As more Americans are becoming fully vaccinated against the coronavirus (COVID-19), the US is lifting restrictions across the country. We see domestic bookings continuing to trend positively this year versus 2019 – a trend we expect will continue in the US through the rest of 2021.
To help US-based partners capitalize on this renewed demand, we're releasing US State Rates, which US-based partners can use to target demand across any of the 50 states. Whether you’re looking to attract locals, reach drive-in travelers from neighboring states, or secure longer stays from fly-in states, you can now tailor the discounts you offer at a more focused and granular level.
Why we developed US State Rates
The idea for US State Rates originated from our account managers listening carefully to US-based partners. During the early months of lockdown, travel restrictions in the US were extensive but also extremely varied – with some states like Florida still open for business. With such uncertainty in the marketplace, US-based partners asked if we'd provide them with discounts specifically for vacationers traveling within their local states.
We did some research around this feedback to try and match the request with our own data. And we saw that you, our partners, were right – we could be doing more to help you capitalize on these trends and fill your occupancy. We decided to extend the concept of Country Rates to the US, divided into 50 states.
A three-pronged strategy to follow
We know that 50 states is a lot of choices. But that also means ample opportunities. To help you identify which states are most relevant, we created three general principles for you to follow. These are based on COVID-19 recovery travel patterns and search data in the US.
First, you may want to target your own location. A great place to start is by measuring yourself against a direct competitive set to spot opportunities. For example, if you run a chain hotel in Florida and like to attract family travelers, competition for local families can be stiff. Using a local US State Rate could be a good way for you to gain an advantage.
Second, consider targeting neighboring states to increase conversion from interstate drive-ins. If you run an independent hotel and casino in Las Vegas, you could entice couples and friend groups from neighboring California, who show a very strong interest in this vacation hotspot.
Third, target states further away by attracting fly-in travelers, who tend to stay longer and spend more during their stays. If you run multiple vacation rental properties in sunny South Carolina, for example, you can focus on attracting people from New York and beyond for the summer season. Using US State Rates can make your long-stay offers even more attractive.
Of course, you undoubtedly know extra details about your own geography, so make sure to use that local expertise when strategizing.
How US State Rates work
The recommended 10% discount (minimum 5%) is applied to all rooms and rates, and the discounted price is only visible to customers located in the states you select. The way the price is displayed for US State Rates works in the same way that Country Rates has always worked. The discounted price is shown naturally, with no additional badging or strikethrough. You can always offer higher discounts, but when setting your pricing strategy remember that this offer stacks with Genius.
US State Rates are always on to ensure maximum bookings, but you can block up to 30 days per calendar year for each active state. To help maximize success, we’re working on additional reporting to give you the option to follow the performance of each active state rate you use within customizable time periods. Our goal isn’t just to provide you with the product, but also insights that can help you get optimal returns.
The US market is of great importance for Booking.com, and we've been investing more into the products and services we offer to US-based partners. US State Rates is a great example of how we can build an American marketplace with a rate for every state – and do that quickly and effectively by listening closely to your needs and working to fulfill them. We’re excited that this new product provides so much flexibility and can’t wait to see how our partners in the US adopt it.
- The majority of demand in the US is expected to be domestic through 2021, which you can capture using US State Rates
- The new product originated during the pandemic at the request of US-based partners who wanted more granular ways to reach bookers
- US State Rates can help you attract in-state staycationers, driver-ins from neighboring states, and long-distance fly-in travelers
- If your property is located in the US, you can get started today by creating your first US State Rate