Hoteliers Stop Worrying About Booking Lead Times and Customer Buying Behaviour (By Luthando)

The rules of online hotel marketing have been changing for a few years now in the hospitality industry is no brainer. OTAs, Metasearch sites, destination sites and tools like last-minute booking apps/mobile apps are so numerous that the average traveller uses more than a dozen sites before making an online booking. Do not ignore the fact that travellers often switch between mobile phone, laptop, iPad, etc. to research and make a travel reservation. Hotel Revenue Management tools have minimized these challenges to a great extent.

Traveller’s changing purchasing behavior, accompanied by increased access to online/mobile travel tools, provide both a challenge and an opportunity for the hoteliers. The all above mentioned platforms provide real-time data with more minute details, about the consumer’s online journey. Hence, justifies all the reasons why every hotel should start tracking prices on mobile app also.

Increased use of smartphones, all time deal-hungry consumers, last-minute booking apps on mobile and penalty-free reservations have made the competition tougher in the hotel industry. These are just a few of the factors why travelers are now booking hotels closer and closer to their check-in date. According to most experts and recent data, booking lead times have compressed dramatically.

If your hotel constantly shrinks prices on these last-minute bookings you are forgoing a lot from your revenue kitty, especially those booked on OTAs you are losing even more by paying high third-party commissions.
However, there are ways to deal with this new trend of the rapidly shrinking booking window:

Stop worrying, use it to your best advantage

Instead of bothering about shrinking booking windows, hoteliers should start focusing on how to convert this to their best advantage. Strategize on how to convert your best prospects faster with a dynamic reservation recovery campaign.

Findings have shown that millions of travellers with long booking windows are ignored frequently by hoteliers at the very chance of them converting into a customer.

Pay special attention to prospects who had already visited your website and searched for inventory on dates that coincide with your periods of low business.

This could prove to be a substantial opportunity to re-engage with the lost prospects, convert them to bookings and improve the days that suffer from extremely short booking windows! Have more direct booking and save money spent on commission.

Know the occupancy forecast

An efficient revenue management tool can easily provide you forecast for every check in date. Equipped with this, you can easily identify the days/weeks that cause low ADRs and occupancy and accordingly define your pricing strategy.

Captures the Email Addresses of the website visitor for re-targeting

Once an online prospect searches for a room on their selected dates, it will require them to input their email address in the booking process. That way, you now have the contact info necessary to retarget them if they abandon their booking midway.

Send customized offers

After a prospect abandons a booking, follow up with them with a specific offer email with a personalized greeting that thanks them for considering your property and offers a time-limited incentive for booking your hotel directly. Certainly, these offers cut your net room revenue, still less than the commissions you pay on OTA or other sources of last minute bookings.

Reward the visitors who have shown their willingness to book with you or nearly completed a booking in a targeted period; you can close more bookings sooner. Hence lessening the short-booking window apprehensions.


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