Properties offering competitive, transparent and attractive rates will be more likely to draw travelers’ attention to make bookings. The key to success is that showing the right price at the right time in front of the potential travelers. In order to implement this, properties need to combine different types of rate plans throughout their pricing strategy, regularly review and apply appropriately for relevant seasons and finally observe the optimized results in regards to booking increase and higher occupancy.
There are fundamental factors in a rate plan that properties should focus to customize:
- Price: the charge of each room or unit that bookers must pay for.
- Rooms: the room or unit types included in a particular rate.
- Validity: how long before the check-in date a rate is available.
- Length of stay – how long guests need to stay for a rate to be valid.
- Cancellation – the date when a full or partial refund is allowed until, and under what circumstances.
- Meals – whether a rate includes certain meals, such as breakfast.
You can customize these factors and combine them for your purpose to create the best rate plan for the specific occasion. Here are some popular rate plans which help you attract travelers’ interest and drive more bookings.
This is one of the two main types of base rate plans which are designed on OTA Booking.com. During time of uncertainty, this is most chosen by travelers because of its highest flexibility provided. Since it allows travelers to cancel bookings free of charge in a certain period of time before the check-in date (normally at least 7 days before check-in) and travelers are willing to pay a little more for extra peace of mind, this fully flexible rate tends to be the most expensive among other rate plans.
Booking.com has facilitated properties to provide the highest level of flexibility for guests with Flexible – 1 Day which allows bookers to cancel for free up to one day before their arrival date, if they cancel within one day of arrival, they’ll be charged the cost of the first night. Properties can apply this rate type especially in the low season or very volatile time.
The remaining type of the base rate plan on Booking.com is the opposite of the Flexible one. The name says it all, the travelers are charged fully in case they cancel or don’t show up on the arrival date with this rate plan, while properties can secure the guaranteed payments for bookings and reduce the cancellation rate. Does it sound to be biased towards properties and against travelers in terms of benefits? It’s not.
Despite not getting refunds for cancellations, bookers can take advantage of significantly lower rates than flexible bookings. Therefore, this rate plan is certainly compelling for the travelers on the budget who seek the best value to make booking or leisure guests who know their travel plans well in advance.
In order to enhance the non-refundable rate plan with some flexibility, Booking.com offers a date change for non-refundable bookings. Thus, the bookers of this rate will have the benefit of modifying their booking date with one change alongside the benefit of low price; on the property’s side, the last-minute cancellation is reduced dramatically.
Moreover, the properties are advised to utilize the combination of both Flexible and Non-refundable Rate to capture the most demand. It is because that these two rate plans are booked most frequently, serve different preferences of travelers all the time such as price-sensitive bookers or flexibility seekers, and get a higher share of bookings.
Early Booker Rate
This rate type aims to attract travelers who reserve their trips well in advance and boosts property occupancy early in the season. The properties usually offer Early booker deals at least 30 days prior to the arrival date with the discounted rate.
Depending on the property’s strategy, you can decide the appropriate discount amount, how long before the check-in date to book to be eligible for the discount and the cancellation policy to make it most compelling.
For Early Booker Deal on Booking.com, you can set it up directly from your Booking.com extranet account or Hotel Link Extranet -> Booking Engine -> Special Offers.
This is to attract the contradictory type of travelers compared to early bookers, they are spontaneous travelers and they make a travel plan at the short notice. The last-minute bookings have been increasing recently and it’s an opportunity for both travelers & properties. Travelers may book rooms at a lower price while properties can maximize their occupancy.
To take full advantage of the Last Minute Deal, the properties often offer this promotion for a maximum of 7 days before check-in.
Weekly or Monthly Rate
Alongside short-staying guests, the properties should offer rates for long-staying guests to attract ones wanting to book 7 days, 28 days or more. The leisure travelers opt for longer length stay is to relax, get away long term or work in holidays, which allows them to work from another location outside the office.
Apart from rates, properties need to pay attention to facilities, amenities and self-services because the long-staying guests tend to consider these factors more deeply than the short-staying guests. So, make sure to highlight the facilities and amenities values that you can offer for guests such as gym, kettle, coffee maker in room, wardrobe space, etc.
Families are a large customer segment who will stay longer and book more frequently than solo travelers or couples as observed in Booking.com platform. By offering child rate, properties can appear in the family travelers’ searches when they use filter with a number of children included.
The child rate will create greater pricing transparency when the travelers book, so it can avoid the unexpected extra charge at the time of check-in for the accompanied child. Moreover, it indicates that the child rate can grow family bookings by up to 15%.
A majority of bookings today come from mobile devices and apps. Some statistics show the importance of mobile devices in the guest journey, for example, 80% of travelers use a mobile app when researching a trip, 50% of accommodation searches and bookings are made on mobile, and properties having mobile rates witness 28% more bookings from mobile traffic.
The mobile rate is discounted a certain per cent compared with the standard rate to encourage the booking conversion through this source. It may be combined with other special deals such as loyalty or membership deals.
Overall, beyond the base rate plans including flexible and non-refundable, there are various customized rate plans that properties can use as tools to maximize visibility and generate more bookings from time to time. All these rates are offered on most OTAs including Booking.com, so properties need to strategize their pricing plan appropriately.