. In this day and age we should be able to rate and review guests as well. It would be helpful for us to know a little bit of history on guests. I think it would be a much fairer system. Uber do it - its a sign of the times!

I have heard other Managers say they have been reviewed and had photos put up of accommodation that was not even theirs. It is very unfair that we cant respond or defend ourselves against anonymous reviewers.

1 year ago
2
Dmitriy Bolobolov

Hi everyone!

I'd like to add some points regarding reviews and share my story. Unfortunately, it is a huge problem for private apartment's listings. I agree that as an owner I can not do business without making some mistakes and always hail constructive criticism from guests. It helps to operate in a better way. However, anonymous and reviews without comments or just untruth reviews could be very destructive for small businesses. I disagree with Booking.com position on this issue at all. They do nothing with this out of date review system just hiding under their one-sided policy. I don't understand why when you proved that there is lie in the review they ignore it? When I got one last year Booking.com refused to delete it because it was not against their policy which is actually very easy to follow. I even asked CEO to look into my case - nothing. One of Booking.com manager wrote to me: "If you want the review to be removed, then you require to terminate the agreement, after which the review will be gone forever." This case showed me that nevertheless we are paying commission and gain income for the company they value travellers much higher than us which is ridiculous. I understand that there is no sense to contact Review Team - all you can receive from them is "copy/paste" robotics answer.

The problem was that my ranking dropped dramatically after that review was published as well as reviews score - from 9.8 to 9.1. Needless to say I started to lose bookings, some guests cancelled their reservations because of its context.

The only I could do was to respond to it which is absolutely unfair in case of untruth review.

Have anyone had a successful case of deleting untruth review? Also I would highly appreciate some examples or TIP how you deal with similar cases.

P.S. I fully agree with previous msg - we must know a history on guests and be able to review them. It works great on AirBnB. Moreover AirBnB always try to help with such type of review and delete them.

Thanks!

1 year ago
2
Bridgewatermotel

I agree fully with the comment regarding untruthful and vindictive comments from a guest. Last week, my clerk called me and I could hear a woman screaming at her in the background and telling her to give her back her money. After I asked to speak with the guest, the guest, still screaming, said to just keep the money and left. I spoke with my clerk at length and determined that she had followed all protocol with the following explanation. After walking in to the room - was immediately back in the office saying she didn't like the room and was offered 2 others which she immediately rejected with no reason. The review they wrote said everything was a dump, dirty, staff was rude. All of the above statements were completely untrue and now I cannot even get that particular review at the bottom of the multitude of good reviews. We need to be able to responsibly deal with those kind of guests, which all of us have at some time, and not allow dishonesty and attempted manipulation to cause us a loss of revenue.

1 year ago
1
Helamouelhi

I agree... anonymous reviews should not be allowed ... owners/managers have to have a right of reply .. Thank you for all the comments here are very useful.

1 year ago
2
Liz M Lockwood

Some anonymous reviews I seemed to get a right to reply. Not sure how. However I don't think any reviews should be anonymous nor no right to not reply. This is a big flaw. Like I said earlier that I knew exactly who the anonymous reviewer was but then it would seem I breach a confidence if I perhaps respond with their name. As we are not allowed the luxury of knowing our guests in advance nor a profile like Airbnb does, it seems unfair that they are able to "condemn" our business. I also have another point on genius guests who feel obligated to be priveledged in some way. Perhaps another post??

1 year ago
2
Dmitriy Bolobolov

My opinion on Genius is that this is something which benefits only Booking.com. Before renting my property I was just a traveller using Booking.com periodically. After several bookings I received Genius. I received it from Booking.com not from a property or hotel. And if there was discount for Genius I always felt that it was given by Booking.com. The same time hotels, airlines etc all have their own loyalty programs. The main difference between Genius and other loyalty programs is that companies give their customers discounts, upgrading, ability to visit business halls and so on. And that is fine because they are owners of business and program as well. As far as Genius is concerned nevertheless the program is owned by Booking.com they think that we should pay for it. I wonder why? Why should I give 10% discount to Genius guests and build customer loyalty for Booking.com (not for my property) and finally lose money? If you own the program give this discount by yourself:) If I want to give a discount I'd rather add promotion for everyone. That's why I always wonder when see Genius logo on some properties.

