Did you know that 44% of leisure travelers and 56% of business travelers make their bookings at the last minute? While it’s ideal to have your listing(s) booked weeks or even months in advance, every now and then there will be some unsold nights that you’d love to see turned into revenue. There are a few strategies you can use to make sure you do just that.
Each owner/manager knows the break-even price of each listing, below which you would actually lose money if a guest were to come to stay. However, often there’s a fair bit of margin between that price and your ideal price. As the unsold nights get closer to the present day, you should be active in either manually bringing those prices down or setting your channel manager to do that automatically. While last-minute travelers can sometimes be desperate for anything at any price, very often a well-priced deal will encourage them to pick you over someone else.
Use Social Media
If you haven’t already been active in social media and various travel groups on platforms like Facebook, you’re missing a great opportunity to snag possible guests. “Last minute trip to X” will often match the precise keywords that a guest may be using to find a property like yours. Because of the easy shareability of social media, a single post with, “Last-minute availability in X” with a link to your listing can be shared until it gets to someone who needs precisely that.
Use an Email List
An email list is another tool that savvy vacation rental owners/managers use to funnel in business. Such newsletters don’t have to be lengthy – as long as they add value people will open them (like we hope you are opening this!). Subscribers will include fans of your property who can then forward that email on to a friend with a sentence like, “Remember that place I told you Bob and I stayed at last year? They’ve got a last minute booking available for next week!” Even if someone misses out on a deal they may decide to subscribe to your email newsletter so as not to do so in the future.
List Across Multiple Platforms
We’ve shared previously that a great way to bring in more guests on a regular basis is to list on multiple platforms instead of being exclusive to one. There are channel managers to help you do just that. This multiplies the number of guests who will see your flexible prices as they search for an accommodation that meets their last-minute needs.
List On Sites that Specialize in Last-Minute Travel
In addition to listing on multiple platforms for your standard bookings, there are platforms like Whimstay that cater specifically to last-minute travelers. These platforms have their own social media and newsletters to reach even more travelers.
This content originally appeared in our biweekly Guest Book newsletter.