I have had my apartment listed on Booking.com for just under a year and generally have been very happy with the number of reservations I’ve received, considering the UK was in lockdown for three months earlier in the year.
With the country having just entered a further lockdown (for four weeks, but possibly longer), I’ve been very concerned that bookings have now completely dried up and have been doing everything I can to attract guests: acting upon virtually every suggestion Booking.com has made and dropping prices as low as I possibly can.
The main USP of the apartment is that it is completely self contained and allows guests to practice full social distancing - which combined with the way I greet new guests - and the enhanced cleaning regime we have in place - makes the apartment just about as safe a place to stay as you could possibly find. For anyone who has to travel for work reasons, it would be just about ideal. This was certainly the reaction we received from essential workers who stayed during the previous lockdown.
However, my attempt to have the apartment’s self-contained design and social distancing layout included in the opening description have been rejected by Booking.com. I pointed out that some of the things that are included in the description (eg, that “hiking and cycling” are possible in the area) weren’t really relevant and unlikely to attract potential guests to the property - but still have had my request denied.
Booking.com pointed out that Covid-related health & safety information is included in the listing and that this should be sufficient, but I believe that if your property is able to boast such features, this should be shown in the opening description. Given that owners of small properties like mine cannot compete with the facilities offered by larger hotels, this is obviously an area where we do arguably have an advantage. And while Covid remains such a major factor in people’s decision on whether to stay away from home, should be something I can draw full attention to.