By The Hospitable Team
Founded in 1996, Booking.com is an Amsterdam-based company that originally focused on hotels. But since then, this online travel agency has evolved into a global platform that boasts a constantly growing inventory of vacation rental properties.
Listing your vacation rental on Booking.com gives you a massive advantage as you can reach a global audience—thousands, if not millions, of travelers. However, the vacation rental industry is highly competitive, and you need to stand out to attract potential guests.
So, what can you do to be successful on this popular OTA platform? Here are some Booking.com tips to help you get more bookings and grow your STR business.
If you’re not sure that Booking.com is the right site for you, you may want to check out our blog article about the Booking.com pros and cons.
Booking.com is one of the most visited accommodation and hotel websites, so your property can get much exposure. But you should remember that once your listing goes live, you compete with millions of other listings.
So, how can you convince travelers searching for a place to stay to book your vacation rental? Here are some actionable steps to improve your visibility and performance on Booking.com.
If a property on Booking.com is unavailable on specific dates that guests are searching for, it won’t appear in search results. Most guests plan their trips and vacations in advance, so you must provide availability for a few upcoming months. Ideally, you should extend your booking availability for a year.
It’s also important to adjust your minimum stay restrictions. For example, if your minimum stay is set to 7 nights, travelers searching for shorter stays won’t see your listing in search results. That’s why you should consider reducing your minimum stay restrictions as much as possible—ideally to one night.
If you list your home on multiple channels, update your availability as soon as possible to avoid double bookings. Doing it manually is challenging, so many hosts use vacation rental management software with channel manager functionality like Hospitable.
Our tool will allow you to efficiently manage all your listings across all your channels, including your direct booking website, from a single dashboard. Moreover, with Hospitable, you can automate 90% of your routine tasks and run your STR business on autopilot.
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Optimize your listing
The content on your property page helps manage guests’ expectations and can significantly affect the number of bookings you get. It’s important to identify the types of guests you want to attract and tailor your listing to your audience’s wants and needs.
Describe your rental space thoroughly and highlight its most appealing features. Include all your property’s facilities and amenities, even the basic ones like a dishwasher. The more details you provide about your rental, the more likely your listing will appear in search results even if guests apply multiple filters.
Upload high-resolution photos showing your property’s best features to help guests visualize their experience at your home. Include as many photos as possible of all your rooms, outdoor and surrounding areas, top amenities, and all the extra details that make your property more inviting.
Develop a strategic pricing strategy
Price is the main factor influencing most booking decisions, so you must make your rates competitive and as compelling as possible. A good idea is to offer a wide variety of rate plans. This approach increases your chances of appealing to different types of guests with different priorities.
You should always work to earn as much money as possible during peak season. But it’s also important to be more flexible with your pricing strategy during low season and find tactics that work for shoulder season.
The best way to optimize your vacation rental’s profits and performance is to implement dynamic pricing based on market supply and demand, seasonality, days of the week, lead time, etc.
Booking.com also allows hosts to create promotional rates based on different criteria, for example
- Mobile rates that offer discounts to guests who make reservations using mobile devices
- Length of stay (LOS) discounts—offer weekly or monthly discounts for longer stays
- Country-specific rate—offer a discount only to potential guests in certain countries that you want to target to encourage more bookings
- Last-minute discounts to secure last-minute bookings
- Early-bird discounts for guests who book and pay well in advance.
Encourage guest reviews
Reviews play an essential role in a potential guest’s decision-making process because they serve as an independent source of information. Most travelers read reviews written by other travelers who stayed in the property before making a reservation.
The number of reviews also matters, and guests are more likely to choose a property with 20 reviews than another with only 2. That’s why you should encourage them to leave reviews after their stay.
Remember that effective communication with guests is one of the most important aspects of their experience because it makes them feel welcome and cared for. Then, they are more likely to give you positive reviews that can help you win more bookings.
You should proactively communicate with guests to provide them with the necessary information at the right time and respond to their messages as fast as possible. Automating guest messaging using vacation rental software like Hospitable is the easiest way to do it.
Have conversations with your guests even when you sleep.
You may also want to check out our article to learn more about how you can automate Booking.com messages using Hospitable.
Provide flexible cancellation policies
While a non-refundable cancellation policy may discourage guests from canceling bookings, it also discourages guests from making those bookings in the first place. People often plan and book bigger trips weeks and months in advance, and they don’t like the idea they could lose their money if things change unexpectedly. Most guests expect flexible cancellation options and are willing to pay extra for it.
Booking.com allows hosts to use a set of policies and connect them to their rate plans. This way, guests with different priorities can choose the option that suits them most. Check out our 101 guide on Booking.com cancellation policy to better understand how to handle cancellations as a host.
Running a vacation rental on Booking.com can be a great side hustle that will provide you with a real estate passive income. But if you want to achieve financial freedom and become a successful host, you’ll need to put in effort and do your best to make the most of your listing.
Hopefully, following our Booking.com tips will make your listing more appealing to your target audience, encourage more bookings, and make your vacation rental more profitable.
You may also want to check out our blog post, where we compare Booking.com vs. Airbnb to better understand how these platforms differ and what they offer to hosts.
Managing your listing on multiple websites is very time-consuming, especially if you manage several properties, and there’s always room for human error. Luckily, there’s a more efficient way to run your Booking.com property on multiple platforms—use channel manager software.
Booking.com has a global reach and attracts both leisure and business travelers, so if you’re not there, you could be missing out on potential revenue. Read this blog to learn more about the Booking.com pros and cons for hosts and how you could use this platform for your business.
Let’s take a closer look at the messaging tools that Booking.com offers to hosts to help them save time on operational tasks and ensure that guests can have timely replies.