Travellers are researching preemptively and waiting until the last minute to book their stays. Find out how to sell your unsold nights and increase your occupancy by getting listed on these channels specialising in last-minute stays.
Last-minute stays have always been popular among spontaneous travellers and cost-conscious guests looking for exclusive deals.
But since the pandemic, it has made it nearly impossible to book ahead. According to Expedia, the average booking window has reduced drastically to just 29 days out. Guests are now researching preemptively and then booking within a blink of an eye.
This mindset shifted last year, as shown in the data below from HomeToGo and Transparent’s most recent whitepaper. Last year Europeans typically booked with much shorter notice in 2020 with the exclusion on the UK and Itay.
We can see this trend continuing into 2021, and our internal statistics show that in January 2021, 36.42% of all travellers booked 1-6 days out, compared to 24.39% in January 2019. Nearly 61% booked within 30 days of travel, which is a 12% increase from 2019.
The last-minute travel trend is evident, but how can property managers take advantage of this trend and increase their occupancy with last-minute bookings?
This blog will explore the most effective vacation rental marketing tactics that you can use to attract last-minute bookings, monetise expiring inventory, and make up for cancellations.
We give you tips on how to set last-minute discounts on large OTAs as well as introducing you to some of the best last-minute channels to get listed on.
How to increase your last-minute bookings
1. Set last-minute discounts on OTAs
When it comes to attracting last-minute bookings, pricing is critical. Travellers who book a few days out expect to find bargain prices on OTAs.
From our internal statistics, we have noticed that booking prices are higher in 2021 compared to 2019 the more days in advance the booking is made. Last-minute booking in 2021, however, are still lower than last-minute prices in 2019.
Making sure your last-minute deals are priced correctly is incredibly important. Especially as your competitors are likely to apply price reductions to their expiring listings – and if you want to stay in the game, you need to do the same.
Setting a reasonable last-minute discount can have many positive effects. First of all, any booking is better than no booking, and some revenue is better than zero revenue – especially during times of low demand.
Secondly, discounts can help you rank higher in OTAs and increase your conversion rate. And thirdly, they can get you included in merchandising initiatives run by OTAs (for example, Booking.com’s deals page).