8 Great Ways to Boost Bookings with Special Offers

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Special Offers can increase your profits!

Everyone loves a bargain, that’s for sure. Indeed, in these cost-conscious times, everyone practically demands a bargain. But Special Offers, if handled the right way, can be a great method of generating bookings you wouldn’t otherwise have had – and therefore boosting your revenues rather than diminishing them.

Here are some tips:

  1. Get what you want out of them. Use your Special Offers to encourage the right kind of bookings for your business. For some, that may mean long-stay discounts, because you take revenue on extras like food and beverages. For others, it might mean enticing guests to stay over low season dates. In both cases, the right kind of Special Offer can bring you extra business.
  2. Use them strategically. Switch a Special Offer on only when you know it’s going to be difficult to sell your rooms at your normal rate. This could be a particular night (i.e. Sunday) when business is slow.
  3. Spice them up with something extra! Consider adding an additional, cost-effective enticement rather than simply lowering your rates (e.g. a free box of chocolates and bottle of wine, free afternoon tea, kids eat free etc.)
  4. Make sure they’re an obvious bargain. Don’t just drop your rates and hope that someone will notice! Your online booking system must show the reduced rates as a discount/offer (e.g. 10% off or an extra night free) in order to create a strong perception of value and thus entice bookings.
  5. Make sure people actually know about them. Get busy advertising your latest Special Offer on Twitter and Facebook. And if you keep an email database of past customers (which you should), you could send a Special Offer email out to them as well, in case they want to stay with you again. (When you do this, make sure there’s a link to your website’s booking engine on the email.)
  6. Make them seem scarce. Have a Special Offer that expires relatively soon, to encourage customers to take advantage of it before it vanishes. Or, if you have only 3 room types, you could attach an offer to just 1 of them (i.e. the one you find most difficult to sell).
  7. Keep bargain hunters on their toes! Vary your Special Offers.  Don’t inadvertently lull your customers into expecting an offer over certain dates. Use different offer types and see what works best for you.
  8. Make them obvious. Put Special Offers where your customers will find them, right on your home page. Add them to your email signature too, so that you’re advertising them even during the daily routine of contacting people about other things.

3 Things You Need to Know About Mobile Bookings

smart_phone_okalkavanEvery day, more and more people are using iPads, iPhones, Androids etc to book hotels and B&Bs.

Pretty soon more people will be booking travel via mobile than on old-fashioned desktop computers. Google – the (current) kings of all things search – regularly produce stats on the growth of mobile. Here are some of the most eye-catching latest figures:

(1)   Almost half (47%) of all travellers now start their travel planning from a mobile device.

(2)   Today, 40% of leisure travellers and 36% of business travellers use mobile search engines to find hotels and book overnight accommodation.

(3)   By the second quarter of 2013, travel-related search queries will increase by 68% from smartphones and 180% from tablets. As you can see here…

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But perhaps most important of all is the news that far more last-minute bookings are made these days from mobile devices than desktop computers. Properties whose websites are not optimised for mobile are missing out these bookings, since, according to Google, 36% of last-minute travellers said that difficult mobile navigation is the main deterrent from booking…

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So don’t put it off any longer. Get a mobile-optimised website and a mobile app today. You know it makes sense!

Extras get you extras

booking_extrasIn an era of rising costs and tighter margins, it’s more important than ever to add value to your bookings. It make sense to offer paid extras that will enhance your guests’ experience and earn you extra money.

With freetobook you can add extras to your customers’ bills. These can range from charges for pets to bar bills, meals and chocolates – the possibilities are limitless. It’s free format, so you add in the extras and then apply them to a customer’s bill.

How does it work? There are two steps:

Step One: Add your extras into the freetobook system.

Broadly speaking there are two types of extras. The first type can be pre-booked online: these will show to your customer as they book online. The second type is variable expenses consumed during stay.

To create your extras, click on the “Availability” TAB then the “Booking Extras” SubTAB:

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If the extra is going to be offered online, you can add a description and an image to make it even more attractive. You can also request information relating to the extra. For instance, if the extra is an airport pickup you might ask your customer for their flight details and arrival time.

Where the extra is not booked online, you don’t need to put in descriptions and images but you do need to make the display name clear, as this is what will show on the customer’s bill. You can leave the price blank and complete the amount when you add it to their booking in step two (this is good for bar bills or other variable amounts.)

Step Two: Attach extra or extras to the customer’s bill

If the extra was booked online, it will already be added to the confirmation, as the customer booked it when they booked the accommodation.

Otherwise, to add extras, click on the booking in your “Diary” TAB. You will notice “Extras” just below the yellow box. Click Modify to add, delete and edit extras added to the booking. All extras will now be on the bill. Click “Summary” button at the top of the page to see the extras added. To print, click the “Print” button at the bottom of the summary page.

New Facebook booking app

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facebook app

With 845 million active users, Facebook is becoming an ever-more useful way of reaching new customers and generating more revenue. If you already have a Facebook business page, Freetobook can now create a Facebook booking page for you as well. This will allow you to:

  • Display great photos of your property.
  • List all your property information and room descriptions.
  • Display your location on a Google map.

And most importantly of all…

  • Link to your booking engine, providing easy online booking direct from Facebook.

You’ll find this great new functionality by logging into your profile and clicking on a new tab called “Social.”

Learn more by watching this short video: