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The view from our Sea View accommodation. AKWADOR GUEST HOUSE (Malta)
I think we can all agree that honesty is the best policy. A guest who feels you hid this fact from them is not a happy guest!
The end of the year is not the busiest for us - our peak is March - October - but I understand the question.
We revisit our rates and look back on the previous system and re-evaluate our rates for next year. Especially useful is the comparison software provided by Booking.com to compare our rates to competitors - we made changes during the year based on this. You really want to launch with correct rates so advance bookings are accurate as possible and you are not undercutting yourself!
Something we also do during the quieter 'off season' when rooms are empty, and that is the time to wash walls, repaint if necessary, fix things that fell apart but could not be fixed properly while guests were on site. I had two rooms where we had water leaks - fixed but requiring post fix decoration. We hid the unpainted plaster from a fix behind a chest of drawers! Not ideal, but the plaster has to dry out and we had no opportunity to repaint the wall while the room was booked up solid!)
It is also the time to review your linen, rugs and items of furniture - check plastic balcony chairs - they start to get fatigue cracks for the UV light and people 'riding' the chairs on two back legs. Replace if they look dodgy - cheaper than a claim if one should break with a guest on it!
I am not an expert but I would say Booking.com do this to advertise your property - this is not something you get directly involved in. There may be certain criteria that Booking.com use to determine whose property they will market - based on an algorithm which takes into account review points, internal points regarding your photos and information and their rating of your property in your area. All you can do is to ensure your extra net details are up to date and maintained.
Anyone from Booking.com to verify my take on this?
Something else you might want to consider is targeting business users where the off season weather is not an issue. An example is conferences (ideal if you have a dining hall that will convert into a conference hall). Other ideas are interest groups, we have had language courses, seminars of budding authors, and hypnotherapy courses, amateur painters etc.
I imagine the sky is the limit. Find these groups and offer discounts on group bookings. You then get to be full out of season - groups tend to all go out together so cleaning the rooms is easier as you don't have the 'don't disturb' brigade holding up room cleaning until they wake up.
Reply to Katerinka12
"we are the only accommodation that gives each guest a welcome tour of their room"
How do you advertise it? Or that's for your loyal (returning) clients?
Reply: We don't actually advertise it - however it is mentioned consistently in our reviews as a positive. We treat ALL guests the same, whether 2 weeks or 1 day, they get the tour. An acute observation of body language tells me to either to make it snappy or indulge the guest with a half hour long discussion. :-)
I am surprised, that you are only the one with best view and yet other properties are overbooked and you are not full.
Reply: We are full. But it is almost impossible to avoid 1 or 2 day gaps between some bookings which we then open up to short term bookers. Our main competitor has a 60 room hotel and various reception staff - they quite often get overbooking (a bad thing!) and phone us for help in accommodating them. We are much smaller and have a channel manager plus monitor each arrival by placing them into a spreadsheet. We therefore spot over bookings almost immediately (only 4 in total in 5 years) - all mistakes were usually caused by not reopening a cancellation correctly or a channel manager connection problem at time of booking.
I see your point, however why should we pepper our accommodation with multiple single days that then prevent other guests from booking 3 days to two weeks because we have a multitude of single days slap bang in the middle of when they wish to stay with us?
The majority of our guests are trying to come here for a full holiday (sometimes a full 14 days) whereas the majority of single day guests are simply using us as a stopping point because we are near the airport and the rest of their holiday was booked elsewhere.
We are therefore a little mercenary (for good reason) in our policy and it works well. If we have single and two day 'gaps' - we THEN open those rooms to people who are seeking them - but not before we have given our long stay guests the opportunity to book.
At the end of the day, as much as we are in the business of making the most for our guests, your emotions should not interfere with good business sense.
Don't lose too much capital by being overly generous to guests.You are running a business not a charity. We therefore do not just throw discounts in willy nilly.
Simple things like complimentary bottle of water or wine can go a long way. There are other ways too - as we check people in we need their ID for the Eco Tax. This gives us their dates of birth and if they have a birthday during their stay, we put a vase with a rose in it accompanied with a birthday card from us.
Customers leaving us quite often give us bus cards with unused journeys on them - we pass these to selected guests - usually cash strapped youngsters who are appreciative of the gesture - it costs us nothing.
Of course, returning and regular guests can be given extra treatment - here we offer free transfers, and will reduce the rate for a return booking.