For many hotels, securing early bird bookings is key to a healthy revenue management strategy.
Price-savvy guests on the hunt for a deal are incentivized to book early, and outside of a hotel's typical booking window. By the time you're into your regular booking window, you already have a healthy base of guests and you can adjust your rates sensibly. Clear, well-signposted advance booking offers on your website are absolutely key to scooping up those early browsers.
Last-minute deals, on the other hand, aren't for everyone, but there's no doubt that consumer behavior is shifting in the last-minute direction. Ctrip's most recent white paper revealed that Chinese guests in particular are booking within an ever-shorter reservation window, with only 13% booking a week or more in advance. If you make a quick decision to drop a rate, you need to be able to quickly advertise it on your direct site; guests should know that they can come to you direct for cheap last-minute deals, rather than having to go to an OTA which makes last-minute bookings its USP. However, exercize caution: with the rise of re-booking services like Service on the horizon, widespread last-minute discounts could become a dangerous game. Stay tuned for more on that topic.
The potential guest looking to book over a season in advance needs to be tempted in a very different way to one looking at a room the night before. A flexible campaign manager for your online messaging is crucial to making sure your carefully-honed revenue management strategies aren't set up in vain.
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