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And yes having a property management system really helps a lot. I only pay $100 dollars a month and oops I am saved from overbookings. And it’s easy to update pricing and availability - it’s just one click away and it will update the whole system. It’s a smart idea to have it esp if you have plenty of rooms.
Great learning from all of you guys.
In my case I set up a standard rates for the whole year round. But I increased prices on certain dates where there is demand and less supply. I made adjustments already for dates like chinese new year, summer time, holy week and other holiday and important events and long weekends.
I also check on the booking behaviors of my clients. I have noticed they booked usually during the day of check in. So to attract guests to book at my hostel I give discounts and lower the rates of same day bookings but the rest of the nights are actually standard rate. It’s how I catch fishes in the ocean haha.
I keep tracking also of competitors activity if they have a lot of bookings during that day. That way I would understand my sales in general.
I just don’t lower my prices just because the other competitors are super low. I know my standards and what we offer compared to other hostels. Knowing my worth and what we offer makes us confident in making such prices : aircon dorms, free movie nights with free pop corn, high quality and charming staff, clean and organized, and well maintained facilities.
Poor pricing means poor maintenance and low quality staff. Simple logic - you have to consider the operation cost to make your business well functioning. If you sacrifice the price way below the standards that means sacrificing some expenses that are vital in hotel functions.
Plus I also consider mg ratings over other low price competitors. If mine is 8.3 rating with $8 per night (aircon dorm) vs 7.4 ratings with $5 per night (fan room) - the number would speak for itself. We are not cheap and we have standards hehe
Thank you Zsolt of Thuild. Part of the revamp I am doing is actually a new web design. He knows also the UX thing and I have separate people working on web development and SEO.
We are also working on it to be mobile since majority of the bookers esp on the spot or the day booking will book via mobile.
Once it’s up and running I’ll have google ads. But first we will do everything to prevent bounce rates and keep them on our website until they book with us.
As to branding we are also brainstorming with my marketing team to have an edge among other backpackers. Something that only us can offer and of course maintaining that positive vibes, great energy, homy place and nice and vibrant atmosphere.
Hi Michael, in cases like this. You can message the client directly so they can cancel it on their own. For dates that you are not around and once cancelled by rhe guests just block it in your booking system.
Sometimes if the reason is having lower rates on peak season because they booked earlier, I will immediately email them. I am sorry, just cancel the booking coz I have overbookings I have no room allocation for you. I am so sorry for the inconvenience but I believe at this time if you cancel this one no charge and you can still find available rooms on booking. So when it’s cancelled I can open it for higher rates or temporarily blocked it in the system.
For the past 3 years that I have been running my business I know the fluctuations of sales and noted the super peak season. I manually changed the price in my channel manager or booking in your case 25-30% higher than usual. I don’t double the price coz I have to consider my facilities and accomodation otherwise it would go back to bad reviews. I am careful with price adjustments. Hehe
In the modern trends of travelers they are usually looking for that great experience. It doesn’t have to be things that they should get, it’s a great service. I am having a 2 star hostel accomodation but I and my team is always up in giving a 5 star hotel service.
I gather people on my amenity area during the night. It could either be that we have free movie nights or pop corn night or maybe drinking nights or just purely playing games. I make sure we socialize and get to know our guests.
I presume all guests have read what they are getting when they booked. Coz everything is there, if in case they were not able to read it I will show it to them as a reminder. But of course we communicate it in a nice way.
There was a client who was complaining I don’t have an aircon or something - I just said actually what you booked is a fan room if you want we have aircon room available at a higher price. You get what you pay for. And yeah it sucks with this type of client. Having the low budget but expecting for a 5 star hotel accomodation. I think it comes with their attitude. 😂
Well the best thing you can do for the guests to give great reviews is to give the best service possible.
At my hostel I do it naturally, I always invite them for a free movie nights on big screen with free pop corn every night at my hostel. If I am fully booked I give free drinks to everyone and socialize with them. If I have guests who stayed longer and kept on extending I make sure I have great dinner with them of course it’s my treat as way of thanking them. I socialize with them. I asked them of their experiences. I make friends with them. And when they say good words about my hostel during our conversation, I would immediately say oh thank you so much for that great compliment I hope you can write it on our booking reviews and tripadvisor also. I would be very happy and grateful. That way it’s authentic, and for real and very natural.
And of course I am not in my hostel all the time so what I do to make sure the service is greatly provided by my staff. I give my staff an incentives, ok guys once you get 5 excellent stars on tripadvisor and 10 perfect scores on booking I will give you bonus at the end of the month. That’s my trick for them to continue what I am doing. Well, it’s always a motivation factor to always give sinething when they were able to do great things and they feel appreciated and valued.
With the strategies that I am making. I became #1 among 13 budget hotels in the island via tripadvisor and so far having 8.3 score on booking ( the top among my competitors, next to me is 8.1, 8.0 , 7.5 , 7.4, 7.0 and 6.5). Still on top of the game.
Always make sure to have reviews because our business is very dependent on these factors:
1. Booking reviews and ratings
2. Price and location
Once you hit tha right. You will be on top of the game!
You can read the comments that I have written few days ago.
Keep reading articles in CLICK. Booking usually sends email for every new article being published. That’s where you can learn from different business owners with different experiences in making their business succesful. And most importantly always ask advice from guests on ways to improve your place. And last but not the least, focus on great customer service coz if you do you’ll have an amazing road towards great reviews and ratings. And that would result to more bookings.
Best of luck!
Wish you all the best
Hi Zsolt of www.thuild.com,
Sometimes you have to coordinate with the tourism department in your place.
Every place in our country are being featured through the help of of influencers and bloggers and of course with the big support from government officials. They can spend money for the tourism industry. More income for you means more income for the government also. Booming tourism in every place would add more jobs esp to the locals and that’s they wish to happen also. So it’s a win win situation.
Or you can even invite social media influencers who has a drone. Try to lists all the tourists spots they can feature in your place, beautiful areas to visit, chill and relax and of course feature your place. What’s in it for them if they will stay. Some influencers are ok with ex deals, free stay and accomodation with free food to feature your place. Some would ask a little extra but that won’t hurt you so much.
I have invited one social media influencer locally based and I got almost 300,000 views hitting the local market. Now I am also thinking of an international influencer hitting the international market in different nationalities with lots of followers. I have also invited 20 bloggers to write something about my hostel. That gives me so much exposure since 2016. Google wise my hostel will pop out from the search engine. I also have a website where I paid an SEO to rank with the searches. I’ve done all possible marketing strategy just to be on top of the game.
When I bought the place, it was just a house and converted it to a hostel. I was super nervous because of my loans and orher bills and obligations. Good thing I partnered with booking and I just hit the right market through their help. It was a roller coaster experience at the beginning and super risky but everything is all worth the sacrifice. No pain no gain.
I’ve learned from businessman having the same business as mine in my neighborhood. I make friends with them. We work as a team in our tourism industry. For me they’re not a threat coz I have a different market and my presentation online is quite different in terms of marketing strategy.
And thank you to click coz I am now learninga lot. There’s no other way to be more succesful but to keep improving and improving and make your clients happy 😉
Jose aka Jr