How to get more bookings for your holiday home
Getting more bookings for your holiday home can be stressful – but if you’re dedicated and put in the work, you’re more than likely to increase your bookings this year using these booking strategies.
Boosting word of mouth
Word of mouth is one of the most powerful marketing channels you have; getting a recommendation from someone you know if far more compelling than any sales pitch from a stranger.
Don’t leave it up to chance anymore.
You can easily increase word of mouth for your holiday home using 3 simple methods:
- Go above and beyond for your guests
- Ask for recommendations
- Incentivise your guests
First things first; you have to have a property worth raving about to encourage recommendations. Remember when someone recommends your property to a friend, they’re putting their own judgement and reputation on the line; so the best way to ensure they do recommend the property is to make the entire experience outstanding.
The second method is to ensure you ask for recommendations. This may seem obvious, but if it’s not part of your current system, you should incorporate it if you can. A simple “thanks for staying” email with a request for a review or recommendation, or a simple note in your guest book can be all it takes to remind people to tell their friends.
The last method works well but requires a little more planning; incentivising your guests. Running simple offers like a meal voucher or a joined discount deal for their next stay (and their friends first stay) requires a little more forethought but can help to encourage both repeat stays and new guests to your holiday home.
Getting more reviews
Similarly to boosting word of mouth, simply remembering to ask for reviews can be a powerful way to get more. People simply forget when they get home, so sending a quick email can be all it takes, and reviews are the next best thing to recommendations when it comes to getting more bookings.
Reviews are powerful, especially online where people are suspicious of scams. Reviews can also help to answer queries about the property that your listing hasn’t mentioned yet and further reassure a potential guest to make a booking.
As with recommendations, you can also encourage reviews by going above and beyond or adding an incentive.
Encourage repeat bookings
Guests that have booked before can be much easier to convince to book again; simply put, they don’t have to worry about taking a gamble on a new place, they know exactly what your holiday home is like and what they can do in the area.
If you’re running low on bookings it can be a great idea to run a discount offer for your previous guests, remind them of dates when the property is available this year or even mention different seasonal activities in the area that they may not realise are happening.
The other way to encourage repeat bookings is to run a permanent offer for new guests by offering them a discount voucher for their next visit when they leave. Guests love to save money and if they’ve enjoyed their stay it can be all that’s needed to tip the scale in your favour for their next break.
Use professional photography
When guests are deciding where they want to stay online, a HUGE factor will be the photographs. It’s all they have to really visualise their holiday before they decide where to go.
If someone else has a similar property in the area, but better photos, it’s more than likely that their property will gain the booking before yours.
Getting professional photographs makes a huge impact on your bookings; the more the merrier. A good photographer will understand that you want to use the photos to set the scene for a perfect getaway – just remember to prepare the property before they arrive so that it’s in photograph worthy condition!
Run an offer
During slow winter months getting bookings can be tough, even for the best apartments – so it’s not a bad idea to run an offer to encourage bookings.
The important thing to remember is to ensure you work at getting the word out about your offer. Make sure you advertise on your own social media channels, email to previous guests and if you can, come up with a strategy to encourage people to ‘share’ the offer with their friends.
Make sure your listing is useful
This gets back to basics but is so very important. Your listing should first entice guests to read more about your property, then answer all of their queries if possible.
Any one guest will have a multitude of different questions that they’ll want answered before they book – here are just a few that you should ensure you’re answering clearly on your listing:
- How much is it?
- How many does it sleep?
- Is it pet-friendly?
- What can we do in walking/driving/public transport distance?
- Is there space to park?
- Does the property have washing facilities/cooking facilities/WiFi/TV/en-suites?
Remember your listing is being compared to many different properties, so spending time ensuring it’s written well and answers all of a guests queries is a seriously important job in your marketing efforts.
Check your pricing
If you’re not pricing your holiday home properly, it could be a huge reason why you’re not getting bookings. People may not even give your property a second glance if it’s over priced.
The best way to ensure you get the pricing right is to firstly, review your costs of owning the property and renting it out (including bills, mortgage costs and running costs like cleaning services) so you know what you need to make to break even. Then look to other similar properties in the area and review your competition; if you’re seeing prices consistently much lower than yours for similar properties, your major issue with your bookings may be the price you’re asking for.
Don’t simply look at the prices of the other properties, but also their booking calendars, as if they’re also overpriced, they may not be seeing the bookings they need either. Remember also that a property with a higher price tag may not need as many bookings to make a profit.
If you’re really struggling with pricing, it could be a good idea to call in a professional.
Get an agency on board
A holiday home agency can help you gain many more bookings and reduce the headaches you get from marketing your holiday home. They have huge advantages that their main focus is getting your property booked and they have a huge wealth of knowledge and experience in that area.
Not only that, but they can usually help advise you on how to make more bookings, set your price correctly and what you could be doing to earn more.
Even better, some agencies have huge databases of guests that have previously booked with them and so can advertise your holiday home to thousands of potential guests at once.
Have you any more tips?
If you’ve got some great tips on how you got more bookings for your holiday home – we want to hear them! Simply comment below.