How to target new markets with country rates
Whether it’s the launch of a new airline route, an influx of travellers attending a major sporting event or simply the desire to attract more international visitors, there are a myriad of reasons why you might want to offer targeted discounts to guests from specific markets. Implementing country rates is one of the simplest ways you can do this.
Country rates explained
Booking.com’s country rates launched at the end of last year to eligible partners, and will roll out in the coming months. The product provides the opportunity to target prospective guests in specific regions with a discounted rate. “Each of our partners are uniquely different and offer guests accommodation, location and services that cater to different segments,” says Hielke van Trommel, Director of Product at Booking.com “The new country rate product helps partners attract customers from locations they may find beneficial to their business.”
It was exactly this approach that the US-based arm of resort operator CLC World took to re-engage international guests at its destinations in Florida. “Towards the end of Q4 we started to notice that they weren’t travelling as much,” says Kevyn Dones, Revenue Manager. Political events in Brazil and the snow-bergs in Canada along with weak CAD exchange rates had triggered a reduction in travellers from the respective countries, according to Dones: “We’d always had high demand from these markets, along with Argentina, so we wanted to incentivise them and win business over from our competitors. We started with Regal Oaks first and since it was so successful we went ahead with Encantada.”
Identifying the right market
A target market may emerge based on historic guest data, as in the case of CLC World, or it may be that external factors such as events that draw attendees from around the world or even country specific destination marketing activities, such as VisitBritain’s ‘I Travel For’ campaign enticing Chinese tourists or LondonandParis.com focusing on millennials in the US. These global activities can give you a steer on where there might be interest. Meanwhile, the likes of growth from emerging markets has boosted international tourist arrivals - the UNWTO reported an increase of 6% in 2018, totalling 1.4 billion visitors - indicating further opportunity to entice guests from new areas.
However, a good place to start for advice on the right markets is the Extranet: “Being a data-driven company, Booking.com has made this job a little easier for partners,” says van Trommel. “On a property's Extranet page you can take a look at personalised recommendations. They’re based on data tailored to your property and can help you easily pick the regions that are worth targeting to increase revenue.”
“After we started using country rates we were back on top with more Brazilian and Canadian travellers,” says Dones. “Our revenue went up and length of stay was good…we are still playing with it but it's successful so far, we got US$0.5m in gross bookings by the beginning of March, so considering everything that’s been happening it’s great!”
In addition to optimising revenue and high-growth markets, country rates can also help fill rooms during quieter periods and even reduce cancellation rates on the basis that international guests are often less likely to cancel because they are travelling further, generally with a longer booking window and more concrete travel plans. Partners on the Genius programme can also set country/region specific rates so that any applied discount is only available to Genius customers in these markets, providing increased search visibility.
- Country rates help partners target prospective guests in specific regions with a discounted rate
- Historic guest data, global events, destination marketing campaigns and tourism trends can all help identify markets you may wish to target
- Booking.com provides personalised recommendations based on data tailored to your property
- Partners on the Genius programme can also set country rates that are only made available to Genius guests