How to get more reservations through BedandBreakfast.com, Expedia, hotels.com, SideStep.com and Kayak.com.
- Load significant room inventory. Consider adding room availability through the next year. The BedandBreakfast.com Online Reservations program allows you to display and sell rooms for up to two years in advance. Adding significant availability for dates far into the future can positively impact your placement on Expedia and hotels.com. The more availability you show, the better your chances of appearing prominently on the major travel sites.
- Lessen the severity of your cancellation policy. Properties with lenient cancellation policies take more reservations through this program, while those with strict cancellation policies book fewer rooms. Consider setting your “no refund penalty” so that the full amount is charged only within seven days. If you charge a one-night penalty, perhaps do this only within 14 days of arrival. Finally, you might use only one of the available cancellation penalties. For example, don’t use a full amount penalty in addition to a one-night penalty. You can update this setting by clicking on Settings from within the BedandBreakfast.com Online Reservations Manager.
- Allow same-day bookings. What is your advanced reservations cut-off day? This program is highly effective at filling last-minute rooms. If your Advanced Reservations Cutoff is set at two or three days, it means that potential guests finding you through the online reservations program will not be able to book your rooms in the last minute. Consider allowing same-day bookings, or at least reduce your minimum to one day in advance of arrival. You can update this setting by clicking on Settings from within the BedandBreakfast.com Online Reservations Manager.
- Do you have restrictive minimum-stay requirements? Such requirements during times of otherwise lower occupancy levels can prevent you from getting a booking during a date when you could really use that extra reservation. Consider using minimum stays on peak weekends and travel dates and require just one-night stays at other times. A first-time guest may find you on Expedia and return in the future as a direct reservation.
- Try new ways to sell rooms in the last minute. Your rooms are a perishable commodity; the revenue on an unsold room is gone forever. If you are nearing a date and have availability, open that room up in the Online Reservations program so that our distribution partners (Expedia, hotels.com, SideStep.com and Kayak.com) can have the opportunity to sell that room. Taking this a step further, consider lowering your rate incrementally as the date nears if you haven’t yet sold that room. You’ll be surprised at what this can do to help you sell rooms that may otherwise sit empty.
If you have questions or would like a free online reservations consultation, contact Online Reservations Support at 800-GO-B-AND-B (800-462-2632), extension 4; 512-322-2700, extension 4 or Reservations@BedandBreakfast.com.