How many days before travelling would you start looking for a vacation rental? Forward planning is required. Last minute bookings are not generally an option for people that want to book a vacation rental for their trip. For many, it’s a complicated process that demands a lot of research, emails back and forth and then finally, confirmation and payment. You can’t just roll up to the lobby of a vacation rental and slap a credit card down. There are processes, bureaucracy that must be endured first. Last minute bookings are not something that are traditionally associated with vacation rentals.
There are now stand-alone apps such as HotelTonight that just offer last-minute bookings for hotels, booking.com is now launching an app to rival it. It is easy to let last minute slip past but as we operate in an age where the Internet is everywhere, we now the chance to book accommodation from wherever we are and irrespective of the time. Today we’re outlining the ways vacation rentals can start to capitalise on this.
Having A Dedicated Page
This will be the best way to generate interest in last-minute bookings for vacation rentals. A page set aside where people can view the last minute deals you are currently offering on your website. They will know that these properties need to be booked soon and will be the perfect place to look if they are booking a trip at short notice. If you have a dedicated page, last minute customers will be more likely to head to your site first rather than your competitors as they know they can quickly find accommodation, at short notice.
Of course, last minute bookings do not have to mean the literal last minute. It doesn’t even have to mean the last week. Bookings within 30 days are generally considered to be fairly short notice for vacation rentals and can feature in your last minute promotions.
Reducing The Price
One of the expectations of last minute bookings is that the customer will be able to book at a more attractive price. Reducing the price and using bright, attractive images to highlight your offers will help to attract guests to your offers. Social media and email campaigns can also be used to bring people to this page. This will be a good way to encourage last minute spontaneous bookings from people that were not planning on renting a vacation rental until they saw your page. When reducing your price remember that whilst bringing in revenue is always preferable to empty calendars, your price should still be competitive and profitable. If you reduce your price too far you may deflect business away from your regular rentals.
Fill Your Calendar
A promotion can allow you to book up the awkward stray few days between larger bookings. These are often mid-week and for shorter stays so are naturally harder to sell. When advertising last minute bookings a good practice is to offer set stays that fall between dates when your property is already full. This is a great way to have a complete calendar in peak season and fill up your property during slower months.
Guaranteed Service and Response Time
This will be one of the most important factors when starting to secure last minute bookings. You need to be able to guarantee that your customers will get a response and be able to complete the transaction plenty of time before they have to set off.
The benefits are clear; starting to capture last minute bookings will reduce empty calendars and increase public confidence in the service of vacation rentals for all types of bookings.