Being a part of the guest-facing industry, we understand that your offerings should suit your guests. This means you will have to evolve when their travel and hotel booking pattern changes. Now talking about changes in today’s guests’ hotel reservation pattern – have you noticed that last-minute online hotel booking is slowly catching up? No? See these self-explaining stats –
- 44% of leisure travelers and 56% of business travelers in the US book their accommodations last minute, close to their travel date
- 72% of mobile bookings on the OTA site and app were made within just one day of the stay.
While leisure travelers are driven by the impulse to make last-minute travel plans, business travelers have this sudden work-related urgency that prompts them to do the same.
Let’s guess this – you are now thinking about leveraging this trend and capturing more last-minute hotel reservations, which is correct. If not you, then who else will think about selling more room to increase occupancy at your property?
Here are few tips to get more reservations from these last-minute travelers who are no longer making accommodation bookings well in advance –
#1: Offer last-minute rates
These are your discounted rates. Create a booking window deadline of 24-48 hours and offer a specially discounted price. This will help you attract more travelers who are looking for last-minute hotel deals. Create a buzz around this offer via social media promotion, email newsletter, and paid ads.
Assure your audience that your services are top-notch as ever, even when your prices are slashed. Don’t take more than 1+1 night or 1+2 nights booking under such deals because you don’t want your guests to stay for longer room nights at discounted rates. Make sure that your last-minute rate is not leading to the cancellation of existing bookings.
#2: Pay attention to SEO
In this digital era, you can only sell if you can showcase what you have to offer. Make sure that your approach here is spot on, and your potential guests can find you in their research phase. Almost everybody uses search engines to find accommodations. This makes it imperative for you to have an excellent SEO strategy. For example, include popular keywords like “your last-minute deal is here” and “last-minute hotel deals” in your copy. Have your digital marketing team take care of this activity.
#3: Work on paid ads
This is quite crucial. You pay to appear on the top of the SERP, your audience will find you for sure. For example, when somebody types “Best last minute hotel deals in New York” in the search bar, your hotel’s ad should come at least in the top 3 positions. You may consider leveraging Google Adwords to create a last-minute exclusive page. With this, you will be able to drive people from the Google search page to your website.
OTAs are your reliable sources for getting reservations. You may explore the idea of paying for appearing on the top of OTA search and consider running ad campaigns around your last-minute deals and offers. It is always better to fill in your rooms at the cost of OTA commission rather than leaving them unsold. Work with your revenue management team to factor in the OTA commission while deciding the discounted rate. Just don’t forget to work with a channel manager to ensure real-time distribution on connected OTAs.
#5: Tie up with last-minute hotel reservation apps
With a simple search, you will find many apps in this space. Riding high on today’s travelers’ “mobile-first” approach, these apps have grown big, with thousands of hotels as part of their network. You need to list your property on those apps, push your last-minute rates. This increases your brand’s visibility on those popular apps, and you stand a chance to tap into their (those apps) popularity to sell more rooms.
#6: Adopt an online hotel booking engine
Your hotel website and social media pages have the potential to get your increased last-minute hotel bookings. For this, you need an online hotel booking engine. Once the integration is done, you can package your last-minute rates/offerings with add-ons, create a convincing incentive, and promote them via your website and social media pages. For example – offer your guests a free meal voucher when they book a last-minute deal. Moreover, you don’t even have to pay a commission to anybody for last-minute bookings generated via your own sales channels.
This is a win-win situation for all the stakeholders in this ecosystem. While you get to increase your occupancy instead of going vacant, your guests get to experience your hospitality at incredible discounts. Plus, when you work with OTAs and last-minute hotel booking apps, they also get to increase their revenues.