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What one change have you seen have the biggest impact on reservation frequency/duration. Good or bad!

What one change have you seen have the biggest impact on reservation frequency/duration. Good or bad! I have personally found artistic photographs on OTAs can have a big sway over some customers. I'd love to hear about any successful oportunity centre opt ins which have gone well, does free cancellation really improve reservation, what about book now pay no deposit? Thanks in advance 😁

48 Replies

7
Thuild - Your …

Hello Steven,

I can do a list for what I've experienced so far.

Good and extremely good:
- 40% off BDC Deal of the Day
- no credit card required for last minute bookings
- no deposit required, ever
- non-refundable rates with a good discount
- rates without breakfast
- classified ads

What went wrong or was utterly horrible:
- social media promotions, bunch of money wasted for nothing
- no credit card required for bookings
- no clear cancellation policies
- guests not confirming arrival times
- letting guests book directly after they've booked and cancelled through an online channel. This can go so horribly wrong when he scams the hotel and channel.

Hope these help,
Zsolt - www.thuild.com

1 year ago
4
Pita Lie

Hi Steven

Know your own niche and your customers. Every place has different niche and customers and what work for others might work or not work for you. Spend time with your customers and talk with them so you know what they want and what they do not like.

We have very strict policy of non refundable and full deposit and we are perfectly fine with our booking. We rely on social media promotions as our niche is youngsters with age range between 18 - 25 years old that use socmed and we have more bookings than other places with similar niches in our area. So know your own strength and weaknesses are the key. Sell things what your customers want not what you want.

1 year ago
8
Leandri Klopper

Hi Steven,

Zsolt makes a fair amount of Excellent points that I agree with.

Pita Lie says it right, it will depend on what type of property you have, who is working for you, how large the property is etc. For instance Arrival times has very little impact on me but it impacts Zsolt or partners who have Guesthouses/B&B's. We have security guards at the gate that can assist 24/7 but we prefer that the clients make arrangements if they will be too late to catch the Check In time.

Ons Major change:

As our property has many chalets and have several clubs/platforms booking for the same resort it's not wise for us to accept bookings without credit cards on the day of check in. So I've made the "smart choice" by disabling the option for our guests to make a reservation without a Credit card thinking that this will make getting payment and cancelling false bookings much easier. WOW Did I experience a Massive decrease in bookings. And what I noticed was that some of the bookings coming through with a card is also not 100% solid, even though it is much easier to cancel it if it was made with a credit card.

Needless to say ...I will be righting my wrong soon, enabling 'no card required' bookings and returning to my old ways with my tail between my legs. At least I've learnt a Very nifty procedure that Booking.com has in place for us to cancel such bookings should we not get payment.

All in a day's work.

Keep well all!

9 months ago
5
Sara Jarvis

I have had more bookings since giving a discount to single travelers.

9 months ago
2
SaKats

I rent a villa in a very touristic area in Greece with very high competition from other similar properties in the area.

What I have noticed from experience or from my guests comments that has given me an advantage over the competition is first of all professional photos and having hired a decorator and choosing the most special artistic photo for the profile.

If you see my property in booking.com listings among all other similar properties in the area, it will stick out. It's not the usual photo of a swimming pool or sun terrace or stone house that are like a dime a dozen.

Secondly offering for at least 3 months before, a big discount to guests who stay for at least 5 days (not in the high season of August). Most owners near here only offer at last minute or at most a month before these offers.

Thirdly not allowing anymore last minute or local area bookings without credit card has saved me a lot of trouble with no shows.

With the booking.com programms I have noticed that leaving the Genius program has improved the quality of my guests and joining the PPP I can't overstate how much it has helped even after elevating the price to compensate for the 20% commision.

If you are a small businness owner my advice is to have a photo as your main to stick out among the crowd. Even if it's a simple beautiful photo of let's say a pink hat in the sun lol. Guests have been browsing all the listings with all similar appearances and grow apathetic at some point, you want them to click on your property even out of curiosity. Grab the attention. :)

9 months ago
9
M Adamopoulou

Sakats you have a point about pictures. I have a picture of a little lamb and my guest are very anxious to have a look as soon as they arrive!!!

9 months ago
3
cassid

I just recently did the rates without breakfast.

It came from around 10 guests who ate like locusts. They all sat down for about 2 hours and ate amounts I did not think was humanely possible,

I am doing this many years and I never limit breakfast, I would even do up packs for guests on red eyes. We are extremely generous with what we provide.

But after I had 2 guests who got bags and emptied every cereal container, took 2 fresh loaves of bread, 4 new tins of coffee, 8 yogurts, 3 types of cheese, 3 packs of smoked/regular ham, bowl of fresh fruit, 8 chocolate croissants and 8 brioche, 3 packs of crackers, 2 packs of rice cakes, 3 different types of tea, 4 different jars of chocolate spread, 30 packs of jams, 30 packs of butter and I think it was 8 homemade scones and homemade chocolate/walnut cake (the whole thing ). After this fabulous mother and son, I have just stopped breakfast, if you want it, now you pay for it. Am still a tad annoyed by these pair, they paid 40 a night ( price was incorrect but I accepted as am a nice host) They also took all the tea/coffee out of their rooms.

It was an eye opener and I don't give free food anything anymore, except for complimentary tray in the rooms

9 months ago
7
Katerinka12

Wow, amazing. Did they also bring home toilet paper and towels?

That's why I believe that every additional service must have a charge. Then people understand those rates with or without breakfast.

And something from my own experience, when I was a Guest. Housekeeping even approached me, if I would like more free toiletries? It means I will pay, and they will load me with everything they have. What does it mean? No supervision.

And I experienced that when the happy hour is not finished yet, the staff will not give you wine and even food. Different kinds of excuses. Too much of supervision.

All those situations happened in 5 star hotels and were generously paid. In second case, I stayed for 1 month and paid for lounge, not to mention other things.

And I am very sorry to say... It's just telling you my experiences, not to blame anyone, but the worth review in my hosting life I got from "mother +son"...

9 months ago
7
Katerinka12

30 packs of jams and 30 packs of butter? Wow. They definitely took advantage of you.

If you combine all those things were stolen, how much is this?

9 months ago
2
SaKats

I am surprised they didnt even steal the plates and the forks while they were at it. Amazing

Unfortunately as Katerinka said when something is free people take advantage of it with no consideration.

9 months ago
8
Leandri Klopper

cassid ,

Wow, sorry that happened to you! Thanks for sharing though. It really makes me think of vultures. Still picking the bones clean after they are full. Makes me think of another small change I've picked up on...

So the new change is not influencing bookings dramatically but I can see the reaction. Our one resort normally had a smallish Key and Breakage deposit which we have increased to a signigicantly higher amount. This was due to more and more incidents occuring where guests behave badly and then refuse to cough up the money to repair the damages.

So far I get a lot of Cancellation requests After I have processed the payment and sent them the confirmation letter where the amount for the deposit is shown. Their reactions are astounding! And all I can tell them is that, if they don't break anything then they get it back. It's a deposit. I'm not talking about breaking a drinking glass or a plate, I advise them that should they not burn the place down and dance on the smoldering ashes, they will get their money back (perhaps not so dramatic but it needs to be a Severely and Blatantly disrespectful action that will prompt us to keep the deposit).

I have it on the Fine Print (I realised no one really reads it considering the reactions I get from the guests), but my new Reservation Process now included asking the guest if they saw the amount of the key and breakage deposit Before we proceed with payment.

Very nice Topic Stevenrudge

9 months ago
2
Adagio Accommo…

At my apartment guests took away hair drier, iron (twice) coffe maker . . Bad experience

9 months ago
3
Weigelt

There's an inverse relationship between minimum stay and the total number of guests who book. If you need more money and don't mind more work, ;make your minimum stay one night. If you don't need so much money or work, make it a three night minimum.

9 months ago
2
Jonathan

A big boost for us has been to allow small indoor animals. Yes, people take advantage and their opinion of what small is may differ to what I perceive small to be. Yes, there is a bit more cleaning to do (mainly animal hair) but really there is no trace that a dog or a cat has resided in the room.

9 months ago
3
Weigelt

SaKats (above) wrote about the value of the PPP program. Not sure what that is. Can someone explain, please?

9 months ago
5
Sara Jarvis

Wow Cassie that’s theft.Im stunned, only had 4 matching cushions stolen so far but why??????they were a set of 6.

9 months ago
5
Sara Jarvis

Joey I provide high end toiletries for all guests and expect them to take them home, but since I stopped putting them in a gift basket most people do not even use them.The nice me that gave everyone a little gift basket gave up....however I buy a gift for nice guests who are really a pleasure, I gave a tin of short bread in a London bus to a girl recently she was delighted.......I’m sick of offering wine or beer to people who do not drink....it’s a minefield....easier with return guests.....2 Americans went to Harry and Meghansvwedding and forget their souvenirs which I have kept for their next trip in December.whats the funniest thing you all have had left behind by a guest?

9 months ago
7
Katerinka12

"Now I send a reminder about the security deposit on the day they are due to arrive."

Is it also in your listing? Fine print? Do guests complain about the time of the notice, which is the due date to arrive? Meaning cancelation is not possible?

Sara, it is so nice of you to provide high end toiletries as I understand your place is not 5 stars. I keep all those memories in form of toiletries from 5 stars hotels, but life goes on. I never came back to those places with exception of chain hotels.

Joey uses the same word as my caretaker - "normal". She says its normal to steal towels. That's after I bought luxury towels.

I think towels are just so easy to steal. They don't need much space,it's easy to find even into ladies purse. They are not too expensive for many people. If you will tell to police that your towels worth of 100 euros, they will not understand. Also, there is very easy escape. If caught, guest will say: oh, I took it by mistake. I brought my towels too. I thought it was mine.

What do you think of putting an embroidery with your hotel name? Do you think it will prevent theft?

9 months ago
7
Katerinka12

Thanks for the detailed explanation. We are working now on policies, so please expect many questions from me :)

Putting an embroidery will not stop stealing but somehow can minimize that? Would anyone enjoy to worry of being caught with carrying someone else's towels just because there is a name on it, which already a proof that this item belongs to someone else.

And how about branding? Being professional? Embroidery doesn't cost much...

9 months ago
7
Katerinka12

Nice thought! The bottom line is.. If they want to steal, they will steal

9 months ago
8
Leandri Klopper

Hi Joey ,

lol well done. Yeh, we literally have ATM's on some of our resorts and the clients still refuse sometimes. But then it's very easy, if you refuse to pay then we refuse that you stay.

I would like to throw my towel-opion in here. All of our resorts have branded towels. At the security gate the guards sometimes do spot checks, and it will be very clear to see if the guest took one of our towels. Yes, sometimes the one car that the guards didn't check will have taken a towel but you buy it in bulk. So then it's not that expense. (Keep in mind, I'm talking from the point of view of large resorts).

Keep well!

9 months ago
7
Thuild - Your …

Not sure how much your towels cost, but I never had a single one stolen before. Hope to keep it like this.

Actually, we only had a USB charger stolen once, that's all in the almost 2 years since we function.

Guests left more here than the value of that USB charger :)

My towels are of a premium quality and I got them really cheap because I also bought them bulk and directly from the source, so a big 140x70 cm towel cost us $6.

However, I do provide the guests with 25 toiletries and accessories (mostly accessories). So they have about everything they would need. Only twice it happened that someone took all of it. These are all included in the price so it seems that my guests don't like taking things.

Cheers,

Zsolt - www.thuild.com

9 months ago
9
M Adamopoulou

I agree with Katerinka12 if they want to steal they will steal. Guests like that.

9 months ago
7
Katerinka12

Did that happen to you? I hope no! Please, share your experience

9 months ago
7
Katerinka12

Its amazing how we take good care of the guests... In my apartments you can find toiletries both for man and woman. Different size - from small to big. Big choice of tea, as I am a tea lover. It's hard to get tea in this country, but foreigners think it's normal thing to provide. Basics for cooking such as oil, salt and spices. Sugar, of course. I don't advertise these things, but no one ever left me review or thank you note for that. When we had luxury towels (forgive me I keep mentioning this), no one said thank you for that. I was hoping to get nice bath robes and... What for? I could remember the face of the guests when they arrived they said: wow! Oh l, my God.. And they were not young. Yet, no one of them left any kind of review.

If you don't know... When I travel, the housekeeping offers me for a small tip ANY amount of free toiletries. That's why you need a proper accounting for everything.

9 months ago
7
Katerinka12

Joey,

Great to hear you love the tea. So, now it's complete - tea, wine and budget for beer :)

My caretaker gets tips. Sometimes it's very cultural thing, to give or not to give tips. She said she gets them often. Those real businessmen and real frequent travelers do realize that having a personal butler in other countries will cost them huge money. So they give tips instead :)

Dear forum members, how many stars do you have? As Booking branded my units with 2 stars, I realized that I went too far offering luxury things that are more subject to be stolen rather than appreciated (especially in review).

My latest problem that the guests complain that shuttle is not our own and demand the shuttle wait for them personally in airport! I receive such "special request" once in 3 days.

9 months ago
9
M Adamopoulou

I am also a tea lover and have a great selection of Greek herbs but since my place is opened fr April to October none of my guests prepare tea. They prefer coffee that for I offer a range of coffee brands.

9 months ago
9
M Adamopoulou

Katerinka12 No nobody has stolen anything from my place. I hope it never does happen.

9 months ago
7
Katerinka12

"Katerinka, I have no stars - am I supposed to have any?"

Well, I have never asked Booking to give me any stars. However, I see two circles near my property name.

If you are confused on how to find it, use filter with stars on the left. From there you will see where your property falls to... 2 stars or what stars..

9 months ago
7
Katerinka12

"Katerinka12 No nobody has stolen anything from my place. I hope it never does happen."

I hope it will always be like that for you and fellow hosts - no stolen things!

As Zsolt said everything should be Preventive... As minimum it is keeping all the receipts of stuff you buy. As maximum it's insurance. And photos are the must. That will work with Airbnb asking for refund for stolen things, though not guaranteed outcome. They have requirements that hard to meet.

As for Booking, taking security deposit should solve the problem. And hosts performance such as inspection during check out, proper identity check of the guest and overall taking the risks.

9 months ago
2
SaKats

I think it is a bad idea to have embroidery on the towels. It will encourage stealing as souvenirs instead of preventing it unless you do checks on their luggage.

Some of the other villas here have had even spoons and pillow cases stolen..as "souvenirs". I have no idea how a spoon can be a souvenir but whatever.

For me 1 out of 3 guests steals the whole jar of thyme honey and 1 out of 5 the bottle of olive oil and homemade marmalade. Some do ask when they are leaving -having already taken it in their bags btw, and then there's no way to refuse them and make them take it out. Otherwise a horrible review will be guaranteed.

I have noticed that a certain nationality (not from east asia) takes also all the tea even if it's a full can, the tin of the espresso. coffees and everything you leave for them in the kitchen except the sugar and therefore after having it happen repeatedly and no matter the price cheap or more expensive high season, when I have guests from that country I put out the minimal quantities if not at all.

I don't want to be racistic but facts are facts!! Blame your compatriots who act like hungry wolves.

I have guests buy me a necklace as gift,a russian orthodox religious picture, summer flowers in a clay pot, teas and vodkas from their countries,postcards and lots of wines but they are ppl who usually have stayed a week+. Because I live next door I get close to my guests and sometimes I even offer them a free homemade dinner so it's their show of their appreciation but it's very rewarding to see that you are appreciated.

8 months ago
5
Sara Jarvis

Sakats what a brilliant way to make money.......put your home made marmalade into little jars with a ribbon and a label of your listing.....and anything else you can make. With a polit note listing prices.I stay at an Air BBB in Spain where they make jams etc and I bought loads to give as gifts even honey etc......

HOW TO STOP STEALING OF FOOD

PUT THE JAMS ETC INTO INDIVIDUAL PLAIN RAMICANS OR ANY SMALL OPEN JARS BUT ENOUGH FOR INDIVIDUALS FOR BREAKFAST.

I buy all butter jams etc from a wholesaler as individual portions same thing with soaps shampoo etc...and like I’ve a lot of you I’m a tea drinker.I offer breakfast tea and herb teas, coffee I offer either instant like Joey or nesspresso pods that are single use only, even peanut butter is sold in single wrapped packs.If you have monogrammed bathrobes, do the same as hotels offer them for sale to be added to the bill.