1 year ago
2
Liz M Lockwood

Totally agree. I get guests on genius assuming early check in or late check out is guaranteed. Unfortunately I can't do that. If I use promotion is a better option for a discount

1 year ago
1
Cleaningupbop

I completely agree with all comments above especially the inability to respond to anonymous reviews . We had a 9.9 guest review (the highest in our area) until some young guy (who we are pretty sure was smoking an elicit drug in our non-smoking room) gave us 5.0 for everything anonymously, then managed to give us a 5.0 for everything AGAIN in his own name - All because he seemed to have an extreme paranoid episode!! He never actually spoke to us at all except when booking in and expressed delight at the room and the facilities!!!???

I responded with a VERY full response on the guest review I could respond to - but after MANY exchanges with Booking.com we got absolutely NO satisfaction whatsoever. We are back in the high 9's now but it was a very frustrating experience with Booking.com.

I am sure we have all mentioned these things to Booking.com when they ask for feedback - IF NOT PLEASE DO SO!!

I would agree with the suggestion of us being able to review guests, I think it only fair to have quid pro pro on this. That would make them hesitant to leave completely unfair reviews and we would become aware of drug takers, people that steal, people that smuggle extra people in, people that break or abuse the property and people that are abusive or completely unreasonable (or mentally unstable!)

Failing a new review system for guests I suggest we push for no anonymous reviews allowed and the ability to have unfounded bad reviews deleted from the system possibly a 2% maximum of deletable guest reviews so that accomodation places that are really bad can only delete the worst few.

Comments?

1 year ago
2
Liz M Lockwood

Wondering if there is a new thread about guests reviews and leaving anonymous ones please. I just received another 2 days ago and pretty sure it got a booking cancelled. TIA

1 year ago
1
Susy Bretherton

It's interesting reading these comments. We all know that to get the guests' booking we have to work hard with our marketing, our service, our competitiveness...all number of factors. And when we ask Booking.com for some assistance regarding reviews...anonymous and bad...they actually don't give a damm. When you consider there are over 9000 employees of Booking.com do you really think that the team reading our suggestions in this column are going to be able to make any changes ?........ Do they even monitor this column?

I'm sorry but although we get huge business from them, we are also spending to have our own website reach more travelers, we are waiting for Hotel Bonaza to start selling the south pacific and we are eagerly awaiting to hear back from a new start up OTA in the States....that is the only way we will get booking.com to not just listen but to make the changes they need in order to keep their "product" ....us.

So my suggestion is if Booking.com give you unsatisfactory answers.....start looking around for other OTA or do your own marketing.

1 year ago
1
Redneckemu

After reading all your comments with interest it is clear Booking.com don't give a rat's doodle about us, the people that make their money. We 100% agree that anonymous reviews should not be permitted. At the very least, we should have the right of response. It is, quite frankly, archaic. Trip Advisor is not quite as bad but it took months of complaining before they eventually removed a review that we had determined immediately was not even for our business. The customer/consumer is NOT always right and I seriously believe that it is time these booking & review sites woke up and realised exactly where their dollar is coming from! All I ask for is honest reviews and the right to answer.

1 year ago
1
Numi Solomons

We have been offering bed and breakfast for the past five years, and the anonymous review is a real pain. The majority of our guests leave 10/10, and though everyone have left pleased, and we have only had complaints about the breakfast being too large..we have had a 5/5 anonymous review which brings our average down. Why do people do this? Don't bother to leave a bad review if you can't stand up for it, and give the host a chance to reply.We treat our guests like valuable members of our family and 99/100 reciprocate, and come back, and tell their friends.It is a shame that the 1% impacts on our good score.

1 year ago
2
Liz M Lockwood

The other thing to note is if a guest just leaves a score only. You can't leave a comment on that either. For example. You cannot respond if they leave a bad location rating. I had a guest who gave me 5/10 for that. Why? Because he put in the wrong address in his GPS sending him all over the place! Gah! Not my fault especially when I make it very clear to contact me if having troubles. Sigh

1 year ago
2
Liz M Lockwood

Susy good response. Is any booking. Com staff monitoring this and got some answers?

1 year ago
2
Dmitriy Bolobolov

Obviously, Booking.com prefer not to pay attention to any uncomfortable info regarding their own. However, if all of us send links to our comments to the review team they will feel rather uncomfortable and possibly someone show up here:) Also it is possible to send comments to CEO.

Happy New Year!

1 year ago
1
Mollysretreatbandb

Greetings Folks and Happy New Year!

