When it comes to welcoming back guests, it pays to be prepared. With early yet encouraging signs that travellers are beginning to plan and book again, we see that reservations are for the most part domestic or local, with people all across the world either booking last-minute as they feel the desire to travel again, or indeed planning out vacations far in advance (up to 16 months ahead).
With all that in mind, we have collected our best tips and tricks to get you started on your road to rebuilding long-term success with Booking.com by offering the right availability in your calendar.
This can be summed up in three simple and understandable steps:
- Set up your rooms (or units if you are, for example, a home-type partner) in your calendar.
- Load rates and availability for all your rooms or units.
- Attach policies so that guests can make informed decisions.
Main takeaways: receiving bookings starts with having all your rooms and/or units set up and available in your extranet calendar. Take the time to get this right - and while you set up your rooms to engage with your familiar guests (depending on who you are, this could be students, couples, families, and so on), always try to attract all types of travellers to ensure you capture the returning demand.
- Make sure all rooms and/or units you have are added into the system. This is done by navigating to the ‘Property layout’ or ‘Room details’ sections, both found in the extranet under the ‘Property’ tab.
- You can also change your room types - and even room names - to better reflect what you offer guests.
- Make sure you add (or remove) amenities and facilities so that guests have an accurate understanding of what they can expect.
- Last but not least, we encourage you to tailor to families - as we expect them to play a very big part in the recovery of the travel and hospitality industry. And a first step is making sure your rooms are set up to accommodate children.
Main takeaways: after you create a room or make your unit live, you must attach rate plans and set your prices in order to be able to have guests book it. Without these in place, your listing will not show up on our website.
- Make sure that you are live and bookable. Your property may not be available after a long closure so make sure you re-open.
- In order to not miss out on potential bookings now that guests are travelling again, extend your availability beyond the very short term to capture the rising demand.
- We strongly recommend that you load availability for the immediate short-term - but also for the future by adding clear available dates up to 16 months in advance. This way, you will attract last-minute bookings, as well as well planned out trips from your guests.
- Learn and understand the types of rates available, and leverage them based on your goals and inventory.
- You can easily load your availability and rates by navigating to the ‘Calendar’ tab in your extranet, under ‘Rates and availability’, and following the steps outlined here. Pulse also offers ways of updating your rates on the go.
- Lastly, if you are present on other travel websites and use a connectivity provider (also known as a channel manager), you can simply map your rooms or units to your desired provider and have your availability synchronised everywhere at once.
Opening and closing rooms for certain dates
- Depending on the type of calendar view you are using (either list or month-view), you can follow the steps outlined here to open or close rooms in your calendar, so they will be available only during the specific periods you choose. This can also be done in the Pulse app.
- Remember, while reservations are instantly confirmed, you can always block dates - either in the extranet or on the Pulse app.
- Your rooms and/or units must be properly set up to accept multiple occupancies - from a single person, to a couple, a group or family, and so on - depending of course on your available beds and amenities. You can change this easily right in your calendar.
- Depending on occupancy levels, you can also select different rates based on how many people will stay in each room.
Main takeaways: policies bind everything together, so help guests make the right decision on which rate to book by choosing the right policies for each rate.
- Whether you have a single property or multiple ones, changing policies and house rules is easily done in the extranet. Simply navigate to the ‘Property’ tab, and click on ‘Policies’.
- The types of policies you can implement vary and can either be about your property, or about your bookings.
- When it comes to booking policies, we strongly suggest you consider the right cancellation policies to protect you against losses.
The principles behind this guide stand as the backbone for a solid plan. If anything, remember this: your availability is based on your number of rooms, the rates attached to them, and their policies - and finding the right mix will help you stand out.
But above all, your experience, generosity, warmth, and hospitality will make the greatest difference, and help set you apart again.
With the world recovering, it’s now your turn. But you are not alone. From all of us at Booking.com: we are here on this journey with you, and we will rebuild together.