8 months ago
7
Thuild - Your …

Skats,
There is a reason why hotels give small portioned everything.
When you portion things, you don't get stolen on bulk, because it's impossible.
Find a company that provides small portioned things and put those for guests.
And as mentioned above, you can portion certain things yourself in small ramekins, so they cannot take them with themselves if they want to, because that is not suitable to pack.

Again and again, think preventively.

I don't have people stealing stuff because I make it hard for them. Simple as that.

Cheers,
Zsolt - www.thuild.com

8 months ago
5
monet208

When our brilliant Review score goes down dur to a poor score from a guest who tells lies and Booking.com refuses to remove it despite our proving to them the guest has lied.

That's when our bookings dip for a little while

Its takes us months to get our review score back up into the high 9's

BUTS WHATS NEW - WE ALL KNOW BOOKING.COM WILL NOT REMOVE LIES IN A REVIEW EVEN IF YOU PROVE THE GUEST HAS LIED

Booking.com know what is wrong with the review system including anonoymous reviews,partners not being allowed to reply and lies from guests remaining

SADLY THE CEO ,MD and SENIOR MANAGEMENT DO NOT GIVE A DAMM ABOUT US !

( sorry about the strong language but others comments back me up 100% )

8 months ago
2
Keba Wilson

I have same problem
An B.D.C not take down the review she lied I write them that this lady..is not tell the truth all because
U don't let they have there own..the hook up a bad review..

8 months ago
7
Katerinka12

Well, in India when you check into the 5 star hotel, they scrutinise all of your things. And when you go to the the mall, the female should go the special area where she will be touched by security guards (females) to check if she carries anything illegal. That's how they take care of security.

8 months ago
7
Katerinka12

As for Zsolt comment, it's brilliant. Nothing to add.

8 months ago
7
fluff

Theft is always a problem. We already use the small portioned toiletries, ancillary breakfast items and tea/coffee supplies.
We have also found it necessary to carefully check the rooms of checkouts before the guest leaves, for theft and breakage. Low season has been especially bad with us having to charge guests for the above, as per our policies displayed prominently at reception. The guest's check in form also includes a clause, standing out next to the signature box, agreeing to said policies.
It's a shame that we have found it necessary to protect our business this way, especially as short stays are the worst offenders so without it we would make a loss on such stays that offend.

8 months ago
8
Leandri Klopper

Hey all,

Joey , totally understandable. We're used to it and it's good that you pointed that out from an international point of view. Some of our international guests might not be too happy if they get stopped and spot checked.

However, it's not as Thorough as Katerinka12 's explained they do in India. The guards will ask the guest to pop the trunk, take a gander (not opening any suitcases etc) and only if they see something suspicious will they ask the guest to pull over to the side for a proper search (which very rarely happens).

8 months ago
7
Thuild - Your …

Feels like airport security to me :)

Anyway, best is to be able to charge guests for what they do, so you don't have to put them through all the shaming (even if they sometimes don't think that it might go that far).

Cheers,

Zsolt - www.thuild.com

8 months ago
9
M Adamopoulou

Oh my god it seems very tight indeed. Even airports don’t have such strict measures. I never have faced check control in any hotel I have visited around the world. I’m really surprised that this happens in South Africa.

8 months ago
7
Katerinka12

South Africa has a long history of discrimination and racial conflicts. I am not surprised at all they have tight security. It's for the guest benefit anyway.

After terrorists attacks in any country any good hotel (5 stars) starts implementing very strict measures. Just recently I stayed in Istanbul and the security was also very tight.

8 months ago
8
Leandri Klopper

Hi All,

Haha yes, this has sparked quite a reaction. Funny enough I think our security meassures are super mild. Probably because I'm used to much worse.

Before you can go into the sportpark (like Loftus) to watch rugby, you literally get frisked and all your possessions are packed out before they allow you to go through Heavily guarded (and very heavy) security gates.

Our resorts aren't that bad.

8 months ago
9
M Adamopoulou

Yes Leandri you sparked me in the beginning but as Katerinka12 mentioned terrorists are all over the world. It’s very natural that Hotels have implemented so strict measures.

8 months ago
1
Auther1988

try to control ur promotion depend on ur area and target customer base

5 months ago