I have enjoyed reading all of your comments and look forward to future comments from you and others in this business.

I believe you misunderstand the anonymous comments... I have received excellent reviews from "anonymous" writers... and I truly appreciate them, while respecting their privacy... However they are only anonymous to another viewer as they are identified by their Booking.com Reservation # to you. If they leave a review you can respond to them on their reservation page as that remains open for a few weeks following the booking or you have a ph # or email address to contact them directly!.

I like this concept of keeping in touch with other hosts and realizing that we are all up against the same roadblocks and periodic frustrations! We had quite a busy summer and fall 2017 and personally have really appreciated the quiet Nov and December! It allowed us some quality time together to recoup; with family who were a bit neglected while we were going steady... and gave us opportunity to do a few minor renovations... for our own comfort during the busy guest season! Yes it is certainly a learn by trial and error method! We are in snow country and were hoping to attract some skiers over the winter but Mother Nature has just not cooperated thus far. However we have attracted some "Girls Night Out" guests; Mother and Daughter get-aways; and High Tea guests!

We will enjoy the next few weeks of tranquility as we remember how busy we were last year! We truly enjoy our shared venture as B and B Hosts... and share with you some of our policies below:

  • We give all of our guests a warm welcome;
  • Treat them with respect;
  • Ensure their room/s are clean and comfortable;
  • Feed them well;
  • Inform them of any special events in the area; Restaurants; Trails; Spas etc
  • Trust them in our home and Respect their privacy during their visit!

In return for this we receive excellent reviews that are truly appreciated as we know it takes time to leave those reviews!

I have yet to know wether or not we are expected to respond to those reviews as that could turn into yet another page to update daily; i.e. calendars; Facebook; BBCanada etc. We thank our guests for visiting when they leave and ensure they know we were happy to have them and would be delighted to have them back again!

I believe their reviews are offered as a way to keep 'other travellers' informed of 'quality stops' along their journey but wonder what you think on this!

We have been with booking.com a year and a half and enjoy a positive relationship with them...However I have had some credit card frustrations that is certainly worth a chat... but later on! ...and yes the Genius Guests Policy needs to be addressed as well! We are not a licensed venue and I believe "Free Drink" is misleading!

... until next time!

1 year ago
2
Dmitriy Bolobolov

Hi Mollysretreatbandb,

Personally I'm happy that you have not got reviews affecting your business negatively. I suppose this is the reason to be so positive on reviews including anonymous ones. All people here look at the reviews slightly globally and shared different stories both positive and negative. Unfortunately, if look at Booking.com review system we understand that it is unfair and outdated (you can find reasons and proofs around the forum). So we don't "misunderstand the anonymous comments...":)

Another example of anonymous reviews I received at once and could not identified from whom. You wrote that there is booking number but actually it is not a case when it comes to anonymous. They are anonymous for all and I disagree that we should respect such type of privacy. If to do so then Booking.com should also hide for what property anonymous review was posted:) This could be ridiculous.

And that is only one of the problem: who can tell me what was wrong with 7.5 points if during the stay none of the last several guests complained?

When I received anonym review for the first time I asked Review Team to help identify the guests so I could make improvements. They refused, as usual though. And this is another reason why I'm sure that Review Team is the most useless part of Booking.com as well as anonymous reviews.

Thanks!

1 year ago
8
Leandri Klopper

Hi all,

Windvalleys , reviews also play a role yes but some of my properties don't get a lot of reviews yet does very well. Word of mouth is a powerful tool and you need to ensure people have the right tools to spread the word about your place.

9 months ago
1
Rodbeck1

I am beginning to think Booking.com is a total waste of time. I am an American owner of a Hungarian real estate company and our properties are top notch (4 interior design features) and are solidly booked on AirBnB (previously we were doing medium term rentals for Hollywood film staff in Budapest where many Hollywood films are produced). I have 3 properties listed on Booking.com and a grand total of 3 reservations in 90 days. It is a joke. The problem is that Booking.com buries my properties deep in their search results and my calendar quickly books solid due to strong AirBnB demand. So how in hell I am supposed to make this work? It will take a year or more to get enough reviews on each property to get a respectable position in the search results. Booking.com reminds me a bit of a former employer - AT@T. Totally incapable of tackling a new industry segment in which they are not already dominant. I appreciate the fact that Booking.com has introduced synchronized calendars, online payment, etc. But it is still hopeless.

6 months ago