The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has caused unprecedented disruption in the travel industry, forcing travellers to cancel or postpone holiday plans. As lockdowns lift and the world prepares to travel again, families are gearing up for long-delayed trips. To help you attract and market to this lucrative market, Booking.com has recently introduced child rates and improved the way rooms are configured on the platform, which should make it easier for you to attract both families and those who travel together as a group.
Ready to travel again as a family
Recent Booking.com survey data* indicates travellers are keen to reconnect with family and friends during their next trip, particularly respondents from the US, 35% of whom place a trip to visit family second on their list of preferences - behind the top choice for all respondents, a beach vacation.
The survey indicates that, on average, over one-third of travellers have delayed booking a vacation due to the Coronavirus, with more than half cancelling their travels outright. Although most still plan to book again or use the money for a future trip, about one-fourth of respondents say they will save the money or spend it on other purchases. As prior to the Coronavirus outbreak, travelling with a partner or children will be the preferred choice for most travellers. In addition, fewer people surveyed plan to travel solo than before.
This focus on family travel combined with an emphasis on saving money suggests that properties that offer family-friendly rates may be better positioned to capture demand during the recovery.
Added flexibility for marketing to families
“We knew from listening to partners that they wanted more flexibility around selling rooms to families,” says Marc Linneweber, Product Marketing Manager for Booking.com. “Now, partners can offer comprehensive and inclusive child rates and better target families without having to compromise on audience reach or pricing.”
Previously, partners could only set pricing for children at the property level. Now they can define child rates by room and based on the age of a child. While partners can now fully customize their property and listings towards families, this change also results in increased transparency in pricing and available rooms. “This change allows the full price to be clearly displayed to families throughout the booking process, so pricing for children is always included in the total amount,” says Linneweber.
Fewer surprises at check-in
The enhanced clarity from child rates is also meant to help reduce friction at check-in. “We have heard of instances of guests being surprised during check-in because room allocation and applied pricing caused confusion,” says Linneweber. “Obviously, this can lead to a bad guest experience, but it can be equally painful for partners.”
Before these changes, it was possible for guests to be overcharged if a child was inadvertently priced as an adult. In other situations, a family might be undercharged if the wrong room was recommended to a guest. Now that child rates allow partners to price children by age and per room, as well as clarify the maximum occupancy of a room for all the different scenarios of adults and children staying, there should be fewer surprises at check-in.
This enhanced transparency can also help reinforce limitations around the availability of cots or roll-away beds, which not all partners are able to provide.
Setting your property up for success
Partners can set up child rates from the Policies section of the extranet, which will only be active if policies, prices and rooms are set up for families. But once those three elements have been configured, you can begin serving up their family-friendly rooms to bookers.
* Research commissioned by Booking.com and independently conducted among a sample of 4,707 adults in US, UK, DE, FR, IT who have taken a trip in the last 12 months. Respondents completed an online survey between 24th April and 1st May 2020.
- Recent Booking.com survey data indicates travellers are eager to reconnect with family and friends during their next trip
- With child rates, pricing can be clearly displayed to families throughout the booking process so pricing for children is always included in the total amount
- Child rates allow partners to price children by age and per room, as well as clarify the maximum occupancy of a room for all scenarios, resulting in fewer surprises at check-in
- Partners can set up child rates from the Policies section of the extranet, which will only be active if policies, prices and rooms are set up for families