Our top 20% most flexible properties get 2 x as many nights booked as the 20% least flexible.
It makes sense to make your calendar as flexible as you can. Here's some things to consider that will help you appear in more searches and attract more potential guests to your property.
Allow check-in and check-out on as many days as possible
Some property owners set a specific day and length of stay during peak holiday times, i.e. Friday to Friday, or Saturday to Saturday with a minimum 7-night booking. That may be OK for high season, but away from peak season, it is a good idea to offer potential guests more flexibility.
Think about the guest that wants to book your property and arrive on a Monday. If you don’t allow this your property won’t show up in their search and you’ll lose out on a potential booking. By allowing check-in and check-out on every day, you’ll automatically appear in all searches.
Allow short stays
While this is a continuation of what we’ve just said, it’s definitely worth repeating! Our most successful properties are the ones offering shorter stays.
The most popular length of stay is 1,2 and 7 nights. For people with a minimum of 3, 4, 5, or 6 nights, they simply won’t appear in searches made by weekend or professional travelers.
Reducing the minimum number of nights people need to stay can result in twice the number of bookings.
Before you make this call you need to really understand who you’re appealing to. If you have a large property and are appealing to groups then you can probably rely on longer stays. However, if you’ve got a smaller property and are appealing primarily to couples then you should definitely consider offering shorter stays.
Be flexible with check-in and check-out times
Although most properties stick to established timings to make sure they have time to clean and reset after visitors have been in, your check-in times don’t need to be set in stone. Consider whether you can offer guests the option of early check-in or late check-out. If so, consider whether it’s something you’ll charge for or include as a complimentary service.
Charging makes sense if you need to alter the timings of your turnaround staff (if you have them), and if they will in turn charge you for different timings. Not charging for a later check-out will keep your guests happy.
Who doesn’t love a good deal? Discounts can work in everyone’s favour, particularly if you’re offering late availability discounts to fill specific dates or low occupancy. As time draws closer to a vacant peak season weekend, lowering the price can help you attract more interest. Think about when you want to publish this lowered price - keep it close enough to the date so you give potential guests the chance to book, but not too far away to negate the original non-discounted price.
Reward customers who like to plan ahead, too. Early booking discounts for guests that book well in advance is a nice little pat on the back for them and means you also have a booking secured well-ahead of time. Discounts are also usually rewarded by the channels (e.g Booking.com) and mean you’ll automatically be ranked higher in searches, and your property may attract specific badges/icons to draw attention to the discounts.
Have a good cancellation policy in place
We all know that plans can change. Putting a good cancellation policy in place saves both sides from any confusion. Here are some options you can mull over:
- No refund for any reason or timeframe. Obviously does exactly what it says on the tin, but probably won’t make you many friends.
- Bookings cancelled at least 30 days before the start of the holiday receive a 100% refund. This is a generous offer to your booker, and also gives you a chance to re-market those cancelled days without too much panic.
- Bookings cancelled at least 14 days before the start of the holiday receive a 50% refund; a policy that means you recoup something back if you aren’t able to resell these booked nights.
- Some channels such as Booking.com offer grace periods (e.g. guests can cancel 24 hours after booking with no charge) or apply non-refundable discounts.
Be realistic if block booking for family and friends
Your property may also be a holiday home for you and your family to enjoy, but blocking out every popular holiday date from Christmas to Easter and the long Summer holidays isn’t going to get you far when it comes to making a decent profit margin. Try to be realistic in terms of when your family can visit (unless of course, you’re charging them), and when you want to make it available for paying guests. If you consistently block out swathes of dates, the property will lose its appeal, fast.
Find out more
TravelNest gets your property seen in all the right places. We can list your property on over 30 of the best booking channels including Airbnb, Booking. com, Expedia, HomeAway, TUI and TripAdvisor.