Last-minute bookings have always been a welcome surprise but in this pandemic, many places have seen last minute bookings overwhelmingly take over their reservation calendar. Recent travel trends suggest that last minute bookings are here to stay (at least for the near future) so here is what you need to know about booking trends and how to create & promote your last minute deal. Prefer podcasts? Listen to a conversation about this blog post.
EmailEmail is your key to direct bookings. Share your deal with your subscribers by including it in your newsletter. Just like with social media, make sure to share your deal more than once. Add it to your monthly newsletter every month or create a special promotional email showcasing your new deal. Lay out the specifics of your deal in one section and your itinerary in another to entice your audience.
Booking Windows Have ShrunkSome guests love to plan out their vacation months in advance but others love the spontaneity of embarking on a last-minute getaway. After the introduction of COVID, the hospitality and travel industry has seen a rapid decline in booking windows. Our findings of COVID’s impact have led to a couple very unique trends, the shortening of booking windows being one of the most consistent. Airbnb has reported that an astounding 29% of reservations were being made within a week of check-in. Similarly, Odysys’ partner Simpleview has shown that the average booking window is down 34% (30 days) year over year. This shift in behavior represents a problem for cash flow and the nerves, but it also represents an opportunity to cater to last-minute reservations and to up the appeal for making it easier for people to show up at your property.
What do People Want?Per TripAdvisor’s fall index insights report (through Nov 30):
- 65% of travelers are planning domestic fall getaway
- 55% of travelers are booking 2-5 night stays
- Often booking less than a week in advance
- Guests are prioritizing a “relax & rejuvenate” type experience vs a “hustle & bustle” experience
- Pet friendly travel & access to hiking and other outdoor activities being the top sought-after property attributes
- B&B’s and “Quaint, romantic and charming hotel properties” are outperforming other types of accommodations